My actual video response to a frustrated (and confused) listing agent:
Every broker / agent needs and wants to rank well in the search engines. Most agents consider it especially important to rank for the addresses of their listings. Currently Google grants the listing agent’s site no special authority (but we certainly think they should). Instead, Google tends to rank the most “powerful” site for a listing, when the listing appears on all sites at the same time (MLS syndication). Therefore, it is imperative to give your site an advantage in order to signal to Google that your site should rank alongside the national real estate sites.
Later, we’ll provide a checklist of suggested todos designed to help you rank for your listing. First, I recommend you spend 5 minutes understanding how search engines work. But feel free to skip the next section if you are in a rush.
How Search Engine’s Work
The problem with ranking websites based on their content
Pre-Google search engines visited websites and – after analyzing their content – would determine the “best” result to serve up to searchers.
Originally, it worked out OK. Results weren’t great but you could do some deep digging through pages of results and often find what you needed. About 10 minutes later, site owners learned to game the system by repeating keywords over and over again, in headlines, body text, meta descriptions. Because site owners have full control over site content, the search engines were ridiculously easy to game.
Along came Google
.. with a crazy idea, “we can get a better idea about a site’s content by watching what OTHER sites say about your site – nevermind what site owners say about themselves!” Google’s revolution was to pay attention to the words used to link to your website (and nearby text), from other sites.
Suddenly the tables turned, dramatically. Now Website B could theoretically start to rank for “Spam Site” even though that keyword doesn’t even exist on the website! Google became a very hard search engine to manipulate because site owners lost most of their control. We have very little control over what other sites “say” (link) about our sites.
As you know, the methodology worked well. Really well. It continues to work so well that Google dominates all other search engines today.
But it’s not perfect. Back to our example.
Poor Britney. She forgot to anyone about her amazing project. No links to her site at all. Meanwhile, other fan sites continue to interlink as new content comes available and when when CNN does a story about Britney they contact a local blogger for a quote. On CNN’s website, the reporter even posts a link to the website along with the quote. Even more ranking power for the local blogger. Even more reason NOT to rank Britney’s actual blog.
Or consider what would happen if a large and powerful enough group of site owners / content creators banded together in an organized effort to use specific language in their links! A Google exec had to explain to Congress why a search for “Idiot” shows these results!
Mission: Page 1 Google Ranking for Exclusive Listings
Below you will find our cheat sheet to help agents level the playing field.
Checklist to help your Listings Rank in Google search results:
- Timing: Adding your listing to your site prior to it appearing on the MLS is one of the most critical items you can do to influence ranking
- Add Your Listing to your site as “coming soon” as soon as possible. The earlier the better.
- Add any custom content you can that will not appear on MLS
- Title: Address … it could be, For Sale <Address”
- Seo the listing for the property address (vs “Greatest House for sale in XYZ”)
- Remember, it’s critical to add as much content as possible. Consider photos, videos, maps and a great deal of original property description. Remember the page can always be updated and new photos can replace your temp photos.
- Share the above page/post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and other social networks.
- Link to the page/post from the video description posted on Youtube. (and name the youtube video the property address)
- On syndication sites, where possible include Listing agent name/phone/url in descriptions.
- The minute the listing appears on Company Website you should get the listing URL and add it to the listing you created on your personal website. It can be as simple as, “See information on 123 Maple st, Narragansett, RI” link the blue text to the listing page on the Company Website. Again it is important to repeat steps 1-4 on the Company Website listing page.