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  • 1. To activate Blue Highlighted Underlined text in this electronic document: Hold down the CTRL key and simultaneously left-click your mouse. Marketing Yourself in A Down Economy: Embrace The Web!The absolute biggest trend in marketing during the currenteconomic downturn is Web 2.0 and social networkingstrategies.Web 2.0 refers to the new interactive areas on the web whichincludes Blogs, Social Networks, Forums… anywhere content isuser-generated and there is opportunity to make connectionsand relationships with other users.The social web is without question the popular web. It is where people arespending the vast majority of their time online. It is a great place to buildcommunity and create real, lasting relationships with people connecting to yourservices.So, it’s time to embrace Web 2.0! This document will introduce you to socialweb elements, how to use these elements, tutorials, resources and tips.And for those concerned about our Google rankings… yes SEO (SearchEngine Optimization – the practice responsible for engine ranks) matters.All those links you get from social campaigns do a lot of good to boost your searchrankings. The two are integrated and reciprocal.The secret of the web is patience. If you’re patient and driven to succeed, youcan outlast, outrank and outsell your competition.The table of contents will lead you to the specific informationyou want to EMBRACE!
  • 2. Table of ContentsBlogsIntroduction to Blogs . . . . . . . 4List of Real Estate Blogs . . . . . . 5Start Your Own Blog . . . . . . . 6Using Blogger . . . . . . . . 7How to Promote Your Blog . . . . . . 11More Populare Blogs . . . . . . . 12Social NetworkingTop Social Networks to Join and Why . . . . 14LinkedIn . . . . . . . . . 15Facebook . . . . . . . . . 18Twitter . . . . . . . . . 19Warnings About Social Networking . . . . . 20ForumsHow to Use Forums . . . . . . . 22Real Estate Forums for Agents . . . . . 23Search Engine Optimization (SEO)A Word About SEO . . . . . . . 25How to Understand SEO . . . . . . 27SEO Tips & Tricks . . . . . . . 29TutorialsHot Blogs . . . . . . . . . 31Hot Forums . . . . . . . . . 32100 Personal Branding Tips . . . . . . 33 2
  • 3. BLOGS 3
  • 4. Introduction to BlogsThink you are not web savvy enough to have your own blog? There are free blogservices that almost anyone could set up in a matter of minutes. Really it is that simple.Literally millions of people blog from around the world. It’s not just something for youngpeople, or geeks, or cool folk, or Westerners, or even for people with their own computers- instead its something virtually anyone with access to a computer and the internet once aweek can start up.Check out this online video which defines blogging at:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NN2I1pWXjXI 4
  • 5. List of Real Estate BlogsThe following blogs are written by individuals who are in the real estate field, yet who alsohave become experts in the SEO realm. While some blogs focus specifically on SEO, otherblogs contain a category that holds their SEO articles.Commenting on a blog relevant to your industry is a great way to marketyourself, increase awareness about what you have to offer, network withcolleagues and potential clients and enhance your professional reputation byexhibiting know- how.Here are some top Real Estate related Blogs as recommended by Real Estateprofessionals: Affordable Housing Institute http://affordablehousinginstitute.org/blogs/us/ Behind The Mortgage http://www.behindthemortgage.com/ Brownstoner http://www.brownstoner.com/ Center for Realtor Technology http://blog.realtors.org/crt/ Curbed http://curbed.com/ grow-a-brain http://growabrain.typepad.com/ Hot Property http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/hotproperty/ Housing Panic http://housingpanic.blogspot.com/ Inman http://www.inman.com/blog lenderama http://lenderama.com/ Matrix http://matrix.millersamuel.com/ Property Grunt http://propertygrunt.blogspot.com/ Real Estate Marketing Blog http://houseblogger.typepad.com/ Soapbox http://soapbox.millersamuel.com/ The Real Deal http://ny.therealdeal.com/ The Real Estate Blog http://franandrowena.blogspot.com/ The Walk-Through http://walkthrough.nytimes.com/ 5
  • 6. Start Your Own Blog As A Marketing ToolWhat is a blog?A blog is simply a content-management tool that makes it easy to publish informationonto the web. Real estate blogs are typically arranged in reverse-chronological fashion,with the most recent entries up at the top.Beyond that technical definition, a blog is also an opportunity for real estate agents to bemore active online and to grow their websites -- without the need for web coding skills.What is blogging?It is the act of publishing information through a blog. Real estate blogging has beenaround for several years, but it started to become extremely popular around 2006. Today,there are thousands of agents publishing blogs, all over the United States and beyond.How do blogs work?A blog is designed to be operational immediately after you set it up. The features will varydepending on the blogging program you use, but most of them perform the same basicfunctions. To publish information onto your blog, you simply log in to the admin area, typeyour message into a box, and then click the "publish" button. Your blogging program doesthe rest. It will convert your plain text into HTML code so it can be displayed online. It willalso render any formatting youve included, such as bold text, italics, hyperlinks, images,etc.How do real estate agents use blogs?There are endless ways to use real estate blogging as a marketing /communications tool. I see new ideas and techniques all the time. Here are five goodideas (http://www.armingyourfarming.com/realestatemarketing/2008/07/5-ways-to-use-your-real-estate-blog.html) to consider. You can use real estate blogging as a way to keepyour audience informed about local events. You can use it to showcase properties byposting digital pictures and descriptions. You can use it as a Q&A tool. You can even use itto generate a steady stream of real estate leads(http://www.armingyourfarming.com/knowledge/article57.php) to support your business.What do I say?Want to start a blog but not sure what to say? Want to post to a blog but need ideas?For content tips visit:http://www.armingyourfarming.com/realestatemarketing/2008/09/content-ideas-for-your-real-estate-blog.html 6
