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March 26, 2008: All You Ever Needed To Know About Blogging SEO, But Were Afraid To Say So.
Comments: 31 | Categories: Blog SEO Advice , Blogging Advice , Real Estate Blogging , Search Engines
I know what you are thinking…”not another SEO article, please…” SEO focused companies have secrets. They want you to think that you need them to get you to the top of the search engines. They want you to think that you need to learn the complex details or you will fail. They want you to think that there is so much that goes into it, that you'd be a fool to not put your faith in them. They want you to think that your success depends on their knowledge and tools. They want you to think that their advice will make "all the difference". Well folks, the truth is, when it comes to blogging, SEO consulting is a lot like cold medicine. When you catch a cold, if you don't take medicine you are going to be sick for seven days. However, if you do take cold medicine it is...

January 17, 2008: Dichotomy of the Real Estate Blog - Do You Please the Readers or Search Engines?
Comments: 13 | Categories: Blog Dos and Don'ts , Blog SEO Advice , Blogging Advice , Real Estate Blogging , Search Engines
A little knowledge is dangerous thing, as can be a lot of it The Challenge: How to be found in Valley of Search and write Compelling Content that has you building relationships with your readers. This article is not about helping you be more compelling of an author, but rather an effort to keep you from overstepping the comfort level with your readers and the search engines. There are two very different concerns that people discuss, with all sorts of conflicting opinions. What is the tipping point of including relevant keywords that will a. Have you being found, but not enjoyed? b. Have you punished for over stuffing? They are not the same. What your audience may find bothersome, can still be acceptable under the Google Guidelines to creating a Google friendly site. That said, the understanding I have gained in order to stay within the comfort levels of both...

July 29, 2007: Real Estate Blogging And Search Engines - The News Source Theory
Comments: 17 | Categories: Blog SEO Advice , Blogging Advice , Real Estate Blogging , Search Engines , Topics and Opinions
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. I 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...

June 26, 2007: Nine Months Of Real Estate Blogging A Celebrity Will You Make
Comments: 7 | Categories: Announcements , Blogging Peers , Partners & Friends , Real Estate Blogging , Sacramento RE News , Search Engines
We are so proud of our first Real Estate Tomato Graduate, Gena Riede. This hot house tomato has just leaped from her keyboard to the television. This past weekend, Gena was interviewed by Channel 13, CBS, in her home town of Sacramento, CA. The piece ran on both Friday the 21st and Saturday the 22nd. She owes her new found celebrity to her hard work, timely advice, and her real estate blog: SacramentoRealEstateVoice.com. Anchor Kris Pickle contacted Gena directly, after noticing an article she had posted to her blog called: Sacramento Foreclosure Auction Looking for Suckers! Apparently Kris and her team loved the piece and wanted to have Gena give her two cents, forewarning potential bidders for an upcoming property auction in the city. To watch the piece that appeared on the evening news click here. To read Gena’s account check out her post on the event here. In addition...

June 18, 2007: White Hat SEO for Real Estate Blogging and the Reciprocal Link
Comments: 25 | Categories: Blog SEO Advice , Blogging Advice , Chris Hotz , Guest Author , Real Estate Blogging , Search Engines
Chris Hotz, the director of our education division is back with some insight on a topic that has turning up quite regularly lately: Reciprocal Linking and it’s effect on Search Engine results. White Hat SEO For Real Estate Blogging By Chris Hotz I never played on a baseball team growing up, but I loved when the little league baseball season started. I loved baseball games because of the easy access to candy. Every year when baseball season arrived I would hop on my bike, ride to the fields for the opening day pitch and dart straight for the club house to use up all my allowance on Big League Chew, Bottle Caps and Fun Dips. I loved the sugar candy! But by the last pitch of the season I was so sick (sometimes literally) of candy that I could not look at another Fun Dip bag full of red sugar....

June 14, 2007: How Google Reads Your Real Estate Blog
Comments: 8 | Categories: Blog SEO Advice , Blogging Advice , Chris Hotz , Guest Author , Real Estate Blogging , Search Engines
This article has been provided by our Director Of Education & Training, Chris Hotz. Thanks, Chris! Everyone wants their real estate blog to appear on the first page of a Google's SERP. Why not? You're the best real estate agent in your area on the web, right? Of course you are... Yet when you consider that a search of "real estate" in Google currently brings up 312,000,000 results you must realize that you will have to do a little more than just throw your site into the mix. The Oompa Loompas in the mysterious Google factory work hard everyday to make sure users are returned the most relevant search results when a query is created. Much like Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, few outsiders are allowed within the confounds where Google engineers are constantly strategizing better methods to organize data and spit out the best results for your queries. Until now......

