SEO Success: How Long Does It Take?

Real estate SEOSuccess with a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign doesn’t happen overnight. There is no magic bullet that instantly boosts your search engine rankings or gets thousands of visitors to your website. Rather, real estate SEO success requires the long-term approach: gradually optimizing your online presence, creating lots of interesting content, sharing that content across social media and email, and conducting an array of other activities.

Continue reading to learn how long it takes to set up each aspect of your real estate SEO strategy, when you can expect to see the fruits of your labor, and how to maintain and enhance your standing on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Essential Real Estate SEO Tasks

From blogging and advertising to social media and email marketing, your real estate SEO tactics are all interconnected. Done right, each of these activities can help your website get found in SERPs, guide the right people to your website, and, eventually, fill your contacts database chock-full of leads. But each of these areas takes a different amount of time and requires a different approach.

Here’s the optimal order in which to take care of the marketing tasks necessary for real estate SEO success.

1)  Get a responsive website.

This is the one real estate website SEO task that’s simply a one-time deal. Securing a responsive real estate website is paramount before conducting any other SEO maneuvers. Check out website providers to determine which site is best for your online marketing needs. Look for specific functionality in sites, like a practical navigation setup and the ability to add lead capture forms. Above all, make sure it looks and functions perfectly on mobile devices.

This is important not only because Google greatly prefers to see mobile functionality for websites (so much so it created a how-to guide to maximizing sites for mobile), but also because more and more real estate searches today take place on smartphones and tablets, as evidenced in Google’s graphic below:

Google home buyer search statistics

Switch to a responsive website if you don’t have one, then take on the content creation, optimization, and promotion activities below. You’ll thank yourself in the long run, as mobile becomes even more vital to a successful real estate SEO scheme.

2)  Conduct keyword research.

Next up on the SEO priority list is conducting thorough keyword research. This is one of the core SEO activities that takes a considerable amount of time to perform and is never complete. Long-tail keywords that are popular or weak today may be the opposite next week, meaning you have to dedicate time once every few weeks to ensure you implement popular terms and phrases in your content that will help your site get found by local buyers and sellers.

Given the nature of keyword research, there is no point in time where you can say, “Well, I’ve done enough to succeed with my SEO.” It’s a necessary evil in the world of real estate search engine optimization, but one that will pay dividends over the long haul.

3)  Begin blogging regularly.

Next up, optimize your real estate blogging strategy. Generate lots of interesting real estate blog ideas and produce posts that appeal to your target audience. For example, compile local market data for your audience, tell buyers what to look for in properties in your area, advise sellers on how to price their homes — anything that makes you stand out as the ideal agent in your community is perfect, just be sure to use your keywords in your blog posts.

Come up with a list of 10 or so terms that are highly searched by local buyers and sellers. Use one or two focus keywords for each article. Do this many times over with your content (while continuing to research new, better keywords) and you’ll begin to improve in SERPs.

4)  Construct landing pages.

Whereas long-tail terms are optimal for blog content, landing pages on your site should focus on primary keywords — ones that are consistently searched by your audience. For instance, a long-tail term for your market may be “two-floor brownstones in Bushwick Brooklyn,” but “Brooklyn homes for sale” is likely to generate more traffic due to its more general nature.

There is no right number of landing pages to create for your website. It’s better to try several options to find those that produce the best results. Identify ones you think buyers and sellers would find most useful. For example, a lifestyle page that exhibits all of the great restaurants, theaters, nightlife spots, parks, and other amenities could help drive a considerable amount of the right traffic to your site.

5)  Delve into the world of advertising.

Many of the same keywords you utilize in your on-page real estate SEO can also be used in your real estate advertising. Become familiar with Google AdWords and the process of researching keywords for ads — which differs in some ways from keyword research for your site. Primarily, finding the right keywords for ads is based on cost per click: The more popular and competitive a keyword is, the higher it costs to bid on it and get your ads shown above others.

Mastering real estate advertising takes dedication in terms of time and effort. Regularly find and bid on new keywords for your ads — along with creating compelling copy — and you’ll be well on your way to becoming better acquainted and proficient with AdWords. Expect this process of familiarizing yourself to take a few months.

6)  Build your social media presence.

Regarding ease of set up, one SEO task that you won’t expend much energy completing is creating your real estate social media accounts. The usual suspects like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are the prime places to start, since sharing your content on those sites typically yields the best results. Don’t neglect other social platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram, though — the former of which can generate lots of real estate leads, and the latter of which can bolster your brand awareness (when used correctly).

After developing your social media presence, use social scheduling and monitoring tools to automate tweets, updates, and other posts and make it simple to track the success of your online presence. The ways in which social media affects SEO are numerous: Primarily, you can build links through social and drive traffic to your site.

7)  Create some videos for your site.