  • 7. Creating Your Blog on Blogger www.blogger.comView a video tutorial:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryb4VPSmKuoBlogger.com is one of the most popular blogging sites. It is FREE, user-friendly andpowered by Goggle. If you are looking to create your own personal blog usingBlogger.com, here is a step by step introduction to get you started. Learn how to registerfor an account, pick your blog name, design your page and create blog entries withphotos, hyperlinks and various fonts.Difficulty: Moderately Easy 1. You must have a gmail email account to create a blog using Blogger.com. If you dont have one, simply go to gmail.com and create one. Consider creating a new, separate email address just for your blog, so that if you get a lot of feedback from your posts it will not clog your personal inbox. 2. Once you have a gmail account set up, go to the Blogger.com website. You will notice a welcome page that asks you to sign up for a new account. Click on the "Create Your Blog Now" arrow. Enter your email address and create a password. Then click on the "Continue" arrow. 3. Create a blog title. You should choose a name that describes your blogs content, and gives it individuality. You can also use this name in the url address. For example if you name the blog, "Testblog" the url address will be www.testblog.blogspot.com. All blogger account blog pages have web addresses that end in blogspot.com. You can upgrade to advanced options that include hosting your blog elsewhere. 4. Create a template for your blog (See following page.) This is the style and look of your web page. Blogger already has some preset designs that you can use. If you want to create your own template using your own HTML coding, you can do that as well. 5. Access your blogs dashboard. This is where you can create blog posts. Under your blog title there is a highlighted blue button that says "New Post." Once you click on this button you will open a "Create Post" page, this is where you will write your content. 6. Use your "Create Post" page to create hyperlinks and changing font styles and colors . At the top of the post box there are icons for all of these things. To change the font, click on drop-down box that says font, and choose from the list. To change the font color, click on the icon that has the letter "T" with a color palette behind it, and pick your color. To create a hyperlink, highlight the text you want to link, click the icon with a globe and chain around it, and a small box will pop up. Simply enter the url address into the box and click OK. 7. To add a photo image there is an icon with a picture of a mountain and the sky on it. Click on this and an "Upload Photos" window pops up. Within this window, you can add up to five images at a time, and choose the layout of your photos. You decide whether they are placed on the left, right or center of your post. You can upload photos from your computer. 7
  • 8. How to Customize Your Blog on BloggerDifficulty: Moderately EasyBlogger templates are a great way to reinforce your brand. Please use Diane Turton,Realtors signature blue and green colors to encourage brand recognition. 1. Click on “Settings” link, and enter a keyword-rich title and tagline or description. Click through the links on the top of the page, under the “Settings” tab to familiarize yourself with the different customization options. 2. Click on the “Layout” tab to arrange your page elements, edit your template fonts and colors, edit the HTML, or pick a new template. To add text, ads, or links on the blog layout, click on “Add a Page Element.” Elements can be changed anytime by clicking on the “Edit” link in the same box. Click “Save” to save all changes. 3. Click on the “Posting” tab to write blog posts. Enter a title, then type a blog post in the large text box. Typically, the first blog post would introduce the theme and mission of the blog. Format the text with the formatting buttons on the toolbar above the text box if you wish. Click on the orange button that reads “Publish Post” to publish the blog post to the web. To edit posts or create new posts, click on the “Posting” tab and click on the “Create” or “Edit Post” links. 4. Publish blog posts with quality content on a frequent, consistent basis to improve search engine optimization benefits, generate more traffic, and build a loyal blog community. Encourage interaction and answer questions on your blog. Visit related blogs and invite them to check out your blog when appropriate. 8
  • 9. How to Update Your Blogger ProfileDifficulty: Moderately Easy 1. Use your current username and password to sign in to the Blogger site (see Resources). 2. From the dashboard, you should be able to see your current blogs and latest posts. You will also see your information on the right hand side of the screen. Click Edit my Profile to get started. 3. Add as much or as little to your profile as you want, and change or delete outdated information. You can also change whether your name and e-mail are displayed to the public. 4. Click Save Profile at the bottom to save your changes.Diane Turton, Realtors Guidelines: 1. Diane Turton, Realtors leaves blog topics up to you. We ask you to remain emotionally neutral and trust you will not choose topics of controversy. 2. Diane Turton, Realtors MUST be listed ABOVE your name. 3. Your DTRE title and all of your DTRE contact information MUST be included and appear ABOVE personal contact information. For example:Diane Turton, RealtorsJohn SmithSales AgentOffice AddressTown, NJ ZipOffice PhoneOffice Fax (optional)Cell Phone (optional)Evenings (optional)DTRE eMail (jsmith@dianeturton.com)Personal eMail (optional)www.dianeturton.comAgent Web Page (optional) (www.dianeturton.com/johnsmith)Personal website (optional) 4. Any additional contact information such as links to your LinkedIn or Facebook profiles can be included at the end of this list. 9
  • 10. How to Approve a Comment Made on Your Blogger BlogWant to be sure that all the comments your blog entries get are appropriate? Set youraccount to "Moderate Comments" so you can only approve the ones you want. Hereshow.Difficulty: Moderately Easy 1. Log into Blogger. Go to "Dashboard." 2. Select "Settings." Select "Comments." 3. Click "Yes" to enable comment moderation. Enter an email address if you want Blogger to notify you when you have comments to moderate. Save your settings. 4. Click on the "Posting" tab. Select "Moderate Comments." 5. Select the comments you want to approve, click "Publish." Select the comments you dont want to publish and click "Reject."Tips & Warnings • If you sign up to have comments emailed to you, youll have the option (via links in the email) to publish or reject them. Only blog administrators can approve the comments left on blogs with multiple authors. 10
  • 11. How to Promote Your BlogIf you would like a lot of traffic to your blog then you need to promote it!Difficulty: Moderately EasyTips for promotion: 1. Social networking! Add your URL address on your social networking profile. 2. Write articles! Write articles about it and add the link to your blog. 3. Site submission! Submit your blog URL to the site submission websites such as: pingomatic.com and freewebsubmission.com 4. Bookmark your site! Bookmark your blog to these bookmarking websites such as: Digg, del.icio.us, etc. 5. Write a comment to a popular blog that related to your blog and add link to your blog! Remember do not spam! You should write a useful comment and not just a link to your blog or it will be deleted anyway!Diane Turton, Realtors Blogger Perks!If you own a blog or you start a blog and remain active for 6 months wewill link to your blog from www.dianeturton.com! We will publish yourname and the name of your blog with a hyperlink so users can access itstraight from our site!We will also include a link to the Diane Turton, Realtors Bloggers webpage in our monthly eNewsletters to clients and leads driving themdirectly to a source for all your expertise!To submit your blog for consideration email:jpricci@dianeturton.comYour blog MUST be active for 6 months to be considered. 11
