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Breakthrough Ideas for Greater Real Estate Success!

What SEO Experts Do When They Need to Get Found Online

When people seeking your service start exploring online, they do so like you, me and everyone else. They rev up their browser, head off to a site or search engine and start searching.  Most searches are done by typing in a KEYWORD or PHRASE to a search box, clicking the search button and scanning through the resulting SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

Since we know this is what people do, all that's left for us to determine is WHAT the heck they are typing into that little search box.  If we can make an educated guess about that, then our job becomes more defined.  All we must do is PLANT ourselves (our service, our listing, a web site, a web page or a blog) so we show up in the SERPs where they are looking.  It's simple if you know how; impossible if you don't.

If you've heard anything about “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO), this is basically what we are discussing, but at a simplified level. You need not have any special talents to do this stuff, just the knowledge of what to do and where to do it.

The process, once clear in your mind, is rather simple.  The good news is that doing this stuff on the LOCAL level is far easier than trying to achieve a similar goal on a national or global scale.  But for you, and for your business, LOCAL is exactly where we want to be found.

So what do we need to do first?  We need to figure out what KEYWORDS or PHRASES local folks are typing into those search boxes!


Are you good with words?  Great!  Even if you aren't that's OK.  There are many tools online that query actual search databases and tell us exactly what people are typing into those boxes.  To make it easier, I've posted a tool that is like a ONE STOP SHOP for most of your keyword research needs.  It's located here (and it's FREE):

Another way to do quick research on top keywords is to use the Google Suggestion Tool.

This tool is now integrated into the main search toolbar on Google's homepage.  You'll notice when you begin typing a search phrase, before you press enter to search, suggested phrases automatically show up below.  Pay attention to these as they are high-traffic terms people search.

Here's what you can do to get a feel for local real estate search terms...
  1. Enter “your city” and “real estate” (example = “tucson real estate”...without the quotes)
  2. Before pressing “enter” or clicking search, notice what phrases Google suggests
  3. Write these top phrases down for later use

For local search, just a little research on these general terms goes a long, long way.  But we'll need to dive a little deeper to really uncover the specific KEYWORDS and PHRASES local homeowners, homebuyers and others may be using in their searches...

How to Find The Keywords and Phrases BUYERS and
SELLERS Are Typing Into Search Engines

1. Determine who you're after...
  • Think of the ONE person most likely to need what your web page or service is about.
  • Erase from your mind all inside knowledge about your company, product, service, industry etc.
  • Forget all techno-babble terms only known by experts or industry insiders.

2. Jump into the mind of the person (the homeowner in need)...
  • You are not a former client, so you have no history or relationship.
  • You have a definite need, challenge, desire, question or interest (that's why you are searching).
  • You're about to type words into a Google search box in the hope the search results page will guide you to a solution, a service, an answer, an agent, a perfect business or site.
  • You initially seek information and/or help more so than a product or “expert.”

3. Ask Yourself...
  • What words or phrase would you type in whereby when the results came up and you saw the site title listed (and ultimately a linked page)... you'd say “BINGO” this is what I was looking for!
  • Sometimes by thinking about the “who, what, when, where, why or how” behind the searchers motivation will spark additional useful keywords and phrases.

4. You're not done...
  • Ask others what keywords they use to find real estate information online, including:  your spouse, your Ex, your neighbor, your kids, your postman, your lawn-keeper, your pet sitter, your cousin Skippy, past clients, your bartender and anyone else you can reach out to.
  • Don't prep them with background info, just show them your draft page, a printout, or tell them your basic goals. The less you say, the better results you'll get.
  • Remember, people are not always good spellers... misspelled keywords can be untapped potential for traffic.

5. Explore your competition...
  • Go to Google, type in the keywords you've discovered and look at the top sites that return on the results page.  These sites are competing for a similar audience on a large scale - borrow from them for your local plans.
  • Go to sites you already know (from experience) that are seeking to attract the same people.  Examine what they are doing and take notes if you think you see a good idea.
  • Examine your competition's page title, headlines and the general subjects of their web pages.

This process will give you a running start at getting your web site found by your ideal prospects.  In my next article, I'll show you how to round out your keyword research to dominate local search results.

See you soon!

How To Use Referral Seeds to Grow Rich

Here's a great example of how to use a unique postcard to get the word out and sell your listings fast...

Agent Mike Haywood creates a simple postcard to leverage his network and promote his listings.  But look carefully, there are THREE things he does differently than most agents, and ONE important referral programming technique he uses to maximize his results...

You'll notice from his description and example that he, 1) Doesn't send post cards to everyone, 2) Uses his close relationship with his 'house list' (sphere) to leverage his selling power, 3) Promotes the BENEFITS  of the listing (“quiet Cul-de-sac,” “perfect patio for entertaining,” and “stunning views”), and 4) Makes a specific request (“Who do you know”...that would like to buy this specific house) – this ONE element alone turns his post card into a conversation piece for the members of his sphere to spread the word to friends and family.  Asking for specific action is far more effective than asking the general question, “Who do you know that's in the market to buy or sell a home?”

