When it comes to getting organic clicks, you can find endless tips, tactics and strategies to get better rankings.
Many of those aren’t bad advice, but most of the general advice simply doesn’t work for the real estate investing field.
In this episode, you’ll hear what does work for getting ranked as a real estate investor.
You’ll not only hear the strategies that get you more clicks from search engines–You’ll also hear specific actions to take now to get more clicks on Google and get your leads on autopilot.
Show highlights include:
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Need help with your online marketing? Jump on a FREE strategy session with our team. We’ll dive deep into your market and help you build a custom strategy for finding motivated seller leads online. Schedule for free here: https://adwordsnerds.com/strategy
Check out our SEO guide at: https://adwordsnerds.com/guides
Learn more about our SEO services at https://adwordsnerds.com/services/seo
SEO for Real Estate Investors – 7 Step Outline
You're listening to the REI Marketing Nerds podcast, the leading resource for real estate investors who want to dominate their market online. Dan Barrett is the founder of AdWords Nerds, a high tech digital agency focusing exclusively on helping real estate investors like you get more leads and deals online, outsmart your competition and live a freer, more awesome life. And now, your host, Dan Barrett.
Dan: Alright everybody. Welcome to this week's REI Marketing Nerds podcast. As always, this is Daniel Barrett, here from AdWordsNerds.com. Hello. Welcome. So happy to have you. If this is your first episode, thank you for listening, and if you're coming back for the 49th episode, this might be. [0:01:01.5]
Is this the 49th episode? Yes - the 49th episode. If you're coming back for the 49th episode, thank you as well. It has been so, so fun doing this podcast and helping so many investors get more leads online and today is going to be a doozy, folks. You heard me talk last week about some of the pitfalls, the, as I said BS in the SEO industry. Well today, we are going to get down into brass tacks. We, at AdWords Nerds, have put out a really, I think probably the most in-depth and useful guide on SEO for real estate investors that there is, and it's called SEO For Real Estate Investors, 7-Step Outline. You can get it right now by going to AdWordsNerds.com/guides. That's AdWordsNerds.com/guides. You'll be able to go there, or I will put the direct link to the SEO For Real Estate Investors guide in the show notes of this episode so you can just check that out and just click straight through it and go straight there. [0:02:08.9]
But on this episode of today's podcast, I'm going to actually get into the weeds and talk about what's in the guide and why it is important. The first thing I want to point out is that this is all stuff that we have tried and tested with our team on dozens and dozens of different investors and markets all around the country. We do a ton of original research. We do a ton of original experimentation. All of this stuff has been vetted in terms of hey, we did this and we got actual data, multiple times, showing us that it works. So let's dig straight in to SEO For Real Estate Investors. Now, a quick word about what SEO is and what it isn't. Alright? SEO is optimizing your site and trying to rank when your target customer makes searches related to what you do. For us, it's motivated sellers. So, SEO is anything that makes your website show up when someone types in, you know, sell my house fast - whatever you're marketing. Alright? [0:03:03.9]
What SEO is not is a quick way to make money or get things. Alright? SEO is an incredibly high return on investment marketing channel. It's probably the most valuable marketing channel you will ever tap into. So its ability to transform your business, I think is unrivaled, but it is not fast. It is not easy. It's going to take time and investment, and I want to be upfront with you about that because, like I said, many people are not upfront about that. I used to always say if someone is coming up to you and saying, "Hey, I'll do your SEO for like 300 bucks," Guess what? That's not worth it and in fact, many times can hurt you more than it helps you. So let's talk about some of the pros and cons of SEO versus other kinds of marketing. Obviously, I'm here with AdWords Nerds. We do a lot of pay-per-click, online advertising as well, but there's pros and cons to SEO you really got to take into account. [0:03:57.1]
On the pro side, there's a lot of trust in organic results, meaning nonpaid results. Right? If you search for, you know, sell my house, and you're looking for something that's going to be authoritative, you're going to trust Google ranked the organic listings because of the quality of those websites versus the ads. A lot of the time, you're just going to assume people paid to be there, which is true, of course. So, there's a lot of trust in the organic results. Another big pro of SEO is that you can get ongoing organic leads without spending money in an ongoing way. So like every, you're not paying for every click in the way that you are paying, for example, when you use Facebook Ads. And the leads can be really, really valuable. The ROI is incredibly high. I mean, if you rank in the top three results, for example, like sell house for cash in Houston or something, that's going to bring, you know, maybe 100 leads and anywhere from like $30,000 to $100,00 in deals, you know, potentially anywhere from like 5-20 closed deals. So even for just one keyword in a given market, the ROI can be incredibly high. [0:05:01.8]
