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Writing Your Real Estate Blog Primarily to Google is a Squandered Opportunity.

Hitting-google-missing-the-markThanks to the recent frequency and quality of guest posts, I’ve had the pleasure of taking a little time off from shouldering the content on the Tomato.  Keeping in stride, we have another treat for you.  Todd Carpenter, ubiquitous RE.net participant, and owner and author of the globally appreciated mariah.com (a web 2.0 real estate network of websites), just emailed over this solid piece weighing the value of blogging for Search Engine exposure.

Writing Your Real Estate Blog Primarily to Google is a Squandered Opportunity.
By Todd Carpenter


What’s the difference between a blogging expert and a real estate expert?

Blogging experts may or may not understand how the real estate industry operates. Take, for example the theory forwarded that, for the sake of superior Google search results, bloggers should not write about their community. That instead, they should stick to posts that are only about real estate itself.

You’ll get no argument from me that a real estate blogger should blog about real estate. Blog about your listings. Blog about your open houses. Blog about market conditions. Blog about foreclosures. You’re a real estate agent, of course you should write about real estate.

Blogging this way and you’ll get search engine traffic. However, blogging only about real estate means leaving much of a blog's marketing power at the table.

Some experts scoff at the idea of blogging about the community, or local businesses, or even writing a restaurant review. These topics may not drive in large numbers of web driven leads, but let’s face it, you can BUY Internet leads. You’re not in the Internet leads business. You’re in the real estate business.

Step away from blogging for a minute and think about how successful real estate agents market in the real world.

Referrals are key to driving a successful real estate business. I’ll take one referral from a real live human over a hundred from Google. Referrals from past clients are very powerful, but you can use you’re blog to create a referral stream from people you’ve never worked with before.

Blogging-is-about-closing-leadsReferrals from other local businesses.

Writing a review of a restaurant has very limited SEO value. It’s a value to you’re readers, but that’s not the best reason for doing it. Any time you put someone’s name in lights, there gonna be impressed, and they’ll want to return the favor. Writing a restaurant review endears you to the owner of that business. You’ve just grown your sphere of influence, and all it took was a few kind words on your blog.

On lenderama, I let mortgage vendors write their own reviews. On Denver Modern, I feature the listings of local real estate agents, and feature local businesses. All of this is useful to my readers, but I also do it to connect with my peers in the industry. You can just as easily do this at the local level with restaurants, dry cleaners or even skateboard shops.

Proving that you’re a community expert.

For the longest time, most real estate web sites allowed agents to TELL consumers they are experts for a certain location. Blogs let them PROVE it. I could write a blog about Houston real estate (I live in Denver). I could get it to rank in the search engines. What I can’t do is prove that I’m an expert on Houston.

Blogging is as much about closing leads as it is about generating them. Proving that you ‘re the expert on this community is how you set yourself apart from the competition that merely states it.

Developing a regular readership.

While some experts will tell you that hardly anyone will regularly read a real estate blog, they’re basing this opinion on the feedback they get from real estate bloggers who only blog about real estate.

Why do you send out community newsletters? Why do you send out football schedules and refrigerator magnets?  Communicating to your client and prospect base is the cornerstone of real estate marketing. Blogging is the ideal tool to take this proven marketing technique to the web. But for the same reason you include football schedules in your marketing mailers, you have to include interesting topics in your blog. If you create an interesting place to visit, readers will follow suite.

Tying it all together.

When it comes time for an avid reader to list their home, where do you think they will look first? When it comes time for an out of town buyer to choose a relocation agent, will they choose the one who said they knew the community, or the one who proved it? When a local business owner has the opportunity to refer an agent to one of his own customers, don’t you think the agent who featured them on their real estate blog might be at the top of their list?

When it comes to structuring your blog, look to the way you market in the real world. The key to building a successful blog is mixing lead generation, business referrals and avid readers into one big marketing monster. There’s simply no reason to leave half the upside a blog can offer at the table while chasing search results that will probably come to you anyway.

Thanks for your contribution to the Vine, Todd.

Todd Carpenter is a Realty Tech Consultant and creator of a network of Real Estate Sites at mariah.com.

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Related Must Reads:
Local Blog Traffic, The Old Fashioned Way
Is Your Website Working Against Your Real Estate Career?
Why Blogging Makes You A Better Realtor

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Comments

Until the day I started selling real estate myself, I had NO idea of how important prequalifying is, online and offline.

Good post. You definitely make good points. I have been hearing the recommendations from the other side also. Nice to get 2 different perspectives.

Thank for sharing the blog tips todd!

Hey Jim,

Another very informative blog post on the 'Tomato.... I just mentioned your blog on our site www.BlackWidowNetwork.com/blog and we'd love to have you be a guest contributor; many of our investor members are Realtors and would greatly appreciate your insights!

