PLRHeadquarters Blog Mitch Claymore's Private Label Rights weblog

11Jul/13Off

We Asked Ourselves the Same Question

Doesn't it seem like every community has someone — a broker or salesperson — who just is the one who seems to have the Internet figured out. Certainly that's what happens in small towns. Their name pops up whenever anyone queries about real estate in the community; their blog and their home page shows up more than anyone else’s whenever a search for ‘listing agents’ or ‘homes for sale’ (or anything else about local real estate) is being looked for.
 
The question we asked ourselves is HOW do they become what seems to be the local expert? Especially since there are many other equally experienced agents around. Do they spend all day on their Twitter and Facebook accounts? Do they pay hundreds (okay, realistically — thousands) of dollars for Google Adwords ads? And how do they have time to do the actual job of a REALTOR® when they spend all day fussing with the Internet?
 
It’s clear that web pre-eminence goes to those with the most recent information about real estate queries — but only when the search engines ‘trust’ a source. Search engines don’t ‘trust’ fly-by-night sites. The top-of-the-page winners are sites that consistently present valid information, not sites or blogs that are quickly abandoned (that ‘bounce’).
 
How does a practicing REALTOR® have time to consistently present updated information that is engaging enough to hold new visitors' interest for a minute or more, week after week, and month after month? 
 
The answer is by forming a kind of coop with others to share the expense of a staff of researchers and writers, and then blogging with content that’s fresh and not widely available. Of course, they add their own hyper-local, purely personal posts whenever they have time. But busy pros know that when they get busy, the blog — and the website — have to go by the boards.
 
But since subscribers need no more than 5 minutes to customize each article for their community (they get to reserve their territory’s name, like “Elk Grove” or “Miami Beach,” and as long as they subscribe, are the only ones allowed to use it to customize their blog posts), they always have time to blog. 
 
That’s all it takes for them to become their community leader — the local REALTOR® who has the Internet figured out!
10Mar/13Off

Finally: Staylight Davings Time!

For those of us who always feel a little creeped out when it’s pitch black outside long before we head home (even when work ends early), it’s worth losing an hour’s sleep in order to nudge the sunset back a little.

They say Benjamin Franklin thought the idea up, and I don’t doubt it. Anyone who, like Ben in his Poor Richard days, scribbles away the daylight hours in cramped little rooms with only a dictionary or two for companionship, applaud messing with the clock if it means we won’t have completely wasted what little daylight there is.

 Just when it seems as if the long winter won’t ever peter out —  voila! — the TV, radio, and bloggers all chime in to remind us it’s time to spring forward.

 I’m glad it happens on the most appropriate day of the week, Sun Day: it’s only fitting for an institution like Staylight Davings Time.

 Strange, though, how almost everybody mispronounces it.

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If time saving is a constant issue, and more and more often a week passes when you find yourself too busy to blog...my team is here to do it for you!

Mitch Claymore is the Editor of RealtyPLR -- leading ghostblogging service for real estate and mortgage industry professionals too busy to blog as much as they’d like.

 

9Jan/13Off

News Flash for a Desert Island!

       ON MONDAY, every Realtor® who had spent the last four years stranded on a desert island would have been astonished by the news!

        It came in the form of a release from the National Association of Realtors® and Google, who announced the results of a wide-reaching joint study. It was of interest primarily to the castaways, since every working professional in the real estate industry who has not been cut off from civilization already knows the conclusion:

 Online real estate searches have been growing in volume!

         The number of real estate searches grew 253% over the past four years. And James Bond goes after the bad guys, hobbits are attracted to gold rings, and the national debt has been growing a bit.

         Busy real estate pros won’t have time to plow through Monday’s study, but as a time-saver, here are some nuggets:

  • Buyers rely on search engines and general websites when they begin their search.
  • Buyers rely more on mobile applications toward the end of their search (equally startling, they probably use the same mobile phones to talk with people who aren’t in the same room with them).
  • 90% of homebuyers searched online during their home buying process.

        I might add, the Sun has been tending to rise in the east (though there is increasing evidence that it isn’t setting there).

