Blogging

Getting the consumer to act on your website!

By Colleen Kulikowski

Virtual Results is happy to present a new blog series of Tips and Techniques for your WordPress Real Estate Site. This post comes from one of our newer members Colleen Kulikowski, who is a successful Realtor and real estate blogger in Buffalo, NY. Colleen has years of experience blogging on her real estate sites and has been successful at getting many buyers and sellers from those efforts. For ongoing discussion and additional insights, Virtual Results members should access our private Real Estate Facebook group. Apply for group membership by emailing support@virtualresults.net with your facebook email address.

Improving your Conversion

On your website, there needs to be a variety of  Calls to Action to get home buyers, sellers and investors to call, click, or self-identify or just to look at properties.   There are several types of Calls to Action you can have on your site.  Big or small, they play a huge part of the conversion on your website from viewer to prospect to client.  However, as client interaction isn’t an exact science, you may need to experiment until you get it just right. Here are a few of the most popular types of Calls To Action

Text

The simplest way to call the reader to action is via the text you use.  These calls to action are simple.   They are a sentence in your text asking the reader to call you for more information.  For example:  Call “Your Name” for more information at (xxx) xxx-xxxx.

Links

Links can be considered Calls to Action, as they entice the reader to click to do something.   Much like we discussed in our how to make your posts sticky, these links direct consumers to read more.   Keeping them on your website longer and creating the raving fans you desire!

Buttons/Graphics

Your Virtual Results site has many buttons or graphics that call the reader to action.  Buttons have a higher conversion rate than text or links if they are done right (bright colors, attention grabbing phrases, etc).   They do not have to be sexy, they just have to provide a compelling reason for the consumer to click on them.

Besides the buttons on your website, you might like to try a call to action on a page directed at home sellers like this:

calltoactionIt is simple, direct and when I use it, site visitors click on it to get more information about selling their home.  I even get phone calls as a result.   One important thing to remember when creating Calls to Action: Expectation is Everything. Make sure your call to action links to a page that contains the content they expected to see based on the wording of the Call to Action.

Can there be too much on a page?

Like most things in life, there can be too much of a good thing.  Consumers can be overloaded with too many choices.  You will want to make sure you utilize your Calls to Action strategically.   A busy page will have a negative effect on the consumer.   Consumers are more comfortable making a decisions with limited choices. It doesn’t hurt if you experiment with a Call to Action on your website.   Like all things with your site,  you will discover what works through trial and error. You may need more try different styles, phrases and locations before you find the one that works for your site.

This post comes from one of our members Colleen Kulikowski, who is a successful Realtor and real estate blogger in Buffalo, NY. Colleen has years of experience blogging on her real estate sites and has been successful at getting many buyers and sellers from those efforts. For ongoing discussion and additional insights, Virtual Results members should access our private Real Estate Facebook group.   Apply for group membership by emailing support@virtualresults.net with your facebook email address.

 

 

Make Your Posts Sticky to Retain Website Visitors

By Colleen Kulikowski

Virtual Results is happy to present a new blog series of Tips and Techniques for your WordPress Real Estate Site. This post comes from one of our newer members Colleen Kulikowski, who is a successful Realtor and real estate blogger in Buffalo, NY. Colleen has years of experience blogging on her real estate sites and has been successful at getting many buyers and sellers from those efforts. For ongoing discussion and additional insights, Virtual Results members should access our private Real Estate Facebook group. Apply for group membership by emailing support@virtualresults.net with your facebook email address.

shutterstock_102628259Sticky Posts Means People Stay on Your Website Longer

By Colleen Kulikowski

You have some content on your site and you are not seeing a lot of traffic, and little conversion on your contact forms.   You can’t figure out why you do not have more traffic and leads.   Well it is simple, you need to make your blog posts sticky.   Regularly, I have agents ask my why I get so many registrations on my website and how I make my phone ring.   The answer lies in my sticky posts that keep people reading and building a confidence in my abilities as a Realtor.

“Sticky?” you ask, what does that have to do with more leads?   It has everything to do with getting your site more visitors and over time more leads.  This is an investment in the future!

