Friday, August 18, 2006

Search engines to get real estate listings, PPC or SEO?

The search engine industry now tops a billion dollars and the market cap of Google is enormous. All of this simply because every one of us wants to be the first on the list when a potential client types in the words real estate. The search engine market is making a fortune and the two most prominent sources of revenue are PPC (pay per click) and SEO (search engine optimization) advertising. With all of that money at stake, and your entire marketing budget on the line, how do you get a good rank on the search engines, but not waste a fortune trying to collect just a few listing leads?

I am continually asking myself that question and wanted to share with you a few online rules that I currently live by. To get a better rank on search engines (primarily Google) I try to adhere to the following guidelines:

1) Update the site with pertinent content on a routine basis. Websites get scanned by search engines several times per week and they seem to give more emphasis on sites that have varied content.

2) Well placed search terms. Have you noticed lately that if you type in a specific search term in google now the information fed back usually has a variation on the phrase that you typed in? Very rarely does it ever return a site with the exact phrase in the keywords of the site.

3) A lot of backlinks. I read a few months ago that Google now penalizes sites that have large link directories with reciprocal links. Conversely, I also heard that they give points to sites that have a lot of other sites referencing it; especially .org and .gov sites.

For search engine optimization, these are the guidelines that I currently live by. For Pay Per Click advertising, I spend a lot more time trying to calculate my return on investment. I pick terms that are relevant, generate traffic, but are not expensive. If you go the straight “real estate” route for a search term, you could pay over $2.00 per visitor. That’s two dollars just to get a person to your site. In the best sites, there is only a 30% chance that the visitor is a prospective client, and only a 5% chance that they will submit to you any data. If you look at it from a cost per lead standpoint, it is $40.00 per lead if your website is completely optimized. For most of us, a 2% response per visitor is exceptional. Therefore a $2.00 per click search term actually costs you $100 per lead. A little too rich for my blood.

-Barrett N. A Simple System to Close More Sales

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