Using SEO to Strengthen Your Brand

real-estate-websites-seo

Seth Godin writes another incredible post explaining how utilizing SEO can be much more than trying to own mainstream keywords and delves into the territory that I live in, the territory that I have used to grow BlueRoof.com for three years now. Utilizing SEO as a way to strengthen your brand and help people find you when they are trying to.

When someone is looking for a good real estate buying experience in our area, many of them have heard of BlueRoof.com and the BlueRoof experience from their friends or family members. And when they Google us I want them to find us- and that is the only way I care about SEO for my particular website. I don’t pack keywords and links into my site because people don’t want to use websites that are pack with keywords and links- they want a great experience that is all about THEM, not about getting people to ME…

So, I have to pay for my Google ranking with Pay Per Click. And that’s okay because most of the traffic that comes to our site now is referred traffic- traffic that we have very worked hard to earn by offering the best experience we can to our clients. Helping them find the right home and negotiating and educating and working for the client above all else.

I want to own the keyword BlueRoof and the keyword BlueRoof.com and even Blue Roof (with a space), but not because I want to get any traffic, because I want to help those who are already looking for us to be able to find us easily. That is the best traffic because they already want to work with us  and we want to help them.

Utilizing SEO to get new business can obviously be a good thing, but landing on the front page of Google for any good keywords can be very difficult. It’s important to build your own brand and putting some focus into that might be the best strategy you can take- it’s worked well for us.

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BlueRoof360 Launches Mobile Search and Much More…

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In February we launched our new mobile search feature which work on any mobile device with internet. Every BlueRoof360 website has mobile search now by simply adding the suffix of /mobile or/m after the URL (prusantafe.com/m)

Every listed home on the MLS is in the search and each listing includes all the photos directly pulled from the MLS.

Also on the home page of the mobile search there is Quick House Number Lookup which allows someone sitting in front of a house to simply type in the house number and easily find that property. If there are more than one result for that particular house number, our clients listings sort to the top (since those will be the properties with sign riders telling people to type in the house number.)

So, by going to prudentialfloridarealty.com/m on my mobile phone and typing  [a listed house number] into the Quick House Number Lookup it takes me directly to that Prudential Florida Realty listing.

Properties can be saved to your account, just as if you were on the website, and it’s easy to schedule a showing or contact the agent.

But our mobile system is much more than search- agents can access their contacts, see the showings and feedback on their listings, access documents associated with each client, and send documents, all form their mobile account.

And, even better, the agents clients can access all of their listing and escrow information, checklists of items that have been accomplished and deadlines that have been met, or are still pending, they can see all their showings and feedback from their showings, and the clients can also access all of their documents and send them from their mobile device.

BlueRoof360 gives our clients, and their clients, a true mobile “hub” where all the contract, listing, and escrow information is accessed and shared from a central place on the agent’s website.

Inman, showing signs of slipping in their reporting of new technologies first, wrote a too-late article April 10th about a new innovation that we launched along with our mobile hub over a month ago, allowing people to find homes quickly by typing in a house number while they are in front of the house or wherever. Just another innovation we came up with before they even noticed.

Watch for new features we will be launching soon that continue to innovate and lead the industry…

Social Media is not a Social Life…

Social Media is Still Media


It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity

Albert Einstein


I remember riding around the neighborhood as a kid, stopping at friends houses until I found someone who could play. I usually didn’t even call first. I just got on my bike and rode.  I would see kids I wasn’t even going to see and we’d hang out and go see other friends together.

The neighborhood was our meeting place. The park, the school, the church lawn, or just riding around until we found each other.

When I was in high school we would meet after school and decide where to go or talk during the day and decide. In the summer there were so many friends around that we always knew what everyone was doing the next day.

Now I spend most of my free time with my family or having a drink with friends.

Certainly Facebook , Twitter and Blogging have become a part of my life and have value for me, but they are not my social life. Many people have began to live their lives through “social media” and I think it is important to remember that social media is still media. It is computers and phones and technology and it helps us keep connections, but there is a difference between social media and a social life.

I email and text message my friends all the time and I am certainly wired into technology. I own a technology company, get my business from the internet,  and I am on my iPhone all throughout the day, but not as a replacement for the real world.

Social, to me, means human interaction. Real touch and connection and dialogue with inflection and emotion. Laughing out loud- not LOL. Social is about feeling each other’s energy and being in the same space together.

At the coffee shop the other day I heard a girl tell the guy behind the counter that she had over 1000 MySpace friends and a few minutes later told someone on the phone that she “had no social life”. But the irony reached its peak when she was leaving and the guy told he would look her up online to chat. He didn’t even ask her email address- he would look her up.

