**Please note transcripts are not always a perfectly accurate transcription of the conversation.
Hello what’s up everyone, you’re listening to the women rocking real estate podcast, I’m your host Jen Percival and thanks so much for tuning in to the show. Before we jump into today’s episode, I just want to send a quick shout out of love to Lana, Milana, Joanna & Anna for leaving such lovely reviews on apple podcasts. The fact that all of your names rhymed made me laugh and is so the law of attraction at play. Also want to thank each of you that share the podcast on your instagram stories and tag me. I so appreciate you ladies taking the time to help promote the show and make it worth my time to produce!
Ok let’s get into today’s episode. I am so juiced to have today’s guest on the show and we’re going to talk about something that is so so important in your business and something that I bet so many of you are not prioritizing.
When you are building a real estate business, you can do it one of two ways….you can find people or you can get found. I promise you, getting found is a much smarter strategy than having to constantly be on a hamster wheel trying to find clients randomly using strategies like door knocking and cold calling and harming your relationships by asking your friends and family for business.
There are people online right now actively searching on the internet for a realtor in your area. They are already in the market and are the lowest hanging fruit and they are finding other realtors instead of you and that’s a travesty because they could have easily found you instead. I made on average $300,000 every year from random people finding me through internet searches. These were not referrals, these were not deals from my sphere of influence, these were not sign calls, these were not people I met at open houses. These were people who searched for a real estate agent in my area, who had never heard of me and found my website, liked what they saw, called me for an interview and hired me. $300k a year because I just made sure that I got found when people were searching for an agent in my area. And before you think that won’t work in your market because it’s already saturated with agents online. There are 62,000 registered realtors in my board and only 95,000 homes were sold in 2020. That’s not enough transactions for everyone to even do 2 deals, so it is one of the most competitive, most saturated markets in north america.
So before you spend your time running around trying to find random people hoping they may be looking to buy or sell, I want to make sure that you’re getting found by those that are already in the market and actively looking for an agent and that is what today’s episode is all about. Now up until now, I have purposely avoided even using the words that are traditionally used to describe this strategy. I didn’t put it in the title of this podcast and I didn’t put it in the description, because if I did, I know a lot of you wouldn’t be listening right now and that’s because this topic is really, really misunderstood. It’s kinda like a pitbull. People are afraid of it, they think it’s something that it’s not. Or they think it’s really complicated and techie or they think it’s really really boring….so what we’re going to be talking about is Search Engine Optimization and if you just recoiled when I said that and reached for the skip button, STOP!! This episode could be worth $300,000 in your bank account, so instead of getting overwhelmed and shutting down, pull over, grab a pen and paper and turn up the volume instead.
I want you to throw all of the preconceived ideas you have about search engine optimization out the window or if you have no idea what the hell that term even means, today’s episode is going to be so informative and critical for you if you want to get off the lead generation hamster wheel and instead have clients calling you on the regular. I have got Rachel Lindtygen on the show and she is just brilliant at dumbing down this topic and explaining it in a way that makes it so easy to understand and easily implement in your business. So without further ado, let’s get to it……
Rachel I'm so happy to have you here. Welcome to the show.
Thank you. I am so happy to be here with you today.
I can't tell you how excited I am to talk about such a boring topic, because people think it's boring, but I am so passionate about it because so much about search engine optimization. It's all about the opportunity that it represents. And so that's what I'm excited to talk about today to like take the kind of tech boringness out of it and really focus on like the opportunity that it represents in people's businesses.
Absolutely. I love that. I am your favorite SEO nerd because SEO feels scary. It feels hard. It feels techie, but the reality is you just have had the wrong teacher. Once you understand how it works, you're going to be like me maybe, and just be excited by the opportunity. There's so much potential once you understand how it works, we just gotta get you there.
Exactly. And that's why I'm so happy to have you here, especially a woman being able to explain it. Um, I don't know, it's just a little bit more easy to absorb and it's a little, like you said, less scary and all of that stuff. So before we dive into all of that stuff, why don't you tell us who you are, what you do and how you got into this search engine optimization world?
Absolutely. How did I end up in the boys club being a girl that I was their boss, so I love it. Um, so my name is Rachel. I run etched marketing academy, and I have been in marketing for about 20 years and I, I love it. I, um, spent the last seven or eight years of my corporate career with agencies and working with different clients and leading their SEO and content strategies. I spent some time with an agency. That's the original content marketing agency they're based in Phoenix. And then I went on to work for another agency in Scottsdale, but they were based out of Manhattan. So I was in and out of New York on about a monthly basis meeting with clients and like really living that dream life, especially for somebody who's in Arizona. I was going to meetings on Madison avenue and talking with these huge, huge companies about their SEO strategy and coming up with their content strategy and speaking at conferences all over the world, it was amazing. And now I'm out on my own. So I get to still do what I love without all the travel. And I have better balance because I have a young child. I have a little boy who's graduating from kindergarten. Um,
Milestone. It is,
And I get to be the mom. I want to be, but I also didn't have to lose my identity and my career and you know, everything that I've done for years now, I get to teach people all about it and help them see how easy it is once they understand. And my whole thing is this is easy. And the reason I can say that is I know that it seems hard. It seems scary. It seems techie, but that's just cause those techie nerdy boys are the ones explaining it to you. And they don't know how to talk to human beings. And I say it with love. I was their boss for years and it was my job to translate what they said to what smart marketing people could understand. So I've spent a decade now translating SEO to human
Level. I love it. And that is like such an important thing because it's the same thing with websites themselves. Like web developers make websites so complicated and it really doesn't have to be that way. And search engine optimization is the exact same thing. So which is a good, why don't you like kind of from a high level, just explain what SEO is and how it all works again.