  • 12. More Popular Blogs Active Rain: This link will take you to this site’s “Blogging and SEO” category, where several real estate professionals and writers offer their perspectives on SEO and blogging practices. Best Practices: Latham Jenkins brings his passion for this field and for Internet marketing and search engine optimization to readers through his blog. Future of Real Estate Marketing: You won’t find “SEO” per se on this blog, but Joel Burslem is a regularly quoted expert on the impact of the Web 2.0 and real estate and has been interviewed by the Wall St. Journal, BusinessWeek and the International Herald Tribune, among others. Follow his advice and SEO is the result. Geek Estate: GeekEstate Blog was founded by Zillow as a resource for real estate professionals who want to learn more about how they can grow their business through smart use of technology. Topics discussed here range from a review of the latest cell phone to Website tips for search engine optimization. Internet Marketing, Social Media, SEO & PPC Strategies: Online Internet Marketing topics and strategies. Kay’s Real Estate SEO Blog: Enjoy Kay’s real estate SEO blog and get a double dose with her SEO Diva blog. Kevin Harper: This link takes you to all the SEO entries that Harper has written on his real estate blog. He also provides an SEO Glossary for readers and a podcast. OnTheAvenues: Bonnie Burns provides website analysis and search engine optimization services specifically for real estate websites and shows her expertise through her blog. Personal Insights on Web 2.0, Blogging, and Business: Drew Meyers provides his professional insights on how to utilize the ‘new’ Web to promote your real estate business. Real Estate Blog Lab: A former computer programmer and database administrator and current real estate assistant related this blog “lab” for other agents to talk about topics like SEO. This is a good place to begin if you know nothing about online marketing, let alone SEO. Real Estate Marketing Blog: This blog offers SEO tips as well as upcoming courses on how to market your real estate Website. Real Estate Marketing Tools & Coaching: Justin Smith is a coach for the Real Estate Tomato and employed at the Christian Real Estate Network. He offers his expertise and sound advice on blogging and search engine optimization. Real Estate Search Advisor: Brandon Cornett is a real estate marketing specialist and long-time Internet publisher. He has published “Search Engine Success for Real Estate Agents,” and he maintains a blog that talks about SEO management for real estate professionals. Real Estate Toolbox: Brian Rodgers remains “out in the trenches” so he doesn’t lose touch with what is actually going on in the industry as he writes about online marketing and SEO management for realtors. SEO Web Design & Search Engine Marketing: While Web design and SEO marketing is the focus, the blog is the most informative and upfront part of this site. Jeff Hendrickson also leans toward a focus on the real estate market. 12
  • 13. SOCIAL NETWORKING 13
  • 14. Top Social Networks to Join and Why "A cord of three strands is not easily broken."Thats applicable where social networking is concerned as well. Its a matter ofstrengthening your social graph. Being networked with a given individual in three differentplaces makes for a strong connection.Below are the top three. More and more business professionals are using socialnetworks to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves. For theuninitiated, however, diving into the virtual meet-and-greet can be daunting. Where tobegin? For first-time users, the answer is LinkedIn. Developed specifically for business,the site doesn’t run the risk of blurring your professional life with your private one; andwith more than 25 million users, it serves virtually every industry and profession. LinkedIn www.linkedin.com Thats your business suit. While LI is not very conversational in its orientation, having a profile there has become expected. LI lends a degree of professional credibility. It is also the site that requires the least amount of upkeep. Facebook www.facebook.com Thats business casual. FB allows more of a 360 degree view of you, combining both professional and personal sides. Plus, its a more conversational platform. Twitter www.twitter.com This is the cocktail hour. Think of after hours social networking events and youve got Twitter. Its the most informal of the three and allows for the greatest degree of conversation.The focus here is on creating three-fold connections to individuals. Its not enough thatyou have a presence on each of these sites, but that you leverage your presence toconnect with others who are also present on each.Social media is about being "social." Each platform offers its own distinctive advantages,but it takes all three to build the strongest connection. Plus, it gives you ubiquity. Youreeverywhere! 14
  • 15. How to Get Started With LinkedInJoining a network like LinkedIn is simple, but turning it into a powerful networking tooltakes a bit of savvy. Heres how to set up a profile, build a network, and put it all to work— without social-networking anxiety.How to Create a Compelling ProfileBefore you connect to others, you must first set up a profile page at www.linkedin.com.While your page will detail your work history, don’t assume you can copy and paste yourresume and be done with it. Your profile page should reflect your professional interests,passions, and ambitions. The site will walk you through filling in the blanks, but you’llwant to think ahead about two areas:Difficulty: Moderately EasyJoin LinkedIn and Create Your Network 1. Visit the LinkedIn Website to start your account 2. Locate the "Join Now" button and click on it. Remember it is free to join LinkedIn. 3. Begin by filling in your name and your email address in the boxes provided for you. 4. Choose a password by entering it into the box provided for you. 5. Confirm your password by reentering the previous password entry. 6. Complete the remaining boxes and categories, along with your country and ZIP code. 7. Include information on your industry by selecting an option from the drop-down menu. Next, provide your experience. Your education information is optional. 8. Finalize the process by clicking on the "Join Now" button.Make Your Account Specific 1. Specify the needs of your account by selecting the checkboxes in either or both of the categories titled "To Find" or "To Be Found. 2. Check any of the categories that apply best to you and will be most beneficial for your business needs. 3. Click on "Save Settings" to complete your brand-new account.Build Your Network 1. Conduct a "People Search" to get things going. 2. Locate the site map. Find the "Name Search" link and click on it. 3. Choose a persons name you would like to add to your network and enter it into the box provided for you. 15