Home walk-throughs, updates about local market conditions, testimonials, interviews — these are just a sample of the real estate video marketing content you can create for your site and YouTube account and, gradually, better your SEO. Whether you use a mobile app or a professional camera, videos have proven to lead to significant improvements in SERPs for pros and brands of all kinds, so start recording today.

There are several great video apps for smartphones and tablets, each of which has simple filming and editing features anyone can figure out, so don’t think you need to master some fancy video camera to get professional-looking results.

8)  Get lots of links on other websites.

The whole point of these promotional tasks is not only to drive traffic to your site, but also to build links leading back to your site. Yes, your email recipients and social media followers may share your content on their sites, but you don’t want just anyone linking to your content. Try to get big fish — those with sites that rank highly in SERPs and have a positive online reputation in the eyes of Google and Bing — to link to and mention your content.

Develop a list of notable real estate industry members, publications, blogs, and other outlets you think would be interested in your content. Then, reach out to them to let them know you’ve created some great content. Don’t just ask them to share it, though. Rather, explain the content’s value. Asking for links only comes across as desperate and rarely leads to actual external linking, so try to build relationships with these folks to raise the chances that they will share your content.

When to Expect Real Estate SEO Results

The great news is that time invested in mastering SEO for real estate pays dividends — as long as you remain committed.

Many agents initially have roadblocks to success with real estate SEO. For instance, a study by Ascend2 found more than 40 percent of professionals working with SEO cited lack of search optimization budget and know-how as the top impediments to success with their SEO campaigns. Having said that, half of these pros stated SEO effectiveness grew for their businesses year-over-year, meaning their efforts paid off the longer they stuck with their SEO strategies.

Numerous SEO experts acknowledge it takes time to see solid success with a search campaign. Though these are just rough estimates of how long it takes an SEO plan to increase your site traffic, they’re all similar in sentiment:

  • Integrity Marketing and Consulting Founder and Digital Marketing Director Brian Hughes: “Before giving up on an SEO strategy, give it at least three or four months to take root. If you’re actually committed to long-term SEO success, you may have to wait as long as a year to see really outstanding progress.”
  • G/O Digital Content Manager Danielle Legler: “With a good consistent strategy and no other major site issues, it is reasonable to expect a three-to-six-month window to move up into the top 10 results.”
  • Tenfold Traffic Founder David Melamed: “It can take months for your SEO efforts to start showing significant improvements, and can certainly take that long to start showing a real ROI. Many links don’t get their full value for three months. After all, Google wants to see that the links are here to stay.”
  • First Page Sage SEO Evan Bailyn: “A well-run SEO campaign should be able to show results within four to six months. I am defining results as ‘new, targeted, organic traffic that produces leads.’”

The main takeaway from these professionals? You won’t get on page one of search results after just a few weeks of work. It takes time to establish your real estate SEO strategy and for search engines to recognize that hard work. Google and Bing don’t make SEO easy for a reason: They want the best of the best to stream to the top of SERPs so searchers see the most pertinent, informative, and useful content.

Aside from these predictions regarding how long it takes for SEO strategies to take shape and yield results, other optimization experts have very specific SEO recommendations that can help you succeed in the world of search:

  • Nifty Marketing President Mike Ramsey on creating great content: “Things are changing so fast that you would quickly find yourself falling behind when the next updates come around. The best method is to focus on getting in front of your audience with great content all across the web and in turn finding ways to get feedback. It’s hard to work like Google doesn’t matter but the companies that will fare the best over the coming years will do just that.”
  • The Vetters Agency Founder and CEO Kristine Schachinger on testing your site: “Though we haven’t been given these [SEO] rules by the search engines, we can test against the algorithm and do things we know work because a + b = c. Math is predictable, testable, and somewhat verifiable.”
  • Advice Interactive Group CEO Bernadette Coleman on keyword placement: “A good keyword in the title that reflects the literal theme of the article or asset will ultimately determine whether it ranks in search and social.”
  • Online Marketing Coach Founder Mike Murray on multi-purpose keyword use: “It’s not just about ranking so high that you can stop paying for a keyword phrase. Depending on the conversions and ROI goals, maybe you will keep a keyword phrase with both paid and natural search.”


What else do you want to know to better your real estate SEO strategy? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Yogi – isms!


Through the years, I’ve enjoyed quoting New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra in many of the market presentations I make, especially at key baseball-related times of the year, like opening day and October pennant races and the World Series.

In a tribute to Berra’s passing this week, I offer some favorite quotes that apply to insights I can share about housing.

‘You can observe a lot by just watching’

I watch real estate trends daily, but I learn the most when I’m out of the office talking to people about what’s happening in their neighborhoods. All housing is local, so the neighborhood is really where the action exists. There’s no match for getting out there and talking to neighbors.

‘When you come to a fork in the road, take it’

Buying a home is a very personal decision, influenced by financial and qualitative considerations. You’ll have many choices of home type, neighborhood, how much to put down, and what type of mortgage to use. In most cases, there won’t be a clear best choice. So, the most useful piece of advice I can give anyone is to find an expert local Realtor to help you choose the best fork for you.