Yeah. Super high level. So SEO search engine optimization is the process of getting your website found on Google. So until you do SEO on your website, they don't really understand what you are about. And so they don't really know who to show your website to. So by adding in what we're going to talk about in this training, we're going to walk through what to do on your website. It's going to help you get found, which means Google's going to understand you and they're going to show you to more people. And then the people who are going to come to your site are people who are looking for exactly what you have. So they're looking to buy a house or they're looking to sell a house. We just got to show you how to do that on your website. So
True. And I find that, um, a lot of the agents that come through, like my coaching program and other programs that I've offered, they, they might have a website, but they think just the act of having a website and having it sit on the internet is going to drive business to them. And I always say, it's like building a house in the middle of nowhere that nobody knows about, unless people can find it. Um, you know, the, the effort and the work that you put into building, it is kind of all for not because Google doesn't know who to send there, unless you, like you said, work on your search engine optimization. Absolutely. Why do you think, uh, SEO is especially important for a real estate
Business? Well, let's be real. Everybody in their brother knows somebody or is a realtor. There are so many realtors. So how do you get your name out there? You're in a hyper competitive market in probably any market. And this year, the real estate market is ridiculous. I mean, I have friends who are realtors and it's insane, but when you're in a highly competitive market, you may be asking, how do I stand out? Well, SEO is one of those things you can do to stand out by optimizing your site, by figuring out who your ideal customer is by really creating the content that they want. When they're looking for it, you become viewed as a trusted resource. People are more likely to trust the results that they see in Google's organic search, meaning the SEO results than the paid ads. And they're much more likely to click on the organic results than the paid ads.
So people we talk when we talk SEO, 35 to 37% of the people will click on the very first listing on a page. 60% of the clicks will go to positions one, two, and three. That's an enormous potential. When we talk about ads, 3% is an excellent click through rate on Google. So for Google ads. So that means 97% of the people aren't looking at the ads or clicking on them. So where do you want to put your time and effort? SEO. You have a much bigger pool of potential customers who are willing to click on that to come see you
Well, and that's so, um, it's so I never actually thought about it when I do any sort of Google search. I actually intentionally skipped
The ads because I'm like, I don't want
To click on something that is an ad here. I want to like, as a guy click, you said, get to the organic results because that's going to have more value. And so just to dumb it down even further. So really search engine optimization is about creating content that is sort of strategically created to help you get found,
Correct? Yes. And that's part of what we'll talk about with, what do we do and how do we do it, but yes, to truly have a good SEO program, you're going to have to create some content for your website and your, except you can't rank a website without any words on it because Google doesn't know what it's about. And if you don't optimize a website nobody's ever going to find you, you're going to be the best kept secret in town and you don't make money as the best kept secret in town.
So, so, so, so true. And this is, you know, another thing that I, you know, preach a lot of the people who sort of follow, um, this podcast we're attracted to it because I don't preach things like door knocking and cold calling and bugging your friends and family for business. But a lot of people don't know what to do instead. And so I am really, really strong on the content marketing, but it's almost like people like, yeah, I don't want to do that. But then as soon as you start talking content marketing, they're like, yeah, I don't want to do that either. It's like, pick your poison, you got to do one or the other. So let's, um, uh, you know, before we get onto that next topic, the back to the whole, why is it important for real estate? Your point was a fantastic one because it's such a competitive industry, but also what's the kind of localness, um, or the geographical, um, aspect of real estate. That's super important with SEO as well. Correct?
It is. That's where we really want to get into what we refer. We refer to as local SEO where we optimize not only for keywords, but we optimize for locations. And I want you to think about your market, you know, where exactly are you based? And are there multiple cities, like where I am, I'm in a suburb of Tucson these days we've moved, we've relocated. So the realtors by me would be optimizing. They might optimize for Tucson, but they're more likely to optimize for Oro valley or Miranda, or they might even optimize for some of the actual developments around here. So that's part of what you're going to want to brainstorm and think about when we talk about how we do this on your website, you're really going to want to think about where you are, because we're going to want to get hyper-local
Right. And so exactly. So going to high level at a city level, a it's too competitive and B you're saying people aren't really searching necessarily for that. Anyway, they tend to get more micro, uh, niched down. Correct.
That's my take, like my own experience. When we moved my family here two and a half years ago, we relocated for my husband's job. All of my searches were around schools and neighborhoods and communities. And we were working with a realtor from the relocation company, but I still was doing research on my own to figure out where we wanted to look. And I think that's pretty typical within real estate. You know, your ideal customer is probably the wife. If it, if they're a married couple, it's usually going to be mom, who's doing the majority of that research. So you want to think about what is she looking at? What is she researching?
Right, right, exactly. And so one of the other things I want to chat before we even get into the nitty-gritty on this stuff is another kind of, um, I don't know if it's, I don't know. Do I want to say it's a, I'll call it a red herring where people are putting more energy and attention these days into their social media marketing and abandoning a little bit, the more traditional content marketing and SEO. So how is SEO less or more effective at getting found online than social media marketing would be?
So in my opinion, which is probably not going to surprise you, SEO is more important than your social media, both. I agree, both play a role in your overall content marketing plan. The concern I have with social media and I love it. I use it for my business. I have multiple social media channels and they're great. And they're really good for interacting with your audience, but your building on borrowed land as a realtor, would you ever recommend that your, your buyer just rent somebody's land and build their dream home, but that's exactly what we do when we build everything on social media, you need to have both, you need to have your website that you own, that you have control over. You need to probably have an opt in on there some way to collect names and build your email list, which SEO can help you with.
And then you want to share your content on your social media channels. And you want to use social media to help people find you and discover you. But you want to keep sending them back to your blog or your website for more information. So you use both, but in my opinion, SEO is more important because you own it. And you have more opportunity to be found by people who are looking for exactly what you offer. You have the chance to be found by people who want to buy a house or sell a house. Whereas on social media, are they really searching to buy or sell a house? No, they're there to be social. They're there to be entertained. They're there to watch reels and Tik TOK videos and whatever. They're not. They're thinking specifically about, I want to buy a house, but when they are searching, I want to buy a house and you show up, oh my gosh, could you have a hotter lead?
Exactly. And then if they follow you on social media, after finding you on your website, then you can reinforce and build that, you know, authority and credibility. And those know like, and trust feelings by sharing content and remaining top of mind, et cetera. But without that website piece and the search engine optimization and the content it's like, you only have half of the pie.
It. Love it. So what, in your opinion are some of the myths or kind of misunderstandings when it comes to search engine optimization in real estate specifically?
So I think the biggest myth is that it's hard and it's technical and you're not smart enough. You're not able to do it yourself. You have to hire someone well,
But you have to hire someone that's such a big one. Yeah. Yeah.