  • 16. LinkedIn ChecklistMake Sure You Include: 1. A solid headline with keywords relevant to your industry. 2. A picture. People do business with people. 3. How you prefer to be contacted. At the bottom of your profile, you can let people know how you want to be contacted — through LinkedIn, by e-mail, or over the phone. Remember, Diane Turton, Realtors contact information should always come first! 4. What you want to be contacted about. At the bottom of your profile, you can select interests like reference requests or consulting offers.Make Sure You Don’t Include: 1. Any contact information you’re not comfortable having your contacts see. Your contact information will be visible only to those you are connected to, but you should decide whether you want that to include things like phone numbers or personal e-mail. 2. Anything that even begins to stray from the truth. Unlike even a resume, your profile will be seen by a lot of eyes. Did you really lead that project, or did you lead it along with several others? 3. Anything you wouldn’t want fellow colleagues — current, former, or future — to know. LinkedIn is for professional relationships, and just like at the dinner table, it’s wise to keep politics and religion politely to yourself. 16
  • 17. Build Your LinkedIn NetworkConnect with others who share your professional interests and can help youmeet your goals. After you’ve created your profile, it’s time to begin to connect to others. LinkedIn will allow you to search for people you know to see if they’re already members. But once you connect to someone, you can also look at the profiles of anyone they know, and in turn anyone those people know. Because of these three degrees of separation, your network can grow exponentially. Fewer than fifty direct contacts can translate to millions of business users. Before you begin connecting, decide who you want to connect to. LinkedIn suggests in its FAQ, “Only invite those you know and trust.” Also consider your position relative to those you’re connecting to. A good rule of thumb is the more traditional your industry, the less you want to connect to those very far above or below you on the corporate ladder. You’ll need to continually update and refine your profile and your network. The most obvious way to do this is to add new contacts. Adding new contacts, sometimes from outside your immediate field or industry, is also a subtly persuasive way to sell yourself by letting others see how far your professional sphere extends.Get the Most From Your Connections 1. Ask and answer questions. While signed in, you can quickly see a list of open questions that have been asked by anyone in your extended network. Participating in these exchanges is an easy way of gaining trust and building your reputation. Asking questions will prompt informed sources to offer their expert advice (which helps everyone in the network), while providing answers gives you a chance to show off your own expertise to others. 2. Recommend and introduce colleagues. By having a broad range of endorsements attesting to your professional expertise, you show others that you can be trusted. And make sure to recommend those you’ve had good experiences with. Introductions are trickier but also more valuable. When someone contacts you for an introduction, be sure you understand and approve of what they want before making the handoff. Likewise, make your intentions clear when you are asking for an introduction. 3. Learn more about your professional network. You can quickly learn a lot about a potential business partner or contact by reading their profile. 17
  • 18. How To Join FacebookDifficulty: EasyOnce a social network just for college students, Facebook is now open toeveryone. From getting back in touch with long lost friends to browsing recentpictures of a buddys vacation... it is almost impossible for a current facebookuser to be without it. Find out what makes facebook so useful.Go to www.facebook.com to set up an account. Go to where it says "Sign up forFacebook" and fill out your full name, the email you want to register, your password andyour birthday. Next you will have to enter the given words for their security check. ClickSign Up after youre done. 1. A confirmation email will be sent to your chosen email address. Log into your email and click the link to complete registration. You will be sent to the getting started page. Here you can look for friends through your email, or you may click "skip" to skip this step. 2. You will reach the "Fill Out Your Profile info". Enter your info here or click "skip" to reach the next step. Remember you can always fill out your profile info at another time. Next is the "Join a Network" page. You can choose your current town, your hometown, or you can choose none by "skip". 3. When you reach page protected by copyscape You are done.What comes next is up to you…You can search for friends, find some old friends by searching groups of oldschools/teams. You can add plenty of application by clicking application in the left column.Others things to do with your new facebook account include: Setting up your profile Putting up some recent pictures Joining groups with similar interests to yourself… the possibilities are endless. 18
  • 19. How to Use TwitterAround the Internet, people are talking about twittering. Twitter.com is a socialnetworking site that serves as a wonderful way to connect with others and follow updates.Twitter can be accessed with mobile devices for quick posts and updates are limited to140 characters. Updates can be links, personal stories, comments or replies to otherTwitter updates.Difficulty: Moderately Easy 1. Go to the Twitter website and register as a new user. Select a user name that is distinctive but easy to remember. 2. Upload a photo or graphic to Twitter or select an avatar provided by Twitter. 3. Add your blog or website to Twitter. This will be displayed on your profile page. 4. Click on "Public Timeline" and view the most recent entries. Select the entries or people that youd like to follow. Click on the Twitter names and select "follow" to add those to your "Following" list. Updates from each person will be posted to your account. 5. Post a Twitter update by typing no more than 140 characters in the Twitter posting space under "What Are You Doing?" Hit "Update" when you are ready to post. 6. Check to see who is following you in the "Followers" section. Add interesting "Followers" to your "Follow" list. 7. Select various ways to Twitter. One can Twitter via computer, phone or Instant Messenger. Mobile Twittering is a great way to post updates when you cant get to a computer. 19
  • 20. Danger! Danger! Danger!Five things you should never do on a social network: 1. Leave negative feedback. It stays around for a very long time, so even if you have a change of heart, it can be very difficult to retract it. 2. Lie. Give a truthful account of where you’ve worked and what you’ve done. Be real. Be honest. 3. Spam. It’s not a push marketing strategy. Avoid drowning others in your promotional material. 4. Gossip. Don’t send forth news that may not be yours to share. 5. Oversell yourself. Stay away from arrogance or over-hyping what you do. 20
