Tactics for Locking Up Google Search Keywords

On Monday, I sounded the alarm that local real estate
blogs will eventually dominate Google's first page returns. Realtors are faced with the very real risk of being locked out of Google's top page. Read the above article first to understand how "long tail" keywords work. Here are some tactics that not only work to help develop your blog's search engine profile, but also promotes other agents and their listings. It's mutually beneficial for both parties...

1) Mention the names of top producing real estate agents in your area... make sure the name hyperlinks back to the agents' website so it works to promote the agent.  When someone googles the name of that top producer, your blog will eventually pop up higher in google rank than the website of that producer him/herself because you have a blog and they don't. Here's an example of the power of name gaming: Linda Bettencourt, a San Francisco stager, wrote just a COMMENT on the 3Oceans blog last week. Google "Linda Bettencourt stager" and she pops up #1 at 3Oceans. Querying "Palo Alto stager" will return the author Ann O'Connell's Active Rain website at #1 and 3Oceans at #3.

2) Mention the addresses of open houses and hyperlink back to the MLS listing to give the property more exposure. When the cursor hovers over a link, informative text about the link appears in a :"hover box". The text in the hover box is also indexed by google. So the hover text should be filled with keywords including the address and even the name of the neighborhood, for example, "3 Cleland Place, Menlo Park,
another Willows listings for sale". For example, google "3 Cleland Place, Menlo Park" and 3Oceans places #1; notice the "hover text" is notated... more surprising, the listing agent's website is nowhere to be found in the google search, perhaps testament to the fact that google doesn't frequently "spider" or monitor static websites that rarely change.

Thanks to Kevin
  for these examples.

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  • 3/15/2007 5:14 PM James Nicholson wrote:
    Another good strategy for moving your blog up in the rankings is by commenting on other blogs - like I'm doing now. There's usually a field to enter your name and the URL of your website when you make a comment. The more comments you make, the more links exist to your website, and the higher your ranking on Google.

    It's not a foolproof method (nothing is when it comes to the search engines), but like a lot else in life the more you put in the more you'll get out.
    Reply to this

  • 3/15/2007 7:21 PM Kevin Boer wrote:
    My understanding is that most blogging platforms have a "nofollow" tag on all comments, so in many cases comments on other blogs will not count as links back to your own.
    Reply to this

  • 3/16/2007 6:37 AM Mark Pilatowski wrote:
    You are correct. A lot of blogs do use the no-follow tag but there are some that don't. Even if the no-follow tag is used adding your website can lead to direct traffic from blog readers hitting the link AND if they or the blog owner find it useful they may decide to write about your site themselves. So even no-follow links can lead to relevant traffic and have the potential to earn quality inbound links in the future.
    Reply to this

  • 3/16/2007 8:34 AM Dennis Weed wrote:
    The Google algorithm also gives a high ranking to sites listed on the Open Directory Project - http://dmoz.org/ . Sites should be submitted to the proper locality in the Regional category.
    Reply to this
    1. 3/16/2007 11:14 AM Pat Kitano wrote:
      DMOZ's real estate category does not accomodate blogs, only businesses (with associated blogs).

      Reply to this
      1. 3/16/2007 6:56 PM Ben K wrote:
        Pat - Can you clarify what section you're referencing? DMOZ added my condo blog in the Seattle condo real estate section - http://tinyurl.com/23cure

        They added it within 2 weeks too.
        Reply to this
        1. 3/16/2007 7:05 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
          I backtrack, DMOZ does add real estate business blog / websites. Thanks for the update Ben, I just didn't see the usual suspect blogs we read on the DMOZ.

          Reply to this

  • 3/18/2007 6:51 PM Matt McGee wrote:
    Pat et al,

    With all due respect, the ideas and advice in this post are not accurate. I hope you'll indulge me as I try to clarify some things so that everyone understands what works and what doesn't. I'll reply to the #s 1 and 2 in the original post:

    1) The fact that you have a blog and the other person doesn't has no bearing on your search engine rankings. Google, admittedly, does love blogs but it's not as if you get a bonus point for having one. The benefit of a blog is that you are (hopefully) writing fresh, keyword-rich content which (as your blog gains more authority and trust) will then give you more opportunities to be found when searchers type in those same keyword-rich phrases.

    In the case you showed re: Linda Bettencourt ... there are only 133 matches for the phrase in question. With so few matches available, it's no wonder the blog comment quickly found its way to the top. There's no competition! Meanwhile, right now a search for that same query has YOUR page in the first spot. In both cases (i.e., your post and the 3Oceans thing), the reason was simple: It's a very unique query with very few matches and it was written about on two relatively authoritative sources. Trust and authority of the source sites are the key, not the fact that one source has a blog and the other doesn't.

    2) The "hover text" you're referring to is called the "title attribute", which is not to be confused with the "title element" (i.e., the page title). None of the search engines use the title attribute in a link as a ranking factor. They may display some of that text in the snippet below your listing, but that doesn't mean the text had any impact on the ranking.

    You can confirm this yourself by creating a completely nonsensical phrase, something that exists nowhere else on the Web, and putting it in the title attribute of a link. Then wait a few days and do a search for your gibberish phrase. It won't show up.

    By the way, this is the same way the meta=description tag is handled. The text in your meta=description will often show up as the snippet below your listing, but that text did not help you rank. Yahoo is the only SE that even looks at the meta=description for the purposes of matching or ranking, and I believe they use it for matching. I ran a little test on this on my blog some time ago, which you can read about here if you're interested:


    Reply to this
    1. 3/18/2007 8:01 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Thank you Matt -  our interpretation of data is anecdotal and your expert input clarifies how google works. I'm particularly impressed with your explanation on the title attribute. Your Small Business SEM blog has some exceptional articles accessible (that is, not too technical) to our Realtor readership... I'm a fan now.

      Reply to this

  • 3/18/2007 9:39 PM Matt McGee wrote:
    (been struggling all night to post the rest of this....sorry!)

    On to the comments...

    James -- links in blog comments are highly distrusted by Google, with or without the nofollow element. Leaving comments on other blogs is a wonderful way to get exposure, but I certainly wouldn't hang my hat on it as an SEO tactic.

    Dennis -- at the moment, DMOZ is one of two directories Google specifically mentions as a place to get a trusted link. But with the recent troubles DMOZ has had (offline for about 2 months) and the ongoing revelations about less-than-honest dealings by some DMOZ editors, many of us in search marketing feel it's only a matter of time before a DMOZ link is devalued. Some believe it already has been. As far as directories are concerned, I would recommend the Yahoo directory very highly. It's worth the $300/year to have that trusted link. Business.com is another trusted directory. And there are several smaller directories, too, that real estate agents should be listed in.

    I hope this information is useful, and I apologize if it appears I've barged in. My wife is a real estate agent and often sends me links and asks me if what's been said is accurate. So you know I didn't just fall off the truck ... I've been doing search marketing since 2000, am a speaker on the Search Engine Strategies conference circuit, and write for both Search Engine Land and Search Engine Guide. I'm always glad to talk about search marketing and help people understand best practices, so I'd welcome further contact from anyone interested.
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