PLRHeadquarters Blog Mitch Claymore's Private Label Rights weblog

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.

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…

5Jan/12Off

Google’s New Eye-Opener: More Than Just Caffeine

Yup. It’s the Freshness Algorithm, announced late last year on the official Google website. It’s one of the 500 or so changes they make every year to keep everyone coming to them first whenever they search for anything. 

In case youCuppa haven’t had that first cuppa yet, that was no misprint.  500 changes a year, They have buildings full of bright techies working day and night to keep us all off balance.

 Last year they finished perfecting their “Caffeine Web Indexing System” which they modestly described as allowing them to “crawl and index the web for fresh content quickly on an enormous scale.” If you have a web site, in 2011 you’d already noticed how well it works: if your site isn’t updated regularly, it’s been sliding sliding sliding…

In case that wasn’t enough, in November Google went a step further in their push for up-to-date relevant results: it’s the Freshness Algorithm. It looks for the ‘latest news’ for every search query. I hope you’re sitting down. They say it will begin to yield more results that “might only be minutes old.”

 Of course, harried real estate web owners can choose to ignore the announcement. (They can also move to a nearby desert, find a sand dune, and stick their head under it). Or they can glue themselves to their computer and just keep posting new blogs until the electricity is cut off, which will eventually happen since they’ve been too busy blogging to pay the electric bill. Or they can subscribe to a high quality Private Label Rights service, and use it to painlessly keep their web and blog pages at the top of the Caffeine/Freshness results. If that’s the choice, we here at RealtyPLR.com will of course be delighted, and possibly you will be, too – since so few realtors are even aware that the fresh content competition has gotten so –– caffeinated.

17Dec/11Off

Is your real estate blog just slipslidin’ away?

I hear it all the time, and it sounds awfully familiar. It used to happen to me, too – I’d make a new years resolution nailing down exactly how diligent I was going to be in keeping my blog and site fresh fresh fresh, and then…I bet you know what happens next…

Life happens. Business happens. Everything else in the world rains in, and when the blogger slipslidin'floodwaters recede, chances are most of us are left with blog sites with an ancient posting date right there for all to see.

 The message that sends comes over loud and clear. Last entry four months ago. Might as well say “Dead as a parrot in a Python skit”. Who wants to read a blog that’s four months out of date? When your blog is headlining Labor Day grilling notes but Santa is ringing his bell outside the mall entrance, count your readers and your blog among the dearly departed.  Potential clients who used to stop by to catch the latest on your local market will have given up. Your hard-earned SEO juice has gone bad in the fridge. You can almost see the cobwebs hanging off your byline; wrinkle your nose at the musty aroma…

 The message that sends comes over loud and clear. Last entry four months ago. Might as well say “Dead as a parrot in a Python skit”. Who wants to read a blog that’s four months out of date? When your blog is headlining Labor Day grilling notes but Santa is ringing his bell outside the mall entrance, count your readers and your blog among the dearly departed.  Potential clients who used to stop by to catch the latest on your local market have given up by now. Your hard-earned SEO juice has gone bad in the fridge. You can almost see the cobwebs hanging off your byline; wrinkle your nose at the musty aroma…

Enough! It’s almost the New Year, so what better time for all of us to begin anew! I for one have long  since determined to make it a hallmark of 2012 to put major effort into rewarding every visit to my blog (and my home page, my tweetperch, etc.) with new material.  And whenever the inevitable happens and I can’t steal the hour it usually takes to create a worthwhile entry from scratch, instead of just giving up I’ll spice up some quality Private Label Rights material and skip straight to the final edit.

 If you find yourself avoiding eye contact with your own real estate blog because the last post coincides with the Grand Opening of the Great Pyramid at Giza, take heart. RealtyPLR was founded by real estate pros who recognized that this is a universal problem in the Internet Age, and they put some elbow grease into developing a low-cost solution: http://www.realtyplr.com.