        Google has a Head of Real Estate, Patrick Grandinetti. He concluded that the real estate industry would be smart to target homebuyers “where they look for and consume information.” That would be online, on “relevant websites” and the like.

         The CEO of Realtor.com agreed with us that the Internet can be used to connect Realtors with home buyers (you can check us out at www.realtyplr.com to see how we go about it). But if you’re one of those out there on a desert island, maybe not so much.

27Nov/12Off

It’s Your Own Private Label Wine…

REALTYPLR's ARTICLES ARE a little like a jarred pasta sauce that mom doctors with her special touch before serving -- or a private label wine produced Like Your Own Fine Winewith your name on it. They are the shortcut that help Realtors get more leads (and you know what that leads to).

 This week’s tips:

 Advantages and Pitfalls for Mortgage Co-Signings

Editor's Note: “Buy a home” is a heavily coveted search term. We’ve combined it here with the niche topic “mortgage co-signing” to help attract potential first-time home buyers (or their property owning parents!). Take advantage of both search terms here and geo-code both.

 Squeezing More Profit from Your Home Sale

Editor’s note: Every seller loves the word “profit”: if you have a hot tip or unique facet to your marketing plan, this blog is a great place to brag about it!

 Don't Let Rental Property Manage You

Editor's Note: With rental rates on the rise nationwide investment properties are hot topic these days - and with that topic comes property managment. Take advantage of the interest with this article aimed at attracting potential investor clients.

In the Wake of Home Foreclosure

Editor's Note: "Home Foreclosures" combined with your geocoded territory name is sought often -- even for web searchers who are only interested in the state of real estate in the area. 

24Nov/12Off

Thanksgiving Week Blog Tips

RealtyPLR subscribers should have received this Monday's brand new PLR articles to use in your holiday blogging this week.  Here are four tips for extra credit: 

1.ThanksKitchenis a season-specific blog aimed at SEO term “real estate listings.”
 In case you'd like extra customizing: This blog could be used to highlight your support of your own local non-profit. Substitute your local charity’s pitch, leaving out the national Red Cross. You can link to it to your charity to add SEO for you AND your cause!
 
2.REO – Bankers’ Codeaimed at high target value search term “REO.”
 
Extra customizing: Check your local MLS for current REO data in your central zip code, then insert one or two of your local statistics.
 
3.Interviewing for Remodels brings in the“home values” SEO search term.
 
Extra customizing: If you have a great contractor to recommend for an interview, why not add a line or two to the end of this blog as your personal endorsement?Don’t forget to link directly to his or her company website; your vendor will greatly appreciate it -- and your blog will benefit from added local SEO juice!
 
4.Virtual Toursfocuses on keyword phrase “virtual tours.”
 
Our research points to “virtual tours” again scoring as a high-flyer in the most-trafficked recent searches (if virtual tours are not part of your marketing already, this may not be an article for you – but based on what we learned in Orlando at the NAR convention last week, you might want to consider adding it!)
 
Extra customizing: If you do use virtual tours in your marketing, add hyperlinks to one or two of your virtual tours. Be sure to mention the address (street, town, state) specifically for GEO-coding bonus points!
  
That's all there is to it. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
 
24Oct/12Off

EMDs Get Punched by Panda!

THE PANDA in question isn’t nearly as cute and cuddly as the ones you see contentedly munching bamboo leaves. This is the one that is the code name for Google’s active algorithm – the top secret code the search engine giant uses to determine what list of pages appear when users type in ‘houses for sale in Kalamazoo’ or ‘listings in Peoria.’

This Panda has attitude: it can maul an innocent website it doesn’t like in a flash. It is good business practice for Realtors® to avoid offending the Panda. In fact, you’d better try to feed it whatever it wants!

The perpetual problem is trying to figure out what it does want. Its dietary preferences are fickle. A few weeks ago, it started turning up its nose at one of its previously tolerated morsels – the EMDs (Exact-Match Domains).

EMDs are the www dot NAMES that exactly duplicate a query: if, for instance, you have named your site ThreeBedroomDoubleWidesInTucson dot com, you knew Google might reward you with a high ranking for a query with exactly that term. As of the beginning of this month, it turns out, not so much anymore.

