In this issue:
- I Have a Web Site, Now What?
- Building Links to Improve Website Rankings
- Leverage Local Search Engine Resources
- Introducing LocalNet Registration Service
You just launched or updated your website and it looks great – attractive visuals and interesting copy, with all of your listings profiled in detail and promoted on your homepage slideshow. Now that you’re up and running, how can you best drive visitors to your website?
When it comes to driving traffic to your website, there’s no one silver bullet. Marketing your website will need to become a key component of your overall marketing plan.
- Your website address should be on all your company marketing materials, including business cards, advertisements and direct mail pieces.
- Take advantage of your website’s features when advertising your site locally. Promote individual listings and your buyer and seller resources.
- Develop partnerships with local companies and preferred partners. Offer to put a link on your site in exchange for a link to your site on theirs. There are two upsides: 1) Their website visitors could become your website visitors and future clients and 2) links back to your site can help improve your site’s rankings on search engines.
- Submit your listings to Yahoo!, Oodle and Trulia. All of these websites are considered relevant real estate directories by search engines. Not only will these sites help promote your listings to potential interested buyers, but any links back to your website from these directories can help your rankings on Google and Yahoo’s search engines.
- If your marketing budget allows, consider pay-per-click campaigns as a way to capture searchers. This is especially important where you face a lot of industry competition in your area. There are targeted programs offered by both Google and Yahoo!.
Some additional tips:
Make your site unique: Think about what you can do to make your site stand out from your competition on the web. One way to do this is to offer information to your visitors that is available nowhere else. This is especially helpful if you are selling in a resort or vacation area or deal with a large relocation clientele.
Focus your keywords: You will have a better chance of ranking on search engines for targeted, relevant terms than trying to be everything to everybody. This will help your potential clients get a better feel for what you bring to the table that is truly unique and different. Quality traffic from people interested in your services will result in a better conversion ratio.
Track your traffic: Our advanced traffic analyzer system gives you the ability to know what links on other websites are driving traffic to your website, and what keywords people are using when finding your website on Google and Yahoo!.
Be very careful: As a website owner you will receive many unsolicited emails from companies claiming to be able to “guarantee” you top search engine positioning or submit your site to “10,000 search engines and directories.” These are almost always scams. Before you spend, talk to other business owners and deal with reputable companies. Again, there are no silver bullets in ranking on search engines.
Be patient: It will take some time for you to get a good ranking for your site, even with a guaranteed search engine inclusion service like Yahoo. Once your site has been proven to be a relevant answer to a search query, you will naturally see a gradual increase in ranking.
While the 70% is more conventional wisdom than documented fact, there is absolutely no doubt that link popularity plays a significant role in determining search engine results. The higher the number and “quality” of sites that link to your website, the more attention Google and Yahoo! give to your website. Quality is defined by volume of visitors and relevancy to your site.
Your link campaign will be most effective if the websites that link back to your site are other popular, legitimate real estate-related websites and other relevant local or professional websites. If you can contact and receive links from established sites that are already in good standing with search engines, this will help boost your own ranking as well. They will often ask for you to link to them in exchange for linking to you. This is usually called a Link Exchange. There are few short-cuts to a good link development campaign – you should avoid automated link exchanges or purchased link programs that involve linking with sites unknown, which may not help, and can even hurt your website rankings.
- Ask your local business partners for a link to you.
- Post your listings on directories that provide a link back to your site.
- Search for real estate, mortgage, and building themed websites that contain terms pertaining to your company or the real estate profession in general – but stay away from link farms!
- Business and web resource directories such as www.dmoz.org will have categories that pertain to real estate/mortgage/building/etc. to which you can submit your site.
- Post your business contact information on the major business web directories and yellow pages.
Local search engine marketing is a form of online marketing that consists of several strategies specific to promoting a business in a local region including:
- Local natural search engine optimization: The addition of search terms with local keyword modifiers to the titles, meta descriptions and copy of your web site.
- Directory submission: Involves submitting the URL of your web site to a local directory or the local sections of general web directories for inclusion in their search index.
- Pay-per-click management: Pay-per-click advertisements are usually text ads placed near search results; when a site visitor clicks on the advertisement, the advertiser is charged a small amount.
Search engine marketing can help you build your business by:
- Generating qualified leads and sales from local consumers.
- Increasing your exposure in the local neighborhoods.
- Lowering your cost-per-lead compared to print Yellow Pages and Direct Mail.
People search the Internet everyday using search engines like Google, Yahoo!, AOL and MSN. Perhaps they type in “Orlando condominiums” or “San Diego single-family homes” as they search for specific properties in a local market. The search engines deliver results found within the specified geographic area instead of from around the world. This focus on delivering geographically relevant results is known as “Local Search.”
The following list includes several of the major search engines and web directories that focus on delivering high quality Local Search results to their customers.
- Google Local – http://www.google.com/local
- Yahoo Local – http://local.yahoo.com
- Super Pages – http://www.superpages.com
- True Local – http://www.truelocal.com
- SwitchBoard – http://www.switchboard.com
- YellowPages.com – http://www.yellowpages.com
- Local.com – http://local.com
- Insider Pages – http://www.insiderpages.com
- Judy’s Book – http://www.judysbook.com
The key for these search engines and web directories to generating successful local search results to their visitors is having a rich and complete local business directory. If you choose, you can individually complete the forms to supply information about yourself or company to each site. Some of these sites have premium paid listings while others do not charge any fees. We know you might not want to take the time to individually register your business on each of these sites. But don’t despair – we now offer a service to add your information to eighteen local search resources by just filling out one set of forms.
iHOUSE LocalNet Registration Service – Just $129.98/year
iHOUSE LocalNet gets your name, phone number and website address out there quickly, easily, and cost-effectively. We make sure your information is correct and consistent on every local search resource listed above and more – a total of eighteen major Internet Local Search Engines and Business Directories. LocalNet provides registration services only to popular top-tier local search resources – search engines and web directories that have millions of visitors daily looking for local services and businesses like yours. What’s more, your business profile is hosted as a stand alone web page on our Agent Directory—yet another place that you can be found on the Internet.
A Time Saver
- Fill out one form to be added to eighteen major Local Search Engines and Web directories.
- Spend minutes, not hours, building your Web presence.
- Some registrations involve a fee – but all of those fees are included in just one payment to LocalNet.
A Link Builder and Potential Traffic Driver
- Add quality links back to your website from these well-regarded business directories.
- These web directories have millions of visitors daily looking for local services and businesses like yours.
What is your time worth? Check out LocalNet today!