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Amazon Main Product Images – Are You Doing It Right?

One of the most common mistakes for new Amazon sellers is uploading unsuitable main product images. Scroll through a bunch of Amazon listings, and you’re sure to find a few main images that are just terrible. It’s a rampant problem.

Amazon has strict rules in place for main product images, but it can’t screen every single image that every seller uploads. For that reason, there are plenty of terrible main images that slip through the cracks and don’t get detected by Amazon right away. But that doesn’t mean that the seller who posted them is in the clear. Amazon doesn’t like it when sellers break its rules, and it’s not a matter of if—it’s a matter of when you get caught.

Though there are probably some shameless rule-breakers out there, we understand that most Amazon sellers upload bad main images because they simply haven’t read through the rules. Now, we’re not here to tell you exactly what Amazon’s image requirements are. It would be a waste of time for us to list through every single rule that Amazon has. You should go directly to Amazon for that. Instead, we’ll tell you exactly WHY it’s important to follow Amazon’s regulations for main product images.

Amazon Knows What Types of Images Sell

Amazon bases its product image requirements around three simple concepts: honesty, clarity and marketability. Seems like common sense. So, why are so many people failing to do it right?

Let’s break down each one:

  • Honesty — Amazon wants to maintain its honest reputation, so they want to ensure sellers aren’t overselling the product and making it seem like something it’s not.
  • Clarity — Amazon wants product photos to be clearly understood by the buyer. The main product image should contain only the product and it should be an accurate representation of the product (not skewed or made to look bigger or better than it is).
  • Marketability — Amazon wants to sell product as much as you do! The product image should be professionally done: it should be in sharp focus, it should use realistic colors, and look appealing.

When you start to think about Amazon’s product image requirements around these three concepts, it all suddenly makes sense. Of course, still be sure to refresh yourself on all of Amazon’s rules and format requirements from their website here (this is just a basic list; go to Seller Central to get the best, most up to date information).

Now below are a couple examples of product images up on Amazon. The first one doesn’t follow Amazon’s product image requirements. The second image, taken by our Strong Estate photographer, does meet all of Amazon’s product image requirements.

What Your Product Images Shouldn’t Look Likebad amazon image strong estate marketing

You can probably already see some issues with this main product image just by looking at it—main images need to have pure white backgrounds, and this certainly does not! But let’s work through it by comparing it to the three guidelines we listed above.

  • Honesty — What’s the product in this picture? It’s hard to tell. From the image, it appears to be a bag of mystery contents!
  • Clarity — The product is only a small part of the image and the buyer isn’t sure what they are looking at.
  • Marketability — Unprofessional shot of the product with a person’s hand filling the frame, an unnecessary backdrop, and nothing that makes a customer want to buy.

The image does follow some of the Amazon guidelines, but it breaks quite a few as well. You don’t want to take a risk with a product photo like this one.

What Your Product Images Should Look Likegood amazon image strong estate marketing

Now compare the Amazon product image above to this one here. The difference is night and day! But let’s break it down like before.

  • Honesty — The image shows only the product and everything that comes with it. There is no confusion about what the product is supposed to be. (In this case, it really is a bag… no mystery contents J)
  • Clarity — The image shows all the features of the product and all its parts. It’s clear, focused, and properly sized, filling up most of the frame without any parts cut off.
  • Marketability — The pure white background puts the product at the forefront. The product photo is a professional shot, doesn’t have any visual noise or inset images and text, and it looks attractive to browsing customers.

Clearly this main product photo is a better fit for Amazon. As long as the proper upload specifications are followed, Amazon won’t have any issue using this product image on their website!

The Consequences of Breaking Amazon’s Image Requirements

When you don’t follow the product photo requirements set by Amazon, you’re not only self-sabotaging by making your listing look less honest, clear, and marketable. You’re also putting your whole ecommerce business at risk, thanks to the watchdogs at Amazon corporate. You don’t want to risk account suspension just because you uploaded an unsuitable photo! If Amazon catches you with a bad main image, it could take weeks or even months to have access to your account again. That costs you a lot of time, stress, and sales.