April 10, 2007: 7 Compelling Reasons Google AdSense Will Ruin Your Real Estate Blog
Comments: 31 | Categories: Blog Dos and Don'ts , Blog Marketing , Blogging Advice , Real Estate Blogging , Search Engines , Topics and Opinions
1. Advertisements Will Cheapen Your Blog Nothing makes you look cheesier than having a bunch of ads next to your honest message. Especially ads that you really have no supreme control over. I can forgive some solid sponsorship that directly relates to the visitor's needs and interest. We showcase BlogJet on the TomatoBlogs site because we personally use it, and feel that it is a great tool that our readers should experience. 2. Lack Of Control Will Lead To Some Surprises Browsing around a real estate marketing blog that uses Google AdSense Advertisements to supplement their income, we stumbled across this completely off topic ad: Image to right. The message may mislead your audience. In an environment where readership and subscription are the goal, establishing the focus of your message is essential. 3. Your Keywords Attract Ads From Your Competition The GoogleAdWords ads are often generated by relating keywords from...

January 31, 2007: Your Blog Is An Army
Comments: 13 | Categories: Blog Organization , Blogging Advice , Marketing Solutions , Real Estate Blogging , Search Engines
Any blog, not just a real estate blog, has the beautiful distinction that it is comprised of many separate entities represented by each published post. The blog, when organized properly, is the ultimate content management system and SEO tool all wrapped into one. It is truly as if each article that is published is a little website of its own, under the umbrella of the main domain. Each published article has: 1. The Permalink: A unique, keyword laden and link popular URL: The main URL for your site may be http://realestatetomato.typepad.com, but the URL of the article you publish looks more like this: Example: http://realestatetomato.typepad.com/2007/01/29/your_blog_is_an_army.html You notice the main URL with the addition of the date, and the words that make up the article's title - this is commonly referred to in WordPress as the "slug". The Beauty: Each article can be linked to independently of the main site The...

January 20, 2007: He Asked Me, "Why Am I Blogging?"
Comments: 13 | Categories: Blog Discipline , Blog Writing Tips , Blogging Advice , Marketing Solutions , Real Estate Blogging , Search Engines
Last week I was inspired to write an article about developing blog content because of a conversation I had with a client that we are training, well this week he asked the biggest one of them all: "Why am I blogging, again?" At first it struck me odd that someone who has made the financial commitment to have a custom blog developed and trained on, would ask me such a question. As I began to answer, it occurred to me that the most valuable reasons for blogging may not be so obvious after-all. Our clients receive intense training that covers a broad range of topics from article formatting to social bookmarking, to community participation and search engine statistic analysis. I can see how one may feel that there are "too many trees in the way to allow for a good view of the forest." His question was followed up by...

December 21, 2006: Blogger is out of Beta, Yawn. The Ubiquitous "B"
Comments: 1 | Categories: Real Estate Blogging , Search Engines
So Goolge pulled the 'Beta' tag off of its free blogging platform, Blogger. Take the tour; nothing to write home (or on your blog) about. Anyhow, what I did find interesting is how Google has now begun to advertise Blogger with their orange 'B' icon at the TOP of any search done containing the term "blog". That's weak. I was just about to start a personal Google Strike in retaliation, and use Yahoo as my preferred search engine, when I noticed that they are advertising Yahoo 360 when searching with the term "blog". Oh well, guess it's back to Archie.

September 14, 2006: The Real Power of Blogging - Search Engines Are Up For Grabs
Comments: 0 | Categories: Blogging Advice , Marketing Solutions , Search Engines
Quick, but powerful post. Did a search for "epro classes" on Google today. To the left you will see the screenshot of the results. The Tomato article from last month is right there, at #3 (or 2 if you don't count the duplicated result). (Update - The same article above, regading epro, comes up as #1 in Google for "epro class") One article, from a couple of weeks ago and everyone searching "epro classes" or "epro class" will now have an opportunity to see what I think of NAR's class. This is proof that blogging is a very powerful tool when it comes to being found in the search engines. The Real Estate Tomato is not about 'epro classes' - not in my keywords, not in my metadata, and there is only 1 article (of over 120 articles) on the site about the subject... yet there I am, discouraging people...

August 19, 2006: SEO Can Be Snake Oil - Part 3
Comments: 0 | Categories: Guest Author , Jason Benesch , Marketing Solutions , Search Engines
The goal of these 3 articles authored by Jason Benesch is to give you an understanding of how search engines work and how you can drastically improve your search engine lead generation without wasting another dime on SEO Snake Oil. Last week Jason helped us looked at how to organize the meta-data and keyword density of our websites to ensure that we're are being 'read' by the search engines most effectively. This week, in his final SEO offering, he will be examining the proper approach to building your link popularity. Thanks again Jason! In this third installment of this Search Engine Tutorial we examine link popularity; why links work, how to acquire links, what and how many links you should have. Links, coupled with unique and growing content define the most important factors to increase your search engine visibility. It should make perfect sense as to why search engines would...