Now, the cons of SEO. It does take work. I think it's harder to rank in Google now than it's probably ever been, and it takes a lot of work and persistence, whether it's you or someone you're hiring. Right? It's also competitive. I think investors have caught on to SEO right now and there are a lot of people entering into any given market, and I will say the upside to that is that very few people do this well. You're going to know more by the end of this podcast than most REI professionals know, so that's going to give you a leg up. But it is competitive in terms of the number of people entering the marketplace, and there are some factors that are quite frankly out of your control. This is a big con for me, personally. I like having control, but Google might, you know, change things up. It might change the way it weighs things and then there are factors that you really don’t have any control over, like domain page or domain registration length, things like that. So, you know, SEO is one of those things where it's incredibly valuable. It's got its pros and cons just like everything else. [0:06:01.2]
You got to make sure it's right for your business, but if you're looking for long-term investment in a market, SEO is pretty much, I mean as far as I'm concerned, a must have. So I would basically put it this way: You are a bad fit for SEO if you need leads right now or need an ROI within the next six months. Right? This is a longer term play. It's like any other investment. You got to know the time horizon for the payout, and for SEO, personally for me; I put it at least six months. It's a bad fit for you if you're impatient. And this is something you got to know about yourself. Right? It's if you need to see the results right away in order to feel comfortable about what you're doing, then it's not a great fit for you. Just like if you are doing kind of long-term buy and hold, maybe that's not a great fit for you if you're impatient either. Right? And I'd say you're a bad fit for SEO if you're just do not want to put any time or budget in, you know, you don’t want to put in any time yourself or you don’t want to put in any budget to hire anyone. [0:07:00.8]
You're like hey, what's the lowest cost way. Honestly, if that's your mindset about it, it's actually better not to do anything because low cost SEO or low quality SEO can really hurt you, rather than help you. So in the guide, we go in-depth into myths and misconceptions about SEO and how to measure your return on investment in SEO. I'm going to skip those right just to keep this a decent length for the podcast but I would definitely, again, check out the full guide. You can get there at AdWordsNerds.com/guides. Click on the SEO guide. It's going to be really, really valuable for you to check those out.
Let's talk about the 7-step process we use to rank investors in Google for motivated seller keywords, and these are really, each of these is really critical and builds upon itself. So the first thing we do is we actually take a step back before we do anything and we get into analytics and goal tracking. This is really, really critical because something that's very common in the SEO industry is that SEO people kind of get into your website. [0:08:01.8]
They start doing all this work. They never establish the tracking protocol, and they never establish what the actual goal is. So when you go to them and you say like, well hey, what did you do? They can say like, well hey, I did x and I did y, but they're kind of pulling these numbers from nowhere or they're moving the goal posts. This is really, really common and honestly, I find it really upsetting. So one of the things we always do, right up front is establish our analytics and our goal tracking. We set up Goggle analytics. We set up Google Search Console. We'll typically use, you know, an SEO tool to track rankings as well, and we just say, hey, here are the numbers as they are. Here's what we're trying to do. Here's where we're trying to go. And that, more than anything, allows for long-term success because if you don’t track, you can't improve. Right? It's, Peter Drucker, I believe, who was the first one to say, "What gets measured gets managed." And you have to measure your SEO success if you want to evolve and adapt, based on what you're seeing in your local market - so - super, super critical. So that's step one: Set up your tracking, your analytics, and you know, make sure that you know what your goals are. [0:09:12.8]
Now, step two is your local SEO setup. Now primarily, for most real estate investors, it's going to be focused around Google My Business. So you have analytics and goal tracking in place, you set up your Google My Business, which basically gives Google the information about your physical location. You need a physical address, typically, to you know, especially if this is your first kind of foray into SEO, your first foray into the market - it's best to have a physical address in that market. And it really helps you to rank for local searches, which is really what you want as an investor. If you're trying to buy homes, you're trying to buy homes in a specific area, not halfway across the country. So you get that set up and there's a variety of ways that you can use to optimize your Google My Business page and I think really Google is investing a lot in Google My Business. [0:10:02.3]