And let's talk about that for a second, because there are some challenges when it comes to hiring someone to do your SEO, because there is no degree program, there's no certification that says this person is an SEO expert. Like I shared with my own background, I did a number of different things within marketing before really getting into the SEO and content side. Now I happen to have a degree in journalism and I also have an MBA. So I have a lot of education that goes into that. But anybody can claim that they know SEO. So you hire, and maybe, maybe your realtors, maybe your audience even gets this. If they have a website, you start getting these emails that tell you, they'll get you this number of links a month. They can guarantee they can rank you in position one. They guarantee they can get you to page one for just this amount of money.
Those are all scams. Nobody can guarantee any results on Google other than Google. And so you have to follow the rules and do everything, but you have to make sure if you are hiring someone that you're hiring someone who knows what they're doing. I have clients who've come to me after working with other consultants for two years and never getting a report and never having any idea how things were going. And then when I did get access to it and I did run the reports, I didn't want to deliver them, even though it wasn't right. My work right down two years straight, every single month, their performance was less. They were getting absolutely nothing for the money that they were paying and that happens. So I think that's a big problem is hiring the wrong person. You have to understand enough about SEO to either do it yourself, or understand enough to know what questions to ask to ensure you're getting what you pay for.
Okay. We are so speaking the same language.
I, I, whenever I
Have people on the podcast, I'm always like, oh no, what if they say something that like, totally contradicts what I've said? So it's a bit of a scary thing, but I am always preaching. I always say, you've got to know enough to be dangerous. You don't have to know enough to do it, you know, for a living, but you have to know enough about it. To know if the person you've hired to do it for you is doing the right thing or not. And so just knowing the basics at least is, is important. Love. Absolutely. Any other myths or misunderstandings, um, besides it being hard, um, when it comes to SEO and real estate,
It's really the biggest that it's hard and that it's super technical. It doesn't need to be super technical. There's a lot more strategy and a lot more brainstorming involved in SEO than anything.
Right. And that's such a, it's the work that you put in ahead of time. Yes. That is such a big kind of bulk of it. So what is some of that research? What is some of that work that you kind of, the prep work that you would need to do the brainstorm?
So what I always have my clients, my students do is start brainstorming and thinking about the questions that their ideal customer asks when they are looking to solve their problems. So in this example, obviously as a realtor, somebody either wants to buy or sell a house. So they're probably starting to research neighborhoods. They're researching schools, they're researching areas. They're looking, if they're getting ready to buy, maybe they're doing some research to figure out, should they make updates to their house before they sell it? Um, maybe they're looking to find out how much it's going to cost them, because we all know some are going to try to sell it as fisbos. And we know that that's not ideal. And as a realtor, you don't want to go chasing down fisbos. My mom was a realtor for years. You don't want to go chasing down fisbos and calling them and begging them to list with you. You want to just have the information that people are looking for when they come to you. So that brainstorm those questions. You, I'm sure you have a list of five or 10 questions that almost every potential buyer asks or almost every potential seller asks start with those. That's going to be some of the most important content that you could create for your website.
Okay. And so that content would be, you know, what's involved in, uh, buying a home for the first time, for instance. So the premise is that you would create a blog, right? Correct.
Absolutely. So let's just take that as an example, what's involved in buying a home for the first time. How do I qualify for a mortgage? How do I find, how do I figure out how much I can afford? How do I do I need to save this amount? What do I need as my down payment? Are there any other hidden fees that are going to come with it, start with that one and then just brainstorm everything else that goes along with that. And then you're going to want to do a little bit of keyword research because you're going to want to figure out which of these is the best opportunity. So where is there the most search demands? So you're going to want to use a tool. I always like to use the Google, Google keyword tool. And I know it's a little more complicated than some of them, but I prefer it because it's free.
They don't put limits to how many keywords you can search in a day. And some of the paid keyword tools that have free versions, they only let you search like three words a day. That's useless. How are you going to get anything done? If you can only serve three words a day, give me a break. So get to know the Google keyword tool. It is an ad words. It is free. You have to set up an account. It's a little bit of a pain in the butt because you do have to go ahead and like put in your credit card information. You do have to create an ad. You're never actually gonna run. Um, it used to be a lot easier. It used to be separate and it was much easier, but I still recommend that even though there's a little bit of a learning curve, search those keywords.
So take those ideas that you've come up with for your content, and now start putting them into Google and see is their search volume. Are there things that people are looking for and then determine which of those looks like the best opportunity. Now you're probably wondering what in the heck, how, how do I determine the best opportunity? Well, that's going to be based on the amount of search volume and then how competitive is that keyword? And so when you look in the AdWords tool, it's going to show you the search volume. It's also going to show you the average cost per click, which you don't need to worry about because you're not buying ads. So don't worry about that, but it's going to also show you competitiveness. And that competitiveness information is actually for paid search, but it's going to be about the same for natural search, because if they're willing to pay a lot of money for highly competitive words on an ad-words side, I guarantee you they're optimizing for it, right? So you're going to want to look for, from that brainstorm from that keyword list, what do you see? That's got a good keyword volume. That's not super competitive, and that's going to be your first step to figuring out which of these you prioritize and how you start building out that content to start driving those people who want to buy or sell a home to your website. And so, um,
Do you recommend that? So if, okay, so you do that brainstorm. Um, so you've got that overarching kind of topic, and then you realize there's like a bunch of different arms from that. Then you do the research to try to find out what is the best opportunity. And so do you kind of search all of those concepts and then kind of rank them to say, Ooh, this one has got the highest kind of search volume and isn't super competitive. So I should start with that blog as an example, and then kind of work your way through the list.
That's kinda what I do. I take it a step further. So once I've done that initial research and I've kind of identified the ones that could be the best opportunities, then I want you to go to Google and I want you to plug those keywords in. And I want you to add your local area, because remember we're talking, hyper-local here as a realtor. So I don't care who ranks for, how do I buy a house the first time nationally, I care who ranks for how to buy a house the first time in my area. Right? So what you're going to want to look at is how similar are those websites? And because you're going hyper-local, they should be pretty similar to you. If you were to do, how do I buy a house the first time you probably wouldn't find websites for other realtors, you would probably find large mortgage companies, large real estate franchises, things like that.