‘No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded’

Prices continue to rise this year, especially in the hottest markets, as supply is very thin relative to demand. As a result, homes for sale get snapped up quickly and many listings receive multiple bids. But the demand is real in these markets, driven by household and job growth, and strong growth in incomes by the households who are looking to buy. As long as the economic growth remains robust, don’t expect demand to weaken substantially beyond the normal seasonal decline in the fall and winter.

‘A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore’

We’ve experienced another year of above-average price appreciation, as a result of demand outpacing supply. The increases brought us back to a new nominal record for the median existing-home price in June, but on an inflation-adjusted basis, prices remain about 20% beneath the peak in 2006.

‘If the world were perfect, it wouldn’t be’

Like snowflakes, no two homes are the same. Even if they’re built by the same builder, on the same street, they will have subtle differences caused by variations in the land upon which they sit. In addition, homes are not built by robots in sealed, controlled factories. As they age, the variation in features and when key components were updated becomes very hard to predict.

Because real estate is physical, assessing values and market prices requires informed local insights about the specific home and its features and condition. Be careful of any form of automated price estimates and market reports derived from them, as they assume the data are perfect and the computer model knows everything it should. I can assure you that the data aren’t perfect—and never will be—thanks to the uniqueness of homes.
If you have a favorite Yogi-ism, please share it in the comments section.
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New Mortgage Disclosure Laws Could Delay Your Home Purchase?


Beginning October 3, 2015, home buyers applying for a mortgage will receive new rate and fee quote forms from lenders.

These federally required consumer disclosures, which go by the name TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (or TRID), will make it easier for you to understand rate and fee quotes from lenders.

However, they will also slow down your home-buying process.

Lenders must not only deliver these new rate and fee disclosures to you twice during the home loans process — after application and before closing — but also must comply with disclosure timing rules in the beginning and end of the loan process.

Speed wins when writing home purchase offers, and this extra time can mean the difference between a seller accepting and rejecting your offer.

Here’s how to optimize your timing so you can write offers that will close faster than competing buyers:

Loan estimate disclosure and timing rules

The first new disclosure is called the Loan Estimate. This document clearly shows your rate quote, loan term, line-item fees, and cash needed to close.

 Before the lender can collect fees for critical next steps in the loan process — like ordering an appraisal, which your loan can’t close without — the lender must also obtain your intent to proceed based on the quoted terms.

The Loan Estimate must be given to you within three days of applying for a mortgage. The federal agency that made and enforces the TRID rules — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) — allows for mail or electronic delivery of the Loan Estimate.

If you applied with a lender who’s using mail delivery late on a Wednesday, they would mail your Loan Estimate and intent-to-proceed disclosures Thursday, you might get it Saturday, and they couldn’t collect fees and order your appraisal until they received your consent Monday, which is already day six into the process.

If you applied with a lender who’s using electronic delivery late on a Wednesday, they could deliver your Loan Estimate and intent-to-proceed disclosures for you to consent to online that evening, and they could collect fees and order appraisal that same evening — all on the first day of the process.

Closing disclosure and timing rules

The second new disclosure, called the Closing Disclosure, looks almost exactly the same as the Loan Estimate, which makes it easy for buyers to review the closing terms and compare them to the originally quoted terms. It also provides further clarity on closing costs by showing which line item costs are paid by buyer, seller, and third parties.

The lender must provide this document to you at least three days before closing.  The new CFPB disclosure rules don’t allow Sundays and holidays to count in this three-day waiting period, and day one is the day after you get the Closing Disclosure.

For example, if a lender sent your Closing Disclosure on a Wednesday, the three-day waiting period is Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Then they can fund your loan and close your home purchase on Monday, which is day six from the time you received the disclosure.

What is the fastest timing for the new disclosure process?

Prior to October 3, 2015, you could fund the same day you got final disclosures, and real estate agents are accustomed to writing purchase contracts based on this old timing.  As of October 3, your agent and lender must coordinate closely when writing purchase contracts to make sure your agent accounts for these new TRID timelines to write the fastest contract possible.

  • Shortest timeline post-application: If your lender is mailing disclosures, the CFPB’s new TRID rules add about six days in the beginning of the process from application to appraisal order. If your lender is using electronic disclosures, they can go from application to appraisal order in one day.
  • Shortest timeline pre-closing: All lenders must comply with the three-day waiting period after the Closing Disclosure is ready. But as the example above illustrates, the pre-closing waiting period is actually more than three days.

So here’s the key to making sure your mortgage process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible:

When you find a lender in your current home shopping journey, ask them about their process for the new TRID rules, and have them clarify closing timelines for your real estate agent before you write any offers.