I would be shocked if Google doesn’t start charging for Google My Business sometime in the future, at least for some feature. They've been building up new features like stories, which are kind of like a blog posting sort of functionality, making offers in Google My Business, so just based on Google's activity, we can predict that this is going to be a more and more important ranking factor going forward. So setting this up and optimizing it is really, really critical. Getting reviews on it, long-term, is really, really critical to ranking well. And it's one of those things where a lot of your competition ignores Google My Business and they focus entirely on their own website. That's incredibly short-sighted. This is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate you're going to have online. Put the time in to make sure it's registered, verified, and filled out as much as you possibly can. [0:10:56.7]
Are you an investor who wants to dominate your local market? Do you want more leads and deals online? Then download your copy of the Motivated Seller Blueprint absolutely free at www.AdWordsNerd.com/gift. What are you waiting for? Go to www.AdWordsNerd.com/gift right now to get your copy of the Motivated Seller Blueprint
Alright. Once we have got our Google My Business set up, we're moving into step three, which is research. Alright? Now research is important in the context of SEO because if we try to do everything, we end up doing nothing particularly well. We need to focus on the parts of our market that have both commercial intent, which for us is the intent to sell motivation level and significant enough volume so that we can consistent leads and deals. [0:12:03.3]
So a really good tool to use for this would be something like Moz's Keyword Explorer. So Moz is an SEO company. You can find them at Moz. They do a lot of SEO education and so on, and they have this Keyword Explorer tool, which will help you look up how many searches a month a keyword is getting, what phrases you can be competitive with, and specifically looking for phrases that are unique to your city or your geographic area, which is kind of like one of the keys to doing really well in a competitive market. You try to find the places in that kind of search ecosystem that are going to be high volume or like maybe specific to your city so there's not a lot of national competition. That can go a long way to making your job a lot easier to rank much more quickly. Alright, there are usually almost always like 2-3 primary keywords for a real estate investor and this is another big thing that we have learned. [0:13:05.0]
There are like millions and millions and millions and millions of keywords out there, but there are really going to be 2-3 big ones for your market, and then a whole bunch of littler ones, you know, littler in the sense of like lower volume, not as much searching. You want to focus your whole site around those two or three big ones for your market, but then sprinkle those little ones around, and you can look, if you look at your Google Search Console, for example, you can see what people are searching for and you can make sure that your content matches those keywords. So the longer that you go in this process, like you do some keyword research, you identify your two or three primary keywords. You start to optimize your site, making sure that, you know, those keywords are in your content and in your images and you know, you're optimizing your whole site around those keywords. Then you start to look at the data that starts to come in that is specific to your website, like what people are searching for, where you're ranking, and then you continue to evolve and adapt. [0:14:04.3]
You can see this goes all the way back to step one, where we talked about analytics and tracking. The fact that you have those analytics platforms installed is the reason that you can then continue to evolve over time. Now remember, I know I'm going fast - remember you can get this entire guide at AdWordsNerds.com/guides. Just click on the SEO guide, or look at the show notes for this episode, and I'll have a direct link to this guide there so you can read a little bit more about exactly what I'm talking about here. Now step four, once we have got our Google My Business set up. We have got our analytics and tracking set up. We have done our research so we know what we want to target. We are getting into content creation. Step four: Content creation. Now there are a couple of different steps that we kind of follow to go through this process and do it well. First thing you should do is really pick which page should rank for what term. So you're not trying to get every page to rank for everything. [0:15:00.4]
You want certain pages to really be focused on certain keywords. So like let's say you wanted to focus on some foreclosure related keywords, you might decide that building a specific foreclosure page, and explaining the process of selling a house in foreclosure is going to be better to rank than trying to get your homepage to rank for that. And almost always, that's going to be the case. Right? This is where your strategy kind of comes in. You want to pick, you know - call your shots, so to speak. Now, once you've kind of picked what pages are going to rank for what, you start to create the actual content. I like to layout a visual map of this, just so I can kind of picture what needs to rank where. Now you want to use something that is unique. There are a lot of platforms good, bad, and indifferent that produce kind of ready-made content for investors. And you really need to write your own content. I mean, this is absolutely critical. For us, at least 50% of every single page on our site needs to be completely unique. [0:15:59.9]