It may seem like a hassle to get your product images professionally done. We get it… it costs money. But it’s totally worth it! It’s only a one-time cost per product. The fantastic new image will draw more customers to your listing and inspire them to buy. Plus, you won’t be risking your seller account.

Not every photographer knows Amazon’s rules, so make sure to get a professional product photographer who is experienced with Amazon and ecommerce. If you’d like to talk further about Amazon listing images, you can contact Strong Estate Photography here or go straight to our Order page to order your images!

 

 

Why Updating Your Real Estate Website Is So Important

updating your real estate website strong estate marketing

There are a lot of reasons to keep your website updated, no matter what type of business you are running. When it comes to real estate, this becomes especially important because your website plays a major role in capturing leads, marketing your brand, helping potential clients search for homes, and helping people find local housing market information. Not to mention that it helps with search engine optimization (or SEO) which is crucial to keep your website from getting buried among the competition.

 

Here’s why updating your real estate website is so useful for agents and brokers:

Say a potential customer is looking for a source of particular information, and they land on your website. If the information or the appearance of the website is outdated, they most likely won’t stick around or revisit. Here is a compilation of some great reasons, based on some great lists from www.theedesign.com and www.seositecheckup.com, as to why it’s important to keep putting new content on your site.

Increased website traffic = more new clients

First and foremost, keeping your website content up to date gets you more traffic. If your customers are looking to your website for information and are getting what they are looking for, it builds trust between you and them.

Increased credibility

It also helps with domain authority which is how credible your website is in that particular field of information. Staying up to date in the real estate world shows that you know what you are talking about.

Better search engine ranking

New content also means more frequent indexing from search engines. If you are updating your site regularly, search engines will be looking at your site more often which can lead to higher rankings based on the content you provide.

More keywords = better SEO

More content also means more keywords. If you are consistently adding content to your webpage, you will automatically have more opportunity to optimize your site for search engines.

Updated, relevant info source for current and potential clients

Possibly the most straightforward of all these reasons is that you can keep your audience informed and updated on relevant information. It is important to convince your audience that, out of all the other websites regarding your field, you are the one they want to keep up with. Regularly updating your site will lead to potential customers becoming loyal customers and also will result in appreciation from already loyal customers.

Surprisingly enough, most real estate professionals are lacking in the “useful information” department when it comes to their website. So what falls under the useful information category? Here is a helpful list, based on one from www.realtormag.realtor.org, to help you come up with topics to include on your website:

  • Information about the neighborhood you work in
  • Local market statistics
  • Events around town
  • Subdivisions of specific neighborhood
  • General real estate news
  • DIY home projects
  • Financing information

Visual appeal

Make sure your website looks like it was last updated in 2017, not 2003! It doesn’t have to be over-the-top trendy, but make it modern. Brand it according to the image you want to create. A great web developer and branding expert may be able to help you out with that, if you’re struggling. It is also great to include a mixture of text, photos, and videos within your site to keep readers interested and to prevent your page from looking boring.

 

The key takeaway: basically, if your website is up to date and looks fresh for people visiting your site, your credibility as a realtor is automatically increased. Along with that, your potential for more clients increases!

 

The Benefits of Product Videos

product videos strong estate marketing

Are your sales at a standstill? Are you struggling to find new ways to market your products? Strong Estate LLC has your answer. We’ve found that product videos are an excellent way to highlight a product’s specific benefits and features. Product videos are often overlooked, but can be one of the most effective ways to reach your sales goals!

 

Product videos can…

Get a Customer’s Attention

Videos quickly catch the attention of your audience, allowing more information to be absorbed at a faster rate than any other content form. This makes the most of your audience’s time— which is especially important on social media. If your video catches their attention quickly enough for them to stop scrolling and watch, then you’ve done it right.

Videos also give visitors a reason to spend more time on your site. After people watch videos, they’re more likely to browse your site, which will hopefully make them more likely to make purchases.

Evoke Emotion

Attractive visual content can be one of the most influential factors in determining whether potential customers will make online purchases. The combined effects of visuals and sound evoke much more emotion from your audience than text alone does. Pull your viewers in by connecting with them emotionally, which will get them onto the next step, hopefully a purchase.

