Getting your posts indexed.

Be sure that your posts are long enough.

Ernest Hemingway (when he still had a head) bet a guy he met in a bar that he could write a compelling story with just six words. The bar patron took him up on it. Ernest won the bet. Here is the story:

“Baby shoes for sale. Never worn.”

Most people would see a big story in those few words. Unfortunately, search engines wouldn’t be able to figure out what the story is about. Or, perhaps they think that there is not enough content in the story to make it worthwhile. Some folks say that 250 words is adequate. Maybe this is true. I think 500 words is probably better. It’s hard to fit much content into 250 words, but if your post is correctly designed, it will probably be enough. Before you start groaning, do a quick word count of one of your posts. You will see that 250 words is not very much writing. (The post you are now reading has over 1400 words.) Now, if you are using the post to promote an expensive product, or an unusual product, you will have to write much more copy than that. It might take more to explain the product, add testimonials, and/or establish value.

Google is getting better at looking for good, fresh, authoritative content. If you are just writing a couple of sentences per post, Google will think your site is junk. If that is all you are doing, your site will eventually become junk.

Content is king. If you knew nothing about Google or search engines, and you offered more and better content than your competitors, eventually you would probably outrank them in Google.

Proper use of photos

Photos do add value to visitors, and help with conversion rates. They also have some value with Google. However, spammers have stuffed so many tag words on to them, that photos have become deprecated by Google. This means that they do not carry as much weight with search engines as they used to.  However, they are still very important.

When using photos, pay special attention to alt tags. Search engines can read these. These tags can also be read by visitors when they hold the mouse over the photo. Here are some rules for using photos:

  • Make certain that your photo tags reflect the content of the picture.
  • Don’t write paragraphs for photo tags or try to stuff too many keywords in them.
  • Try to incorporate at least some of your keywords into your tags. If your post about an Eden Prairie town home, for example, and all of your tags just say things like “dining room,” “kitchen,” or “living room.” your photos won’t add any value as far as search engines go. You might want to include “Eden Prairie” or “townhome” in the photo descriptions here and there. Also, Google can recognize synonyms. For the word “real estate” you could also substitute words, like “house” or “property.”
  • Don’t be repetitive with your photo tags. Try to make each one at least slightly unique. If you say “Eden Prairie real estate” in every photo tag for several photos, Google will consider that to be “spam.”
  • Keep in mind that those horrid fish-eyed video tours have limited search engine value. If you are including a property in a post, you would be better served by several good photos with a variety of good tags.

When using photos, pay special attention to “ALT” tags (alternative text.)

Title (meta) tags

The post’s title tag is the most important piece of your post as far as Google is concerned. This is not the title that the visitors read at the top of your post, by the way. This is the tag that is seen as the headline for your search results in Google. Google will parse out words from the title. It is also seen on the very top bar of the browser when viewing the page. On your WordPress, this field says “Title tag- optional.” Do not regard this as “optional.” If you do not fill this out, WordPress will just use the h1 headline that the visitor sees at the heading of your post. Include your keyword phrase in the title tag, when possible.

Meta-tag descriptions

These have absolutely no search engine value. Most people believe in them, but I do not. If you do not specify a meta tag, Google will pick what it wants for a description of the results from text in the post that most closely matches the search terms that the visitor has googled. I know many people still think they are important.

Keyword meta tags

These have absolutely no value, either. Google is pretty smart at figuring out what your page is about, and it doesn’t pay any attention to any keyword meta tags.

URLS or slugs/permalink

The words in your permalink (url for your post) have some SEO value. If you are promoting an Eden Prairie townhome on your post, you may want to include related words in the url. WordPress 2.5 will automatically put hyphens between the words in your permalinks. Do not replace them with any other special characters. Hyphens are the only special characters that you should use. Keep your urls relatively short. If your WordPress website is not displaying permalinks correctly, format the permalink structure with this custom format:

/%postname%/

If you have an AgentBlogBuzz.com site, this is already taken care of for you.