People who are not the same as you, there are significantly more authoritative websites. So you want to make sure you put in your localization and then you look and see are these people. I know if the websites that are coming back are people, you know, they're people in your industry, they're names, you recognize you're probably on a pretty good road. You probably are headed in the right direction. Now, if you put one of those in with your localization and there's no one, there, there's nothing you, my friend just found your number one priority because when there's nothing there, right, you have a really good chance at ranking high because nobody else has that exact term. So I just did six of these for my own website, as a test to see how quickly I can get them ranking. But I released six blog posts this week that are all tied to my ideal customer, where I couldn't find exact matches for any of them.
Right, love it. And so that's, um, a mistake that I find realtors often make. When they think of marketing, they just jumped to creating the content. And it's often content that they want to create that interest them, that you know, but they don't do the research into whether anybody's actually searching for that content and whether it's going to help them get found. So that's, um, such a good kind of reminder to put the research part above. And first, before you get to actually creating and writing the content itself,
Honestly, the research part is more important than the content that you write. I love that you can write the best blog post ever. If nobody's searching for it, nobody's going to see it. They don't care. You can write a good blog post that's well optimized. That's on a topic. A lot of people are searching for and you'll get more leads. You have to provide value. You have to provide what people are looking for. If they're not searching for it, then if there's zero search volume, nobody cares. Don't write on that. Spend more time on your research, your keyword research, your brainstorming. Really the number one thing you can do is know your ideal customer. And I swear, nobody knows their ideal customer as well as they possibly could or should the better, you know them, the better every single piece of content you create is going to be love
It. Love it, love it. So if writing content that people aren't searching for is one mistake. What are some other mistakes agents make when it comes to their websites and content and SEO?
I think probably one of the biggest mistakes. And it's not just agents. It's everybody. They fear getting it wrong so they don't do anything. They're not sure how to optimize. They're not sure what to do or where to get started, or they're so afraid they're going to get it wrong that they don't do anything. Well, when you have a website that's not optimized, Google doesn't know what you're about. They don't really crawl it. They don't show it to anybody and you remain the best kept secret in town. The other big mistake that I see comes to keyword targeting and they target the same keyword on every page. So if you're trying to be found for, you know, um, buyer's agent Oro valley, we'll just pretend that's what I'm looking for. But I start using that keyword on every page, on my website, in every blog post, I'm actually hurting myself because Google is only going to rank your website two times for a given keyword. So if you use the same keyword on 10 pages, you actually cut your ranking opportunity down to two. But if you use 10 different keywords on those 10 pages, you now have 10 different opportunities for people to find you.
Gotcha. I love that. That's such an important, I remember falling victim to this myself. When I was developing my very first real estate website, I was like Toronto real estate on every single page. I tried to like repeat it all over the place. And then I remember reading this article that was like, your website itself. Doesn't get ranked. It's the individual pages on your website.
Gets ranked for something potentially a little bit different. So taking advantage of that and like thinking of each page almost as its own little mini website,
If that makes sense. Absolutely. And that is exactly what you want to do. And you want it. If you create a blog, you're going to want to also think about your blog, that way, everything that you're creating, you need to keep that ideal customer in mind. Who is she? What does she need? Or who is he? What do they need? What questions do they have? If you are providing value and answering their questions, you are going to see results because you're going to have the information that people are searching for when they're looking to buy or sell a home. Like guys, you, we can't make this easier. This is no it's low hanging fruit is like, guys, this, if there's one thing you could do to change your business right now, maybe not right now, because I understand you got like 15 offers for every house and all that. Yeah.
Maybe when things go a little more normal when you're not, you're not, I'm
Fielding 20 offers for, you know, every starter home. This is something that you should work on.
Totally. I couldn't agree more. I couldn't agree more. So question for you. Um, I have so many questions that are going to be like, not on the questions I sent you, you would happen. That's fine. How would you describe the difference between blog posts and the static pages on your website? Like how did they both work? Um, which one's better, like give us a little bit of the scoop on that as it relates to SEO.
Okay. So that's an excellent question because it is kind of hard to figure out what do I put on the, what do I put on the website? What do I put on the blog? So I'm going to switch over to e-commerce real quick because e-commerce is really easy to see this and explain it. And I think that example will make it easier for your, your realtor audience to understand. So for years I did e-commerce websites at the agency, anything that should lead to a direct sale, a product, a service, something like that, that belongs on the website. Anything that provides additional value or reaches out to a consumer who maybe is in that awareness stage. They're not quite sure what they're looking for that goes on the blog. So let's take this a step further. I had a client that was a home, a home goods, retailer type store.
They had, you know, three or 400 stores across America. They had a blog that was fantastic for driving traffic. We addressed design trends. We addressed holiday. We highlighted new products that were coming in. Every blog post that we created, had a tie to a product and would link to the product page. So we had it to drive additional traffic. But when we optimized things like big core keywords for the pay for the website, we optimize the actual product pages or generally category pages for those terms. So you want to drive traffic through basically think of your sales funnel. Your blog should be that early stage content and then driving them to the most important pages on your website. So my blog is all about how to do SEO, how to market your business. Can I learn SEO on my own? And then my website has pages about how to work with me and my SEO classes and my coaching programs and stuff like that. Does that make sense?
Totally. From a real estate perspective, the, the important pages on your website are obviously like the services that you offer and how you work with buyers and how you work with sellers. And, um, your blogs are more of the educational answering questions, addressing pain points, all of that stuff. Absolutely. What about location? Um, pages. So I always call it cornerstone content. So the pages that are dedicated to communities, et cetera, do you recommend that you have a static page with those and then blog content that sort of speaks to that? How do you, how would you recommend that stuff is managed? Am I making any sense at all?
No, you're making it great counts. I'm trying to think it's been a while since I've done real estate, but we had a couple of real estate clients that the agency, um, yeah, what I would do there is your cornerstone. Like if you're targeting two or three specific communities, I would have a community page on your website. And then I would have supplemental blog posts. Like, what is life like in this community? Or my
Favorite things about this, or
What you could even do there, have your, your cornerstone content and then create posts about the best communities. You know, the best developments in this area for families with young children, and then maybe highlight three or four of them and then link those posts where you highlight them link back to the actual, the full community page on your website. So that way they're kind of seeing, and you're helping them move through the process and kind of narrowed down, oh, this one has a great big water park for the kids in the summer. This one
Has a school right within the community. This one
Has this. And then they kind of start to come to your cornerstone page then and learn more.