Increase the Product’s Perceived Value

Since video is (usually) harder and more expensive to produce, it is typically looked at as more valuable than text. Its perceived value can boost your website traffic big time.

Boost Customer Confidence in the Product

Product videos show the product being used by a real person. This will make them more confident in purchasing something on the Internet, because they feel like they have a better idea of its quality. Confidence in the product can also translate to trust in you and your business, making them more likely to return for more purchases.

Help with Clarity and Understanding

Video can help your audience follow along and understand your product better. People learn better when information is delivered verbally and visually, and videos help them do just that! When you order our Premium package videos, we will write an informative script and provide text overlay to enhance the main points of the message.

Improve SEO & conversion rates

A video can generate a large number of links for a website, attracting more traffic. It’s important to note that, because there are so many videos already out on the internet, your video needs to be really good quality to attract a large number of links.

 

With this in mind, it might be beneficial to you to hire a professional to shoot and edit your product video, making sure you get as much out of it as possible. It’s also very important to have models in your videos, so that potential buyers can really see how a product will be used— not just how it looks. Strong Estate has models on hand and we know just how to create a product video that will help you SELL! Get in touch with us today to get started!

 

 

Why it’s Crucial for Bloggers to Have a “Voice,” And How to Incorporate Your Personality into Your Writing

blogging strong estate marketing

In the blogging business, it is often said that it’s important to develop a relationship with your readers. This is easier said than done, though. How do you go about this when the work you’re doing is entirely virtual? Well, that’s where your writer’s voice comes in.

What is a writing voice?

A writing “voice” can be a hard definition to pin down. It’s not necessarily a technique, style, or technical writing decision. Your writing voice is simply a representation of YOU within your words. No, that doesn’t mean you write out a description of yourself and click “publish”. It means every single word you put on the page is crucial in getting your personality across to your readers.

In general, people like personal relationships. If your personality can shine through your writing, your audience will feel closer to you, and therefore will be more inclined to keep reading your material. Your voice can draw readers in, helping them to feel like they really know you personally.

Finding yourself in your writing is the key way to gain followers and to maintain loyal ones. If you’re not being yourself, your writing will eventually burn out and you won’t be able to maintain your blog.

Great Ways to Start Developing Your Voice

Here are some really great ways to give your blog writing a personality, according to www.business2community.com and www.goinswriter.com:

Know your audience

Different types of blogs attract different types of readers. Decide what information you should and shouldn’t talk about on your blog. If you’re running a business-related blog, your audience most likely doesn’t care what you had for lunch that day—whereas if it’s a food blog, that’s exactly what readers will want to know. Choose the information you disclose based on your target audience.

A good way to really write to your audience is to start out by picturing your ideal reader, and writing only to that person. With a bit of practice and experience, it will become easy to write with your target audience in mind.

Figure out what makes you different

Everyone has a unique story to tell, so figure out what makes you unique and run with it! There are probably lots of other bloggers writing about the same stuff you’re writing about. This is true no matter what type of blog you’re running. Find out what sets you and your blog apart from the rest. That’s the only way to stand out from all the competition.

Tell stories

Using personal stories in your blog is a great way to develop your voice and incorporate your personality into your writing. It’s great to include anecdotes that relate to your blog topic. These stories provide your audience with a window into your life, automatically giving them a sense of your personality, making them feel closer to you, and (hopefully!) making them more inclined to revisit or subscribe to your blog.

Having trouble keeping up with your company blog? The Strong Estate team would be happy to help you out! Blogging sucks sometimes—that’s just the reality. We can make it better! Contact us today to get started.

 

How to Write a Newsworthy Press Release

write a newsworthy press release strong estate marketing

A press release serves a number of purposes for a business, whether you’re writing one for yourself or for a client. Press releases are mainly used to generate more publicity, and what business doesn’t like more publicity?! This is why it’s so important to master the “press release formula” to make it as newsworthy as possible. This will result in better sales, increased coverage, and better relationships with customers, clients, or partners.

Here’s how you can write a newsworthy press release:

Pick a specific news angle

This is your hook; it is the news event or controlling issue. Your news angle should tell how your industry, organization, or community will be affected, but should appear to be coming from an unbiased third party. So you are providing eye-catching information, without losing the credibility that comes with being unbiased.