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Video Recording Apps for Real Estate Agents

Video recording apps smartphones tabletsNew real estate marketing trends emerge daily: new social media platforms, new multimedia services, new kinds of content — and new apps. Regardless of the mobile device(s) you own, there are brand-spankin’-new apps added every day that you can download and instantly use to market to your audience on your real estate website and social channels. A fast-evolving segment of the app development industry is video recording.

New tools that allow for unique filters, quick editing, and loads of other interesting features make it simple for real estate agents to record Spielberg-approved video. Below are 10 of the latest and greatest video recording apps that can transform your real estate videos into masterpieces (well, very short masterpieces anyway).

The Ones You Probably Use or Have Heard About

Instagram (Free)

Let’s get the big players out of the way. Instagram added its video function in 2013, and it’s safe to say it’s a widely used feature among Instagrammers everywhere. In fact, there were 5 million Instagram videos published within its first 24 hours of operation. Use the app’s three-to-15-second length to highlight the main attributes of your listings and include them on your real estate website. What’s made video even more appealing for the app’s users is the recent introduction of Hyperlapse: time-lapse videos for those who don’t have the $4,000 equipment necessary to create professional-looking lapse recordings. While it’s unclear how agents can take advantage of this tool, it’s still worth playing around with to develop ideas for your real estate marketing. (Note: You need to download the separate Hyperlapse app to use it — the regular Instagram app doesn’t support it.)

Vine (Free)

What can you do with six seconds? A lot, actually, as proven by the innumerable Vine users worldwide. Data from June 2013 shows Vine videos were found in nine tweets every second. It’s clear the app’s proponents keep finding new, interesting ways to use the app — particulalry brands and professionals. Just as noted for Instagram video, consider showing off homes for sale with Vine. Also consider using the app to show off your personality, like joking with fellow agents at your brokerage or enjoying a property tour with some clients. Nobody wants a stuffy real estate agent, so showing off your lighter side could put you in a more positive light with leads and real estate website visitors.

The Best-Reviewed Ones You Likely Don’t Know

Camera Plus ($1.99)

Now onto the lesser-known options. First up is Camera Plus, which offers several distinct features — chief of which is the AirSnap function. This allows users to connect two iOS devices: one to use as a remote control while the other device operates the app. So if you want to get a shot of you and your buyers right after you’ve closed a deal, set up your iPad on a tripod and use your iPhone to snap the pic from several feet away. You could end up with some snazzy shots to add your real estate website homepage. And that’s not all. You can also:

  • Paint over your photos with a brush tool
  • Add vibrant or muted colors, depending on the mood
  • Adjust sharpness of different aspects of your images
  • Click the Pix’d button, which automatically beautifies photos for you

Magisto (Free)

Back when music videos aired on MTV, many viewers aspired to emulate the videos of their favorite musicians. Magisto is just about as close as many of these people will come to creating high-quality music videos. The app is unique in that, when you’re done recording video and upload it to the Magisto website, its algorithms influence the final product’s development. The makers behind Magisto created Emotion Sense Technology, as they’ve branded it, which helps identify emotions of those in the video and, in turn, edits it accordingly to strike the right mood users desire — visually and audibly. While Magisto adds appropriate effects to your recording, you get to choose a song to play in your “movie.”

Bottom line: This app is ideal for real estate agents who want to tell stories about their clients and their enjoyable experiences working with them to find the home of their dreams.

ProCam ($1.99)

You get the best of both worlds with ProCam, which offers users clear navigation for its photo and video features. The app allows you to record video and snap shots while doing so. Once you’re done, use the myriad editing components to make your multimedia stand out. ProCam offers, well, pro features, including steady-cam which prevents shaky shots, spot focus and lock to accurately record your video subject, and the ability to create time-lapse and slow-motion videos. If you’re looking for a fully loaded video app that takes mere minutes to learn and use, you’ve found it.

Viddy (Free)

Arguably the most social app listed here, Viddy affords users the chance to record 30-second long videos, with the stop-and-start editing (a la Vine), and edit them accordingly for color, brightness, scene order, and aspect ratio, among other things. Then, users can share their recordings on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube in seconds and even add in a hashtag or two to increase their findability. Ideally, this app could help you show off your listings or even provide short, to-the-point advice for your audience. Want to quickly express your thoughts about your local market, the national real estate industry, or a how-to tip buyers and sellers would enjoy? Record yourself with Viddy on the go. Who says you need a script for real estate video production?

Videon ($4.99)

Multiple high-resolution displays, a sharp zoom-in feature, an adjustable frame rate tool, and video stabilization make Videon an optimal real estate video app for agents. It works with iPhone 4 and up, though the app-maker Lucky Clan notes many of its features tend to work best on the most recent iOS devices. Regardless of which device version you own, though, Videon offers plenty to help your craft professional-looking real estate video marketing collateral to post on YouTube, your website, and on social media.