Love it, love it, love it. So while we're on the topic of, um, these pages and blogs, et cetera, um, how, like what is the ideal length of, um, content on a page? Whether it be like a static page or whether it be a blog, is there like a, a word length, a character count that people should be aiming towards?
So yes and no. The minimum recommendation is 300 words. If you've written blog posts for a while, you're going to know that 300 words. It doesn't really cover much. It's very high level overview. The pages that rank the highest in Google tend to be 11 to 1200 words sometimes even more. But what I see there and I want to caution against think about the recipe that you go to. And it's like six pages before you get to the actual recipe. And they're telling you about how they bought the bowl. I don't want to hear
How they bought the book. I don't care and know
Exactly. So keep that in mind. What I tell my students and what I do with my clients is we write to provide value and we answer the questions. So some posts are naturally going to be shorter. Some are naturally going to be longer, but if you do that and you keep your customer in mind, you're not going to write a blog post that tells them about how you picked out the bowl, right? Just to get the character count up, like focus on the character, count, focus on telling a story and giving the information that they need. You're naturally going to write better. Love it,
Love it. I always say like, when people say, how long should it be? Well, make it as long as it needs to be in no longer, right? Like, it's keep it as succinct as you can get it so that people stay interested and actually get through it and provide that value. Um, but yes, you don't have to ramble on for 18 pages front and back. Please don't
Do that and make sure that you're making it easy for people to read. You're using bullet points. You're using numbers. You're spacing things out because the amount of time people spend on the page, reading it is going to impact your overall performance. The other thing is add images. So if you are writing a long post, if there are pictures you can include that are going to help illustrate what you're talking about, include them. The ideal rule of thumb with images is one image, every 500 words. But I also like to just really focus on what can I show that makes this easier to understand use headings, break your information up, use headings, think of them as like the sub paragraphs and like use them to help change if you, I mean, think about yourself your own. If you log onto a page and there's like eight, 1,000 words of text, single space, no pictures, no headers, no bullet points. You're not going to read that. Cause that's sucks. Totally. It's so
Boring. Yeah. You lost me at hello. Yes, exactly. So
I love that. So pictures, headings, um, you know, not writing super long paragraphs, but even like a max of one or two sentences and more white space around it. Um, any other tips related to like how blogs can get laid out to a help with the readers kind of enjoyment of it and also the SEO, or did we pretty much cover
That? I probably the biggest thing is make sure you have a hook in that beginning, that first paragraph, make sure it's interesting. Make sure somebody wants to read it. And then from an SEO standpoint, make sure you use your first, your core keyword in that first paragraph, because that's going to help you as you're writing it. And you're trying to rank for all of this content, but you can create great content if nobody reads it. If nobody stays on that page, if they bounce, like they come, they look at it, they go, Ooh, I don't want to read that. And they leave. You're actually going to hurt yourself because Google has access to everybody's analytics. So they won't tell us exactly how they determine ranking. There's 200 factors within the industry. We're pretty sure that the time on site is one of those ranking factors. And if they're hearing gone really fast, you're not going to have good performance because Google knows that's not a good user experience. So in everything that you do, keep your reader in mind, think about them. What do they need to know? And then make sure that it's easy to follow and it's easy to read and it's not overwhelming. That's digestible,
Easily digestible. And so this also sparked another thought for me. So I have a lot of realtors that come to me that have purchased, um, a blog writing service that, or they get it from their brokerage where the brokerage provides blogs for them to put it on there. But no, no, no, no. Right. Uh,
Like I, every, every fiber of my being wants to say no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Exactly, exactly. Okay. So let's talk about this for a minute. Your blog writing services, they suck. Have you read the copy that they give you? Have you read their blog posts? Like some of them are awful. I remember one of the guys who worked for me a few years ago after I had left the agency and was out on my own, he emailed me. He's like, Rachel, I have these blogs. I paid for them. My client rejected them. They said, they're not good. I think they're fine. He was a technical SEO guy. He was awesome. But he was a technical SEO guy. I said, well, send them over. Let me see. And I am like, I am in agreement with your client. These are horrible. I would not with these on my blog.
And so I ended up redoing them for them so that, you know, they worked in the client was happy with them. Most of what we get from those writing services. They're not people who have a whole lot of background in writing, unless you're paying a lot of money. But if you're, you know, you're buying like articles for 20 bucks or 40 bucks or something, you get what you pay for people like it's not going to be good and it's not going to help because Google knows what crummy content is and they're not going to rank it. Well, right. Then we talk about all the posts that come from the brokerage. And I know your brokerage is trying to help you. I know they are, but here's the problem. They're sharing it with you and Ben, everybody
On Susie and Jenny and Jim and everybody
Else. And now you guys have what Google calls, duplicate content. If you can a post or a paragraph or a sentence out of your blog post and put it into Google and get multiple results for it. It's not going to help you from an SEO standpoint because you have duplicate content and Google knows they're not going to index it. They're not going to rank it. Well, they're not going to give you kudos. Ooh, yay. You have a blog. No, you have crummy content, right? Don't use it. Use it as an idea. Maybe jumping off topic, but right. Don't use what they're giving you. It's it's no, just, just don't.
I just don't I say
The exact same thing. I'm like, I know it's the easy button, but it's the easy button that not only is not going to get you anywhere, but it can actually, like you said, like it can hurt. Google can penalize you your website for that.
And not only that, if, if potential clients
See that you've got the exact same content on your website, is everybody else at the same brokerage? Like, it just kind of says you're lazy, right? Like that you don't have, you're not putting effort into providing the value that is uniquely you and your voice and your insights and all of that. So I'm glad, I'm glad
You agreed with me on that. That was another dangerous one. One of the most
Important points though, and it's, it's something I've seen for years and it, oh, I thought we were moving away from
Well, and so many people say, um, blogging is dead. Can we chat about that for a second? That this concept that blogging is I almost feel like it's got to have a new name, which kind of content marketing is the new name, but it's, you know, people just need to understand that it's it's so not dead. It's such a great, um, you know, alternative to other lead generation methods. Um, but it does take work and it does take time, but so does everything there's like, there is no easy button here, right? Exactly. Oh, were you going to say something? I was
Just going to say, let everybody else think blogging is dead while you work
At marketing strategy and you've lost because you guys,
The websites that blog regularly get more leads every single page. So you want to know the secret with Google. Everybody wants to know how do I get more keywords to rank? How do I get to show up more? How do I do this dice? It's blogging. Every single blog, every single blog post that you create is an opportunity to have a new potential customer find you. So rather than thinking about that blog post just, oh, I got to write a blog post. Think about that blog post. As I hope somebody is going to find this and buy a house. And my commission is going to be X number of dollars, seriously that sit in your pajamas with a glass
Of wine at your computer. Like this is not rocket science, and this is not horrible.