Socia Media is Not a Social Life

I flew to the east coast last month to give a presentation that could have easily been done online with Gotomeeting but never could have resulted in me feeling like I knew the client like I do. Monday I am giving a presentation that could be very big for my company and when they asked me to put together a powerpoint I set up a time when I could show it to them in person.

You can tell a lot about someone by their handshake or the way they smile. The energy of being at a ballgame cannot be reproduced by video. And Twittering four hundred times a day or spending hours on Facebook cannot take the place of simply raising a glass with friends to toast life.

Offline…

What if Twitter Got Serious?

what-if-twitter-got-serious

I enjoy seeing new technology and I love change. And I like to see new apps and ideas change how business is done. These are exciting things for me. But Twitter, with all of its potential, is just not very useful.

Using Twitter is like slamming my head into a wall and then eating some delicious ice cream, and then slamming my head into a wall again- It’s really great and really painful.

I understand certain applications for it and how they are valuable (sharing experiences about a convention or family trip, feeding your updates to a website, audience participation during a speech or discussion group, sharing quick thoughts and insights), but on a day to day basis it is frustrating to sort through hundreds and thousands of conversation pieces for the precious few tidbits of information I actually want.

What’s really frustrating is how easy it would be for Twitter to make the thing very useful.

If Twitter had a simple category or tagging system or channels where I could look at “business” tweets or tweets tagged with “real estate” or something- that would be very valuable to me.

I use a Twitter feed on BlueRoof now but I had to create a new account where I would only post items relevant to the website audience. If there were channels I could simply use that one channel from my same account to feed to my website.

With dozens of employees I have no idea what Twitter programmers do all day. They obviously are not creating a good search function or a way for people to get better use out of the product.

I am hopeful that one day Twitter will make some investment into the usability of the product, or that someone else will launch of much-better product of their own.

As a side note- all the ridiculous “Tweet” and “Twit” names are just freaking annoying- Tweets, Twits, Tweetle Dee, Twitterooza, Twit’n Tweeters Tweedling Twadoozles… enough already!!!

How About a $15,000 Tax Credit for HomeBuyers?

home-buyers-need-help

The Senate voted unanimously tonight to include the Isakson Amendment, a tax credit of 10% of the sales price (up to $15,000), for home purchasers buying a primary residence  into the Stimulus Package. This would not need to be paid back and would be available for one year if it passes.

It still needs to make it into the final draft, due to be signed by the end of next week and hopefully this is one provision that will make the final cut.

Fence Sitting

The housing markets across the country could really use a boost and this could help. Many people are waiting to buy even though they are sitting in the middle of one of the best times to purchase they have ever seen and maybe this could help some of those who are on the fence make the decision to buy now, which will help the entire economy.

We can all use some good news right now and a lot of industries are looking for the government to help them, but fundamentally it makes sense to help kick start the housing sector. When more people begin buying homes the economy will benefit. There are so many jobs and companies that are affected by housing. Builders, contractors, road layers, Realtors, loan officers, title people, home inspectors, home warranty companies, attorneys, plumbers, electricians, carpet layers, home furnishing stores, and on and on and on…

Contact your local Senator or House Representative and tell them to keep this in the bill. This is the sort of stimulus we need to get the economy moving again…

**Update- Looks like the compromise is an $8000 tax credit for first time home buyers, who buy in 2009, that doesn’t need to be repaid.

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Tired of a template website that doesn’t bring you business? If you are looking for a custom real estate website with lead management (CRM) system and more, contact BlueRoof360 (http://blueroof360.com) at 888-850-4867 Ext#1 or sales@blueroof360.com.

SEVRAR Technology Fair Coming to Phoenix- Jan 27th

SEVRAR Technology Fair

The Southeast Valley Association of Realtors (SEVRAR) is holding it’s first annual  Technology Fair this month on Tuesday, January 27th and it looks like it’s going to be a great event.

There are speakers (including myself) and discussions touching on a number of relevant topics, including SEO, social media, blogging, websites and more. It’s good to see the booths and see what new products are available for Realtors, learn from the sessions, and I’ve always liked the networking that happens when you get people who have common interests but new ideas.

I’ll be speaking about Website Strategies,  discussing website design, current and future trends, and how to build your website into a brand, as I have been able to do with BlueRoof.

Lunch will be served and they are even going to have technicians available to give free laptop check-ups.

Phoenix Technology Fair

If you live in the desert and you like real estate technology- this is the place to be Jan 27th.