How To Rank: Be Credible, Relevant and Dynamic (and keep at it!)

2013 has been a breakout year for The Set Fee Real Estate Blog.  My number of visitors has jumped significantly and seems to increase every month.  Last month (October, 2013), was the biggest month I’ve ever had, topping 2,000 visitors.  By comparison, through 2011 and 2012, I mucked along at +/- 500 visitors a month.

The improvement in this site’s stats parallels the return to an increasingly normal real estate market, and while this is not the reason my hits are up, it certainly is a factor.  For more than four years, the notion that a home owner could save on real estate commissions was hardly at the top of anyone’s mind, and of course, that’s what I write about here.  Today, with home equities increasing and buyers buying again, people are interested in getting a good deal when it comes time to sell, so their search phrases are helping them find this blog.

I believe there are a couple of other factors – probably more important factors – in the increase.  First is simple longevity.  I’ve been at this since Fall of 2009.  Mother Google has been crawling my posts for four years and has found new material here almost every week.  She likes that.  There has been a consistency in topic here which also speaks to the search engines.   The focus of this blog is pretty concise.

While January  2013 showed a jump in visitors over what I was experiencing in 2012, I didn’t get my big growth spurt until April . . . and each month since April has been better than the month before.  So what happened in April?

Simple:  Marketing.  I invested $200 in pay-per-click, $100 on Facebook, $100 on Google.  The money was exhausted by mid May, but the effects were dramatic.  The bigger surprise, though, was the ‘halo effect’ of my tiny bit of marketing.  My growth spurt has been sustained.

There have been a handful of blog posts that have drawn A LOT of hits.  They are tightly focused on things consumers want to know and have clear titles that reflect the content.  Far and away the biggest draw has been ‘What Percentage Do Real Estate Agents Charge?‘  It lambastes percentage based commissions and makes a strong case for Set Fee pricing and for Help-U-Sell.

That post is followed rather closely by ‘How Long Must I Wait To Buy After A Short Sale?’ Interesting that both posts have questions as titles.  However, the significant thing is topic:  this is what real estate consumers are interested in today.  By the way, real estate sand is always shifting and I probably ought to update that short sale post.

Another high-ranking post is ‘The Ineffective Realtor (or what to do when your real estate agent sucks).’  Hmmm.  Clearly a large segment of our industry is letting consumers down or at least not living up to expectations (again).

The point is this:  if you are blogging, keep at it.  It takes awhile for the search engines to decide you are credible enough to rank high in search results.  Focus your blog on a topic and don’t stray off in a dozen directions.  Think like your target audience:  what kinds of information are they most likely to be searching for?  And make sure that topic is reflected in both your post and your title.  And, for goodness sake!  Invest a few hundred bucks in marketing!  The results will probably surprise you.

(Footnote:  The case for REALTOR blogging is simply this:  it works.  Only 12% of REALTORS blog and most of them do it poorly and/or inconsistently.  We all have websites, some good, some not so good.  Regardless, they usually have at least one thing in common:  they are static.  They don’t change.  The content is set.  That is not particularly attractive to Google.  She wants to see dynamic content that changes regularly but remains focused on a specific topic.  That’s what a blog is.  Your online lead generation efforts can be greatly enhanced by fronting a good blog.  You use your blog to help consumers find you and to help them understand your unique offering.  You link your blog to your static website for home search and for inquiry generation.  If you want help setting up and maintaining your Help-U-Sell real estate blog, get in touch.)

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