So while we may have sections of the website that repeat - like for example, you know, a section that describes working with us versus working with a realtor or something like that - you need to make sure that you have unique content that's targeted and specific to the keywords you're trying to rank for. This is going to really help you, by the way. Most investors do this in a very scattershot approach. They try to rank everything for everything. They don’t really think it through. Write out, draw out this visual map so you know what pages are going to rank for what keywords, and then create original, in-depth content around that keyword, and that will take you very, very far. And once we get out of step four, which is content creation, we move into step five, which is onsite optimization. So once our content is written and the pages are built, it's time to optimize those pages. And it's basically, you know, I think of onsite optimization as like laying out the pages in such a way that Google is seeing the stuff that it wants to see. [0:17:04.6]
We're basically like dolling ourselves up for Google and saying like, you know, do you think I'm sexy. Right? It's like, we're basically going to make sure that Google sees the things that it wants. And there are a variety of things here. The good news is that I think for investors, there are a lot fewer ranking signals, which are these things that Google looks for, that matter, than for other industries. I think it's really focused around a relatively small number of things. You want to have, for example, the right "density of keywords" in the page, which means you use the keywords you are trying to rank for a certain number of times. You want to have those keywords in your image names or in outbound links or in the headings of the site or in the meta data. Now, a lot of website platforms, for example InvestorCarrot or REIBlackBook, they have SEO tools that make this easier to do. So you can certainly go through and use those, but you want to make sure that you just try to check off as many of those boxes as possible. [0:18:06.5]
And I would say like, you don’t need to obsess about it. You don’t need to be a robot, where everything is perfect. That's certainly not the case, and in fact, if you look at investor websites across the country that are killing it right now, very few of them have perfect on-page SEO. But you do want to make sure that you go through and you just try to optimize things as much as you can, without making it weird for actual people to read. It can be good for Google, but sellers have to be able to read it and understand it too. So you want to make sure that you always kind of strike that balance as much as possible. Now, once you've done your onsite optimization, you also have to think about off-site optimization, which is the stuff that is not located on your actual website. Okay? So these are things like reviews and link building, which we have really found to be absolutely crucial to this. When you look at like the things that are consistent across markets, across the entire country, across all sorts of different investors, reviews and links come up over and over again. [0:19:09.2]
So step six and step seven are entirely focused on that. So let's get into step six, which is review building. Right? Google does take very big notice of the reviews on Google My Business, and so Google My Business is absolutely important to drive sellers to in order to get reviews. Google notices reviews on places like Yelp, which it can be really valuable. It also takes note of your Facebook reviews. If you have a Facebook page, people can review you there. Google takes note of that. So one of the things that we will typically do is help our clients send like a direct link to their sellers - like if you're closing, you're sort of in that moment, you give them a direct link and say, hey, would you mind leaving me a quick review, we can do it right now. You want to make it as easy as possible because, look, it's like we're all busy. We're all kind of lazy. Right? When it comes to other people's stuff and if you don’t make it easy, no one is ever going to make, no one is ever going to leave you a review. It just is the case. [0:20:06.1]
There's a whole thing on link building in terms of like leaving that link everywhere, or I should say review building - my apologies. You know, giving that review link to everyone and anyone that you can. Putting it in your email. Texting it to people after they close. Anything you can to build those reviews over time. Because what we're really looking to do is build a giant pile of reviews that's natural, that's mostly positive, across a lot of different platforms. And if we can do that over time, right, again, coming back to over time; it's not an overnight thing - you can get absolutely massive in terms of your head start over your competition and it's very, very hard to catch up. So really spending time thinking about how you're going to ask for reviews, and doing it consistently is absolutely huge. [0:20:55.9]