If you are a realtor, you know what you're doing? These blog posts should not take you four or five, six hours. I've talked to people who spent three days writing blog posts. I'm like, why did I write blog posts in like 30 to 60 minutes? You know your stuff, answer the questions. Your most important part you do is that research in the beginning, you've got a whole list of things. I'll bet you've answered these questions a hundred times. How long does it take you to write them down on? Even if you type slow, you can still like, I type probably 80 words a minute. So that's an advantage. But even if you were like my old boss who was like Mr. Hunt and Peck, I still could have gotten it done in an hour because you build or use a text to type thing. If you hate, totally use a text to type thing and dictate it, like guys make it easy for yourself. But totally blogging is not dead. Let the, let the other people think that while you go to town on your blog and you get more rankings and you make more money.
Yes, yes, yes, yes. Um, so this is, I'm so glad you brought it up. Cause this is another kind of roadblock that a lot of, um, people come up to, which is they know what the topics that they want to write about are. And then they sit down at their computer and they get writer's block and they don't know where to start and they think it's got to be this perfect elaborate thing. And so do you have any strategies for besides, I love the talk to text because if somebody asked you the question, just record yourself, giving the answer and turn that into a blog post, right? Like it doesn't have to be over complicated, but do you have any strategies for how to make it a bit simpler?
Yeah. If I have writer's block and I am 100% not in the mood, I don't care if that was my big three item for the day, I'm going to write these blog posts. If it's not happening, it's not happening. And I'm going to do something else. Sometimes jumping in and doing something else, actually lets me go back to it and feel energized. I find personally I love to batch my content. I don't like to write blogs every week. I don't like to plan stuff every week. So I go through and I batch and I like right now, I can tell you exactly what content I am releasing for the next six months, because it is planned out. A number of the posts are already written. Everything for the next two quarters is already written. It's already ready to go on my blog. I still need to do the social stuff.
But planning in advance and batching write four blog posts in a day, go ahead then and edit them. Like if you're just writing them yourself, use a tool like Grammarly to edit them, to make sure that they're they're good. I, I do that with every single thing that I do because I'm a really good writer, but I'm not always the best. I missed the commas before and, and like every time. So I don't even bother anymore. I had a teacher in journalism school, tell me you're an excellent writer. Let somebody else edit. Don't even worry about this stuff anymore. Right? So for 20 years I haven't bothered. Just rely on Grammarly. Totally a copy and paste it in it. Like guys make this easy. If you find that, it's you think best when you're moving, then go take a walk and take your phone and make voice notes or record yourself and then type it out or hire somebody to type out your voice notes.
If you've got the budget to do that, batch your content. Um, keep a note. I have a note in my phone where if I'm out and I have a brainstorm, I just add a topic idea. And then I, when I get home, I put them on my master topic list. Love it. There really it's about the process and just make it easier. Stop stressing yourself out. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't need to take you hours, set a clock and tell yourself you have an hour and write as much as you can in an hour and be done. I love
It. And that's such a, that's actually a great tip because people do, they get hung up on the, what they're going to write. And then they just sit there. They don't do anything. They abandon it. And, and, and it's on their to do list like indefinitely of writing blogs and they never get around to it. And so it's that just pushing through and doing it
That's because it's not on their to-do list, it's on their should do list. And I found this when I did a lot of research on SEO. SEO is not on the to-do list. It's on the should do list. I know I should do it. I should learn it. I should figure it out. But I do everything else. Instead when you find yourself folding and putting away the laundry to avoid writing a blog post, you need to go ahead and just write the stink in blog posts, because folding and putting away the laundry should not outrank writing your blog post. And we've all had those days.
And that is like
Good perspective of like really like, this is not rocket science, just push through and get it done. So on that note, how often should people be blogging?
So the recommendation is weekly. Now what I'm going to say, because I know a lot of people probably just went, I was with you
Until then. That's not going to happen.
What I recommend is that you blog on the schedule that you can maintain. So if you think you can do weekly, great, I do weekly. It's a pain in the butt and I'm going to be real, but I do it because I know how important it is, but there are times where I'm sitting there and I'm like, I don't want to write
A post. And it happens
To all of us. I would say, start with once or twice a month. What I recommend is that you actually batch like four to six in advance so that you can then schedule them out and then you can figure out, okay, I can do this once a month without a problem. I can do four of these at a time. And that lets me batch out the next four months. The more you do the better results you're going to have, just because you have more opportunities to rank, but a blog that is, or that is sporadic. Isn't really going to help you anyway. So consistency, consistency, trumps quantity, in my opinion, and my experience. Not just opinion. Right,
Right. That. And that's, that's really good to know. And I think I say the exact same thing. I'm like at minimum, come on. There's no way you cannot write one blog a month. Like there's no excuses on the planet that someone can say they can't find the time to blog once a month. So that's at absolute minimum. Ideal is weekly. Find something in between. Just do what works for you.
I have one client in particular, we do twice a month. They are amazing with their SEO because we've optimized the site. We do two posts a month. We have everything going, 62% of their leads come in from SEO. Like it's phenomenal. They rank number one for almost everything related to their business. They own a preschool, almost every preschool related keyword in their town. So hyper-local same as a realtor. They are positioned one or two for almost everything. So yeah, like you brought
Up the grid. Yeah, exactly. Um, so you brought up a good word there, which we've used a few times, or you used a few times, which is optimized. So what does that exactly mean? So how does, how does one optimize a webpage or a website or a blog?
Okay. So we've talked about creating the content and all of that. Once you've created it, there are some things that we need to do to help Google understand what it's about. So you're going to have things we refer to as optimization elements. So the first is your title tag, which is what shows up at the top in your search result. When somebody is looking for stuff in Google, your title tag is the first welcome that they have the first introduction that they have to you, you need to include your core keyword there. You need to include your business name. You have to keep it under 60 characters. And that includes the spaces. So that can be a little challenging sometimes, right? But that's the first introduction to what that page is about or what your website is about. So you really want to make sure you focus on that.
