If anyone in the SEO industry is looking for something to specialize in, an audience to target for immediate and future revenue opportunities, let me suggest the real estate industry. Those folks need help in the worst way.
I speak from experience: My wife is a real estate agent. My sister is a real estate agent. My dad has been an agent & broker for 50+ years. In my previous job, I built web sites and did the SEO for one of our local agencies. Though I don’t work here locally anymore, I still have lots of friends & contacts from the local real estate industry.
The problem is two-fold:
- There are countless companies offering web hosting, web design, and SEO services to the real estate industry. They portray themselves as experts, but the tactics they use and the advice they offer is useless at best, and sometimes harmful.
- Like many small businesses, real estate agencies and agents are generally uninformed on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to SEO and search marketing, and buy into these companies promises hook, line, and sinker.
Word on the street is that one local real estate agency is about to spend 5-figures per month for a year with one such company to have its web site redone and optimized. The web company is apparently telling the real estate firm that they’ll “get you to the top of the search engine rankings,” which is generally an immediate signal to hang up the phone. I checked out the web company’s site and found a few other red flags:
- On their page promoting SEO services, they talk about having relationships with major search engines. Uh-oh.
- The SEO page also talks about PPC advertising, which I think confuses the client who may not be aware of the difference between SEO and PPC, and may not realize that the promises of “getting to the top” might mean doing so via PPC.
I checked out one of this company’s real estate clients, and found:
- They have the same Page Title across the site.
- They have keywords stuffed into hidden comments viewable only in the source code.
- They have a network of additional sites with the same exact content — i.e., spam — all linking back to the main site.
In the real estate industry, this is what passes for SEO. It’s a disaster. But it’s also an opportunity for someone to come along and raise the level of SEO and search marketing in this industry — with solid advice/consulting using best practices, an understanding of the value of trust, great content generation, quality link building, appropriate use of social media (such as blogs, video optimization, Flickr, etc.), local search … you know, all the stuff great search marketing is made of.
[tags]real estate, seo[/tags]