Once you have your iHOUSE website up and running, you want prospective clients to be able to find it.
Part of your strategy should be some understanding of SEO.
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization.
What this really means is you want your site and the pages, blogs and listings you put on it to be easily found by Google.
Yes, there are other search engines out there, but for now and the foreseeable future, Google is the leader. This means that if you optimize for Google, you will rank well on the rest of them.
If you looked behind or underneath your site you’d see a lot of computer coding that looks like some sort of weird foreign language – because it is – a language for computers.
Fortunately you don’t have to know more about it than that. Except for meta tags. Meta tags are keywords and phrases that are enclosed in code so that although they can’t be seen on the site, are understandable by Google’s computers (and other search engines) when they look at your page and try to figure out what it’s about.
You get to add and edit when you want your own meta tags. It’s easy:
1. Log into your website
2. From the top menu, beside your name, choose: Admin Menu. You’ll be taken to your Admin Menu page.
3. From the menu on the left choose: Settings.
4. Choose: Meta Tags. There you will find 3 boxes to fill in, Title, Meta Description, and Meta Keywords.
The link, Get help writing meta tags takes you to a good description of exactly what you need to do. Take some time to read that. Down toward the bottom of that page is a free tool that will help you search for keywords that apply to your business. Don’t forget to include your name, both your nickname if you use one and your full name.
Meta tags are important enough to spend an hour or so with them. Know you can always change them later, and remember to click Save Settings at the bottom once you’ve filled them in.
Google, and the other search engines continue to get more and more sophisticated. Not so long ago, people could scam search by schemes like keyword stuffing – repeating a term over and over again to force a page to the top of that term. That no longer works because Google has developed the technology to spot schemes like stuffing. In fact, trying to scam search can get the page or even the site delisted.
More helpful is the fact that Google’s computers can actually ‘read’ your pages and pretty much tell what they are about. (That’s also why it’s easier than ever to find what you want on Google.
What Google wants can be summed up by Number 1 in their Ten things we know to be true list:
Focus on the user and all else will follow.
What this means to you is every time you write an article or post an entry to your blog, focus on the person you want to become your client as your write it. When you write with service in mind, the keywords you want will pretty much be there automatically.
Then, before you hit that publish button, read your piece out loud. In addition to helping you catch mistakes, this will also help you spot legitimate places you can substitute words for keywords and phrases.
For example, you might have written “When it’s time to sell your house call me.” Consider replacing the word sell with the word list, particularly if you’ve used sell several times. If the area the property you’re talking about is hot, make sure you mention it’s neighborhood name or nickname, in addition to the city.
This type of attention will help the search engines find your articles and blog posts, and present them when people are searching for a house in a particular neighborhood or an agent who specializes there.
Don’t worry too much about SEO. You don’t need to become a true expert and understand every nuance about search engines and how to write for them. Get your meta tags set up, and remember SEO a little bit when you’re writing.
You’ll be fine.
What questions do you have about SEO? I’ll answer them or find an answer for you.
Before Anne Wayman became a writer she sold real estate in Southern California. She worked with her father who learned the business from his father. Not surprisingly she learned a few things along the way. Since then, she has been freelance writing for over 30 years – she is a grandmother, loves cats and writes about a wide variety of topics including real estate.