Search Marketing for Realtors – Reaching the Top!
For realtors the Internet can no longer be ignored. Significant numbers of home buyers on going online to do their preliminary research for real estate and agents. Recent surveys suggest over 50%.
I personally know a number of local realtors, and it is interesting to see how some are easily adapting to this media, while others are sitting on the sidelines wondering why they are seeing a decrease in prospective buyers.
The Internet is not going away, and if someone plans to make real estate a viable career they must incorporate online marketing in order to not only succeed, but to survive. So how can realtors cost-effective connect with potential customers? In addition to MLS listings, they can reach a very targeted audience through search engine marketing. There are basically two forms of search marketing, organic and pay per click advertising.
Organic Search Marketing
Organic search marketing is about ranking at the top of the search results. It is accomplished through search engine optimization (SEO). The goal is to get your web pages at the top of the search results for targeted terms and phrases. For example, if you are a realtor in Boise it would be profitable to have your site rank at the top for terms phrases like “Boise Realtors” or “Boise Real Estate.”
How do you accomplish this mysterious feat? First, you have to optimize your web pages around certain phrases like “Boise Real Estate.” That term becomes the theme of the page, and there are certain techniques that let the search engines know it is the theme.
In addition to optimizing the page you have to convince the search engines that your site is important enough to deserve a prominent ranking. This is achieved by getting other web sites to link to your site. When a web site has a hyperlink to your site, the search engines consider this a vote of confidence. It is more complicated than just getting a bunch of links, since some links are considered more important than others. But in general, the combination of optimized pages and external links results in top rankings. SEO takes time and effort. If you are a new site, you may not see results for 6-9 months with Google.
Pay Per Click Advertising
In contrast to SEO, pay per click advertising (PPC) can provide instant gratification. With Google you can set-up a marketing campaign in less than an hour. With Yahoo it takes 24-48 hours to be approved.
PPC is where you pay to have your web site listed at the top of the search results for particular terms that are relevant to your business. There are basically two search engines where you want to pay to market, Yahoo and Google. PPC is based on an auction model, where you bid for the position of your ad. The ads appear above and to the right of the organic search listings. They are listed as “Sponsored Links.”
PPC advertising is based on an auction model. You bid for positioning on terms that are relevant to your business, just like how you would optimize your web pages for similar terms. Once again if you are a realtor in Boise, you would bid on terms that your prospects would use to find services in your area. The position of your ad depends on how much you bid in relation to your competitors.
The appeal of PPC advertising is you set the bids, you set a maximum daily expenditure and you can turn your campaign on or off at any moment. Even more important is the ability to track exactly how your advertising dollars are being spent. With with this information you can tweak your bids and your ads for maximum performance.
It important to note that buyers who search online tend to be better informed, spend significantly less time with their realtor, and preview fewer houses than traditional buyers. That is another reason why search engine marketing is becoming essential.
Time is running out to ignore the Internet. Either you are going to be a player or you will be cut from the squad.
About the Author: Fred Waters is President of the Local Online Marketing Association, where you can get the Free Ebook, “The Indispensable Guide to Local Online Marketing.” Learn how you can profit online and reach new customers.