Now, if you want a bonus pro tip, this is something that can improve your click-through rate, which again is thought to be one of the ranking factors. But we don't know for sure, because it's a secret sauce and Google doesn't tell us exactly what they use, but your click-through rate is the number of people who see your website listing on Google, who actually clicked. So if three out of 10, see it and click your click-through rate then is 30%. Well, if you include a call to action in your title tag, shop, learn, discover, find something like that. We can see up to a 30% increase in that click-through rate. So really big there doesn't cost you a penny. If you have enough characters to add it in you don't always. Um, so that's your first thing, the next one. Okay. Yep. Your title tag. The next thing you're going to do is to add a meta-description.
So your meta-description is the next step. So it's up to 160 characters also, including spaces should use your core keyword. You do not have to use your business name in this one. I go back and forth. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't, depending on what that blog post your website page is about. So here you have one to two sentences to further your cause to entice them to click through, because you want to think about it. When people are looking at the Google search results, their window shoppers their browsers. They're trying to figure out which one is going to be the best for them. You want to make them know this is the one to click on because that's how you get them to your website. So those are the first two that you add in. Then other things you can do. So we talked about breaking up your content and adding some headers.
So those header tags, if you're in WordPress or Squarespace, you've probably seen like in your dropdown menu, you've probably seen an option for headings. And maybe you knew what they were. Maybe you didn't well, when you choose H two, which is like your subheader. If you use your core keyword in there in your H two tag in your subhead tag, that will help you because Google reads your header tags. So by default your website, page name, especially if you're like on blogs is an H one. Like if you're on WordPress, whatever you've named your post, that's your H one. So you're going to generally have your keyword in there because your post is named using your keyword. So your H two is another really important one to use. If you want to break down your content further within like subsections, you can use an H three. You don't need to go further than that guys. Like you'll see options for one through six. Don't worry about it. When one and two are what I use 90% of the time. Gotcha. Then all those pictures, we talked about one picture, every 500 words. Well that picture they can't. So Google can't read the text, that's in your picture, but they can read your image file name. So what you're going to want to do is to save your image, file name, get rid of whatever camera info or Pexels,
Whatever you got it from, whatever
Free, safe source. You got it from. Remove that information. What you're going to want to do is save that file name with your core keyword. Now you're going to want to use dashes, not underscores because Google reads a dash like a space. So the dash that looks like a subtraction. Okay. So it looks like a minus sign. So use that between each word. Now, bonus tip. If you want to be able to be found in Google image search, or you want your business name to show up as well. Go ahead and put your business name there. So core keyword with dashes in between it business name dashes in between it, I don't, if this thing is six words long, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter image file name. Don't worry about it. Um, you can add alt text if you're in there, if you know how to do that, and you're in there uploading your image and you see an option for all texts.
Go ahead and use your keyword in your alt text. It's not going to hurt, can help a little bit, the most important thing. The last thing is your copy and making sure that your copy is well optimized. You've got all your words on your page. You wrote your blog posts. I'm never going to tell you, I want you to write this blog post, and I want you to use this word seven times or 10 times or anything because that leads to crummy content that leads to content. That just, I mean, we talked about it a minute ago. The ones that you buy from somebody that they're horrible. That's why they're, that's part of why they're horrible. So tell your story, then go back through and read it out loud to yourself. You're going to be able to see if you've naturally used your keyword enough times.
You're going to see, is there an opportunity to add it somewhere? Should I edit it and change it? Google understands things like very similar. They understand similar terms. Thanks to, um, an update a few years ago, you don't have to optimize for like singular and plural. You don't have to optimize for misspellings, things like that. So they understand semantic search. So very similar terms are going to work as well. You don't have to have everything with an exact match. Like this is my exact key word. You can use it slightly different and still have it work.
That's good to know. Okay. So those were titled tag Meditech description, um, subheadings adding like H two tags into some subheadings file name, uh, alt text, and trying to naturally disperse your keywords throughout the content. And I get it. You did. And
You did. Absolutely.
And I do. It's a lot to take in. I do have a freebie on my website that if they want to grab it, it actually is a quick start guide. And I have a checklist both. They're going to tell you exactly what to do. I actually went a little more into the nerdy side of it there just because we kind of went there. Um, I don't usually talk about the alt text or the header tags, but because we had already talked about breaking into sub sections on the page, I went ahead and shared about that, but I've got a couple of things on the website. That'll make it super easy for them. So you don't have to write all this down and remember it, just grab that and you'll have the reference guide.
Perfect. I will make sure to link that in the show notes. And so what about if you've got a WordPress site? What are your thoughts on using like the Yoast plugin to kind of help with some of this stuff
You have to it's the best one? Like I wouldn't use something other than Yoast on WordPress. Perfect.
And another question. So let's see, you've been blogging for a while and you realize you've probably not been doing it as well as you could have. Can you go back and optimize past blogs and will that help them to rank better in the future?
Yeah, absolutely. I do that myself. Um, so that's what we refer to as a content audit, you go back and you look in your analytics. This is why it's really important to understand how, what everything means in your Google analytics account. So you go through and you look and you see, am I getting traffic? Are they spending time here? What are they doing? If you find option opportunities, you can absolutely go back. You can update your title, tags, your meta descriptions. You can look at doing new keyword research. There's all sorts of stuff. We actually do it. Um, when I was with the agency, we did it about every 12 to 18 months on our client's websites to refresh things and update and see if we couldn't improve the performance that we had already
Love it. Love it, love it. And so speaking of that, if somebody was to let's say they were to blog weekly and they were to do good keyword research ahead of time. And they were to optimize the blogs that they're creating. You know, I always say to people like you can't expect this stuff to bring you results tomorrow, but you're building your future business essentially. And when it does start to work, it's like evergreen. I have a blog that I wrote about buying a cottage in Ontario that still ranks. It was ranking number one, organically. I get more leads from that thing. And I wrote it back in 2016, I think like, you know, it's amazing. So, but how on average, how long do you think it takes to start seeing results?