The Rising Stars of the Video Recording App World

Directr (Free)

You can’t go wrong with an app that was just purchased by Google and is joining forces with YouTube. Directr is becoming well-known for allowing small companies and solo professionals to produce stunning videos — short films, really — that effectively promote their businesses. Record as much video as you need with Directr and trim, slice, and modify your audio and video accordingly with just a few swipes. And if you’re worried about keeping your videos saved and organized (aside from use on your real estate website), you’re in luck: Directr keeps its users’ videos stored in the cloud.

FiLMiC Pro ($4.99)

When you’ve won a video app of the year award from two different esteemed organizations, it’s a crystal clear indication that app is pretty good. The “Pro” in its title may give some the impression this app is difficult to master. That’s not the case, though. A clean interface that aptly displays all of the app’s numerous functions — including 4-times zoom, audio metering, and three different shooting modes — makes recording real estate video on FiLMiC Pro a walk in the park. The second you finish your mini film, you can share it on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Vimeo. Cinegenix, the app’s creator, even has aneducational and entertaining blog that shows recording tips, advice for video gear to use, and use cases of its app in action.

Spark Camera ($1.99)

Last and most definitely not least is Spark Camera, a fantastic video recording app from award-winning global design firm Ideo. The company’s Toy Lab, which developed the app, has even gone so far to call it “the first app we’ve built purposely for adults.” The app automatically edits clips together, has an easy-to-upload functionality for social media, and allows for musical soundtracks, making it an agent’s dream. Real estate branding becomes painless and even enjoyable thanks to Spark Camera. No fuss, no muss — the app makes real estate video marketing uncomplicated.

How do you use video in your real estate marketing? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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Realtor Marketing SEO

SEO_image_2SEO for Realtors is a hot topic in Realtor Marketing circles. I spend a lot of time talking to Realtors who are totally confused about what Realtor SEO is today and how they can get their website to the top of the rankings on Google. This post is long, but worth reading in its entirety if you are going to be spending time marketing your website with SEO.

A History of Realtor SEO

If you are paying attention to the Realtors who have top Google rankings in your marketplace, you probably notice one or two have all the top listings. Whenever I find this, I can guess a couple of things that will make a difference for you now.

First off, they have older sites that have been around for a while. Google thinks domain age (how long your URL has been in existence) is a good indicator of quality content.

Secondly, they probably got those rankings sometime in the past when there was less competition. For example, I rank in Google because I have been writing  since 2011 and because my content is old.

If you are going to try and knock off those old sites and take their top spots, just know that you are going to have to do more work to beat them than they will have to do to stay there.

The good news. I have to say that many of the “old dog” sites that have those rankings are now taking them for granted. They are not working as aggressively to keep their rankings as they did in the past to get them. This leaves the door open for an aggressive Realtor (like you) to step in and start taking them away.

To dos.

1. Check your competition’s domain age. I like using for this.

2. One thing that you can do to make Google more confident in the longevity of your site is to register it for 5 years or more (paying for your domain name or URL for 5 years). The cost is minimal (about $60) but the benefits are HUGE. By paying for it for 5 years or more, you are signaling to Google that you will not be just a flash in the pan.

Paid Listings and The Aggregators

In what I have talked about so far, I am specifically talking about your local competition. But if you pull up a Google search for something like “Fayetteville Real Estate” you will see that there are some heavy hitters competing for that term.

The first three on the top and the ones down the side are paid listings done through Google Adwords. Now, it may be worth your while to pay for these, but that is a post for another day.

The next ones are, Zillow and Trulia and finally there is one little independent site, Townsend Real Estate.

SEO For Realtors Broad Google Search

As an independent agent or broker, I am sure you would like it if those spots weren’t all taken up by the “Big Dogs”, but they are. Those sites like Zillow, Trulia and are called aggregators because they combine the data from all of the different MLSs and put it in one place.

And it is kind of okay that they are there. If someone is searching for Fayetteville Real Estate, they are probably REALLY early in a home search and will probably not settle on an agent for a while. Plus, there is no use belly-aching about it, that is just the way Google works.

Additionally, if there are no ads at all, that is probably not a keyword that converts well for getting buyers or sellers. People who are spending money want to know for a fact that their hard earned dollars will return them revenue. At least early on, if there are no paid keywords ignore that term for now.

To dos.

Check out your “actual” competition like Townsend rather than focusing on the big aggregator sites like and Zillow.

Checking Out The Competition

So next you will want to see what kind of site your competition has.

Rank In The World

My first stop is always Put the domain name in there and hit submit.

WOW! According to the Alexa search, this site is not actually all that popular (4,638,250, having just lost 2,206,222 places). This means that a Realtor in Fayetteville would have a chance!

Alexa Search For Realtors

Domain Age

Now let’s look at and see how old the site is…OVER 17 YEARS old. So Jimmy Townsend was a smart cookie back in the 1990’s and established himself as a player with his site. He DESERVES that ranking for how long he has had it. (not to say we would try to pick him off!)

