Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Real Estate Sites

Warning… the following is a RANT… with a few useful tips.

Overall, I love working with real estate agents. They are great clients, willing to try new things, and my own clients tend to be rather tech-savvy — or they want to be tech savvy — and are willing to learn. That’s all well and fine. It makes me happy.

But when they come to me after an “SEO expert” has reworked their index page and “bumped up” their rankings by skewing alt tags into a useless dumping ground for keywords, when a list of totally unrelated links appears at the bottom of the page (that just happens to be full of keywords), when there is no text, when they believe that a flash intro won’t hurt their rankings, when they opt for images instead of text, when they assume that it has to be ugly to spider well, or pretty to capture the visitors eye (without content) — I simply want to scream!

A quick tip — RELEVANT content is king. It’s that simple.

You may “spider” OK with the keyword stuffing and search engine spamming techniques that many pseudo SEO experts provide, but it’s a short trip to SE expulsion.

Google is now going through YET ANOTHER algorithm change (you may have noticed a ranking shift in the last couple weeks), and this Big Boy is dedicated to providing RELEVANT content to searchers.

Yes, you may continue to rank well in the less adaptive search engines, it always takes them a little longer to play “catch up” to Google.

The fact is, doing the search engine spamming can get you BANNED from Google. And aside from that nasty little fact, it’s just plain rude to your visitors.

Another quick tip — it’s not all about the index page — what happens past that point DOES matter.

People visit your site expecting to be welcomed, not visually assaulted with links to another region and other states for no apparent reason.

So, stop that!

If you have a legitimate list of links to share that is RELEVANT to your website, have the decency to tell a visitor why a Myrtle Beach Real estate link is relevant to a Kentucky real estate site. If that’s a property you manage or a link swap agreement you have — and you have it because that’s a popular vacation spot for the locals — then SAY SO.

It’s true that many of the visitors may not understand that you are spamming to gain ranking with a slew of links at the bottom of your page, or alt tags that leave your visually impaired visitors cringing from the monotonous verbal scroll through repetitive key words, instead of useful tags for the photos they can’t see well.

Of all the places to give a good alt tag to photos, a real estate site is it!

So go — take a look at your site and determine if you are serving your clients or if you are spamming the engines. Surely your goal wasn’t to concentrate your online resources merely to spam.

There has to be a sense of loyalty to the service of your clients, doesn’t there? If you love what you do, if you live to serve, then why not reflect that in all aspects, in all areas of your business?

And, if you are searching for a good SEO person, take the time to perform due diligence. Get references and check out their other client’s sites. If they have done flash intros, if they have replaced content with fluff, if they have “tacked on” a list of bogus links, if they have sacrificed content and visual appeal at the altar of Yahoo, MSN or another SE — walk away!

The Internet is quickly growing as an organic entity based on content, visual appeal, and ease of use. People will have little patience with antiquated sites that are self-serving rather than customer-centric.

Now go! Evaluate your own site.

The rant ends here…