Stay focused

Try to concentrate on just one subject or idea for your post. Target a key phrase, but also use plenty of synonyms in the post. Google likes synonyms. If you use them, you may still find yourself ranking for additional, unexpected search terms.

Don’t over-optimize

You might want to include “Eden Prairie townhome” in the url and Title tag, and an occasional photo tag, but if you include those words in every heading, underline them, bold them, or italicize them every time they are used, Google may get irritated with you.

Good keyword density is about 2-3%, but don’t worry too much about that. If you mention your keyword phrase about once per every large paragraph, it should be about right.

All real estate is local

If you are trying to optimize your post for “real estate inspections” you will be competing with every home inspection company in the world, and you will never be found. If you say “Minneapolis real estate inspections,” you might have better luck. Most Google visitors will include some sort of geographic descriptor when doing a real estate search.

Generally, your posts should target a community, something about real estate, or both. However, you do not have to make every post relevant to your business. It’s OK to drift off topic on your blog about 10% of the time without doing any overall harm to your site. If you think you need to write a cute story about your kitten using the litter box, you certainly can. However, those particular posts will probably not show up in any search results that would be of any value for your business.

Link to other related pages on your site

This will also help Google to index the related pages.

Post frequently.

If you ignore your site, Google may start ignoring it too. It may not crawl it as frequently as before.

Big rule!

Make certain the title meta tags and urls are unique for each post!

Bigger rule!!

NO duplicate content! I don’t care if it is your own content, or someone authorized you to use theirs. If you duplicate material from your own site, your other site, or anyone else’s site, you may get banned by Google, and your site will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth!

Don’t be afraid to post your listings in your blog

Some blog snobs think this is tacky. Who cares? Listings make excellent fodder for Google. However, make sure that you are not duplicating verbiage about your listing that was used elsewhere.  Any sort of real estate website should have some featured properties of some sort.

If you are in another type of business, write a blog post about every new product that comes through your shop door.

Final thoughts

Will every one of your posts rank in the first two pages? Hard to say, but if you follow these rules, many of your posts should rank for at least some key terms most of the time. The more you post, the better the results will be. The more overall content and authority your site has, the higher the individual posts will rank.

Sometimes you will write a great post, and you won’t be able to find it anywhere in Google. Sometimes you will write a crummy post, and you will show up in the number one slot in the search results. However, follow the rules and keep plugging away, and you will see most of your posts get some good ranking.

Disclosure: We are a professional review site that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

Comments

  1. Kermit Johnson says:

    The title tag (optional) appears about three fields below the main edit box. I use SEO Title Tag… I probably should have explained that in the post.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  2. LJ- Mississauga real Estate Agent says:

    I liked that Ernest Hemingway story- really made me think- at any rate- you came up with some excellent points.
    I had a question- where is the “Title tag- optional” field? I don’t see it.
    Normally I just use All-in-One SEO plugin for titles or write a decent title… whihc I think MIGHT be the same thing as writing meta title.
    Thanks!

    LJ- Mississauga real Estate Agents last blog post..Large Back Split for Sale in Mississauga- 835 Atwater Ave

  3. I also liked the Hemingway story.

    I try to use everything that you had recommended in this post, but sometimes I find myself leaving out the title tag on the third line down.

  4. Nice post. I like the Hemingway story.

    I also agree with:
    Content is king. If you knew nothing about Google or search engines, and you offered more and better content than your competitors, eventually you would probably outrank them in Google.

  5. Thanks for the great post. I will start doing alt tags for all my photos on my blog.

  6. Lance says:

    Very good post. I think it very nice of you to share your knowledge.

  7. JCL says:

    Good post! How do you edit the alt tags on a photo?

    JCLs last blog post..Tithing on Gross vs. Net – What Exactly is Gross Income for Real Estate Investments?

  8. Brandon says:

    The local thing is key. I once had a client that built custom homes in Austin, Texas, yet nowhere on his website did it mention those words. It was all “Central Texas” this and “luxury estate” that. We added a blog, focused on city-based content that matched his audience’s search behavior, and what do you know … traffic! Sometimes being too close to a site limits your sight.

Speak Your Mind

*