  • 21. FORUMS 21
  • 22. How to Use Online ForumsForums allow you to post your views, ask questions and exchange informationwith other people online. Into beekeeping? Organic gardening? Restoring ModelT Fords? Web and ISP-run forums can be terrific sources for new friends fromaround the globe who share your hobbies and special interests. 1. Explore the forums and special-interest groups on your Internet service provider (ISP) or online service. 2. Use a search engine and look for Websites that focus on your interests. Many of these will have forums or chats. 3. Read the "posts" (messages) and follow the current "threads" (comments related to a single topic) for several days. See if the group has a FAQ (frequently asked questions) document and read it. 4. Write a post of your own once you have a sense of the general style and nature of the forum, and submit it for all to read. Be prepared for a mixed response. 5. Explain yourself if someone takes exception to your comments, but do not get into a heated argument via posts. 6. Determine whether your forum companions get together for chat sessions. Join in if they do. 7. Send eMail to your new friends. Develop relationships over time. 22
  • 23. Real Estate Forums Agents Online: Scroll down to the threads listed under “Successful Web Presence” to learn about link exchange possibilities and more. At Hand 24: Although not heavily populated yet, this forum does contain a topic that covers “Real Estate and Web Design.” Threads include a Website review, Website development, and link exchanges. Bigger Pockets: Look under the topic, “Real Estate Professionals,” for the thread entitled, “Real Estate & The Web.” This is where you can discuss link strategies, search engines, real estate web design, SEO, and anything else related to real estate and the web. Fast Real Estate Forum: If you want to find some real DIY SEO tips, visit the threads listed under “SEO & Online Marketing” at this site. Pro Real Estate Network Forums: An entire topic is devoted to “Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization” at this forum. You’ll find threads dedicated to search engines and link building here. Real Estate Discuss: This forum contains a “Website Related” topic where threads about search engine optimization, Website design and more are discussed. Real Estate Forum: This forum contains several topics that deal with Website development and marketing, including a topic devoted to DMOZ and other directories under the topic heading, “Search Engine Marketing.” Real Estate Webmasters Forum: A real estate forum where the real estate agents and brokers teach and learn about how to generate leads from the internet. This is the only forum devoted almost entirely to marketing, both online and off, and where SEO tactics are covered so thoroughly. This forum was created and is maintained by SEOGuy Morgan Carey. RealtyChat: This link will take you to the RealtyChat forums, where you’ll find a number of topics that cover SEO materials. Click on “Link Exchange,” for instance, to discover two pages of threads about this topic. Wanna Network?: This forum contains a topic entitled, “Real Estate Web Design Forum.” Threads include SEO, Web design, blogging, link exchanges and more. 23
  • 24. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 24
  • 25. A Word About Search Engine OptimizationWhat is Search Engine Optimization?Where search engine optimization doesn’t necessarily fall under the category of Web2.0 activities, it is a very HOT topic often asked about… how to I appear on topwhen searching phrases related to myself or to my market on Goggle, Yahooand other search engines?Where SEO definitions and techniques often address optimizing a website, SEO tipsand tricks can be applied to your Web 2.0 activities to enhance your exposure online,ultimately increasing your page rank on search engines and promoting your Web 2.0efforts.There are unlimited components that go into Search Engine Optimization and many,many definitions: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume and quality of traffic to a website from search engines via "natural... www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization The act of altering a website so that it does well in the organic, crawler-based listings of search engines. In the past, has also been used as a term for any type of search engine marketing activity, though now the term search engine marketing is more commonly used as an umbrella term. www.anvilmedia.com/search-engine-marketing-glossary.html The process of optimizing a web page or a website in order to gain higher positions or rankings in search engine results (SERPs) for various... www.callseo.blogspot.com/2007/06/seo-glossary.html The process of making a site and its content highly relevant for both search engines and searchers. SEO includes technical tasks to make it easier for search engines to find and index a site for the appropriate keywords, as well as marketing-focused tasks to make a site more appealing to users... www.searchenginewatch.com/showPage.html Techniques that enable your site to appear higher in a list of search engine results. www.llamawerx.com/webterms.html The refinement of website content, the development of inbound links to the website, and publicity about the website aimed at raising the position of the website in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Some companies offer search engine optimization services, some of dubious value. www.writerswebsiteplanner.com/resources/glossary.html SEO seeks to increase a site’s visibility in search engines and enhance its value to visitors through topical page design, consistent HTML tagging and focusing content on core, researched keywords. www.imperialsoftwaresystems.com/solutions/glossary.php 25
  • 26. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) makes your site more appealing to searchengines and gives them a better understanding of who they should send to yoursite...www.studiodog.com/glossary-s.htmlThe process of choosing targeted keyword phrases related to a site, and ensuringthat the site places well when those keyword phrases are part of a Web search.www.keywordmktg.com/Glossary.aspxUnique traffic generator The changes that are made to the content and code of awebsite in order to increase its rankings in the results pages of search engines anddirectories...www.graphicsguru.com/glossary.phpEnsuring that your web pages are accessible to search engines and focused in waysthat help improve the chances they will be found. Search engines are one of theprimary ways that Internet users find websites...www.best-web-design.com/definitions.htmlThe art of gaining top rankings in search results for search terms that is likely to beused by audiences that the marketer is interested in. Also called "Organic" or "PureSearch" because the results displayed are based on the relevance and popularity ofthe site...www.market-vantage.com/resources/glossary.htmStrategies and tactics undertaken to improve web pages so they gain a higherranking in the search engines.www.searchenginegenie.com/search-engine-glossary-s.htmMaking a Website