Keep up the good work,

Richard :)

Chief Deal Weaver

It couldn't be said much better! Great advice. At Inman, someone said "What is good for humans is good for SEO".

Great advice! Posting for the reader and not for the search engines will still get you in the search engines, as well as getting you those loyal readers.

Developing a relationship with other local bloggers and businesses is key to building blog traffic as well.

Jim and Todd,

Very informative....easy to get caught up in just Real Estate Real Estate. Branching off into being informative about your community is also important...just stay on track. As a Realtor you do not want to end up being a portal of sorts for your entire area. A great goal would to be a real estate portal for your area.

"As a Realtor you do not want to end up being a portal of sorts for your entire area"

I would love to be just that. Then I'd be the exclusive sponsor of a huge community. This is exactly what I'm trying to do with Denver Modern.

Your blog should be an extension of you and everything you bring to the table. It may not be relevant to buying or selling a house, but it may strike a chord with the reader to the point of establishing that connection, be it six degrees or 1 degree away, that turns a voyeur into a client or a referral to a client...

very timely - We are starting the discussions on a site makeover due to the merger. Our main focus will be on increasing leads/inquiries.

I agree with using the blog to build business relationships, in fact, I am focusing efforts to train small business people on blogging as a way to build relationships with them.

Take a quick look at www.HarperMees.com and tell us what you would do or offer any other suggestions.

Thanks

I agree with you.

I think that it is most important to blog about Real Estate on your blog but it is also important to post blogs about the area as well. When people are moving from out of town, they not only want to work with someone who is knowledgeable about real estate, they also want someone who is knowledgeable about that area as well.

That's really an informative post. I'll keep this point in my mind as I am also planning to design a real estate blog.

Adam

Todd- As usual, your comments are worthy of paying attention to. Over at Denver Modern, your promotion of various Realtors' listings has gotten you national attention even though you don't sell houses (I saw the mention at Bloodhound). I'm new at blogging, but still wouldn't be interested in writing statistical real estate content over and over. If I'm bored with it, the readers will be too. I figure if a relocating buyer is interested in learning about my area, then my restaurant reviews may be interesting to them. If they want to find out about real estate in Denver, they can find that too. Everyone has different motivations and interests and we never know what will appeal to someone.

I agree about writing about the community, restaurant reviews and the like. People want to read about the place where they will be living, not just the minutia of the local real estate market. So many people do their research from states away, so this information is helpful for people trying to get a feel for an area or just get a feel for an agent. It also makes the agent feel like a real person, which should help convert traffic into real business.

Everything and anything in moderation is usually good advice. Readers vary in what they want to know so I think the posts need to vary, as well. Although it nice to bring in articles off the subject of Real Estate in order to show your personality, it can be done in conjunction with a real estate related topic.

Good advice and good info.

This post really made me think.

In fact, i just finished talking with my boss(we spent a good hour and a half) talking about this strategy.

Good input from a very effective industry blogger.

Great information. This article really made me think about blogging and the importance of generating new clients through online referrals. It is important to make connections and establish relationships. You are right...use your blog to do this.

Todd,

I agree that being a real estate agent is much more than just posting about real estate items. Blogging is about creating a community online and very much resembles the newsletter concept that you bring up in your post. If you don't post on items besides real estate you are definitely wasting an opportunity to help others in your community.

The only point I disagree with you is the fact that we in the real estate lead generation business not the real estate business. Without real estate leads we can't actually do anything related to real estate. So being in real estate means we must generate real estate leads but that certainly doesn't stop us from and shouldn't stop us from helping those in the community.

Great article! I only just recently started seriously blogging as part of my real estate business. (I've had personal or other interest blogs before). I'm really focusing it on the lifestyle, community, and events in the areas I work in.

I agree that blogging on general real estate topics isn't always the best idea. The way I look at it, so many people are doing that sticking on local (or "hyper-local") topics sets you apart from the crowd. At least I'm hoping that's what it's doing for me!

What an excellent post! Referrals are most definitely the life-line of our business, and I too would much prefer 1 solid referral over 100 from Google.

Keep up the good work.

Rich

This is great advice.

Thank you, thank you. I just wrote a community based post - highlighting 5 businesses in the area that may be of interest. I had real estate references at the beginning and end of the article but the bulk of the blog was about the businesses. Afterward, I sent links to the blog to the business emails - hopefully I'll see some return from that. I've already gotten some excellent feedback from the owner of an ice cream shop - I blogged about them last summer.

Being "just real estate" is extremely limiting and frankly, BORING. For me...and for my readers.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Relationships are what keeps real estate from being boring. Ahouse is ahouse is a house, but the exitement when someone gets the home of their dreams is intoxicating. Blog about that feeling and they will come.

It was good advice,thank you.

It was good advice,thank you.

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