A couple of years ago an enhancement started in the world of internet marketing. Whilst all Real Estate Agents have a website, and almost all post their listings on leading real estate website portals, too many are still oblivious of the revolution of social media and the effect on their business.
Social media sites affect search engine rankings and the way your clients (buyers and sellers) use search engines to find you, your office and your real estate listings. All real estate agents know that Google has become part of our everyday language, how many times a day do you hear “Google It” when someone asks a question you can’t answer immediately?
To “Google” has become automatic and in order for your Real Estate website to rank on the first page of Google or better yet in position No 1 for the keywords that reflect your Real Estate business is now considered a full time job. In fact you don’t have to look very far to discover that the biggest Real Estate portal in Australia employs a whole room of full time people to ensure that Murdoch’s www.realestate.com.au ranks No 1 for the key words “real estate” when you search in Australia.
There is a reason for this, not only does www.realestate.com.au want to rank No 1, but they want to stay there, and with the algorithms that Google uses to rank web sites continually undergoing changes and improvements, the biggest real estate portal in Australia cannot afford to become complacent.What about the small to medium real estate office, be you part of a franchise or not. You can’t compete with the likes of Murdoch, you probably can’t afford to employ a room of internet marketers, but what you can do, is offer a personalised service via social media – yes that’s right, you the Real Estate Agent personally interact and engage with your clients.
Rewind back to 2009, when I had a meeting with the Principal of the Century 21 Port Douglas Real Estate agency where I work and started discussing blogs and social media as a tool to drive more traffic to our website www.realestateportdouglas.com.au . Now you have understand that the man opposite me is 60 plus in age and not altogether computer savvy. He spent a considerable amount of time staring at me as if I was an alien; further to that he didn’t see the point I was trying to make as far as increasing our traffic as the website in question www.realestateportdouglas.com.au already ranked No 1 for the key words “real estate port douglas”.More importantly he wanted to know exactly how this “social media” was going to drive new inquiries and increase sales.
Fast forward two years and many meetings with the Principal aka Grey Stallion later, I am not sure I have successfully explained the importance of social media. I have managed to get him to understand that our small “real estate port douglas” business is in danger of losing its no 1 ranking for our keywords on Google with the giant Murdoch real estate portal slowly encroaching closer and closer to us and the No 1 spot. Of course we cannot even come close to competing with a squadron of internet marketers employed full time by www.realestate.com.au, but what we can do is utilise social media to engage our buyers and sellers on a very personal and intimate level. That involves embracing and discussing not only everything to do with real estate but everything to do with our unique location – Port Douglas.
So here we are 2011, and most of us access the internet more often on our mobile phones. Facebook has become the most popular social media site in the world, blogs have become our representation to our online patrons, Twitter has become incredibly popular and geo location applications such as Foursquare allow all your clients to see where you are, who you are with and what you are doing at any given point in time. Most importantly all of the above sway Google and influence website ranking.
Because Google’s goal is to make the web a social place offering the most current and pertinent result to your search request swiftly, social media sites can dramatically influence the ranking of your real estate website. The more “likes” your Facebook page gets, the more followers you have on Twitter and the more pages bookmarked on social bookmarking sites by real estate buyers and sellers the more the value of your site improves to the mother of all search engines – Google.
Stagnant real estate websites are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. If you had your real estate website designed and made live a few years ago and have not made any changes or improvements recently, (this does not include loading your most recent listings) you are as good as dead in the water.
Real Estate websites of the future need to offer information and news that is happening right now, not a day ago, not three weeks ago but right now. Everything to do with real estate and your unique location needs to be updated on your site daily. Forget the monthly newsletter; it’s just not enough to keep you ranking in the future.
Your potential to interact with your clients and generate more real estate leads online has never been greater. Whilst you may never outrank the dominating real estate portal in Australia and I may eventually lose my No 1 ranking for “port douglas real estate” to Murdoch, by this time I hope to have built a vital, front line community using the power of social media to maintain the highest credibility with Google possible.