It All Begins with the Post

Making a post sticky is really simple process.   You start with a well written post.   Something that a consumer wants to read is timely and is not overly contrived with SEO tricks.   I find that always having something for them to click makes a post very successful on a site.   Don’t forget to add a group of listings that relate to the article in some way, even is a group of properties that you like.    You probably are doing these things, but what really makes a difference on your site is links — both Internal and External.   Links are the simple to create, and done well will serve you well over time.

Internal vs External Links

insert_link

There are two types of links you will place in a blog post — internal and external.   They are both created the same way and the difference is as easy as their description.  Internal links are links that you link in your website.   External links to a site other than yours.  To create a link, select the text you wish to place a link, select the link button and insert the link.

A post that has 250-300 words should have 3 internal and 2 external links.     A good rule of thumb, the first link should link to another post or page on your website and then alternate between the internal and external links.

Why you ask?   Well consumers can’t resist clicking on those links and the search engines like to see that you recognize good content and that you have additional content on the subject you are discussing.   As a result, you want to have them stay on your site and relevant links will do that.   Don’t just place any link in, make sure it is relevant to what you are writing about.

Is It Too Late To Add Links?

I can hear the questions that you are thinking, you have an existing blog with 20, 30 or more posts.   Did I miss out when I didn’t put the links into my posts?   It is never to late to go back and update your posts.   I regularly look back at posts and add links, then bring it forward when I am looking for some new content to share on my site because I am too busy working with clients at the moment.   As you build content, there will be times you will think back to previous content.   That is a good thing, your Blog is ever evolving and will grow as you do.

This post comes from one of our members Colleen Kulikowski, who is a successful Realtor and real estate blogger in Buffalo, NY. Colleen has years of experience blogging on her real estate sites and has been successful at getting many buyers and sellers from those efforts. For ongoing discussion and additional insights, Virtual Results members should access our private Real Estate Facebook group.   Apply for group membership by emailing support@virtualresults.net with your facebook email address.

 

Three Types of Posts You Need on Your Real Estate Website

By Colleen Kulikowski

Virtual Results is happy to present a new blog series of Tips and Techniques for your WordPress Real Estate Site. This post comes from one of our newer members Colleen Kulikowski, who is a successful Realtor and real estate blogger in Buffalo, NY. Colleen has years of experience blogging on her real estate sites and has been successful at getting many buyers and sellers from those efforts. For ongoing discussion and additional insights, Virtual Results members should access our private Real Estate Facebook group. Apply for group membership by emailing support@virtualresults.net with your facebook email address.

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Here Are Three Types of Posts That You Should Write

By Colleen Kulikowski

Right now, I have over 2,000 blog posts over several of my websites.   Recently, I shared the foundation of those sites is is my Market Reports.   I find that at times it is helpful to have a great variety of posts on your site.   This time of year you have a lot going on and some great topics can be timely for many buyers.

Answer Those Questions

In many areas, parents are looking for homes now because the school year is ending and they want to be moved and settled by the time the school year starts in the fall.   You also have parents looking to purchase a home or condo for a college bound student and parents faced with an empty nest thinking about down sizing.

Families come in all shape and sizes, and they all need information on buying and selling homes.  They are first time home buyers, move-up buyers, down sizing, they may be relocating or investing.   They have lots of questions, these questions are a wealth of topics for you to write about on your site.

Use Thought Provoking Titles

Title a post in the form of a question and in the post answer that specific question.   Great questions include:

  • Should I stay in my current home or move up?
  • Are there any grants for my community?
  • How can I help my parents stay in their home as they age?
  • How can I reduce the anxiety of our move on our kids?
  • Should I purchase a condo/home or have my child go into the dorms?
  • What are the pros/cons to purchasing a condo for my college bound student?
  • What should I know about buying a home while selling my current home?
  • How safe is that neighborhood?  –Now before you have a heart attack about Fair Housing, I have a post titled that and in it I share every resource that they can research that question along with an explanation why I cannot answer that question.

