By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
Can consumers easily find information about you and your listings online? If you Google your name or a phrase closely related to your business (e.g., “Townville short sales”), will a link to your site appear on the first page of search results?
If you answered “no” to those questions, then your Web presence probably isn’t creating new business for you, said Tracy Schmidt, lead trainer at 435 Digital, Tribune Media’s online strategy consultancy. Schmidt addressed REALTOR® Magazine’s 30 Under 30 honorees from 2011 and previous years at an event held at NAR’s Chicago headquarters this week.
One of the best ways to raise your profile on the Web is through search-engine optimization (SEO). Schmidt offered the following points to keep in mind as you look to build up your SEO:
▪ Get a LinkedIn profile: The business networking site, which has about 100 million users, is optimized for public search engines. It’s also a good way for consumers who don’t know you to get your basic business info, Schmidt said.
▪ Build a welcome page for Facebook: The most popular social network is also a closed network, meaning most of the content on that site won’t be found by search engines like Google. However, Facebook users can do searches within the network. Schmidt said one of the best ways to make your business profile findable on Facebook is by creating a welcome page that highlights your experience and services, using keywords.
▪ Don’t kid around with Google: If you’re trying to be cute or clever, don’t do it in the headline or URL. Those need to be easily assessed and categorized by Google’s ever-changing algorithm, which can’t properly process wordplay or cultural references. Save that for the body copy.
▪ Repetition, repetition, repetition: If you only do one thing to improve SEO, make sure you repeat the phrasing you use in the headline of a blog post, Web page, or other piece of content in the browser bar title (located in the upper left-hand corner of your Web browser) and the URL, Schmidt recommended. Bonus points if you can echo that same terminology in the opening paragraph.
▪ Don’t create content solely for search engines: Having said all that, don’t go overboard with all this stuff. Your first aim should be to provide your audience with clear, valuable information. If you can make your content cogent and helpful and apply the principles above, you’ll improve your Web presence. It’s as simple as A-B-C. Or S-E-O.