Whether it’s a photo, a blog post or a video, properly tagging your online content is one of the best ways to generate and convert leads on the Web. Are you taking advantage of this powerful tool?

If you’re like most Realtors, "tagging" may be something that you associate with graffiti artists. In terms of today’s Web-based sales environment, "tags" are a powerful way to help you grow your business.

What is a tag? The simple answer is that it is a short description that describes the content of a photo, a blog post, a video or an entry on a social media network.

Whether it’s a photo, a blog post or a video, properly tagging your online content is one of the best ways to generate and convert leads on the Web. Are you taking advantage of this powerful tool?

If you’re like most Realtors, "tagging" may be something that you associate with graffiti artists. In terms of today’s Web-based sales environment, "tags" are a powerful way to help you grow your business.

What is a tag? The simple answer is that it is a short description for the content of a photo, a blog post, a video or an entry on a social media network. In fact, you may already be well acquainted with the tagging process if you have ever done any of the following:

  • Posted a picture on Facebook and "tagged" (named) the people in the picture.
  • Posted a photo on Flickr.com and described the photo in terms of where it was taken, who was in the photo, or what the picture represents. For example, you might have tagged a photo of the Grand Canyon with tags such as "Grand Canyon vacation May 2010," "Your name," "Grand Canyon River Rafting," etc.
  • Posted a blog post using a major blogging platform where you entered words describing the content of your post such as "first-time buyer mortgage tips," "Shaker Heights 3-bedroom 2-bath condo for sale," "90210 luxury view home for sale," etc.
  • Posted a video on YouTube where you described the people and/or the content of the video.
  • "Bookmarked" a website that you visit regularly using your computer’s operating system. For example, if you regularly visit the Weather Channel, you can create a shortcut to this site by bookmarking the site and then describing it using a tag you like such as "TWC" to remind you where this bookmark points.
  • Used a social bookmarking site such as Delicious.com to keep track of your favorite websites in the cloud (stored on an online-accessible server) rather than on your personal computer.

Why do you need to know about "tagging"? Tagging provides a powerful way to locate various types of content, both publicly as well as within your own computer system. It also assists Web visitors in identifying content that is best suited to their searches.

In terms of the real estate business, here are some important points to note about why and how to use tagging in your business.

1. Geographical tags are extremely important
Research shows that most consumers search by one of three factors when they search for listings online: the city, the street and the ZIP code.

While it’s common for agents to post plenty of pictures of their listings online, many agents do not tag each picture separately. To get the maximum response from tagging, the agent should include the address, city, state and ZIP code so that anyone searching on these items will find their listing.

2. Tag using your contact information
This is particularly important when you are doing a video of your listings. Google can now read the voice track of audio and videos.

Consequently, while it’s important to give all the property information when you make a video, it is also equally important to include your name, website URL, phone number and/or your e-mail address on the actual audio portion of the video.

This approach allows Google to catalog your video twice — once from any written tags you provide as well as from the voice portion of the video you post.

There’s one very important caveat here: Be sure to check each video site where you post your listings to see if the site allows you to post marketing information. If not, avoid violating the policy or you can be banned from the site.

3. Multiple tags matter, especially for written content
One of the greatest challenges you may face is trying to determine which tags to select, especially when you are blogging. For example, will potential buyers for your area be searching based upon school district? If so, include school district information on any blog posts or other content you create to market the listing.

4. Tags vs. folders
How much time have you spent in the past trying to remember which file contained a particular document that you needed from your computer? The challenge with using folders to organize your data is that the item for which you are searching can be in only one place, unless you make a duplicate and save it elsewhere.

Tags, in contrast, let you label the item so that it can be easily found using a number of search terms. For example, you may have buyers who want a two-bedroom, two-bath townhouse in a specific area with a view.

If you were storing information about this listing, you would probably store it by street address. By using tags, you could locate the listing easily even if you didn’t remember the street address.

Tags can also help you navigate more efficiently through the wealth of other data you need for your business, including updates on laws, licensing requirements and a host of other important issues.

Ultimately, the more tags you use that will assist your clients in identifying what is most relevant to them, the better off you will be.

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of "Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success" and other books. You can reach her at Bernice@RealEstateCoach.com and find her on Twitter: @bross.

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