SEO for real estate professionals

For many people, search engine submissions can be an overwhelming task. You have no idea where to begin, who to contact and what to do once you get to a site that receives submissions! This purpose of this article is to help you drive more traffic to your site through optimizing the value of search engines.

The Top 3 search engines generators are Google, Yahoo and Inktomi. According to Webmonkey, Yahoo's directory accounts for half the traffic referred to most sites. Secondary to Yahoo, the majority of search engine traffic comes from two places: Google and Inktomi.

Google you have probably heard of, but Inktomi you may not have since it runs the technology behind search engines, such as MSN Search and AOL Search, two top referrers, as well as Hotbot and over a dozen others.

Submit your site

There are two options for submitting your site.

1. You can pay automated search engine submission services to submit your site for you.
2. You can avoid paying fees by submitting your site yourself.

Paying for automated search engine submission

One recommended site in the industry is Submit It, an early player that did so well, Microsoft bought them - Submit It is now part of MSN bCentral. Submit It charges a reasonable annual fee of $49 for one URL or $99 for three URLs. Some other available programs are listed here.

Submitting yourself

You can avoid the fees by submitting to individual search engines on your own. Start with this list of top referrers - which is where a majority of the traffic on the Internet originates.

  • AOL

Keep in mind that Yahoo still offers free submissions, except for business categories, which cost $199. Of course the fee doesn't guarantee they'll accept your site, just that they'll decide on it within a week - with free submissions, you don't even get the promise that they'll ever get around to evaluating it, given the incredible volume of submissions. Pretty reassuring isn't it?

What happens after the site is submitted?

Once your site is submitted to the various engines and directories, expect to wait at least a month or two if not longer. The search engines are constantly indexing the pages that are constantly submitted to their site. The process they use is fast, however when dealing with billions of pages, it is only a matter of time to get through all of crawling and indexing.

Meta tags, title tags and keywords

A title tag appears at the top of the internet page of your web site. For example, our title tag at the top of this page reads " Order Settlement Online or Get Free Quotes For Closing Costs". Points to consider when creating a title:

  • The title tag needs to be short, less than 40-50 characters
  • Include 1-2 of your most important keyword phrases in the title tag.
  • Do not just list key words in the title tag, it should read like a sentence.
  • Ideally, each page on your Web site should have its own title tag.

When deciding on your meta tag description, which is unseen on your web page, think about the description you want people to see when search results are returned.

The goal is to have a comprehensive description, yet succinct enough for the reader to know exactly what services you are offering.

For example, our description says " enables borrowers, home buyers, realtors, and mortgage lenders to order settlement services online. Request a free quote to calculate your title insurance & final closing costs and settlement costs. Serving the metro DC area including DC, VA, MD.". Some points to consider when creating your meta tag description:

  • Use singular and plural words.
  • Think of common misspellings.
  • Since your site is unique to the DC metro area, include the cities, counties and states you service.
  • Be careful not to repeat the same word more than five times, this is considered spamming.
  • Do not use more than 244 characters

Choosing the right meta tag keywords is essential to getting a high ranking on search engines and directories.

Targeting keywords

Determine the keyword phrases you will use and begin adding them to your pages. It is better to be specific rather than vague. For example "beach homes" is too vague but "chesapeake bay houses" is more specific and will yield better results. Points to consider when choosing keywords:

  • Try to think like your target audience. What words are they going to use when trying to find your site?
  • Make a list of two or three key words for each page on your Web site.
  • Try using phrases (two or more words) that you think people might enter into a search engine when looking for your site.
  • Avoid repeating the same word over and over. Repeating the same word is a spamming technique known as 'Keyword Stuffing.' Try for less than 3 times.
  • Check out your competitors site and see what key words they are using.

As you can see, a lot of thought needs to go into search engine submissions, but it is no means an impossible task. Most of the search engine optimization packages walk you through the process, so you have plenty of assistance for every step. For more information on the subject, go to your favorite search engine and search on "Website optimization."

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