more friendly to search engines, resulting in a higher page rank.www.allbusiness.com/marketing-advertising/internet-marketing/2373-1.htmlTechniques undertaken for displaying the website as the top result when someonesearches for a particular keyword in the SE (Search Engine.eg. Google, Live).www.kiviniar.com/glossary/A set of practices that attempts to make a website more attractive to searchengines, thereby encouraging higher visitor traffic and rankings.www.avtecmedia.com/tools/web-design-glossary.htmThe process of fine tuning the content of a site along with the html and meta tagsso that it is search engine friendly (and we hope people...www.cmseo.com/search-engine-terms.htmIncreasing the number of visitors to a particular Website through a variety oftechniques.www.go4.ie/articles/web-jargon-explainedThe art and science of enhancing a website’s chances of getting ranked on top ofsearch engine results pages once a relevant search is performed.www.seo-hongkong.com/blog/The process of attracting more visitors to your website through a specific process.www.neulandbusinesscampus.com/RC/Glossary.html 26
  • 27. How to Understand Search Engine OptimizationYoud think that having a quality site dedicated to a specific topic would be enough, butthat isnt always the case. The major search engines use automated "spiders" to crawlthrough millions of webpages a day to determine what each site (and page) is about.Each search engine uses its own algorithm to determine which sites and pages are themost relevant for each search a user types in.These algorithms are constantly being updated and are always kept a secret from thepublic. Nobody knows the exact formula for showing up #1 in a search result and ifyou found it, it would likely change a few months later. Nevertheless, there are a fewthings that will always be important in the world of search engines and implementingthese few tips will help you optimize your site in every search engine.Difficulty: ModerateThings You’ll Need: Time Patience Content1. The first thing to remember when trying to optimize your website for search engines is the goal of the search engines themselves: to provide users with the most relevant, pertinent information for their search. Since search engines want to provide their users with the most useful webpages surrounding the topics that the users are searching for, they are looking for content that is unique, updated regularly and of high quality. If you only have a few sentences of general information on a certain topic, youre going to lose rankings (as you should) to sites with a lot of specific, original content that is pertinent to the users search. Take the time to make each article original and different. If you simply replace a few words in each article but leave the majority of the content the same, the search engines will notice.2. Search engines were built based on the concept of references and linking. Think of writing a research paper-you have to include your sources in a footnote or a bibliography. Search engines operate on the premise that the more people reference a single source, the more important that source must be. This has translated to links, so the more often people link to your site, the more relevant and useful it must be. And, the better the site that is linking to you, the more weight and importance that link holds. 27
  • 28. The quality of your links is also a major factor in your sites search engine rankings. If you can create a quality site and convince other, related quality sites to link to you, youll be well on your way to excelling in the search engine optimization game.3. Keywords used to be extremely important a year or so ago. While theyre still a factor, search engines focus more on original, quality content than on repeating keyword phrases that appear throughout your webpage. With this said, the search engines do still need to decipher what your website or webpage is about, so using key phrases and terms where is makes sense in an article is always a good idea. Dont saturate your site with 60 different ways to say the same thing, but be strategic about your keyword choice, frequency and placement and youll be rewarded with a higher search engine ranking for those keywords and key phrases.4. Its still important to place your most highly trafficked keyword or keyword phrase in the URL and Meta Tag of each webpage. The search engines will certainly crawl this and compare it with the content of the page to determine when and where your site should appear in its results.5. While it is important to get quality links to the homepage of your site, it is equally important to get links to the internal pages of your website as well. An internal page might be easier to get an inbound link to. Maybe its more relevant than the homepage of your site because its more specific about or focused on a particular topic. Your homepage is obviously affiliated with each internal page on your site, so the better your internal pages do, the better your homepage will do. Dont forget that the search engines index your internal pages too, which means that you may get a lot of traffic from a specific internal page having a high search engine ranking even if the rest of your site doesnt. Depending on your site, the majority of your users may never even see your homepage. 28
  • 29. SEO Tips & TricksA Basic Real Estate Website Plan For Visitors and Search Engines: Jim Kimmons, areal estate broker in Taos, New Mexico, provides a series of articles on how tooptimize your Website for SEO and for visitors.Craigslist and YouTube Make Great Roommates: Yes, this article is dated. But, thepremise is current - if you aren’t using YouTube to market your sites, then thisarticle will explain why you should. While this article doesn’t address SEO directly,you can realize cloning potential through using another site to market yourexpertise.Effective Online Real Estate Advertising; Look at What This Sarasota Realtor HasDone: This article is a bit over the edge, as it’s more of a directory for specificservices than an informative instructional piece. But, it’s an excellent article to leadyou to SEOAware, where you can find numerous articles to help you refine yourSEO skills.Improving an East Bay Real Estate Site and Putting a Blog in a Realtor’s Hands:SEOigloo provides great insight into how they rebuilt and improved a real estateWebsite to become SEO-friendly.Improving SEO on WordPress Websites For Real Estate Agents: Writer AngelaParker begins a series of SEO articles for real estate professionals with this article.Optimizing Real Estate Websites for Search Engines: This is a free article on how tooptimize a real estate website for search engines provided by YAERD.org.Real Estate Paradigm Shifts in Keyword Research for SEO: An SEO expert offersinsights into how shifts in customer behavior can alter how your keywords work - ordon’t work - for your site.Real Estate SEO for Beginners: What is search engine optimization and how do realestate agents profit from basic knowledge about SEO? This article was written byToby Munk from Aspen Real Estate.Rebuz: With at least 60,000+ visitors and 230,000+ page views per month, thissite can offer tremendous marketing potential for real estate professionals. Find aplace on their pages through paid advertising or through press release submissions.You also can submit your site for listing in various categories.SEO Explained: From the Echo Forum, a site that focuses on real estate. This shortarticle explains keywords succinctly and offers links to popular SEO tools.Terrific Real Estate Search Tools: An article by Gary Price at Search Engine Watchthat talks about search tools which are specific to the real estate industry.Top 10 Myths of Real Estate Search Marketing: This is just one of many articleswritten for real estate professionals by the folks at The Marketing Shop.Using HubPages.com to Improve SEO: This is a YouTube instructional video abouthow to write an article and make the links work for you to increase page ranking. 29
