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Real Estate Blogging And Search Engines - The News Source Theory

I have a theory about the effectiveness of our blogging that is supported as I look for its effect in the search engines (read: Google).

Regular Blogging + Core Focus + Ping = News Source Recognition in Google.

Google-Times copyI have to maintain that this is a theory, because I am not in anyway claiming to have inside knowledge on Google's handling of blog content.  However, I can say that from personal experience, and from that of my clients, this theory consistently proves to be a convenient phenomenon.  So much so, that I know it can happen for you as well.

There is a dichotomy in the the world of real estate websites:
There are Real Estate websites that are generating natural traffic from the search engines and Real Estate websites that aren’t.

With blogging, there is an opportunity to be the former, if executed properly. 
I refer to the successful reach of a real estate blog in the search engines as being recognized as a news source, as opposed to simply being a resource.

A news source is a blog that has achieved a level of authority in the search engines to the point where whatever is published is suddenly recognized as news, and therefor given preferential exposure in the search engines. 

There are at least 2 opportunities to have this effect and reach in the search engines.
(You will find recent examples after the definitions)

1. Authority by Default
2. Authority by Focus

Authority by Default occurs when you publish an article on a particular topic where there is not enough competition online for the search engines to deem that others’ results are more authorative than your article.  If you are recognized as a sound, regular provider of content, and you post on something that is not already a popular topic, you can have surprisingly effective results.

Tipping_pointAuthority by Focus occurs when your site has reached the tipping point of recognition by the search engines as a competitive resource for the topics you cover most frequently.  The 'authority' where we have ‘tipped’ comes from the gross amount of content on topics such as: Blogging Advice, Real Estate Blogging Advice, Real Estate Blogging Topics, Real Estate Blogging Success, Real Estate Blogging 101 etc.  Whenever I publish articles that fall under the topics of authority I have established, they are sure to populate the search results, along with those articles I have written that are already there now.

Take these most recent examples as an illustration:

EX: Authority By Default
There is a newsworthy real estate event this August called Keller Williams Mega Camp.
I was asked by Gary Keller to guest speak and then I recently wrote a blog post about it.  Before I wrote the post, I did some research to see what kind of exposure the event had already garnered in the search engines and blogosphere search engines (Technorati and Google Blog Search).  I found that there were a few articles and some chatter about past year's events, but nothing too substantial with the exception of the Keller Williams Mega Camp website itself.

Within 12 hours of publishing, the article about about Keller Williams Mega Camp, the article already occupied the #2 result in Google for 'Mega Camp 2007'.

I don't know the exact moment that the article began to appear so competitively in the search results, but within 12 hours, is fair to say that this is the ability to 'Break News' on a topic.

EX: Authority By Focus
Teresa Boardman just recently posted an article to the Tomato called "The Real Estate Industry Does Not Understand Real Estate Blogs."

Later that same day, the content of that article was being picked up by Google, and positioned incredibly favorably (front page) for the search phrases: real estate industry blogs and real estate industry blogging.  Even though these terms are incredibly competitive (nearly 12 million results), because of the authority established by the Real Estate Tomato for such terms, we were able to penetrate the top of the charts almost instantly.

Appearing-serpsI recognize these phenomena as the ability to ‘break news’.  Appearing in the search results so quickly and competitively for the above scenarios is the equivalent of CNN or Fox News breaking a story online, and it being posted favorably in the search engines.

How do I see this working?  The formula from above:
Regular Blogging + Core Focus + Ping = News Source Recognition in Google.

Regular Blogging
Regular blogging is a huge part of the formula’s success.  Search engines are hungry for new content, and by producing it uniquely and regularly you are essentially becoming a regular stop for the SE’s to consume your offerings.  The more produce, the more they spider and index, the more reach and more positive results you achieve.

Related Article: How Often Should I Blog?

Core Focus
Your core focus helps you develop your authority.  The density of your keywords depends on the amount of content that you have created based around not only the words themselves, but the topics as well. 

Search engines aren’t just data collectors and organizers that don’t understand the relationship among words.  If you are blogging about real estate, search engines will recognize the relation of other common industry words such as listings, homes, agent, Realtor, house, property, mortgage, etc.  So by maintaining a core focus, and blogging about topics around and related to real estate, you are able to establish an authority on the general topic, hence giving you leverage with the related topics.

Why Am I Blogging?
6 Steps To Getting Started With A Business Blog
The Long Tail In Real Estate

PingoatPing (XML Ping)
Pinging is the ability to notify subscribers, other blogs, news sources, directories, search engines, search bots and other services that there is data to be accepted and processed from your site.  Some blogs have pinging tools built in, others have the ability to add a list of services that you would like to have pinged, and there are services like Pingoat that allow you to ping dozens of services with the click of the mouse.

Again, the above is just a theory, based on personal and client results.  Such quick and favorable exposure in the search engines is the result of something we do here and something we train to do.

Related Must Read:
The Real Power Of Blogging: The Search Engines Are Up For Grabs

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I am compiling a list (that is approaching its third page and promises to continue beyond that) of significant search terms where either http://www.LuxuryHomeDigest or our new mashup site (thanks Jason!), http://www.SanDiegoPreviews.com show up on Google page one.

Tomatoes know how to feed Google;-)

There is an element of the "authority" building that should be at least mentioned, if not included into the formula.

Inbound link authority is a huge part of the RET success in the SE's. We have currently 1,560 inbound links according to Google and 30,000+ inbound links as well as another 10,000+ to our fwd'd domain: www.realestatetomato.com, according to Yahoo.

These numbers establish a lot of authority over other sites in our community. Being recognized as a news source is one thing, be recognized as the more authorative news source is another.

