PLRHeadquarters Blog Mitch Claymore's Private Label Rights weblog


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 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.


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…


S.O.S.! Save Our Site!

Our tanker was a day off of Cape Farewell, steaming toward the Maritimes and straight into the mouth of an early spring gale – the kind the North Atlantic is unpleasantly famous for –- when the radio began to splutter the faint but unmistakable code that reads distress in any language: “S.O.S


Okay – we might be overdramatizing a bit.  Maybe most of the time we aren’t really anywhere near the Maritimes when the S.O.S. arrives (although the distress part rings true enough). Actually, we’re usually at our desk checking the email.

Although it is technically correct that we PLR (private label rights) providers don’t have a Code of the Sea (or even the P.C.), it is a fact that we will do our best to come to the rescue. But it would be better for everyone if the Mayday!s could be avoided in the first place.

S.O.S. (Save Our Site!) situations are often the result of neglect, absent-mindedness, and/or misinformation. When someone puts up their website in the first place, they usually inject a great deal of thought (and often budget) into its creation. Then wait for something to happen. Whether anything good happens as time passes has a thousand variations — but eventually, whether successful or not, a sort of settling tends to happen.

And the direction of almost all ‘settling’ tends to be downward.

Neglect and absent-mindedness is common because of the misinformation. The misinformation is that time alone is an internet ally, since trust and traffic build after you’ve been around long enough to establish that you are not one of the fly-by-night kind of operations. This is just about precisely half true.

True, people and search engines sometimes reward longevity, but only the kind that they’re looking for. If you have a site that has been rock solid since 1999, hasn’t changed a whit since then, Google may decide that the rock in question is a tombstone. Most of their customers (and yours) are interested in finding outfits that are actively doing business with living breathing human beings. That’s why it’s a necessity to inject a steady stream of fresh and relevant new content on a regular basis via dedicated blogging, dedicated creative staff research, or (more efficiently) canny use of the right PLR articles.

When those Save Our Site! calls come in, they’re almost always due to a period of neglect — failure to man the bridge. Suddenly the alarm sounds because inattention has caused everything to drift off course which threatens to dash the company website vessel onto yawning shoals of…well, seldom onto yawning shoals of coral.


More often, just shoals of yawning.
- Mitch
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The Oscars, PLR, and box-office magic!

Why anyone other than a film historian would continue to punish himself by watching the entire Oscarcast year after year is often cited as one of life’s minor mysteries. Year after year, critics and the public at large wind up agreeing: Too long! Too boring! Too few bright moments!  Yet even in off-years, the size of the audience is massive.

I, for one, have to watch in order to keep tabs on the commercials. Like the Superbowl, the Academy Awards show is an occasion for Madison Avenue’s media creatives to capitalize on the outsized viewing audience by displaying their shiniest new wares. Last night’s sampling lacked the usual luster, but I hung on to the bitter end. And last night I’ll admit to also being drawn by the cliff-hanger about whether history’s highest grossing Best Picture nominee (Avatar) would be able to overcome the dramatic intensity of history’s lowest grossing Best Picture nominee (Hurt Locker), and either way, how the respective Best Director nominees, ex-husband- and ex-wife, would handle the excruciating on-camera announcement moment. As it turned out, both handled HL’s win with yawn-provoking grace.

Like clockwork, the overnight ratings confirm that an outsized viewing audience was again in attendance. It used to be assumed that the simple explanation was the drawing power of the planet’s most glamorous stars, but for about a decade that hasn’t made any sense. These celebrities are available on the tube 24-7-365, plugging their latest project on talk shows morning noon and night. So if not star power, how to explain?

I think the answer is the same as it is for the Super Bowl (indeed, to greater or lesser degree, sportscasts of all kinds). The same answer that draws huge numbers to the reality shows.

It’s the allure of content that’s fresh – but more than just fresh – unpredictably fresh.

Traditional theatrical television series are at a disadvantage in this department to an extent that is all but threatening the very survival of their species. The problem is that no matter how superbly written and produced, we all know that the dramatic hero will survive in the end because like their comedic sitcom star colleagues, they have to return for next week’s episode.

That bottom-line predictability is fundamentally unlike the sports team that may at any moment fail or succeed to win the day, or the reality contestant who might get voted off the island/dance to victory/get fired. Since we never know, we have to watch, don’t we?

PLR’s principal contribution is to tap into that same human response.  A web site that succeeds in answering a search query provides answers or information that was not known to the seeker. It was important for that moment, but once the answer is known, the site will lose its drawing power unless it also holds out the promise that it will in future dependably provide more new and otherwise unpredictable information  Even more powerfully, if the site is prominently changing every week, responding to changing conditions in its area of interest, visitors will be impelled to revisit to see if new trends have surfaced, possibly answering questions that he or she could not have anticipated. In even the most superbly-designed static website, the unpredictability factor is null and void.

In a site where a new headline seems to pop out every time you visit, the unpredictability factor screams, ‘Bookmark me! Don’t forget!” In Hollywood terms, PLR can be sheer box office magic.

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