A great source for these questions, are the Q&A on Trulia.com or Zillow.com’s Advice tabs.    I like to answer the questions on Trulia, because I can place a link to my answer on MY website.   If there is one consumer asking the question, you know that it is possible that they are starting to ask that question at Google.   And a post that it titled in the form of a question is more likely to rank when someone wants to know about the topic.   But be warned!   If you write about it – they will come.   Even after reworking a post that answered a question about Rent to Own, I get at least 2-3 phone calls from people that want to Rent to Own and are frustrated.   I can’t help them.   So learn from my experience.

Financing Topics

Another great series of topics that you should have on your site are focused on financing.   Consumers are confused and need help understanding the complexities of financing their home purchases.   But don’t forget to cover the following topics:

  • Types of Loans – Conventional, FHA, VA etc.
  • Credit Scores
  • What you need to bring to your mortgage professional
  • Alternative financing options
  • Grant programs available to your community

Investors and Commercial Real Estate

The last area you should consider writing about is what Investors are looking for.   But be warned, you may not want to work with Investors.   Especially those that just watched an infomercial where they can purchase homes for $10,000 and have them cash flow $900 a month.     Although, you may want to work with parent investors, looking to purchase a multi-family home for their child to live in while they are going to college.   You may want to write to the small mom and pop shops that may be looking for a new location.

Don’t forget to place a search in the bottom of each post you write!

This post comes from one of our members Colleen Kulikowski, who is a successful Realtor and real estate blogger in Buffalo, NY. Colleen has years of experience blogging on her real estate sites and has been successful at getting many buyers and sellers from those efforts. For ongoing discussion and additional insights, Virtual Results members should access our private Real Estate Facebook group. Apply for group membership by emailing support@virtualresults.net with your facebook email address.

Driving Traffic to your website with Market Reports

By Colleen Kulikowski

Virtual Results is happy to present a new blog series of Tips and Techniques for your WordPress Real Estate Site. This post comes from one of our newer members Colleen Kulikowski, who is a successful Realtor and real estate blogger in Buffalo, NY. Colleen has years of experience blogging on her real estate sites and has been successful at getting many buyers and sellers from those efforts. For ongoing discussion and additional insights, Virtual Results members should access our private Real Estate Facebook group. Apply for group membership by emailing support@virtualresults.net with your facebook email address. 

 

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Why I love Real Estate Market Reports

 

By Colleen Kulikowski

With a little planning you can drive significant traffic to your website.   Today, Market Reports are the backbone of my website.

Not sure where to start? I have been in your shoes wondering, “where am I going to start to build content for my site?” I get it!  It can be overwhelming to create effective posts.   You want a great real estate resource for potential home buyers and sellers. The good news is that good content doesn’t have to be complicated!

In July of 2006 I wrote my first post.   I labored for days on what I was going to first write about.  Once I decided on Market Reports, it took me a couple of hours to create a simple market report.   Today I maintain more than 80 market reports and each one takes me less than 5 minutes to update.

These market reports are some of the most popular posts on my site and they can be on yours too!  A small investment in time on your part can pay you big dividends in the future.

Market reports are simple to create and update.   Run some stats off of your MLS and publish.   Just remember to give credit and use a disclaimer if required.

To get you started, here is the format I use (see the live report here). Feel free to use it as a template.

The Real Estate Market Report Example starts below: 

 

Current Conditions – North Buffalo – Multi-family Conditions

May 12, 2013

  • There are 21 active listings with an average list price of $140,020 ranging from $59,900 to $289,900
  • There are 31 pending/under contract sales and in the past 30 days there has been 9 closed sales with an average sold price of $135,106 spending an average of 21 days on the market
  • Year to date there has been 30 closed sales with an average sold price of $127,958 spending an average of 36 days on the market
  • In 2012 there were 93 closed sales with an average sold price of $120,308 spending an average of 28 days on the market

Selection of Homes for Sale

2013-05-14_1017

(Insert a photo or IDX script here that links to you the homes in your area. An example is above)

Past Market Conditions 

 

March 19, 2013

  • There are 15 active listings with an average list price of $127,445 ranging from $55,000 to $179,900
  • There are 26 pending/under contract sales and in the past 30 days there has been 2 closed sales with an average sold price of $99,500 spending an average of 14 days on the market
  • Year to date there has been 15 closed sales with an average sold price of $167,653 spending an average of 37 days on the market
  • In 2012 there were 93 closed sales with an average sold price of $120,308 spending an average of 28 days on the market