August 14, 2006: SEO Can Be Snake Oil - Part 2
Comments: 2 | Categories: Guest Author , Jason Benesch , Search Engines
The goal of these 3 articles authored by Jason Benesch is to give you an understanding of how search engines work and how you can drastically improve your search engine lead generation without wasting another dime on SEO Snake Oil. Last week, we determined how to select keywords and search phrases with which we will optimize our website. The next step is giving ourselves a proper platform from which to take off. First one must realize that search engines don't see your website the same way we do. Your website is written in what's called, hyper-text markup language (a.k.a. HTML). We have browsers on our computer (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari etc.) that translate the HTML into graphics and readable text. Search engine spiders (or webcrawlers) 'read' the HTML of your site. Javascript and Flash animation are not productive for search engine optimization because spiders can't read it; they can only...

August 5, 2006: SEO Can Be Snake Oil - Part 1
Comments: 2 | Categories: Guest Author , Jason Benesch , Marketing Solutions , Search Engines
So you've all gotten that call: a search engine optimization (SEO) company promising to place your site at the top of the search engines. Many Realtors, seeing the potential opportunity for online leads, have already wasted a lot of money on one (or more) of these services and will never see the results they were expecting or promised. There are a variety of companies with many different strategies, promising to position your site competitively and the majority are illegitimate. The goal of this article is to give you an understanding of how search engines work and how you can drastically improve your search engine lead generation without wasting another dime. Jason Benesch is a Personal Marketing Coach for Z57 Inc. Working one-on-one with dozens of website toting Realtors is his daily grind. I asked him to contribute to the Tomato this week with an article based on his experience with...

August 3, 2006: Google Breaks the 60% Barrier!
Comments: 2 | Categories: Search Engines
The latest numbers are in! Over a 4 week study in July, these are the top 4 search engines used for internet searches: Google: 60% Yahoo: 22.5% MSN: 11.8% Everyone else: 5.5% Looks like all that advertising ASK.com is doing on TV is not really paying off. Hat tip: Guest Author, Steve Peron. Source - HitWise

July 26, 2006: "If You Write It They Will Come!" - The Long Tail In Real Estate
Comments: 13 | Categories: Blog SEO Advice , Blogging Advice , Internet (Sites and Tools) , Search Engines , Web 2.0
Some of you are sick of hearing about the 'long tail.' Some of you still have no idea what it is. Finding a way to leverage the long tail is what keeps it interesting. The long tail phenomena can be read about here. However, it is best understood by example. The mainstream music scene crams their latest releases down our throat as the must have, and they will certainly sell millions of records, cd's let's go with units. The long tail effect is that there will also be millions of units sold by thousands of other less popular artists combined. The tail may very well out-sell the mainstream. Online companies offering millions of titles such as Napster, iTunes and Rhapsody experience enormous success because they offer the whole tail. You can see the long tail in real estate as well. The internet traffic to sites like Zillow and Realtor.com is...

July 23, 2006: Am I Singing to the Choir? Get Your Blog On!
Comments: 0 | Categories: Blogging Advice , Marketing Solutions , Search Engines
One of the most globally informative blogs, Micro Persuasion points us to a study by MarketingVox on the effectiveness of corporate blogging. Bottom line: You will get more traffic. There are 3 steps to the internet lead becoming an 'engaged client'* - Generate traffic to website. Capture lead with compelling offer/service. Incubate lead until personal contact is made. You do the rest. No traffic, no lead, no deal. Content is so important when it comes to driving traffic to your site. Beyond terms such as 'real estate,' 'sacramento,' 'homes for sale,' 'realtor,' 'mls' etc that you feel will be your ticket to being found in the search engines, it can be the unexpected that will bring your next lead. There's only room for 10 sites in the top 10 for any given search. If you aren't in the top 10 for something as exciting as 'Sacramento real estate,' I've got...

July 1, 2006: Have you heard of Google Base?
Comments: 0 | Categories: Internet (Sites and Tools) , Marketing Solutions , Search Engines , Web 2.0
Me either, until today. Behind the curtain, Google really is looking to take over the world. We've got Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Maps, Picasa, Google Earth (see!)... and on and on and on. Just last week they announced Google Checkout and Now Google is going after Craigslist with Google Base. Their home page says: "Put Stuff on Google, Google Base is a place where you can post all types of content and have it show up on Google" Base is still in a beta mode, but given the web dominance of Google we should expect big things from any project they take on. In general, other than a handful of trailblazing agents, the only real estate listings I can find on it are mostly populated by homesandland.com, homesbyowner.com, therealestatebook and livingchoices.com. Here is an example of a search done in the Housing Section of Google Base for: Single...