  • 30. TUTORIALS 30
  • 31. Hot Real Estate Bloggers 7 Ways Your Site Can Be Sabotaged: Bonnie Burns from DIY SEO chronicles seven ways unknown forces can sabotage your Website. This list provides the problems and the solutions, if any. 20 Week Course on Link Building For Real Estate Websites: At this point in the game, Real Estate Marketing Blog is up to week number four. The link here is pointed at the first article. This guide is specifically designed for real estate professionals. Kicking a New Post to the Top of the Search Engines: Real Estate Blog Lab shows readers how to increase rankings of new blog entries. Multiple Categories and Onsite Duplicate Content: Justin Smith at Real Estate Tomato clears up any confusion about multiple categories and onsite duplicate content. OMG! You are just like Britney Spears: Real estate professionals, unlike many other industry professionals, often rely on personal name recognition to market their goods. Damon Pace, from the Incredible Agent Blog, shows readers how they can maximize the potential of a name on Google. Real Estate Websites With No Frames: It seems impossible to believe that Web designers still use frames, and this blog entry will tell you why they shouldn’t be used. Not only will it destroy any online marketing efforts, frames also will cut accessibility to your site. SEO-Friendly Website Templates: If you can’t or won’t afford an SEO-friendly Website builder, then try a template and do it yourself! This article is a guide from Real Estate Search Advison on how to use Website templates the right way to ensure maximum search engine visibility for your content. The 7 Worst Pieces of SEO Advice that WILL Kill Your Blog: Mary McKnight offers advice on how to avoid SEO scams. Plus, she reiterates what reputable SEO masters will tell you - what worked in the past to increase your search engine ranking may not work anymore. She also offers a list of SEO experts that she’s come to trust. The Rules: Blog Comments for Linkbuilding: Kay Frenzer, real estate SEO Diva, writes a guide on how to build effective links as you leave comments on other people’s blogs. No sense in a long article - the tips are short and to-the-point. Web Publishers Can Now Clone Trulia: Joel Burslem from the Future of Real Estate Marketing introduces “Trulia in a Box,” the real estate search engine’s tool that’s free for all publishers, including small newspapers and regional media (as well as bloggers) to use to create their own Trulia portal. 31
  • 32. Hot Forums 10 Ways to Drive Buyers to Your Website: Despite what you might believe after you read this article, page rank isn’t the be-and and end-all of real estate marketing. Other tools can be used to drive traffic to your site. This post offers ten tools you can use outside search engine tactics, with some great responses that include additional advice. Backlinks: This thread at Wanna Network? offers tools, explanations, and methods to handle your site’s backlinks. Determining a Site’s PR: We’re running on the assumption that you know how to determine a site’s page rank. If you don’t, then this thread at the Real Estate Webmasters Forum will help you learn how you and your competitors rank. Free SEO Tracker: An individual was searching for a free keyword tool, and a few people responded to the inquiry with some relevant information that you may find useful. Link Building 101: This thread, located under the Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization topic in Pro Real Estate Network Forums, calls attention to how links and link building can help page and site ranking. Net Success: In this thread at Agents Online, users talk about various ways to gain ranking on different search engines. Additionally, you’ll find other topics that deal with new technology as well as other online marketing tips. Real Estate & The Web: This is the best topic on the Bigger Pockets forum for Website marketing. You can ask for a Website review, ask questions about page rank, and more. It appears that you will receive an answer, although you’ll find more lurkers than experts in most cases. One thread in particular, Stolen Blog Material, might interest you in that the issue was posted and resolved in short order with appropriate actions and results. SEO Tools: This post lists several dozen SEO tools that the average person has access to and can use to help rankings in search engines. Social Networking: Instead of being thread-specific with posts from the Real Estate Webmasters Forum, we wanted to point to an entire topic that covers everything you want to know about social networking. Is it worth your time and effort? Will trends change? Discover answers to your social networking questions here. Some thoughts on SEO Basics: This is a ’sticky’ thread posted under “Search Engine Ranking Tips” at the Real Estate Forum. This post puts the Website structure in focus as one part of SEO success. Outside keywords and links, structure is rarely mentioned; yet good Website structure, or accessibility (separating code from content), is one way to obtain higher site rankings. 32
  • 33. 100 Personal Branding Tactics Using Social MediaYou are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the samedecaying organic matter as everything else. - Tyler Durden, Fight Club.Branding one’s self in an online environment built on entropy and go-baby-gois difficult at best, and impossible if you forget to take your happy pills.To that end, I’ve come up with a quick list of 100 things you might do to helpwith these efforts.Listening• Build ego searches using Technorati and Google Blogsearch• Comment frequently (and meaningfully) on blogs that write about you and your posts• Don’t forget the conversations hiding in Twitter (use Summize.com) and Friendfeed. Be sure to stay aware of those.• If you can afford it, buy professional listening tools, like Radian6 or others in that category.• Use Google Reader to store your ego searches.• Use Yahoo! Site Explorer to see who’s linking to your site.• Use heat map tools like CrazyEgg to see how people relate to your site.• Listen to others in your area of expertise. Learn from them.• Listen to thought leaders in other areas, and see how their ideas apply to you.• Don’t forget podcasts. Check out iTunes and see who’s talking about your area of interest.