 So how is it that I, a writer/editor, could ever have fallen into the same inertia trap as everyone else? Must have something to do with this year’s massive changeover from monthly to weekly releases of new articles. Just ask the cobbler’s children. I believe even they had to make up a nursery rhyme before their father would do anything about their bare feet problem.

12May/11Off

Am I Imagining This – Or Can Google Get A Little Pricey?

Let’s try and keep this just between you and me…(we wouldn’t want any of this to get out to the other brokers and agents who are trying to grab some of that search engine traffic). Is anyone else listening? Good!

Here’s something I’m beginning to suspect. It could be that some Google AdWords campaigns might get a little costly. In fact, that might even be deliberate!

I know it sounds crazy, but just stay with me on this. Here’s what I’ve detected. When you go to the trouble to build a terrific site — including a home page that is artfully constructed to feature the keywords that will match many potential clients looking for your specialty in your area — and then designed a Google AdWords ad that features the very same keywords, and then added those exact same keywords to your campaign…after a while, you might occasionally note that the amount you are asked to bid in order to have your ad appear on the first page is sort of…well, costly.

And sometimes you’ll also notice that it isn’t because of landing page quality or loading time — it’s costly because of ‘relevance’. And since it couldn’t possibly be more relevant (since all the terms are in perfect harmony, and since your firm has been doing business for years and nobody in your office has ever been sent to prison), you may check out what Google says about this, and conclude that the reason it costs so much is because the general public isn’t clicking on your ad much.

You may also sense that the reason they aren’t clicking on your ad much is BECAUSE THEY CAN’T SEE THE DA**ED AD BECAUSE IT’S NOT ON THE FIRST PAGE!

Sorry. I don’t mean to shout.

The good news is that you can eventually cure this by paying an exhorbitant amount to get it to appear on the first page where people can see it, so they can click on it. Then it will become relevant enough to Google so that they will not have to charge you so much anymore. That is, after you’ve paid them whatever they want for however long they tell you to. They’ll be the judge of that.

Another way to go: practice yoga, and let the material world go. Or take a few deep breaths and redirect your attention to building organic (unpaid) traffic. You may think I’ve got an ax to grind by the second recommendation since it’s what we do. That would be hard to deny.

Ommmmmmmmmm…

22Jul/10Off

Think like a Google

You haven’t found me blogging much lately. For a while now, I’ve been determined to avoid falling into the annoying company of those who blog on a schedule rather than when they come across a fresh insight or other useful revelation.

But then the phone rang a few minutes ago. I found myself listening to a robotic (though admittedly fetchingly feminine) voice urging me to stay on the  line. She proposed that I press One, which would not only extend our conversation but also give me the lowdown on how it was that she could guarantee a low-cost way to get my website “onto Google’s first page”.

Now it may be possible that since she is a robot and Google is a robot, the two of them have cooked up something that can make this improbable promise come true, but I doubt it(so I pressed Two).

This was not the first pitch for Googlic domination I’ve been subjected to this week…nor, if you receive a normal volume of e-spam, would it have been the first for you. Large amounts of otherwise productive time are being lavished in pursuit of high placement on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), because they are in fact the virtual equivalents of “location location location” for brick-and-mortar outlets (á la March’s rant).

Since claiming a URL costs a tiny fraction of renting a retail storefront, and since outfitting an actual store is likewise much more expensive than developing a website, the inevitable downside is what MBAs call a low Barrier to Entry. In other words, overwhelming competition. The reality is exactly that: since anybody can afford to go into virtual business, most of them have.

Into this daunting competitive thicket go all of us, at first optimistically hoping to find a piece of web engineering trickery that will yield bigtime Google placement. If there ever were such a simplistic fix, it didn’t last for long.  We know this because we have learned to think like a Google.

