Some wise words on SEO

Keeping your content current and up-to-date is very important to achieve and maintain a high rank on search engines.  Web pages need to be current in order to be relevant, and any site you find at the top of the search engine results is likely updated on a daily basis.

This is because search engines like Bing and Google “crawl” your site regularly to see the most recent updates.  If they “crawl” your site without finding any new updates or content, they assume your site is not relevant because it is not current, and your search engine ranking goes down.

Here are some suggestions on items you can add on a daily basis to keep your content fresh and increase your search engine ranking.  More detail on each step is provided below.

  • Post new listings
  • Add open house information
  • Write editorial articles
  • Generate new messages on your main page about local events.

Daily content updates can be important for encouraging return visits as well as for search engine rankings.  If you use Twitter or have a Blog for Real Estate you can also add RSS feeds to your website that will display these on your pages.  RSS feeds won’t count as fresh updates in regards to search engine ranking, but they will give returning customers new information when they are visiting your site and a reason to return again, which will increase your ranking indirectly.

SEO Tips for Yahoo and Ask.com

  • Yahoo does not use Meta keywords for SEO (these are different than the keywords you use in articles or page titles).
  • Yahoo displays 120 characters for the Meta Title, cutting off the title exactly at the 120 character limit, even if it is the middle of a word.
  • Yahoo shows up to 161 Characters (Including Spaces) for the Meta Description.
  • ASK.com displays 69 Characters (Including Spaces) for the Meta Title.
  • ASK.com pulls text from the page and can display up to 312 characters for a description.

Optimizing your site with Bing

  • Bing shows up to 150 Characters (including spaces) for the Meta Description
  • Bing displays 65 Characters (including spaces) for a Title Tag.
  • Bing prefers lots of text.  Try to use pages with at least 350 words of text when increasing your SEO for Bing.

Optimizing your site with Google

  • Google does not use Meta Keywords for SEO (these are different than the keywords you use in articles or page titles).
  • Google displays up to 69 characters of a title tag, cropping off the title at complete words.  Make sure your titles are descriptive and relevant to the page.
  • Google may display up to 150 characters of this description as part of the search results IF it is high enough quality.  If Google deems that it isn’t high enough quality or relevant to the page it will create its own Meta Description to show on the search results.

How to use Keywords to maximize SEO

Keywords are the specific terms used by people to search for something on the net.  Using the same keywords in your articles will help increase your search engine ranking when people are searching for those keywords.

There are a variety of places you can use keywords in to help increase your ranking,  some of the most effective areas are:

Using Keywords in Articles and Headlines

When writing your articles and headlines it is important to remember to make effective use of keywords, while at the same time including them in a natural way – where they make sense given the content.

Some people like to use no more than 3 to 4 keywords per 500 words, or 3 to 4 keywords per page that they write.   This is a good place to start if you aren’t sure how to use them effectively. However, if you can fit them in naturally so they make sense in the article, you can always use more.

Once you have written your content, take a second look to see if you can reword certain parts to naturally include known keywords without cluttering up your message or making it sound awkward. If your articles look like nothing more than a bunch of keywords strung together you may get people to your site, but they will leave quickly as the information isn’t relevant or useful.

Here is an example of how keywords can be integrated while still sounding natural:

Original: “Whether actively looking to buy or sell a home, or just thinking about it, everyone wants to know what’s happening in their area. It’s been a rocky road in the last few months and keeping track of the ups and downs is why it is especially important to have an agent working on your side.”

With Keywords: “Whether actively looking into home buyingselling your home, or just thinking about it, everyone wants to know what the current market trends are in their area. The real estate market has been rocky over the last few months, and keeping track of the ups and downs is why it is especially important to have a real estate expert working on your side.”

Using Alt Image Tags

When adding images to the content of your website, it is important to include Alt Text (Alternative Text) along with each of your images. The Alt tag is an HTML standard which can be used to indentify the content or function of an image. Alt Image Tags serve two very important purposes: Providing accessibility to the visually impaired (who are using a screen-reader), and enabling Search Engines to identify the purpose or content of the image.

Since Search Engines cannot “see” what is in an image on your site, the Alt tag becomes essential in identifying your image content. When used properly they can increase your Search Engine Optimization. Note that improper use of Alt Text can sometimes hurt your SEO, as Alt tags have been abused in the past in an attempt to artificially boost site ranking.

Sitemaps

There are actually two different kinds of sitemaps.  The first kind of sitemaps is a web page that lists all the pages on your web site.  This can be useful for their visitors if they are trying to find a specific page on your website.

The other kind of sitemap, is an XML Sitemap or Sitemap with a capital S.  This type of sitemap is used to give Google information about you web site.

A Sitemap is also a list of pages on your website, but it is not a list for you visitors.  You must first create a Sitemap and then submit it to Google.  This helps to make sure that Google knows which pages to spider and hopefully index on your website.

XML Sitemaps can also provide additional information about you web pages such as how often you update them, when the page was modified, and how the relative importance of the page.

Using Keywords in your Domain Name

Another way to help your SEO is by using keywords in your domain name.  Using keywords in your domain name instead of your agent name or company name will make your site more likely to appear in typical searches. Remember that you can register several different domain names and point them all at the same website, so you can always keep your existing domain too.

When creating a domain name here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Keep the domain name tied to your area and profession. For example, EverettCondoSales.com is a lot more effective for search engines than yourname.com.
  • Keep your domain name to a minimal amount of characters.  The domain name should be something easy enough that people can remember it and type it in at a later date.

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