Here are some common news angles used for press releases:

  • New Development: This is pretty self-explanatory—it’s new information that your audience hasn’t heard before. A business launch, a new product, a recent event, etc. This is the most common type of PR that we do.
  • Local Development: Local developments are usually also New Developments, but they’re directed toward a certain area. This type of PR is relevant to a specific local audience rather than a broad sector, and it highlights how the local community or economy will be affected.
  • Progress: A “progress” press release might not be focused on a brand-new development, but it’s still a newsworthy PR because it updates readers on the progress of something that they may or may not know about already. For example, a progress PR might update readers on the success of a product launch that happened a couple months ago.

Don’t get too emotional or dramatic

Overly emotional PR’s can come across as unnatural. An example of an overly emotional PR would be one that overuses words like “amazing” or “incredible.” You should present your information in an honest way; otherwise it will come across as an advertisement and lose its value.

Keep the wording concise and relevant

In a PR, there is no use in repeating facts or trying to reiterate what has already been said. Keep your PR relevant, clear, and as uncomplicated as possible.

Avoid factual/background info overload

Try not to go overboard with the facts and background about a new product, event, or service in an attempt to make it sound as “amazing” as possible. Stick to the essence of what you want to get across by just highlighting the positives most relevant for the reader.

As far as the background goes, if the reader cannot understand what your release is about without a lengthy backstory, then it needs to be rewritten. The release needs to get the message across quickly. You will want to condense your backstory into a small blurb that contains only the most relevant details.

Minimize SEO keywords

This is not to say you can’t use keywords, but make sure that you don’t go overboard with them. This might result in you tearing apart the core message of a release. This makes your PR weaker and less readable.

Reduce title length

Try to keep your title under 70 characters. Google only displays 70 characters on the search results page and typically if people don’t see the full title immediately, they’re less likely to click on your link.

Provide links to high resolution images

Images can add relevancy to a PR, so providing a download link or zip file with at least 3 images gives publishers more choices.

Give context

 If your PR is relevant to current events, your product/service will get more attention because it adds to a pertinent conversation.

We realize this is a lot to take in. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all these guidelines, you might want to leave it to the pros– that’s us. Strong Estate Marketing has a small team of expert PR writers who can help you write an excellent, newsworthy press release. Contact us here to get started!

Will Blogging Really Bring Me More Business?

blogging - strong estate marketing

Do you have the extra time to spend doing research, writing, formatting, learning the best SEO tactics, and maintaining your blog by blogging frequently? If so, blogging can really help you to take your business to the next level! If not, then blogging probably won’t help you, and it may even be a big waste of time.

Read on to find out how our company uses blogging to attract and retain clients, as well as several of the benefits of running a great business blog!

How Strong Estate LLC Uses Blogging to Bring In More Business

For our own blog, we make sure to come up with topics that people want to read, that also relate to what we do as a company. This is a good way to connect with our target audience. It is important to know the best SEO tactics and to blog often enough that people want to stay caught up. It is important to do this so that regular customers or readers don’t get bored.

At Strong Estate LLC, we don’t just do our own blogging—we write blogs for other businesses, as well. We write these blogs for other companies that don’t have the time or the know-how to do so themselves. This way, they can benefit from blogging just as we do, but without the extra effort it takes to maintain a blog.

We work with several realtors and small business owners who hire us to ghostwrite regular blog posts for them. These clients generally give us the topic they want written about, lay out however many or however few guidelines they want us to follow, and then we take it from there. Some clients give detailed instructions; others leave it entirely up to us. We do all of the research, formatting, SEO, and writing that goes into creating a great, functional, informative blog. By hiring us to do this, our clients save lots of time, and we can provide them with a high-quality piece that they oftentimes wouldn’t be able to complete themselves.

For more technical or complex blogs, we will often just edit or polish a blog that’s written by our client. This is also a good deal because the client saves money (edit/polish jobs are less costly than start-to-finish writing jobs), and the client lays out all their expertise in detail—Strong Estate just makes it shine!

If you want to have a company blog, but don’t have the time or expertise to make it happen, you too can hire an outside party to get the writing and blogging done for you. When you hire a professional writer to help you out, all you have to do is publish the finished piece on your page and let the business growth begin!