And then in step seven, we get into link building. Now, in my opinion, generating high-quality links to your website is the hardest part of SEO. And links have always been important and they continue to be important. There are a lot of people who say that links are not important anymore. Those people, honestly, do not know what they're talking about. So link building is incredibly important. It's incredibly difficult, but it has also evolved over time, and what we find over and over for investors is that it is far more about quality than it is about quantity. Alright? Google wants to see a whole wide variety of trustworthy links related to the industry that you're in. So if you were like, you know, you got weird links from like video game websites and car salesman websites and all this stuff, it doesn’t help you as much as someone having, for example, a really featured blog post on Zillow or something that links back to their site. So when you're optimizing your real estate investment site, you want to make sure that the links that you're getting are high authority, they're on real estate related websites, and they're on websites focused on the location that you are targeting. [0:22:04.8]
The other thing I want to point out is that a lot of people will build links in artificial ways using what's called PBNs, which are private blog networks, or they buy links from people, or they build out, you know, their own website and they just link to themselves. This is all, that's fine, and you know, you may get away with for a while, but we have seen over and over and over again, when Google picks up on what those people are doing, they smash their website to bits. They just fall off the face of the planet. It is one of those things where we have to come to view it as incredibly risky and even if it has a short-term positive effect, which sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn’t - it is not worth the risk. If you want to be in business five years from now, you're not going to build your business on a foundation of like cardboard and a bunch of like rats' nests. Right? You're going put down a concrete foundation. Links are the exact same way. You do not want something to come back and bite you in the butt three years from now because you paid someone 20 bucks to build you a bunch of links, okay? It just isn't worth it. [0:23:08.8]
So, a couple of final tips. We're coming to the end of the guide. Again, you can this entire guide, which goes far more in-depth than I could do here, at AdWordsNerds.com/guides and I'm going to put the specific link to this guide in the show notes for this episode. Here are a couple of final high-rank tips that I want you to think about. Look, this is almost sort of like funny to say, but if an SEO company guarantees you or promises you results for SEO, run the other way. It is just the fact of the math that what works in SEO is up and down and different and changes, and it's different from market to market. So although there are certain practices, like this stuff that we talked about in this guide, I can't, for example, say that if you do those things, you're going to get to number one. It may take you two months. It may take you a year. Right? So guarantees and promises of the specific result and the specific amount of time almost always means that that company is going to use underhanded tactics. They're going to use things that are against Google's Terms of Service. They're going to use things that are artificial and while they may work in the short-term, they will kill you in the long-term. [0:24:16.8]
Second tip for hiring people is really avoid companies that build PBNs, or private blog networks. You can ask them directly, "Do you build PBN links?" And if they say things like, "Oh, well we have a proprietary network of websites that link to you," or "We use blah, blah, blah, blah," it's almost always a sign that they're going to do this in an artificial way. These websites never get visited by anyone, and if Google finds them, they will punch you in the face. So do not risk it, and do not be afraid of asking directly how SEO companies build links for you. They should be able to tell you. [0:24:52.9]
Final hiring tip for SEO is make sure they do a comprehensive job, not just tweak some stuff on your site. Okay? SEO for real estate investors really needs to include all the stuff that we listed here. Right? We, for example, charge a premium when we do SEO because it is a done for you service where we cover the gamut - everything from like the beginning to the end and link building and review building, and everything. Right? A lot of SEO companies will just kind of come in and tweak the titles of your website or some of the text on your pages, and while that can be valuable, you don’t really know what is going to happen when they do that, and it's likely that it is not going to get you a whole big result. So in my opinion, if you're going to get into SEO and really invest in the channel, you might as well do it well and cover all your bases and do what's actually going to get you a result. [0:25:42.0]
So, guys, woo, alright. That was a lot of talking. That was the complete SEO Guide For Real Estate Investors, our 7-Step Outline. Like I said, you can get this free, and it's up on our website right now, at AdWordsNerds.com/guides. I will also provide the link in the show notes, directly to the SEO guide. Go check it out. Let me know what you think. It is, in my opinion, the most useful thing of its kind out there, and I would love to hear your thoughts. As always, guys, this is Daniel Barrett from Ad Words Nerds, signing off. Have an awesome rest of your week, and I will talk to you soon.
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