According to Matt Cutts, the public spokesman for Google’s algorithm lab (think of him as Panda’s keeper), this is just an incremental step in that direction. It’s like Penguin – another of Google’s bestiary (the one that pecks away at spam and bad links).

Through it all, you who post and blog with real content -- articles that please actual humans (the kind the staff at RealtyPLR.com send you every Monday) -- don’t need to fear the latest Panda update. You are still as likely as ever to be a favorite snackable.

6Oct/12Off

Web Location Location Location!

If you’re the lucky one in charge of boosting your website’s traffic (maybe because you own the place), you’ve already come up against the need to spend copious amounts of otherwise productive time pursuing high placement on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

Strong SERP placement is, after all, the precise equivalent of location, location, location in the brick-and-mortar world. If your store faces the busiest mall in town, boy! have you got business!  On the other hand, if your store is across the alley from a back-street mortuary, it might as well be inside.

There is one huge difference, though. No matter where your hypothetical brick-and-mortar store were located, at least you would be able to count your competitors within a given radius. No such luck on the internet. There may be hundreds or hundreds of thousands of existing competitors, with hordes more able to pop up or disappear on any given day (see PLRHeadquarters’ SEO SERP count for an amusing live demonstration).

The Search Engine Optimization experts will advise you to test search using terms your target visitors are likely to use when looking for you. That’s good (as well as obvious) advice. What is also true is that all your serious competitors are doing the same thing, and since they all can’t place on the first page, there must be something more to it.

There is.

Links are involved, and life is involved.

Links are discussed everywhere, and building high-quality links should occupy something like 90% of your traffic-boosting time and/or budget.  Life is the other factor (as in the opposite of death).

A dead site – one that never changes, and never offers anything new to return visitors – will inevitably fall from grace with the search engines as well as with the link partners you’ve sweated bullets to gain.

As usual, my major point here is the need for you either to devote the time to updating your site’s content at least a few times a week, or else find and subscribe to a high-quality creative PLR outfit.                                  (I think you know a couple I’d recommend).

-Mitch
Back to RealtyPLR

18Apr/12Off

Cutting Off Your Nose (to spite your Facebook)

YOU DON’T HAVE TO LOVE SOCIAL MEDIA to make your peace with it/them. But just turning your back and walking away from it/them completely isn’t a very good idea, either. Unlikely as it seems to anyone over the age of 30 --  illogical as it may seem -- the social media advocates are truth-tellers: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and their cousins are POWERFUL marketing tools that fetch actual authentic bite-the-nickel OMG it’s real! real estate business. ActiveRain, for instance, is a social medium, although its one whose value explains itself better than something like a Twitter -- which at first glance seems not much more than a barely grownup version of Junior High School texting-gossip.

 After the recent realty dry spell, years when just keeping the doors open has been such a challenge, rare is the agent who willingly overlooks any opportunity to cultivate business.

So if you are a broker or agent who is canny enough to tune into the blogosphere, yet at the same time are actively avoiding the rest of social media, the chances are good that you feel awful about it. The thought, pure waste of time probably occurs whenever you think about getting involved.

 For those who may have missed it, a recent Realtor® Magazine piece had a wonderfully energizing take on how to handle the whole issue: (http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/feature/article/2012/03/spend-only-one-hour-week-social-media) .

Author Tarbox focuses on an approach that’s remarkably similar to what we at RealtyPLR concentrate upon. It can be summed up in a single basic precept, though it can be presented every which-way: 

  • Jealously budget the time you spend creating online outreach…or
  • Don’t let the screens suck you in…or
  • Treat the Web like the pet wildcat it is...or
  • You be the Boss (else soon it will be sending you out for coffee)!

If you’ve been avoiding social media but wish there were a way you could put it to work, take heart. Just decide how many minutes you’re going to spend, go grab  a timer from the kitchen (don’t use the computer alarm -- you’ll wind up ignoring it) and stick to your guns. That’s the time you’ll give it. Not five minutes more. Don’t try to master any of it at one sitting. Just wade in now, come back later. When the timer tells you it’s time to get back to business, pay attention to it.

 And try keep in mind: you have been doing business!

