Yesterday, I was on a panel discussion about SEO at the REtechSouth conference for real estate professionals. I learned so much and want to share some great take-aways which can help any business on the web. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Widgets are a great way to share information and communicate with your blog and website audience. Meebo is a great chat widget which allows you to chat with visitors to your site. I've already implemented this on my blog and website. I'll report back on how successful its been soon.
Another good real estate widget is AltosCharts.
- Real estate agents and the industry in general is learning how to embrace Social Networking like LinkedIn, FaceBook, ActiveRain and other outlets to communicate their expertise with the masses and network with other like-minded individuals. They are really setting a nice example on how we can all benefit from networking both online and offline.
- Blogging is hot with these folks. I mean HOT! This group has learned how to blog about their industry and share their combined knowledge with everyone including consumers (who show the most benefit from this great FREE information!). They have learned that becoming the "mayor of their neighborhood" and sharing information about niches most other's might miss is the key to blogging success. A great example of this in Seattle is Rain City Guide.
- Video is the next generation of sticky sites (Flash, what's that?). Creating videos has become more affordable for most business owners. Its a new way to dazzle people on the Internet and share information. Its also a great way to connect with your audience. There was some controversy about creating home-made videos with a personal camera or hiring out a professional. I think this can be answered by looking at the audience intended. Some spontaneous videos work well for some audiences, where others demand a professional feel. I can see situations where both work well. I was very impressed with the folks at AtlantaDwellings.tv.
A couple of missing points yesterday:
- If you have a blog, make sure its exceptionally written, well designed and very informative. Don't just blog to have a presence or to say you've joined the blogging world. Have good information to share.
It also has to look top-notch and match your branding. Beware of using templates that don't match your main site's style or hire a company to create a custom blog for you.
There was also a comment thrown in the blogging discussion that websites are dead...not true. This is still a very important medium that can drive traffic to your blog as your main billboard. Websites are not going away anytime soon in the current business world. Also, using a blog for a website can be seen as unprofessional by having a bloggy "look" which is pretty obvious to consumers as a cheap way to build a site. (2 or 3 columns, banner, etc.)
- Create a channel on YouTube or other video broadcast channels for you and your company. A great way to get your videos out there an maintain another online presence. Also a great way to get more links coming into your website. Use your videos to educate consumers and they will come back again and again and refer your channel to others. (Take a look at ours here.)
- SEO is a long, hard road and shouldn't be attempted by those who don't have time to do it correctly. Hiring someone to do this long-term job and babysit the work puts more money in the pocket of the real estate agent long-term. Why would you waste your time on researching SEO tactics when you should be spending it with your clients? Give that job to the pros who get your results which bring you clients.
- Don't go on Social Networks if you don't plan on helping anyone and you're just out to see how popular you are. That doesn't give anyone any value. Be prepared to answer and ask questions. Establish yourself as an expert and help people with various business problems and ideas. You'll learn just as much as you share with others. Work it and give back and you'll get multiples in return.
Sorry this was a long post, but this conference could have gone on for a week. There was so much great information there. I'm already looking forward to 2009!