• Track things like audience/community sentiment (positive/negative) if you want to map effort to results.Home Base• Home base is your blog/website. Not everyone needs a blog. But most people who want to develop a personal brand do.• A really nice layout doesn’t have to cost a lot, but shows you’re more than a social media dabbler.• Your “About” page should be about you AND your business, should the blog be professional in nature. At least, it should be about you.• Make sure it’s easy to comment on your site.• Make sure it’s easy for people to subscribe to your site’s content.• Use easy to read fonts and colors.• A site laden with ads is a site that doesn’t cherish its audience. Be thoughtful.• Pay attention to which widgets you use in your sidebar. Don’t be frivolous.• Load time is key. Test your blog when you make changes, and ensure your load times are reasonable.• Register your site with all the top search engines.• Claim your site on Technorati.com• Use WebsiteGrader.com to make sure your site is well built in Google’s eyes. 33
  • 34. Passports• Passports are accounts on other social networks and social media platforms. It’s a good idea to build an account on some of these sites to further extend your personal branding.• Twitter.com is a must if you have a social media audience. It also connects you to other practitioners.• Facebook and/or MySpace are useful social networks where you can build outposts (see next list).• Get a Flickr account for photo sharing.• Get a YouTube account for video uploading.• Get a StumbleUpon.com account for voting.• Get a Digg.com account for voting, as well.• Get an Upcoming.org account to promote events.• Get a del.icio.us account for social bookmarking.• Get a Wordpress.com account for its OpenID benefits.• Get a LinkedIn account for your professional network.• Take a second look at Plaxo. It’s changed for the better.• Get a Gmail.com account for use with reader, calendar, docs, and more.Outposts• Build RSS outposts on Facebook. Add Flog Blog, and several other RSS tools.• Build a similar outpost on MySpace, if your audience might be there.• Make sure your social media is listed in your LinkedIn profile.• Add a link to your blog to your email signature file (this is still an outpost).• Be sure your social network profiles on all sites has your blog listed, no matter where you have to put it to list it.• Make sure your passport accounts (above) point to your blog and sites.• Use social networks respectfully to share the best of your content, in a community- appropriate setting.• Don’t forget places like YahooGroups, Craigslist, and online forums.• Email newsletters with some links to your blog makes for an effective outpost, especially if your audience isn’t especially blog savvy.• Podcast content can have links to your URL and might draw awareness back to your content, too.Content• Create new content regularly. If not daily, then at least three times a week.• The more others can use your content, the better they will adopt it.• Write brief pieces with lots of visual breaks for people to absorb.• Images draw people’s attention. Try to add a graphic per post. (Not sure why this works, but it seems to add some level of attention.)• Mix up the kinds of pieces you put on your site. Interviews, how-to, newsish information, and more can help mix and draw more attention.• Limit the number of “me too” posts you do in any given month to no more than three. Be original, in other words. 34
  • 35. • The occasional ‘list’ post is usually very good for drawing attention.• Write passionately, but be brief (unless you’re writing a list of 100 tips).• Consider adding audio and video to the mix. The occasional YouTube video with you as the star adds to your personal branding immensely, especially if you can manage to look comfortable.• Brevity rules.Conversation• Commenting on other people’s blogs builds awareness fast.• The more valuable your comments, the more it reflects on your ability and your character.• Use your listening tools to stay active in pertinent discussions.• Try not to brag, ever. Be humble. Not falsely so, but truly, because a lot of what we do isn’t as important as saving lives.• Ask questions with your blog posts. Defer to experts. Learn from the conversation.• Be confident. Asking for external validation often is a sign of weakness.• Good conversations can be across many blogs with links to show the way.• Try never to be too defensive. Don’t be a pushover, but be aware of how you present yourself when defending.• Disclose anything that might be questionable. Anything, and quickly!• Don’t delete critical blog comments. Delete only spam, abrasive language posts, and offensive material. (Have a blog comments policy handy, if you get into the deleting mode.Community• Remember that community and marketplace are two different things.• Make your site and your efforts heavily about other people. It comes back.• Make it easy for your community to reach you.• Contribute to your community’s blogs and projects.• Thank people often for their time and attention.• Celebrate important information in your community (like birthdays).• Be human. Always.• Your community knows more than you. Ask them questions often.• Apologize when you mess up. Be very sincere.• Treat your community like gold. Never subject them to a third party of any kind without their consent.• Knowing more about your competitors’ communities is a useful thing, too. Learn who visits, why they visit, and how they interact.• Measuring your efforts in building community grows out your brand as a natural extension.Face to Face• Have simple, useful, crisp business cards to share. Always.• Be confident in person.• Clothes and appearance DO matter. WIsh they didn’t, but they do. 35
  • 36. • Have a very brief introduction / elevator pitch and practice it often.• Ask questions of people you meet. Get to know them.• Don’t seek business relationships right off. Instead, seek areas of shared interest.• Know when to walk away politely.• Don’t try to meet everyone in a room. Meet a half dozen or more great new people.• Never doubt that you are worth it.• If you’re terribly shy, consider finding a “wing man” for events.• Doing homework ahead of time (finding people’s most recent blog posts, googling them, etc) helps one feel “in the know.”• Make eye contact. It’s MUCH more powerful than you know.Promotion• Use Digg, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us and Google Reader to drive awareness.• Promote others even more than you promote yourself• Bragging isn’t useful to anyone besides your own ego• Linking and promoting others is a nice way to show you care about people• Don’t digg/stumble/link every single post. Save it for your very best• Another promotional tool: guest blog on other sites• Another promotion tool: make videos on YouTube with URL links• Another promotion tool: use the status section of LinkedIn and Facebook• Try hard not to send too many self-promotional emails. Wrap your self-promotion in something of value to others, instead.• Sometimes, just doing really good work is worthy of others promoting you. Try it. 36