February 20, 2013

  • There are 10 active listings with an average list price of $147,387 ranging from $64,900 to $229,900
  • There are 26 pending/under contract sales and in the past 30 days there has been 5 closed sales with an average sold price of $161,480 spending an average of 51 days on the market
  • Year to date there has been 12 closed sales with an average sold price of $119,748 spending an average of 36 days on the market
  • In 2012 there were 93 closed sales with an average sold price of $120,308 spending an average of 28 days on the market

For more information call YOUR NAME HERE

(888)-Your-Phone 

*Add any required disclaimers!  

The Real Estate Market Report Example ends here.  

 

Don’t be afraid to come up with your own market reports.  My report above may not work for you.   Just remember it should be easy to compile the details so you are not spending hours producing the report.   You may run reports at the zip code level, price level, county, or subdivision.  You may write one for the City, and have other market reports for the city by price point.    You may choose to report sales by number of bedrooms, or the square footage.   There is no right or wrong choice, just be consistent in your reporting.

Market reports over time build credibility for you that you know what is going on in the market.  On the upside, you actually know what is going on in the market and can see trends as they happen.   Often because I am looking closely at the numbers, I can speak naturally about what is going on in the market.  I also use these stats in a community mailer that I do into specific neighborhoods.  These reports have a specific URL that I point directly to the online version of the Market Report.

Google likes the market reports because they are updated on a regular basis and are modified on a regular basis.   By placing IDX search scripts or links on these reports you give dynamic and relevant content to Google and users!

Wondering if you should try to create a market report? What do you have to lose?   Get started with Market Reports today and build not only content for your site, but knowledge to help you with your business.   It sounds like a win/win for you!

 

This post comes from one of our newer members Colleen Kulikowski, who is a successful Realtor and real estate blogger in Buffalo, NY. Colleen has years of experience blogging on her real estate sites and has been successful at getting many buyers and sellers from those efforts. For ongoing discussion and additional insights, Virtual Results members should access our private Real Estate Facebook group. Apply for group membership by emailing support@virtualresults.net with your facebook email address. 

Editor’s note: Popularity of this post inspired Virtual Results to host a Webinar on the same topic. We’ll post the video below when it becomes available. But the best news is that several members took action and posted their own local market reports – some for the first time! Member examples include Janis Borgueta’s Town of Newburgh NY Real Estate Market Report and Angela Morsa’s Current Market Conditions for Blue Bell 19422 – great work everyone!

 

 

 

Exciting New Feature: The NEW Admin Menu

By Leah Marks

A Brand New Layout for the Virtual Results Admin Menu!
NewAdminMenu

From new features to new themes to new services, Virtual Results is always looking for ways to keep their sites on the cutting edge. So we have decided to start off 2013 with a bang!

Introducing an Exciting New Feature: The new Admin Menu!!
Throughout the next week, VR will be activating a brand new upgraded Admin Menu to your dashboard! This new admin menu is sleek and clean with additional integrated functionality, such as direct access to your IDX, Market Stats and Email Marketing accounts, training webinars and our continually growing support center.

Here are some of the improvements to our new Admin Menu:

  • Accessing our Support Center

The Virtual Results Support Center is constantly growing and contains wonderful tutorials, webinars and articles that will help you manage your site and its content. Now you can access our support center directly from your dashboard. Learn how to add items to your menu, create new content, utilize SEO plugins, edit your sidebar and footer, activate more features, tools, and so much more!

  • Using your Complementary Accounts

There are so many wonderful features that come with your Virtual Results account. We have set up a direct link to some your complementary control panels, such as your IDX dashboard and Altos Research login. For example, your Altos Research account is more than dynamic charts. It also provides branded statistical reports and full market analysis, lead capture tools, branded marketing, and one-on-one coaching. Yet many people never get around to using these tools. We hope the new design will inspire you to take a more proactive look at all the services that come with your site.