Domain Age - SEO For Realtors

Incoming Links 

Google uses an algorithm (a computer program) to rank websites and one of the key things that they think is important are the number of sites that link to a website.

With that in mind, we have to find out how many incoming links your competitors website has. For this I like to use a tool from Moz,

MOZ Backlink Checker - SEO Realtors

For such a high ranking site I am surprised that they have so few incoming links! That is good news for anyone trying to compete for this keyword!

Site’s Number of Pages

Now we want to know how big the website is. This will help us to know how many pages we might need to be able to compete with the current top ranking site. To do this we will go to and type in This is what it looks like:

Checking Number of Indexed Pages - Realtor SEO

Once I do the search I get a result that looks like this:

Fayetteville Real Estate Search - SEO Realtors

Holy cow they have a lot of pages! Not to get too technical, but the site is made in ASP which is an older programming language (many sites are now made in PHP which is what WordPress is built in). Even so that is a lot pages! I would not try to compete directly with Jimmy on that top ranking term right off the bat.

Site Keywords

Now we want to find out what Google thinks his site is about. To do this we need to use the Keyword Planner Tool in Google Adwords.

Note: it can be a little scary to log into Adwords for the first time, I think you need to add a credit card, but if you don’t set up any campaigns it doesn’t cost anything.

Adwords Keyword Planner Tool SEO Realtors

Ohhh another interesting little nugget here, they are really ranking most highly for charlotte keywords terms and not so much for Fayetteville.

Site Research With Long Tail Pro

I KNOW, this much research seems like it could take a long time. There are many paid sites out there that will give you some or all of this at once but what I don’t like is that they are subscriptions that cost money each month. What I do like is Long Tail Pro, which is a program that you can buy outright and use as much as you like without costing more money!

Long Tail Pro Competition

This one tool will help you check out your competition MUCH more easily giving you the site age and number of links all in one place (it does even more that we will talk about later!)

> Check outLong Tail Pro now!


Beating A High Ranking Site

Before I go on to talk about what keywords to target yourself, let’s talk in general about how to beat a high ranking Realtor website that is already established in your marketplace.

1. All the little boats method.

My first suggestion is to have LOTS of little keywords that you rank for that add up to a bigger keyword you would like to target. So instead of trying to rank for Minneapolis real estate, you write posts to rank for:

  • Best Minneapolis Schools | Minneapolis Real Estate
  • Top 10 Luxury Neighborhoods In Minneapolis | Minneapolis Real Estate
  • Types of Homes For Sale In Minneapolis | Minneapolis Real Estate

There is no way you can write just one blog post that will beat the incumbent site. Instead you need to have an accumulation of posts that lets Google know what your website is about and then use those to “help all the little boats rise at once”.

It is by having lots of pages about a specific topic that you will start to rank in Google for your target keywords.

2. Write Hero Blog Posts

I know that there information out that saying that you can have 300-500 words in your posts, but you need to have at least a few that are big giant posts with lots of words relevant to the keyword you are trying to rank for.

For example, I am trying to increase my ranking for Realtor Marketing AND SEO for Realtors in this post. I have LOTS of great content that will show Google that this post is a good one to show people searching for this keyword.

Now, on thing to know right off the bat is that I don’t do SEO for Realtors. I am not available for hire that way so my goal for this post is:

1. To get more traffic to my website
2. To increase my rankings for my big keyword Realtor Marketing
3. To capture Realtor email addresses with my popup box so I can sell them things that I do want them to buy

This page will wind up being over 2,000 words of content related to those two keywords and while I am not “stuffing” it (using them over and over again), just by the length and the quality of content it will have.

Picking Keywords To Target

You will want to check the top two or three competing sites for each keyword that you are targeting. But how do you know what are good keywords to check out?

Are You A Listing Agent or a Buyers Agent?

I know, I know, you are both and you can help anyone with all their real estate needs. But when you are working on your SEO you need to think strategically and figure out whether you are going to target keywords that will attract buyers or sellers.

For example, here are Buyer keywords:

Homes for sale in Tampa | Tampa Real Estate
Top Seattle Neighborhoods | Seattle Real Estate
Where are the best schools in New York City | New York Real Estate

Here are seller keywords:

Selling Your San Diego Home | San Diego Realtors
How To Get Top Dollar For Your Home | Denver Realtors
Top Realtor In Tacoma | Tacoma Real Estate

Think about it, that old saying is true, Buyers buy houses, Sellers buy marketing. A home buyer is looking for homes for sale keywords and a seller is looking Realtors to help them sell their home fast and for the most money.

And yes it is “realtors” not “realtor”. When your pipes are leaking and you need a plumber you look for “plumbers” to help you fix it, not just one specific “plumber”. If you did have a specific plumber in mind you would search for his business name rather than doing the broader search.

