Marketing

Not another SEO post: Stick to the basics, and you can’t go wrong

Don't get distracted by shiny new strategies
  • Long-term SEO strategies don't change. Learn the basics, and execute those consistently.
  • Keep in the know about new tactics developing in search, but know that they rarely stick or have the impact you think they will.
  • Find a great mentor to help you learn SEO.

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You’re a real estate agent, and you are sick and tired of hearing about SEO for real estate. Am I right? I know I’m tired of it, and I’m a professional digital marketer. You’re tired of the tactics — the new shiny marketing objects that pop up every week. I get it.

Digital marketing can feel like a hamster wheel, where you keep running faster and faster just to stay in the same place. And this is exhausting.

So how do you get off that hamster wheel and work on the things that really matter to your business? Let’s explore a few ways.

The basics don’t change

SEO has worked for a long time and will continue to work for a long time. Although there are shifts in tactics over time, the basics do not change — build a website that is unique and useful to your users. Use a platform (such as WordPress) that is SEO-friendly and can be easily made more SEO-friendly when needed.

Do the keyword research work (or hire someone to do it), build the needed pages on your site to target your important keywords, then go about getting your site and office listed via Google My Business.

After that, it’s all about doing real marketing to get people to your site and your office. Sort out your business citations using Moz Local or the Local Citation Finder. Create content on your site that targets important keywords, and do outreach to get people to share and link to it.

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Write content for others that then links back to your own website. Sponsor local meetups, and give talks to fellow real estate agents to help build your brand and referral network, which then often leads to links back to your site as well.

Don’t go chasing the shiny new tactic.

New tactics rarely stick

I’ve been in the SEO game for over six years full time now. During that time, tactics have changed time and time again.

Rarely do tactics come on the scene that non-SEO professionals can really capitalize on before they are used by everyone, and therefore, way less impactful than before.

If a tactic is truly working, it is probably also not being talked about publicly by the people who are currently exploiting it.

Although I like to geek out about the newest developments in search, I have also learned over time that the things that actually move the needle take time to organize and execute, so distracting yourself with the shiny new thing that you do not know will work is often not the right way to build your business.

Strategy beats tactics

As just mentioned above, the strategies that build your business over the long term take time, effort and focus. When it comes to SEO specifically, you often will not see the returns on your efforts for a number of months for a multitude of reasons:

  • Your competitors are probably doing similar activities to build their own organic traffic
  • Many strategies such as guest posting, speaking or sponsoring events have a long lead time and take months to come to fruition
  • Changes to your site always take more time than needed because of development issues, copy needing to be written and more

I have always been a big fan of focus in your marketing, and specifically SEO. You can’t do everything at once unless you have an enormous budget, and even then, I wouldn’t recommend doing everything at once simply because you can’t measure it.

SEO is not an exact science, and it favors those with a long-term view who make changes, measure them and then iterate and change tactics as needed. It’s called “optimization” for a reason!

Strategy, with focus for three to six months at a time, beats tactics any day. Measure as you go, and make micro-adjustments as needed, but don’t go chasing the shiny new tactics until they are prove to work.

Strategy, with focus for three to six months at a time, beats tactics any day.

What you can do

When I’m asked by people who are not professionals in SEO what the best things are to do to improve organic rankings, I tell them this:

  • Be an expert in your field, and create content online that targets keywords people are searching for
  • Build (or hire someone to build for you) a search engine friendly website, and then use that content you are creating to link back to it
  • Find a great SEO mentor to guide you as you learn
  • Read as much as you can about SEO; learn why title tags matter, what kind of links are good or bad, and where search seems to be going (spoiler: mobile, location-based, fast websites and apps)

Lean on those who have come before you by using the tips above and sticking to the basics.

John Doherty is the founder of Credo. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Email John Doherty.