  • Managing Your Content and Understanding Your Settings

With our new layout, you will find it much easier to manage your content and settings. Everything is organized and simplified, making it easier for you to find and manage the tools and features that come with your Virtual Results website. For those users who have been more proactive in managing your site, these changes will allow you to maneuver more easily and rapidly. For those of you just starting out, it’s never been easier to learn! This is a great time to learn how to add and manage content, and how to fully exploit the valuable lead generating tools that come with your Virtual Results account.

  • Introduction to the New Admin Menu Live Webinars

Ready to learn more? Great, because it’s time to explore your new Admin Menu. These 30 minute sessions will include a short walk through of your new admin menu and a Q&A session with Leah Marks, WordPress expert and Customer Support Manager. There are three sessions scheduled for your convenience, listed below. Register Now!

 

Monday, January 21 – 12pm (PST)/ 3pm (EST) – Click Here to Register

Thursday, January 24 – 10am (PST)/1pm (EST) – Click Here to Register

Friday, January 25 – 2pm (PST)/ 5pm (EST) – Click Here to Register

Syndicating ActiveRain Blog Posts to Your WordPress.org Blog

By Drew Meyers

You all likely know we recommend that your own website should be the hub of your online efforts, and that you should spend the majority of the time you spend writing content writing content on YOUR DOMAIN. Not someone else’s.

ActiveRain, which is a popular blogging platform for real estate professionals, is not an environment you control. But of course, there are benefits to writing on another platform with a built in audience – you are just sacrificing some of the long term benefit of content creation for the short term benefits of a built in audience. For more reading on this issue, head over the Phoenix Real Estate Guy and read Jay Thompson’s post.

However, there is an inbetween ground for those who REALLY want to just keep contributing to ActiveRain and still build content on your own domain name at the same time. You can use the FeedWordPress plugin to automatically pull in your Active Rain posts to your own WordPress.org blog. I personally implemented this approach on Spencer Rascoff’s blog (he’s the CEO of Zillow, my former employer). The steps to doing so are pretty simple:

  1. Install the FeedWordPress plugin and activate it
  2. Grab your ActiveRain RSS feed (for example, mine is feed://drewmeyers.activerain.com/rss)
  3. Navigate to your FeedWordPress settings, and add your RSS feed as a new syndication source.
  4. You’ll end up with posts like this that get automatically created whenever you publish new posts on ActiveRain.

One of downsides to this approach is that photos still sit on ActiveRain servers – so there’s always the potential that you’ll lose them all if ActiveRain decides to not let people export images. Of course, it’s also duplicate content, so you’re not going to get credit for unique content on your domain (which is one of the primary ways to attract organic SEO traffic). Questions? Leave them in the comments.

If you just want to export all your content instead and start devoting the majority of your time to writing on your own website? Let us know, we can help. And if you need a WordPress website/blog, of course we can help with that too.

The CoRE is Back (officially Carnival #177)!!

By Drew Meyers

After a 5 month hiatus, the Carnival of Real Estate is back, and I’m thrilled to be able to host the first edition of the revitalized Carnival of Real Estate (aka CoRE)! I´ve had a long history since helping found the CoRE while at Zillow in July of 2006; it´s safe to say the CoRE will always have a special place with me given the immense amount of time I´ve spent with it over the past 4 years. When Jay published his vision for the rebirth of the Carnival, I immediately emailed him and told him I’d volunteer to host — and here we are.

With this edition of the revitalized CoRE, I’m going to highlight the best of the best from the submissions I received over the past month. There were a few spam submissions, which I obviously excluded, and also legitimate submissions omitted from this in favor of showcasing the best content out there. I´m going to deviate from the norm a bit and publish the “best of the rest” first, then reveal the Bronze, Silver, and finally the Gold Medal winner at the very end of the post. And please, please accept my sincere apologies for not coming up with a more creative theme — my creative juices are just not flowing right now. Without further adiea so as not to waste your valuable internet time, here we go with the best of the rest:

Dano Sayles’ South Maui luxury market snapshot & 3 homes you dream of buying at Dano Sayles Luxury Real Estate. I like the fact that Dano kept this post relatively short, but packed it with great market data on the Maui luxury market. Anyone looking at purchasing in the his area would find this post extremely valuable.