Roberta!

We are so proud. Our clients continue to impress us with not only their commitment to blogging after their training, but to the phenomenal search engine reach they have themselves garnered after the training.

Every graduate seems to be having great stories of success, and it is that growing army of tomato bloggers that is really paving the route to reward. It is such a comforting feeling knowing that any inquisitive new blogger can contact any of our clients and hear, first hand, what a great experience they are having through blogging.

Consistency and focus are certainly significant criteria. It's so tempting to blog about a variety of topics, but that seems to hurt rather than help us with the search engines.

Jim - I don't know where I sit with Google or Yahoo. All I know is after starting with you in April my hits have grew 207% in May, an additional 137% in June, and has already grown another 149% for July. And I'm just learning. By default or focus, its getting bigger each month.

Jim - you have more than earned your authority. Your posts, the way you manage your business, the support you extend to others and your interest in the real estate industry are just a few of the factors.

My comment on your attendance at Keller Williams Mega Camp was instantaneous - no thought required. If I could be there, I would just to see how the KW agents respond.

I'd say for me, your authority equals that of Guy Kawasaki. He mentioned a book the other day and before I finished the post, I went to Amazon and ordered it. I'm half way through it. My money was well spent.

The time I spend on your blog is a solid investment in the future of The Hapre Team's business.

John,

That is one of the nicest comments (compliments) I have ever received. Thank you so much for the kind words. It is because of readers like yourself that I aim to please with every post.

Jim - great article! I think you're on to something, although only those in the bowels of the Googleplex could probably actually *prove* it.

I can tell you one thing, "traditional media" *clearly* looks at blogs as news sources. A local TV reporter told me exactly that after she found a post and did a news segment on it. I've had several reporters begin a phone call with, "I saw xxxx on your blog and..."

The Google guys are pretty smart. Smarter on the whole than your average mainstream media type. If the mainstream media folks consider blogs a potential news source, you can bet G's figured it out too.

Jim- I was just wondering- you clearly are an authority on real estate blogging- but how long to you think it lasts? Do you think only the new posts are considered and the older ones fall behind?

Let's see if I can get this out clearly- and lets use you as an example:
You post something about epro, for example, a few months ago-
Will that post still come out on top months later?
Do people have to continue to click on it to stay on top?
or does it fall behind because it is an older post?

Now to put it in the real estate world:
I write a few posts about a certain neighborhood or condo-
It starts to come up as you search for those neighbor hoods.
How long will it come up at the top?

I know you don't have the secret to google- but I was just wondering if- google ever looks at how many people click on the link as well as how often you post. or if you continue to post often- even on different topics, will your older posts on different topics still be considered an authority?

I hope this make sense. Just curious.

Hello Mary,

To answer your question, think back to when you were in school and had to write a research paper. Your paper contained references (footnotes, quotes, etc.), to other already established material. Those references were the authority on the topic covered in your paper.

Now picture every website on the internet as a research paper of some sort. Every website has a core topic, aka keywords, and every website references other sites, aka links. The websites that have the most references (links), will place higher in the search engines due to the fact that they are considered the authority on the subject. Jim is only the authority on Real Estate Blogging because enough people reference (link to), his articles.

Now how long with that last? Well that depends on what other research is being done on that topic. Many of Einstein's and Freud's theory's are still referenced, studied, and talked about today. If back when they were doing their research they had a blog, I would imagine they would still be at the top of the search engines. Now if your topic had to do with say Lindsey Lohan, you would have a great deal more competition then arguing over atomic energy.

How long will the Tomato place in the top ten for the search phrase e-pro class? Well that depends on how many other websites are researching, covering, writing about that topic and how many other websites reference those sites as being the authority on the topic.

Hope that helps.

thanks Jason- I'm absorbing it all in.

Jim, how can you sleep at night with all these compliments? Your head must be getting so big it won't stay on your pillow! Seriously, great post. You went even beyond yourself on this one.

I've been focusing on the long-tail and am amazed at search results from the effort. I still watch the core words, and am gaining strength there as well. But swinging the long-tail has me on the top 5 in google and yahoo for at least 25 - 30 of the municipal key word searches I'm targeting.

I would add one key point you taught as part of the success I'm seeing as well. The use of h3 and h4 in organizing my posts has been incredible. I tested it on a few posts and was amazed at the results. I'm trying to use it in all posts now and have seen very consistent resluts on both google and yahoo.

Blog on dude. Remember it's a marathon. Thanks for helping me out of the gates.

nice post indeed very informative..good job

It's a great articles
Search engine optimization is a great tool to ensure that your website reaches the largest number of viewers. Simply put, search engine optimization for real estate would involve choosing a keyword or words and using them frequently on your website.

When using any real estate search engine, you need to understand they do not operate in "real time." The accuracy of a real estate search engine is determined by the age or "freshness" of their data, which varies from one search engine to the next.

sleepingbeauty
www.onlineweblibrary.com

It is such a comforting feeling knowing that any inquisitive new blogger can contact any of our clients and hear, first hand, what a great experience they are having through blogging.
http://www.claridges-commercial.co.uk/

Very insightful comments. Now, does Google place the same weight to comments as opposed to posts?. We have found from experience that sometimes a reader's comment pops on the search rankings for certain keywords not necessarily in the post itself.
What gives?

Apart from headlines, and header tags and such, content is content... but the difference is: does it get spidered or not? So an article that is published and spidered swiftly will be known for the main content of that article. As the comments accumulate, adding content to your post, they may not necessarily be 'picked up' by the SE's right away. To facilitate this happening, it is a great strategy to link back to past articles, in turn giving Google and gang an opportunity to re-spider the post looking for new content (comments).

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