Here's Mike's description and a picture of his postcard below:

“As an agent who operates strictly from referral, I like to do a lot of marketing to a small sphere.  With every new listing I take I send out 'Who do you know' cards to everyone in my group.  Just a small 4 1/4 inch by 5 1/2 inch post card with some pictures and a brief description of the home and asking if they know of anyone who may be interested in it.

This never fails to generate calls and many times I sell my listings right away.  The real benefit is that it plants a seed that when it comes time to sell we are going to call Mike because no one else markets this way and he will get our home seen.”

Mike Haywood postcard
QuickTip: Using a GPS Unit To Save Time With Buyers

“A big time saving idea:  For folks coming to town to see a dozen homes.  Load a lendable GPS with addresses and have printed material ready.  Give this to prospect to do the first drive by.  If they are really interested then you only spend time showing the 1 or 2 homes in neighborhoods they really like..”

How To Profit From Your Own Agent Association

“I am an agent working exclusively in the downtown Los Angeles market.  Although hard to believe, there was no residential market in downtown LA until four years ago when the city realized the value of empty office buildings and the demanding housing market.  

Many developers snapped up these vacant buildings and converted them to live/work lofts.  It's an exciting market to serve and I'm thrilled to be a part of it.  And initially, there were just a handful of agents working in the downtown market.  Four years later, there are literally hundreds of 'one time hitters' and about 30 consistent agents.

When the market turned, the consistent agents (all of whom are known to each other and had been promoting each others properties) formed an association to market and brand our expertise.

It's a truly remarkable accomplishment as we all work for different agencies and are essentially, competitors.  We meet once a month for breakfast, usually have a guest speaker and discuss marketing options - not as individuals but rather as a group.

Since our inception, we have developed relationships with developers who otherwise would prefer not to do co-op brokering.  By banding together, we have become a distinct group that is able to leverage our ability to bring buyers to the developer projects.”

Flip video camera

Could you use this cool Video Camcorder in Your Business?
Share Your Best STUFF!

Real estate can be a tough, lonely business. Even top agents need a continuous flow of guidance, support and new ideas to keep going strong. When you share your best stuff with our community, everyone wins!

AND…remember, each month we hold a drawing to award one amazing FLIP video camcorder to an agent who submits an idea we use. So submit your best prospecting, marketing, horror story, or other real estate idea that makes you more successful, and you'll automatically become eligible to WIN a BRAND NEW FLIP video camcorder. Be sure to include an example if you have one! Click Here

Horror Story: Mountain Climbing Through A Home

“Last week I was out showing handyman specials to a buyer client.  One property definitely stood out from all the rest.  As a matter of fact, in my 6 years of working in real estate I have yet to see its equal!

The home in question was a small 3 bedroom bungalow on a nice sized lot, and located in a mature and very nice subdivision.  There was no key in the lockbox, so I called the listing agent for the code.  He returned my call saying he would be right over to let us in.  The agent showed up in fine drunk as a skunk!

He proceeded to warn us that the owner had a few quirks.  One being that he was a great collector of stuff, and the other was that the house was a little full.  Whatever that meant!  We entered the home via a side door (which I thought was odd) that opened to a small hallway.

To the left was a bathroom.  We couldn't see the condition of the bathroom because of all the boxes piled in front of the doorway.  To the right was the staircase to the basement, which I'll tell you about in a minute.  Straight ahead was a doorway leading into the kitchen.  Under the doorway was an old broken kitchen table and a few large garbage bags that were filled with clothing.  I would have worn proper shoes if I had known beforehand that we'd be doing a bit of mountain climbing

The kitchen was a total disaster! Bags after bags of garbage and used clothing littered the floor.  The counters were covered with half eaten food that was rotting and growing mold.  We really should have left at that point but our curiosity got the better of us.  The entire living room was filled with plastic storage containers and boxes stacked from floor to ceiling.  No wonder we couldn't enter through the front door!

The owner was kind enough to create a pathway to the master bedroom which lead directly to the bed as this room was also filled to the brim!  We were unable to view the other two bedrooms because they were ENTIRELY filled with boxes.  It just kept getting better and better.  The basement however was the finale!

Just like the rest of the home, you could not see three of the four walls due to the amount of boxes stacked floor to ceiling. On the back wall of the home, the owner had dug through the foundation to make an opening that went underground straight into the backyard!  This ‘cave' was about 4 feet wide, 5 feet high and about 9 feet in depth.

The listing agent explained that the owner could not afford to rent any more storage units, so he simply created his own storage space.  I happened to notice that one of the floor joists had been cut (approx. 12 wide) to accommodate a ‘clothes line' (according to the listing agent).  There was maybe one inch at the top of the joist left to support the fridge sitting directly above this cut joist.  Yikes!!!  Frankly, this home should have been condemned.  The structural integrity had been seriously compromised. That's my horror story and perhaps one very good reason to preview properties prior to taking clients out.”

Issue #1152