Goodbye to Google Rank

The days of Googling your keywords to measure the effectiveness of your SEO strategy are coming to an end. According to Bruce Clay of PubCon, there are big changes in ranking. In the name of Top Shelp Organic SEO, Google is tuning into the specific behaviors of individual users to serve up more customized results. What this means to the end-user is better results and less spam. What does this mean to SEO professionals? Well, for the good ones it means more business. For those that have been concentrating on ranking without any reference to traffic, bounce rates and conversions it means a serious reality check. At the end of the day, this is a change for the better. More individualized search results means higher conversion rates for companies that have a well built website. This does not mean that SEO is no longer important; it actually makes it more important! Tracking your marketing efforts will definitely require more diligence. Q: What should you do? A: Nothing that you should not have already been doing. The most important part of a website is the ends result; attracting more leads and increasing business. To get there you have to attract website visitors, keep them interested in your website long enough to stay past the first page and finally get them to convert. By convert, I mean to get them to perform a specific action like sign up for a newsletter or request additional information. Conversions vary by website. A conversion for you may be a request for information about one of your listings while a conversion for amazon.com could be the sale of a bestselling novel. I, for one, think this is a great lead by Google. It forces website owners and SEO professionals to take a closer look of what traffic is actually DOING when it gets to your website. It puts the emphasis on website content, navigation and functionality. Sending people to your website and getting XXXXX visitors is one thing, conversion rates are a completely different (and more important) aspect. I mean, you can send all the traffic (paid or otherwise) in the world to a dilapidated home, but if they never get out of the car and go inside… it’s not going to sell. It’s time to get your website to do what it’s supposed to: SELL! Go Google! RTV Marketing
http://www.realtourvision.com/image RTV offers full service national virtual tours 866-947-8687 Order a virtual tour today!_____
My comments:
First off, I would like to say that this is a blog that my marketing department for http://www.realtourvision.com released at the end of last year. If you watch Bruce’s entire video he states that we will see these changes begin to take hold in the first six months of 2009 so this was a perfect time to push this out there again. This is indeed old news but it is happening right now I can assure you that. For the last ten years I have been actively working side by side with my SEO team to make sure both RTV and our national network of virtual tour photographers websites rank well. To see this change firsthand, you can run a test on your own. It is quite simple to perform. For the next week google your business or real estate website using what I call you “Geo Key-Words” such as ‘Traverse City Real Estate’ or ‘Traverse City Virtual Tours’. If you continually run this search, and click on your site (not necessarily on the PPC ads you might be running) you will see that your results begin to change after a few days or so. Your site will begin rising to the top of the SERPS. Is your site ranking better? The answer is yes and no. Yes, your site will be ranking better on YOUR computer and yours alone. You will quickly see that a clearing of your private data, cookies and temp files instantly returns your search to your actual google positioning. I try to clear out my temp files at least every day so I can run clean searches and view actual results. You should make habit of doing this too if you take an interest in your sites true google positioning. At the end of the day, the people who don’t clear out their private data often, will certainly have unnatural search results. What can you do? Do what you have been doing all along and run a light PPC ad campaign, build strong back links to your site (this brings the spiders and the google juice), make sure that the architecture of your site is laid out properly, optimize EACH page of your site for a new keyword, and drive traffic and people to your site by blogging. Finally you should run tools on your site for fine tuning such as http://www.websitegrader.com. Blog often on sites that give back link power. Active rain no loger does this unless you purchase a rain maker account. Take advantage of using social bookmarking sites. Big site linking to smaller site is good. Install the google toolbar if you don’t already have it. Google juice is now split by both traffic and spiders so you want BOTH coming to your site. The key with traffic is to get them to stay on your site and that is where the term bounce rate comes in. Your bounce rate increases when people come to your site and are not satisfied by their search results so the simply hit the back button. That is a bounce. If you’re not already running google analytics on your site DO THIS NOW! This will show you your bounce rate and you can start working on it from there. The lower the number the better. My local RTV providership for the Traverse City Market has a 50% bounce rate which I am pretty happy with. It does not sound good that 50% of my visitors are leaving but a lot of that comes from the thousands of back links that I have established out there. See what your bounce rate is and try to lower it by using some of Bruce’s subtle suggestions. For example, at http://www.bluelavamedia.com we push nearly all of our virtual tour listings onto craigslist. I also include a small ad on this craigslist posting that goes to a special page on my site. This page educates the home shopper on the value of using online property marketing tools that work such as interactive virtual tours, single property websites, top notch photography and so on. You can’t get to this page unless you come in directly from one of these craigslist ads that I have posted. Here is a link to one of my pages off of craigslist: http://www.bluelavamedia.com/traverse-virtual-tours.html You can see that I have video on this page. I use the video to keep people on the page longer and get them to dive into my site more thus reducing bounce rate. Make sense? Finally, YES, content is still king but also you must make sure that the content is relevant to your website. Do you need to have videos all over your site? I don’t think, so but it does not hurt to have a few here and there. Video testimonials are great and so are power point presentations. You can turn all of your power points into video very easily using Tech Smith’s software found here:
http://www.camtasia.com Finally, at RTV we offer free photography, blogging, social networking, and social bookmarking training courses for both real estate professionals and full service virtual tour providers who use our virtual tour system. Check it out and we would love to talk to you more about your property marketing program. Thanks everyone! Jason LaVanture Vice President / Founder RTV, INC http://www.realtourvision.com