Geordie Romer guested posted on HyperLocalBlogger with “Using Facebook to Promote a Local Blog“. Having a Facebook presence is not an option, it´s a requirement now that FB has over 500 million users. Geordie is a real estate agent I really respect when it comes to an online presence, so his advice should be listened to.

Ken Brand’s “Are you kidding? Are you on drugs? Taking over priced listings?” on Agent Genius is a lesson for all of you trying to figure out how to attract comments on your blog, his post has 43 thus far…and counting. The lesson: have an opinion on a controversial topic!!

My former co-worker Stan Humphries makes the list with June Data Shows Markets Continuing to Limp Toward Stability; Hoping We Won?t Fall Back Down the Stairs After Losing Our Crutches at the Zillow Blog. Stan is one of the brightest people I know and gives a very thorough analysis of the state of the overall real estate market nationwide.

Karen Goodman presents Who are the Top Real Estate Agents in St. Louis? posted at Arch City Homes. The data behind the topic of market share of listings in a particular geography really surprised me — but I won´t give away the secret, you´ll have to head over and check her post out to find out for yourself.

Of course, it should come as no surprise that Kris Berg has another gem — Making an example of myself: What matters when preparing your home for sale at San Diego Home Blog. It’s simply impossible to leave Kris out of a CoRE highlighting the best writing — I still don’t know how she writes post after post after post after post at such a high quality level.

Now, on to the winners of this month´s CoRE!

Bronze: Aaron Dickinson´s The Difference Between Foreclosures (Bank Owned) and Short Sales at Twin Cities Real Estate Blog takes the Silver this month. This post doesn´t have a lot of voice in it, which usually is what draws me in, but it is a great example of using a table format to get across an important topic. In this case, Aaron details the differences between forclosures and short sales in a digestible format. Aaron even made a PDF for those of his readers who wants to download the analysis.

Silver: Dan Green has won his fair share of carnival, and comes close again with his FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums To Rise In October : Should You Act Now, Or Should You Wait? posted at The Mortgage Reports. He successfully explains FHA mortgage premiums for consumers in a way that doesn’t make it seem boring and complex (both adjectives of which come to mind when I think of anything related to mortgages). Dan is truly one of the best at simplifying — also known as “dumbing down” — complex topics.

Gold: And the Gold medal winner is — Rob Leroy for his 5 Fun Facts About Short Sales and REOs over at The Real Estate Novelist! I like the voice in his writing — he makes a topic I personally have no interest in whatsoever entertaining and interesting. My friend went through the short sale process a few months ago, and I heard all about every issue Rob mentions, such as the fact that a short sale is anything but “short” (my friend´s took months and months and months).

And that’s a wrap — it goes without saying that I look forward to hosting another CoRE sometime in the future!

The extremely talented Kris Berg will be hosting the next CoRE at the San Diego Home Blog at the end of September. Stay tuned for further details at the Carnival of Real Estate!

Reminder – The Carnival of Real Estate is Making a Comeback August 31st

By Drew Meyers

I managed the Carnival of Real Estate from when it was founded back in 2006 up until sometime in 2008, and it will always hold a special place in my heart. The CoRE was started to be a means to discover great blog content from the RE.net. It’s certainly had its ups and downs over the past few years (and has been out of commission for the last few months) — but I’m excited it’s making a comeback as a monthly rather than weekly carnival. And I’m certainly excited to be able to write the first monthly edition right here on Virtual Results!

Please remember to submit your best post of the month by August 25th (if you’re a day or two late, don’t worry about it)!

Tune in right here on August 31st for the comeback of the Carnival of Real Estate!

Flattered to be mentioned in “Life by Design”-Tom Ferrys new book.

By Jim Marks

header_left_home_bgJust thought it was a really cool gesture of Tom Ferry to mention me in his new book “Life by Design.” First to acknowlege me at all… I have learned as much as I have taught.

Secondly, to be surrounded in text by THESE NAMES… was simply surreal. I know and respect each one of these individuals as great coaches, motivators and writers… I am truly humbled to be included.