Realtor versus realtors search - Adwords

This happens in almost every market. While I do remember one years ago that was opposite, it was the only one ever!

So here is an interesting thing….only 170 searches per month for New York Realtors (I am looking this up in the Adwords Keyword Planner Tool). This is a GREAT example of what you need to do succeed in Realtor Keyword Marketing! I was really perplexed about this until I thought, well damn, NYC is HUGE, I bet they search more so by their boroughs.

Manhattan Realtors Adwords Search

Hmmm still not enough, let’s dig a little deeper.

Chelsea Keyword Planner Tool

Okay, that was bummer, but this is how keyword research goes. Just by-the-by, here is the suggested search terms that Google is giving us for that search term. I am super surprised that the number of searches for New York City real estate terms is so low. If you were an agent in NYC you would have to try to rank well for a wide range of terms to get any traction at all!

NYC Realtor Keyword Terms

Next you want to look at how many competing site there are with the EXACT term you pick to use. Go to Google and do a search for that term with quotation marks around it.

Manhattan Real Estate Google Search

Okay, there are 448,000 results. That is kind of high for a new or small site to try to rank for out of the gate. That said, most searches look more like this.. (let’s head back to Fayetteville and see what is going on there!

Fayetteville Realtors Keyword Search

Okay, that is much more doable to try to rank for! You could knock off a bunch of your competition for this search with a nice meaty post that has the keyword in the title and lots of content.

A Little Bit Easier (or a lot)

Now you can do this over and over again to try and search for keywords with high monthly searches and lower competition, or you could use my friend Long Tail Pro that does all that preliminary searching for you!

Longtail Pro Keyword Tool Checker

So with this I see that just using “Fayetteville” and not “Fayetteville NC” would be a waste (who knew there were so darn many Fayettevilles in the country). Additionally it suggested some neat terms to think about like “Real Estate Companies”.

But wait there is more! You can click any of those ideas and immediately see data about the competing sites!

Long Tail Pro Competing Sites

Check outLong Tail Pro now!


Alright, I think that is enough to really get you started on your way to doing your SEO for Realtors! But I know that doing this kind of research can be funny if you don’t have a real system to use. With that in mind I made you a worksheet that you can use to check out each keyword and pick some potential candidates to target with blog blog posts or web pages.

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5 steps to prepare your home to sell


You’ve heard all of these supposed realities of selling. . . . Don’t sell during the holidays.  Wait until the flowers are blooming.


Don’t list an empty house.  Well, we sold our first home without furnishings. We sold our second home before Christmas and our third during mud season.

Remember, it takes just one buyer who is ready — regardless of whether the market is flush, interest rates are up or down, or the economy and weather are good or bad.

And while there is no magic formula to achieve a sale, there are things you can do to better your chances.

Here are five steps to help you present your home in the best possible light and bring in the highest possible price for the reality of the current market.

Reality for the current market, that’s the mantra to embrace.

Step 1: Decisions, decisions, decisions

Figure out what moves with you and what gets stored, sold, or discarded.

Use sticker dots to mark items:

 red: stays

 green: goes to storage, is donated, or sold

 blue: trash

 yellow: no verdict (revisit this after you finalize those red and green dots)

Step 2: Prepack and declutter

Consider putting certain items into storage. Rent space and/or put things in opaque bins that are out of the way.

Declutter all rooms (yes, the basement, garage, and attic, too). Don’t do this in dribs and drabs. Do it once. And don’t start going through that photo album you found under the couch. Before you know it, the day will be gone! Remember, you’re on a mission. If you can’t think of where an item will live, consider why you want to carry it to your next home.

Decluttering help

 Call a charitable organization that will pick up things for donation.

 Donate books to libraries, colleges, and schools.

 Use trash-removal services like GotJunk to take away items without value — inside and outside.

Step 3: Fixes that resonate with buyers

 Refinish or replace hardwood floors. If you don’t, prepare to negotiate the cost to do so. Take up or replace worn carpeting.

 Repair grout and caulking.

 Paint tired rooms, walls, and ceilings.

 Remove dated wallpaper.

 Utilize new tiles to cover worn wood flooring. Create an apron of tile in front of a sink, doorway, or tub.

 Refresh a kitchen with a new back splash treatment. Try a complimentary paint color or one row of new tile to keep costs down.

 Replace dated task lighting over a kitchen island or in the dining area.

 Paint or re-face kitchen or bathroom cabinets.

 Replace dated drawer pulls, knobs, and handles.

 Block bad views and freshen a room with shutters.

 Remove worn window treatments.

 Purchase ready-made slipcovers for tired furnishings, and freshen rooms with new lampshades, bed covers, and accent pillows.

Step 4: Ramp up the curb appeal

Annuals are an easy way to create pretty outdoor vignettes:

 Circle a mailbox, border a sidewalk or fence, or plant a cluster of multicolored annuals next to the entryway, backyard bench, or patio.