So they say that SEO takes 12 to 24 months. I personally have seen results start sooner than that. So the way that SEO works, the first thing we're going to see is that our keyword that we're targeting starts to rank and it starts to move up through the ranks. Now we have to get to page one before we're going to see results, because nobody goes to page two. Think about your own search habits. 99.7% of people never go to page two. So you gotta be on page one to your point, Jen, that cottage country. And I love it cause we have a family cottage in Bobcaygeon.
We do. Yeah. My dad was from Bob Cajun. Um, but
That cottage country post that's in position one that's from 2016, that's sending tons of traffic. That's how it works. So the vast majority of my traffic comes from posts that I wrote in 20 16, 20 17 and 2018. It takes a while for them to work. So the, the ranking start coming, we start moving our way up. Then we start to see more traffic come because we're higher up there. So that position, you know, one gets 30, some percent positions, one, two, and three get about 60% of the search traffic. Well, once you get up there to that one, two or three rank, as long as you continue optimizing you update, you refresh, you kind of watch out to see what the competition is doing. You protect your rankings, you can't do this and stop because if you do this and stop your competition, isn't stopping. So when you stop, you just give them the green light. You're like, hi, here, let me hand you everything that I've just worked on for the last two years, right? You got to continue doing some stuff, but those leads keep coming in. Like how many cottages do you want to sell in a summer? You know, more, as many as you can, right?
Yeah, no, it's, I mean, literally for years I did nothing but blogging. And I would say there was like three or four pages on my website that generated 60 to 70% of the leads that we would get and like making hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars a year off of blogs that I had written years ago that I do kind of update a little bit, but, but it's like, it's, it's the compound interest, um, on the effort upfront works for you for so long so that you don't have to be slogging it, you know, at the same rate forever. Exactly. Exactly.
So I'm going to share something real quick, cause you, you hit on a couple of really good things. We talk about SEO. When we say, think of it as your retirement account or like that long-term savings account. It's just a little bit today, a little bit today, a little bit today. And then all of a sudden you're like, whoa. Um, I had a client that same home goods store they referred to SEO is the unstoppable train we had done so much and had optimized and created these blogs that their results were just ridiculous. They were making over a million dollars a month just from SEO. So huge results. They actually stopped all their paid search ads because they were getting so much out of SEO that they, she called me. She was like, I want to stop paid search, which that team's not going to be happy with, but whatever.
And what can I do? How many more blogs can I get with this amount of budget? What can I do? I've got $35,000 extra. What can I do with it like that? When you see that potential, it's easy to keep going. Um, and just sharing, you know, so I had a situation like everybody else in the world COVID hit last March. My son was four years old. He was in preschool, preschool, went on spring break and never went back. My husband is an essential employee and was gone all day. Every day. My mother has Alzheimer's and dementia and I had to, um, figure out and navigate her and moving her into a memory center during a pandemic because she wasn't safe at home anymore. So I suddenly didn't have time to blog. Like I couldn't there just, I literally was at that point. So for a few months I didn't do any new content. I didn't share on social. I just kind of shut down to figure out my personal life. I still had thousands of visits to my website while I was not creating content during that temporary shutdown.
Exactly, exactly. It is
So, so powerful. It like, it, it, it like hurts
Me when people
Don't see the opportunity of it. Um, and, and if you don't want to do the old school ways of growing your business, you got to do something else. And this is such an effective really easy way. Yes. It takes work. Yes. It takes time. But again, you can do it in your pajamas with a glass of wine sitting at your computer, right. Like theirs and it will, it will continue to work for you for years to come. Um, and because not everybody is doing it, there's again, that opportunity there.
Right. Absolutely love it. So where can people find
You and learn more about the services you offer? Um, yeah. Where are you on Instagram, your website? What type of services do you
Offer? So I offer a little bit of everything. Um, I do have an online class for those who want to learn how to do it themselves, or want to learn enough to protect themselves, to make sure that they get what they're hiring. You know, they get, make makeup yes. Enough to be dangerous. So I do have that. It's called simple SEO and it's one class, six modules walks you through exactly what you need to do for SEO and teaches you how to do the keyword research, teaches you my proven process for verifying that you've got the right keyword. So, you know, if you're going to rank before you even get started, it's a process I've worked out over the last 10 years and used for all those clients. Who've got all those great, huge results. Um, so that's the course. I also do one-on-one training or coaching if people really want to learn and they want to have that hand-holding and they want to have a weekly meeting or something where we go through it, or I do done for you services. So it just really depends on what you're looking for, but I do offer the three different things. Um, my website is etched marketing.com. You can find me on social at etched marketing academy because I really focus my social more on those who want to learn rather than the agency side. So Instagram, Facebook and YouTube at etched marketing academy, and the website is etched marketing.com.
Love it. And of course I will link to that stuff in the show notes. And I will also link to that freebie that you mentioned around the kind of checklist of making sure that your blog is, is optimized,
Correct? Yes, absolutely. There are a number of freebies. So on the website, you'll find a free SEO class to get you started. Um, you'll find an SEO, quick-start guide a blog ideas guide. So if you, now you've listened to this and you're like,
Oh, this isn't so awful.
I have 101 prompts for all different types of businesses, all different types of blog posts. Um, I also have a marketing plan template and then the SEO checklist, which is included within the quick-start guide itself. So lots of stuff to make it easier for you guys take advantage. I've been doing this 20 years take advantage of all the stuff that I've learned over the years that I'm sharing with you.
Well, and I love, I mean, just even in this chat, like you explain it in a really easy to understand and follow along way, which I think my listeners will be like, oh,
Finally, someone's talking about something
That confuses me and I totally understand it. Now. That is my goal.
That's I, it breaks my heart. When people say, I don't understand SEO, it's above my pay grade. I'm not smart enough. You are smart enough. Oh yeah. You just, you were listening to the wrong people. You just need someone who understands how to explain it. Okay. Exactly.
It's just in the, the it's in the message. Well, thank you Rachel so much for taking this time to share all your wisdom with us. I know I super appreciated it and I know my audience will as well. So thank you. Thank you. Thanks. Thank you.
Thank you. I'm so glad I was able to be here. And if you have questions, guys, just DME on Instagram, or shoot me a note on my website. I'm happy to help you figure it out. Love it. Love it. Love it. Well, thanks so much. Thank you.