How you can help to increase the rankings of your own website on search engines.

Over the past few years we've seen and build many real estate websites.  Most of them look great and a picture does tell a thousand words, but having a website live on the internet these days isn't enough.  You can have the most amazing listings with professional photographs taken of the properties ready to feature in a glamorous magazine, but how do you drive the traffic to your website so that the potential buyer can view these amazing listings of yours?

When listing a house to sell, surely you would urge the owners of the property to remove all the clutter from the fireplaces' mantle piece, give the walls a fresh coat of paint, manicure the gardens and get rid of the doggy smell in the living room.  The same with your website, is it staged in such a way that even your least tech savvy buyer can easily navigate his or her way around your site?  Does your site reflect your company values, who you are and what you do?  Can the public connect with you on your social media channels from your website?

Building links to drive traffic to your website is something that all estate agencies or agents (who do not make use of companies specialising in link building on your behalf) should invest time and money on, it's easy and once you get a hang of it you'll see that it will not only drive traffic to your website, it can be a whole lot of fun too.

Are you the Word on their Mouth?

One marketing tool that carries a lot of weight in this industry is without a doubt word of mouth.  If I want to buy a house in an area that my friend lives in I would most likely ask him who his realtor was and if dealing with that realtor was a pleasant experience and if not, is there someone else that he can recommend.

Stay fresh in the minds of your previous and potential future buyers by sending them newsletters, not spamming them with your latest great buys, but sending them something newsworthy.  Information about the area that they may not be aware of, upcoming events on the community calendar, the best place to buy for DIY projects, even a good recipe or two will make them think of you when they want to buy a house.



Engel & Völkers South Peninsula send out great monthly newsletters with area news and info about events taking place in the area.

Putting yourself out there (or on the net) is so easy that estate agents forget about the simple things that can add value to their company.

Local Search:  The most common search engine used in South Africa is Google.  When I search for a "house for sale in Cape Town, Sea Point" I would probably click on the first few agencies that features via Google My Business (previously Google Places) on the first page of the results given by Google. This is an easy way to put your agency in front of the buyer even if your site is not enjoying first page rankings, by creating a Google Places page you can easily feature on the first page.




Local Directories:  List your agency with your website address on your local directories if there are any.

Event Promotion: Find out who lists local events and get your events listed there. Most cities have at least one newspaper that has an online version, and these make for amazing links.  List your community projects, show days and other events on these publications or community calendars. 

Volunteer your free time: Serve on the body corporate of the complex that you live in - you'll be amazed at the amount of business that you will accumulate just by being involved.  Offer to write a weekly blog for your local newspaper and volunteer to answer any real estate questions at a local expo or shopping mall for an hour. 

Donate: Donate money to buy rugby team outfits for the next door neighbour’s ten year old with your office name and logo on it (remember the web address), sponsor the local high school play and in turn get your company mentioned in the program.  Find local things that's tradition each year and get involved. 

Social Media

Facebook


If Facebook was a country, by now, it would probably be the biggest in the world. So why not have a company or business page on it.  It's a great way of interacting with your local community, posting local and real estate news.  The creative possibilities are endless on Facebook.


It's great for direct marketing too.  Say for instance you have a few friends living in an area that you've just listed a new property in - let them know and ask them to share the info on their own pages, your reach will instantly expand to thousands of facebookers.


Image: RealPro Facebook Page @ RealProEstateAgency

Twitter

Twitter is probably the easiest way to let everyone know about a new listing, a reduced listing, show house - anything at all.


Be interactive on your Twitter account.  Ask people questions like "What is the most important thing to consider when moving to a new neighbourhood" or "How do they choose an estate agent to work with when purchasing a house".  These questions and answers are then in turn seen by may others and you can use the info gathered on these questions to write about in a blog post or create a forum to interact on a greater level.




Image: @Nicolien_Excl



Image: @ChernoDavisProp

Most important - respond to those who tweet about you or mention you in their tweets!

Instagram

Probably the least used social platform by South African agents, but it can be a pretty powerful one.  You don't have to share images of only your real estate listings on your account.  If you specialise in selling of real estate in the bushveld, instagram about the wildlife, nature, reserves, holiday destinations, bushveld spa's and the kind of lifestyle that one would get to enjoy when they live there.

Instagram also allows you to post short video clips - a great way to share a quick tour of an exclusive property on the market.



Follow realestate_byshopie in Instagram and see how you can utilise this platform and improve your online presence.

Pinterest


Pinterest is almost like the new Facebook, everybody is jumping on this wagon and if you are not on it you're missing out.  Use this platform to share various things like kitchens, living rooms, entertainment areas, gardening tips and architectural masterpieces.  Take images from your current listings and add the link on your website of this property.



Follow MyProperty on Pinterest.

YouTube

This is where you can be the face of your company.  Personally, buying a house was one of the most stressful things that I've done thus far.  Especially if you are a first time buyer there are many things that you won't know because it's in the fine print of the OTP.  You can put the minds at ease of prospective buyers by giving them tips and sharing your years' of experience.  This is also a great way of sharing video tours of properties that you have on the market.



Follow Property.CoZa on YouTube


Content is King

This is where you can stand out from the crowd.  Being an estate agent can take up all your time...and you probably won't have any to spend on your website.  But if you have a spare minute or two, write something about real estate or the industry - there's no way that you can run out of ideas on what to write about.

Write about stuff that people will actually take in to consideration when purchasing a house like:



  • Information about local schools, day care centres, universities;
  • Information about surrounding companies for prospective employment;
  • Information about entertainment, recreation and other activities;
  • Information about new suburbs or security estates;
  • Information about the travelling systems close by and the highways and the accessibility thereof from particular suburbs.


If you own a website that was developed by Entegral you can easily post regular articles via the OMS' Marketing and Content Module.



News uploaded by Entegral's OMS system on to www.century21wildlife.co.za

A few other things to consider


  • If you use other social platforms like LinkedIn, make sure that you post an article and promote yourself regularly.
  • Ensure that your website works well on mobile or that you have a mobi version of your website that works well on smart phones and other hand held devices. (See Entegral's Mobi site offering)
  • Ensure that if you have a show house or auction that the correct dates and times are listed on all social media platforms and your own website
  • Don't be misleading.  Make sure that the description on your site of a particular property is accurate, do not mention amenities that's actually miles away from the location.
  • If you are given a bad review on a site like Hello Peter, respond to it right away. Make things right.
  • And last but not least, a house is something that people want to buy.  Make use of lots of visuals, post the best photos of the property that you can possibly get your hands on (they should be your own!)


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