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SEO Tips from a Listing Broker.

I list and sell real estate as my business, and I have been writing web pages for 8 years.  Here are some ideas.  The words site and page are not interchangeable.  A site is all the pages under/on one domain.  A page is a part of a site.  The main page or the home page is like the foreword, introduction and table of contents of a book all in one place - and very much more compact.  Also, SEO is an ever evolving and changing part of the Internet.  What works now, may not in six months.  What one programmer has seen work with one search term, may not work with another search term.  When you SEO, you work with a fairly specific search term in mind.  That search term should be researched and tested for usefulness - don't just assume people are using the term you are optimizing for.  A site may have one or more search term focuses, but each page should have only one.  You want to build pages with the most popular search terms for your market, and I can tell you after seo-ing over 30,000 real estate pages that every market is searched differently.  If you are paying someone to SEO for you, these may help you gain enough understanding of what they are doing to see if they are worth what you are paying them.  With that said, here are some ideas.

1. Make sure your site is not under construction or incomplete.  You cannot seo an incomplete site.
If it has no content, do not make it active.  If it has to be active, write at least three paragraphs of text that have the keywords and subject material that this page will be about.
Before you add a page to your active site, make sure it is complete by testing it offline, and testing it offline.

2. Create content "rich" pages.  If your content is blah, or the same thing others have, your site will not stand out.
Do not make your site too busy.  Too much stuff is confusing, and overwhelming (like the length of this post). 
You may know it all, but you don't have to display it all.  And, links to "everything" are clutter.  If you aren't a specialist in that area, leave it off.
Do not duplicate content on different pages.  (Although, you can use a template for organization and to provide similarity in your pages for users.)
Do not use the same content on different domains.

3. Make the keywords that you use in the keyword meta tag, relevant to the page they are on.  (Some SEO programmers say the keyword tag is obsolete.  You decide.)
Do not use too many keywords, and do not repeat them more than twice.
Most search engines like to only see 15-20 keywords words.

4. If you use images, use the alt tag to "anchor the images" with text. 
Note: Using images will slow the loading of your site.  In some cases it will be slowed dramatically and you will lose visitors.

5. Use your best keywords in your title, meta tags for keywords and description, and in alt tags for images. 

6. The title tag on each page should only be around 60-80 characters in length (including spaces).

7. The description tag on each page should only be around around 30 words, and should include only the best keywords.
(This is the part of your page that the search engines use in their results to describe your site, so make it understandable to humans.)

8. When organizing the paragraphs on your page, use headings (H1, H2, H3..) that contain that page's best keywords.
The heading tags are used to make titles for a section.  The engines like heading usage.
The # indicates the size of the text.

9. Validate your CSS and HTML codes on your pages. There are free validators available on the net. 
(If you have hired an SEO person, you can still validate the code by entering the page's complete url into one of the online code validators.)
It is easy to make type-os that affect your seo.

10. Don't use dynamic pages ( a "?" or similar character in the page name.) 
Many search engine' spiders don't like dynamic page names very much.
Don't use flash or sound on your site.  (If you want to argue about that, you don't need to be reading this.)

11. Avoid being considered a link farm by the search engines, by keeping the number of links on a page to under 100.
There are very few reasons to have anywhere near that many links on one page.
Test all your links once your page goes active, and fix broken links.

12. Use a Robots.txt file to manage and control search engine spiders that will crawl your site.
You can allow and disallow spiders, and you can choose what pages and files you want to be crawled or left unindexed.
For example, you may not want spiders to crawl pages that have forms.

13. Of course there is the link building part of your optimization.
Build your site to be found and you will build organic links.
If you make your site easy to use, fast loading, and informative, visitors will appreciate your site. 
When they appreciate it, they will return, and they will tell others about it.  They will also link to you.
If you link to a site, link only to ones with content that is relevant to your own site, and preferably with a high page rank. 
The quality of links is more important than quantity. Be careful not to have many reciprocal (traded links.) 
I suggest that you don't offer reciprocal links and that you are cautious when they are offered to you.

14. Be extra careful in purchasing SEO services.
Some programmers use "black hat" or "non search engine approved" methods, to gain traffic.  This increase in traffic is usually short lived. 
You may even get removed from search results if the engines become aware of black hat methods on your site.

15. When your site is ready, (after you have tested it offline and online for load speed, type-os, and broken links), submit it to the major search engines.
Consider also submitting it to other less used search engines (although many of them are powered by the four biggies.)
You can also submit your site to directories and places like del.icio.us, furl, technorati, etc.

16. Submit a sitemap to the major search engines (sitemap for search engines usually in XML format) and make it available to other spiders.
Make it easy to find an html link to your sitemap so your human visitors can use it if they want to.
(The sitemap for visitors should be in .html format.  This version is useful for visitors but not important for SEO and so should have "no follow" tags in it so the spiders don't go through the same pages more than once.)

17.  When you blog on AR, include links to your site imbedded in the text.
Do not imbed links in your comments on AR.  There are some blogs and news sites that allow links in comments to be followed, but AR is not one of them.

18.  Test your site in the search engines with your search term every month or two.  Test the search term you are optimized for to see if it is still the best seo term for your market.  When you make changes you have to be patient.  Sometimes changes won't show search result changes for more than a month.

This is only a smattering of ideas.  Each idea could be developed into its own separate post for this blog, but then I'd be a programmer and notlisting and selling real estate.

Happy listing and selling! And SEO-ing!

Heath Coker, Associate Broker
Robert Paul Properties
www.CapeGroup.com / capegroup@capegroup.com
508-274-5613  Licensed in MA
Its a beautiful day on Cape Cod!
@CapeGroup  Skype: heath.coker

REindex.com, The Site Engine®
508-274-5613  reindex@reindex.com
See our 2 Minute YouTube www.REindex.com/WhatIsREindex.html
@RealEstateIndex

James Heath Coker | Create Your Badge

SEO Tips from a Listing Broker.
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I list and sell real estate as my business, and I have been writing web pages for 8 years. Here are some ideas. The words site and page are not interchangeable. A site is all the pages under/on one domain. A page is a part of a site. The main… more