 Add planters.

 Mulch flowerbeds.

 Prune shrubs.

 Ready a vegetable garden for planting or plant to inspire. Add details like a birdhouse and/or markers for what’s been planted.

 Make sure stone walls, gates, and walkways are in good repair.

 Replace a tired mailbox

Step 5: Open house, close deal

 Have the rooms of your home put together simply and thoughtfully. Present it hotel clean, odor free. Don’t mask odors with sweet oils and candles. If need be, open the windows and air out the house.

 Keep tabletops and bureau surfaces uncomplicated.

 Lock up valuables.

 Tidy closets, with hangers going in the same direction and your shoes lined up.

Consider professional cleaning for the following:

 Rugs, upholstery, and curtains. The quickest way to do all of this is with a company that uses steam.


The day of the open house:

 Set out cookies and a pot of coffee.

 Put your pet’s food bowls away. Got cats? Make sure the litter box is clean. Put kitty in a small bathroom with a gate so the room can still be seen. Have a dog? Make sure all of the dog messes have been picked up in the yard. Take the dog for a walk or a car ride.

 On a table, display a photo album of your yard when it’s in full bloom. Map your garden with a layout in which you name all of the plants.

It’s in your real estate agent’s hands now. Go enjoy a much deserved latte.

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5 Summer Projects That Will Improve Your Home and Boost Its Value

You already know that remodeling is a great way to improve your home’s appearance and raise your property value. The question is: Which improvements are worth tackling today? Here are five that you can easily complete before the leaves start falling.

1. Add a Deck 


Creating enticing outdoor living spaces is one of the hottest trends in home improvement. When it comes to outdoor living spaces, the right deck makes all the difference, and is especially important for those who prefer to spend most of their summers relaxing or entertaining outside. However, adding a deck does more than improve your yards livability, a well-designed deck improves your home’s value and is a feature that has the potential to really set your house apart. Tackling the project now ensures you’ll be able to enjoy your new deck this summer and for summers to come.


2. Upgrade Your Air Conditioning 

air conditionerMaybe you’re tired of paying those exorbitant utility bills. Or perhaps you’re tired of having no air conditioning whatsoever. If so, an A/C upgrade is a home improvement worth making. From lowering your bills to improving the comfort and salability of your home, installing a new high-efficiency air conditioning system is one home improvement you’ll be glad you made. Concerned about the price? Getting quotes from at least three HVAC pros will ensure you get the best price. They’ll also be able to tell you about any rebates that your local utility might be running – making your new air conditioner a lot more affordable than you expect.

3. Replace Your Siding

Siding is responsible for protecting your home from the elements. It’s no surprise then that worn out siding can really affect your home’s appearance. Equally unsurprising is that replacing your siding can greatly improve your home’s appearance and increase your property value.

When considering replacement siding, look to your environment for clues as to which choice is right for you. In the southwest, stucco offers a regional look and provides extraordinary durability; in the northeast, wood (or vinyl that looks like wood but requires less maintenance) will give your home a more classic look. However, don’t just consider your climate, consider your neighborhood, too. If every house on the block is clad in vinyl siding, would stone or brick set your house apart or make it stick out? A siding pro will be able to help you figure out the right siding solution for your needs and your budget.

4. Replace Your Roofing


If your roof has been hit by severe weather or is simply at the end of its lifecycle, installing a new roof is a project best completed sooner than later (or immediately if your roof has been severely damaged and is leaking). So, what do you need to know about replacing your roof? First, talk to your insurance agent to see if the replacement is covered by insurance. Second, make sure you talk to at least three roofing pros before making the hiring decision (HomeAdvisor is here to help you find a roofing pro you can trust to get the job done right). Third, your new roof’s durability will be directly related to its cost. Asphalt is the most affordable and the quickest to wear out; tile and slate are the most durable and by far the most expensive. Metal falls somewhere in the middle; its quick installation, moderate price, and 40+ year life expectancy make it a popular choice among homeowners who want a good balance of value and durability. To find the best solution for your home and budget, we recommend talking to a roofing pro.

5. Improve Your Landscaping


No list of remodeling projects is complete without mentioning landscaping. For good reason too, as a well-designed and properly installed landscaping plan can have a big impact on your home’s curb appeal and value. However, in many cases improving your landscaping involves more than adding plants and cutting the grass, especially if you’re looking to make significant changes or have challenging design features to work around. We recommend talking to a landscape designer or landscaping pro to figure out the best solution for your yard and your budget.

Pick Your Project and Go

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by your to-do list. The key is to prioritize your list of needs and wants to focus your attention on the project that makes the most sense right now (obviously, any roofing or siding issues affecting the structural integrity of your home need to be addressed ASAP). On that note, if you’ve been considering that new deck or new air conditioner, there’s no time like the present to get started. After all, completing the project now means you get to relax and enjoy the rest of your summer.

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