22Mar/12Off

Now Here’s a Shocker: “Thanks, Google!”

I never thought these words would come out of this keyboard, but OMyGolly, thank you, Google!

A real jaw-dropperLast Thursday, the Wall Street Journal spilled the beans on what Google has been up to for the past two years -- and how it fits into the ‘next generation of search’. It hasn’t been announced officially, but the Journal reports that ‘millions of sites’ that rely on Google’s current page-ranking results will be affected. That’s every real estate shop: all of us; everybody; the whole shebang; period.

 Details are, as usual, under wraps -- but what Monolith of Mountain View does acknowledge is the shift from the current keyword-based system to one based on ‘Semantic Search’. The WSJ’s simplest explanation is that the new Google search method will “figure out which to show in search results…by examining a Web page and identifying information about specific entities rather than only look for keywords.”

 Semantic Search refers to the process of understanding the actual meaning of words, while Keyword Search rates a website based on the words it contains. If you’ve ever chuckled over a perplexing blog or article that doesn’t seem to make much sense, one that repeats phrases like ‘home sales’ over and over in awkward sentences, you probably recognized it as a way of gaming the system. The problem always remained that actual flesh-and-blood readers (clients) couldn’t help but be driven away by the less-than-scintillating wit thus produced.

Actual flesh-and-blood bloggers should be cheering (especially those who are also RealtyPLR subscribers). Their sensible contributions are certainly part of what Google has been quietly amassing: “hundreds of millions” of entries of people, places and things and the semantic sense they make.

It couldn’t be better news for those who continue to post content that people care to read on topics they seek…as opposed to only tailoring page titles, URLs, tags, etc. in a dubious SEO game.

 We’ll keep a close eye on the results as the “next generation of search” ramps up and the Google experience changes dramatically. But in the meantime, a simple, “Thanks, Google!” should do nicely.

 

27Feb/12Off

Me Like Eucalyptus!

And who doesn’t?

Whenever I fall for a blog title like the above, as often as not I’ve already whizzed past it while speed-scanning for something else. But if there is such a thing as latent curiosity effect, I’ve got it. The chances are pretty good that a few moments later I’ll be thinking, ‘What th??? and go back to see what the heck this is about…

 Koalas? An obscure Aussie dance craze? Lovin' them eucsNo matter what it turns out to be, I probably won’t be able to resist going back to find out. So that blog’s author wins the first big battle: the one for eyeballs.

Which is what prompted this discussion: it's about creating titles for real estate blog entries.

It is said that blog authors fall into one of three categories: those who blog to entertain themselves, those who blog to entertain others, and those who (like us) blog as part of their marketing strategy. We blog first to attract attention, then to establish and build relationships.

Since we are local, we can't match national firms who can mount expensive TV and print campaigns which do little more than repeat their brand name with some positive association (an association which sometimes can be amazing in how little it has to do with what they are actually selling). In residential real estate, the odds of gathering the kind of eyeballs we want with a title like Me Like Eucalyptus is remote.

For us, a great real estate blog title may incorporate the curiosity factor (or the surprise factor), but that’s only half the assignment. It needs also to connect in a real way with our customers’ hot buttons. Examples might be “Home Sales Hit Apple!”; “[town name] Realty Dervish Whirls Clockwise”; “The Movers Blocked My Escape Route!”… or just about any curious title that touches on some aspect of listing, buying, selling, moving in or out – the issues that are floating close to the top of prospective clients’ consciousness.

While it’s not always easy to lasso a wildly improbable blog title and tie it into a meaningful blog entry, when you succeed in doing so you have a true real estate blog title champ: one that's both informative and memorable.

 “Home Sales Hit Apple”, for instance, might deal with the prospective Wha?home seller’s need to become their own William Tell by keeping their eye on the target -- buyers who appreciate their property’s unique features; “Dervish” might be a tongue-in-cheek way of announcing recent closings; “Escape”, could chronicle a recent client’s moving adventure.

Me Like Eucalyptus? Did I ever tell you about the time I was living near the beach in Southern California? A doctor friend from back east insisted on taking home some leafy branches from my back yard. I'd always thought those trees were just sort of smelly, but he told me…