Googles are busy busy robots. Always in a hurry to finish one job and get onto the next, there aren’t enough hours in the day for them to get everything done. But that doesn’t mean they are sloppy or likely to skip over important details. But perhaps because so many SEO (search engine optimization) experts have tried to trick them, they have become somewhat mistrustful. When you think like a Google, you find yourself becoming downright suspicious.

Take, for instance, meta tags. When you whiz through a page while pretending you’re a Google, you learn to ignore just about everything jammed into those meta tags unless they relate to what’s actually on the page. You start to figure they’re put there to keep you from checking out the real deal…what a human reader sees when s/he looks at the actual page.

When you think like a Google, you  begin to actually resent pages that promise keyword riches in its meta tags, then neglects them on the actual page. Or has repetitious keyword jumbles all over the place. Or the exact same information you ran into a year ago on a thousand other pages, or phrases that any English-speaker would find unnatural, or anything else that seems out of place to a human being.

The thing is, thinking like a Google means resenting those who evidently assume you as a Google are less than human. It also can make you angry, judgmental, and even make you want to penalize somebody.

By the way, in case you actually are a real Google, I guess you know how the penalizing thing works.

-Your Human Friend,

Mitch
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22Feb/10Off

Linking for Dromedaries

The above title may be a cheap trick , but it’s there for three important reasons. They will be fully explored in a moment, but first it’s time to disclose something of a trade secret:

It’s a thought that is discouraged by our Private Label Rights brethren and sistren. It has to do with the theme that PLR providers (as well as hucksters) are forever harping upon — namely PLR’s core value:  the importance of fresh, relevant content to any web traffic-building campaign.

 Web content is just about the most important aspect of building your web site’s traffic!”, we will say.    Or,

It’s near the top of any list,” we will say.

If you come across these sales points when your eyes are bleary (probably from reading so many conflicting opinions about Search Engine Optimization strategies), you might just nod and read on instead of leaping to the implied follow-up question, “Uh…then what’s at the top of the list? What’s that most important aspect?”

Admitting this may be close to apostasy in the Private Label Rights community, but here it is, anyway: linking, not content, is what’s  most valuable. Linking to quality sites in your keyword universe will move your site toward the top of the SERPs more quickly and more reliably than anything else. And maybe even keep it there for a good long time!

So why wouldn’t every sophisticated web entrepreneur just concentrate on link-building and forget about coming up with fresh content [by subscribing to a PLR resource like ours at PLRHeadquarters]?

First, wrangling links to quality partners takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, and also doesn’t get you anywhere if the site you’re building isn’t worth visiting in the first place. Google and Bing! and Yahoo Search have campuses fully-manned with pocket-protectored software folks using megacomputers to keep on top of that determination. If your site is static, they’re going to notice.

Second, quality link partners decide whether to link to you after they’ve checked out your site’s content. If they’re true quality sites, they’ll check back, too – and more than once. They’ll drop you faster than a Texas hailstone if you let your site go stale.

Last –and we owe the blog at linksmanager.com a nod for this–:

“Never forget: The search engines are trending the rate at which you obtain links, so slow and steady beats fast and furious.” [our emphasis added]

In other words, effort over time works: blasting away in a hurry looks like what it is: a short-lived stab at popularity. In all cases, even while you’re tending to all the parts of the equation that will bring SEO success, the one foundation component that has to be there and has to be changing is your content. Either hire those writers, do it yourself (and abandon everything else you should be doing), or subscribe to a service that does what PLRHeadquarters does.

Now, back to the beginning: why is this entry called “Linking for Dromedaries”?  Again, there are multiple reasons. First, “Linking for Dummies” is not only already taken, but it’s derivative and, frankly, just not original enough. Second, dromedaries are quite fascinating animals with a name you don’t see every day. At least not nearly as often as ‘camels’. Third, it got you reading and you’re still reading, so it proves the point that amusing and interesting content tends to get and hold readership. You might say it gets you over the hump.

(Then again, it might be better if you didn’t.)
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