Hat tip to Matt McGee for bringing this to my attention, but I have long thought that real estate agents and brokers were getting bad SEO advice. Specifically, an article on the National Association of Realtors’ website tells real estate agents what to do, but I wouldn’t trust it completely.
In a nutshell, the article encourages real estate agents to focus on one task per week, then in six week’s time they will be on their way to increased Web visibility. That’s not bad advice. In fact, I agree with it. It’s when the article gets into the nitty gritty details that there is a problem.
The six tasks recommended by NAR are these:
- Writer better page titles
- Broadcast your links
- Use keywords generously
- Reword outgoing links
- Develop a site map
- Tweet about it
OK, the truth? That’s a mediocre list. Not great. Not bad. Just so-so. There are other things I’d recommend for SEO. I mean, for example, Twitter is a great marketing tool. As you know, I use it. But for SEO, I wouldn’t recommend it. I’d rather see you start a blog or list your website in local directories. That makes more sense from an SEO perspective.
The advice the NAR gives on page titles isn’t bad, but it leaves the impression that you can have the same page title on all of your Web pages. And I’ve seen real estate websites that do that. That’s a big no-no. You want to make sure all of your Web pages have separate and individual page titles.
I like what Matt McGee had to say about NARs blog comment advice:
Commenting on blogs can help with exposure, but it’s not a “campaign” and isn’t likely to make a search engine think your site is trustworthy, either. Worse, it’s something that too many people overdo and get wrong. A lot of real estate agents dropping links on each other’s blogs only adds to the perception that the entire industry is one big spam-fest.
I completely agree with Matt on that point. Blog comments are good for getting you exposure, but remember that you are really just exposing yourself to readers of other real estate blogs. If they’re not local blogs, those blog comments are real low value for you.
Ditto on Matt’s keyword density advice. Keyword density has been bad SEO advice for almost ten years.
On outgoing links, NARs advice is partially good. In terms of SEO, outgoing links do provide a little extra keyword nutrition for your site, but only in moderation. You are really helping the other site more than your own, so ask yourself this question: Am I linking out to my competition? If so, then don’t use the best anchor text. A non-keyword related phrase would be better. Even better than that, however, is not to link to the competition. Sometimes, a call to action that is not keyword-specific can get you a click through. Affiliate links, for instance – what’s more important, ensuring you help your affiliates SEO their website or ensuring you get a click through and a sale? (See the “I use it” link above as an example.)
If you are a real estate agent, your best bet is to focus on local SEO. Period. NARs advice seems more pertinent for global SEO, but I know of few real estate agents that operate on any basis other than local. When you’re ready for solid local real estate SEO advice, your best bet is to go with someone who is an SEO and Internet marketing speicalist.