Here is the acknowlegement:

I want to thank all the people who have assisted, coached, and
consulted with me over the last twenty years. Each of you have made
such an indelible impact on my life; the late Jim Rohn, Mike Vance,
Ron Arden, Theresa Jabbour, Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Jim Marks,
Gary Vaynerchuk, T. Harv Eker, and Mark Victor Hansen. These are
just a few of the inspirational leaders who helped me learn, grow, and
become a better coach.

BTW, the book absolutely rocks, and is timely as all hell.. If this business climate, or life in general has you second guessing yourself, read this book. It is a shot of inspiration.

Blog Post SEO – How to Make an Individual Blog Post Rank Highly

By Drew Meyers

Writing a blog post with the goal of ranking for a specific keyword and don’t know how to maximize the chances (note I didn’t say GUARANTEE) that the post will rank for your desired keywords? Again, since I’m not a real estate agent, I’m a little different in the way I approach blogging — at least on my personal blog — due to not making a living from the people I attract to my blog. I’m not trying to sell anything, don’t make money on advertising, or hope to convince people to hire me as a consultant. Therefore, I really don’t think about SEO that much when I when I write on my personal blog aside from the title of the post and the links/anchor text I place in my post. But that said, I thought a lot about SEO during my time at Zillow and have successfully gotten individual articles to rank extremely well for desired keywords on Geek Estate Blog and Zillow Blog. For instance, do a Google search for “real estate website providers” and you’ll see my blog post #1 on that list. So, here’s the way I approach posts that I’m specifically trying to make rank well for desired keywords:

1. Pick the keywords you want to go after. Let’s use “condos for sale in Queen Anne” as an example. For those who don’t know, Queen Anne is the neighborhood where I used to live in Seattle.

2. Make sure to include your desired keyword in the title of you blog post. This is the single most important thing you can do. If you don’t do ANYTHING else mentioned in this post, make sure you at least put your desired keywords in the title. You can certainly still rank without doing this, but you’re going to have to go through unnecessary hurdles and spend extra effort to get there. For the example of “condos for sale in Queen Anne”, I would consider post titles such as “Great Deals on Condos for Sale in Queen Anne” or “Latest Queen Anne Condos for Sale”

3. Write a GREAT post with relevant information, a good voice, and unique content that would interest the exact type of person you hope to attract to your blog. Content is still king in my opinion. In the “Condos for sale in Queen Anne” example, one piece of content that should be available in that post should be — you guessed it, actual condos for sale in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. If you use a company such as Diverse Solutions, this is easy with their new dsIDXPress WP Plugin. But make sure to include additional unique content to your post, as condo listings are not unique to your blog.

4. Include your desired keywords at least twice in your article. This is just common sense — if an entire page is devoted to a specific topic such as “condos for sale in Queen Anne”, a Search Engine such as Google would expect to see that topic mentioned in the blog post several times just as you would if you were listening to your friend tell you about condos in person.

5. Do some link building with domains and pages your control, making sure to use your keywords in the  anchor text of all of those links. Add a link to your blog’s sidebar with your desired keywords as the anchor text. Go back and edit other specific blog posts you’ve written which pertain to the topic your current blog post addresses (in this case, “condos for sale in Queen Anne”). Add links to your post from a few of your profile pages on sites such as Zillow and Linkedin. If you own multiple domain names, then add links to your post from all of your domains.

6. Promote your blog post. Email a few of your friends who write related blogs and see if you can get them to pick up the story, and of course link to your specific article if they choose to write about it. I wrote a whole post on this topic, so I won’t bore you with the details again.

7. Continually repeat steps 5 and 6. Don’t think that just because you spent a week or two trying to get a post to rank without success means you should give up. Every time you write a post on your blog in the future somewhat related to “condos for sale in Queen Anne”, make sure to link to your Queen Anne condos post. It can take weeks or months, depending on how competitive the keyword is, to get a post to rank highly.

And there you have it – my tips to getting a post to rank well for a desired keyword. Have you had success ranking individual blog posts highly for long tail keywords? If so, what have you done?