What You Need to Know About SEO
SEO: What A Client Needs To Know
There is no doubt that a properly executed and maintained real estate search engine optimization program will help bring potential buyer clients to your web site. But before you invest your hard earned dollars in an SEO program you need to make sure that you understand the nature of search engines and optimization.
How Do Search Engines Make Money?
Search engines get their income from paid advertising, mainly in the form of pay-per-click advertising. Every time a web surfer clicks on the sponsored links the search engine company makes money. For the third quarter of 2005 Google reported total sales of $5.7 billion in the 4th quarter of 2008 - with almost all of those revenues coming from advertising sales!
The search engines also provide organic search engine results to give "everyone" a chance to move to the top of the search engine rankings by properly optimizing their site. But it does make sense that their business models are designed to drive as many people to PPC as possible as well as drive up the cost of each click.
The Role Of Search Engine Optimization Companies
Not only are search engine algorithms highly complex mathematical equations, but they are also closely guarded secrets. Any SEO that claims to know a particular search engine algorithm is telling a flat out lie. What SEO companies do is study the on-page and off-page characteristics of top ranked web sites and employ these techniques when optimizing a web site for their clients.
A well optimized real estate web site will stabilize and only have minor fluctuations over an extended period of time. However, there are occasions when rankings that had been at the top of the list for years can suddenly drop.
Riding The Search Engine Ranking Rollercoaster
Each of the search engine companies employs their own unique mathematical algorithm to determine where a web site should be ranked for a particular keyword. From time to time the search engine will make minor modifications to the algorithm, usually to weed out spam sites.
But what can be devastating to a web site is when a search engine makes a major change to their algorithm. Sites that head been at the top of the list for their keywords can suddenly drop out of site and bring web traffic to a screeching halt. Of course, for every site that moves down in the rankings there is another that moved up to take its place. Major algorithm changes with Google and Yahoo happen about once every year. But what do you do if your real estate web site is one that dropped in the rankings?
There are two major changing that are impacting the search world today. The first is the recent 10 year agreement for Microsoft's Bing search engine to provide search results for Yahoo. The second and even more important development is with Google and how they are revolutionizing search by incorporating personal search and regional search into their everyday algorithm. For now they have only scratched the surface of this feature, but it has the possibility to turn the SEO community upside down.
Because Google is THE major player in the search world we definitely cannot ignore these changes and how they may impact our client web sites and their rankings. While we can't predict the future in regards to where Google will go next and how personalized search will impact rankings, we do have a plan. Along with working on improving search engine rankings for our clients we are placing a strong emphasis in driving traffic through content andproperty listing syndication.
Rebuilding The Empire
Even the best real estate search engine optimization companies can have sites that drop after an algorithm change. But remember, they did previously have you at the top of the list and they have no control over how or when an algorithm change will take place. If you hired a company that does one-time optimization only you may be out of luck. Many companies, like The Kosloff Group, work on an annual contract basis and will continue working on your site to restore your rankings.
It will take some time for your real estate SEO company to study the effects of the algorithm change and then implement new or additional tactics for your web site. In the meantime, you may want to supplement your web site traffic by temporarily enrolling in a PPC program or expanding your current program.
Every time that there is a search engine algorithm change there are countless web site owners that get burned because they optimized their web site for only one search engine or engaged in potentially risky tactics or the latest SEO fad. At the Kosloff Group we stay away from those tactics. Our goal is to build a solid infrastructure of web site content, content syndication, and link building that in turn provides long term success for your site, not just short term gains. Never put all of your eggs in one basket - make sure you have multiple opportunities to market your real estate web site through other channels including pay per click services.
Real estate search engine optimization can be a huge investment in both time and money, and whether you do it yourself or hire an SEO company there will always be items beyond your control that may affect your search engine rankings. Your best bet is to prepare yourself for the possibility of having a major shift in your rankings and to make sure that you enter into a contract with an SEO firm that provides services over a fixed period of time and is not a one-shot deal. It may cost more money for these services, but in the long run you won't be left in a lurch if your site drops in its rankings.