8 Benefits of Blogging, From Our Business to Yours

  1. Blogging helps drive traffic to your website

Sometimes, a regular website can come to a standstill because there’s not always content to be updated. Keeping a running blog helps us keep our website alive, and makes it more likely for people to visit our page—leading to more clients for us!

Blogging is a great way to generate more searchable content. Every blog post that we publish becomes another indexed page on our website. Every indexed page becomes another opportunity for our website to show up in search engines. This is where search engine optimization comes in. In general, the more relevant and informative blog posts you have, the more chances you have for SEO and good keywords.

  1. Blogging lets Google know that your site is active

Believe it or not, Google will know how much value your site is offering to people by tracking the number of people who interact with it. Because we regularly update our blog, we can bring more traffic to our site. Google ranks active sites higher in its search engine results, and the closer a site is to the top of the search results, the more people will click and interact.

  1. Blogging makes it more likely that your business get discovered via social media

The more blog posts you have, the more opportunities there are for people to share your content. Blogging can help expose your business to an audience that you might not know or that might not know you. We try to blog enough so that our page becomes more discoverable to a larger group of people just due to the number of shares that our posts could potentially get.

  1. Blogging helps you maintain a strong social media presence

After your social media presence is established, keeping up with your blog can help you maintain an already strong presence, or strengthen a maybe not-so-strong one. Regular, helpful, informative posts will give you something to post on social media, so your followers will become more familiar with your brand and hopefully click over to discover the great info you’re sharing. Once they’re on your site, they’re more likely to buy your products and services.

  1. Blogging helps you establish how knowledgeable you are

Blogging about the products or services that you offer makes it clear to your customers that you know what you are talking about. By consistently creating content that is helpful, informative, and beneficial to your target audience, you are showing potential customers that you are not just a great source of information, but a trustworthy businessperson.

  1. Blogging enables more sales opportunities

If the information that you present on your blog is reliable, then people are more likely to want to become, or to stay, customers. Establishing this credibility means that people who are customers are also more likely to trust you and what you have to say.

Customers who have read your blog will also enter into business with you more educated on what you have written about. This makes business transactions go more smoothly for both parties. This is relevant for many service providers—for example, if you’re an HVAC company and you write a blog about “5 Ways to Tell if your Furnace Needs Work,” you’re educating customers, and they’ll know a lot more about how to explain their furnace’s problem when they give you a call.

Additionally, if your customers have questions for you and you know you’ve written a comprehensive post on the topic in the past, you can send them over to your blog archive to get their questions answered quickly, easily, and effectively.

  1. Blogging can drive longer term results

The thing with blogging is, blog posts do not just go away after a certain period of time. Even long after a blog post is published on your site, you can continue to generate traffic and business from that content especially via social media shares.

Here is a chart from www.blog.hubspot.com showing the number of clients generated in the month that a blog post is published and the number of clients generated from posts from previous months. Clearly, the short-term results don’t get even close to matching the long term results of having a blog!

  1. Blogging can also be used for company/business promotion

Although this isn’t the sole purpose of running a blog, you can do the occasional blog post featuring your own business by talking about new services, new products, or events to further the other aspects of your company, not just the blogging branch.

Conclusion

If you have the time and know-how, blogging can be a fantastic way to grow your business online. Or, if you have the means to do so, you can hire someone else to maintain the blog portion of your business so you can spend more time focusing on the other services that you provide. Both of these, when done right, should be good options that will help your business thrive. However, blogging isn’t strictly necessary for a good business, so don’t fret if neither of these is an option— there are lots of other ways to grow businesses that do not involve blogging.

Everything You Need to Know about Red Pocket Mobile

RedPocket - strong estate marketing

This guide will explain why Red Pocket Mobile is the clear choice for excellent, affordable no-contract wireless service. First, let’s start with the basics.

What is Red Pocket Mobile?

Red Pocket Mobile is a U.S.-based, multi-carrier MVNO company that provides contract-free, hassle-free prepaid mobile phone service. According to their website, they’re a “different kind of wireless company.” What makes them different? Well, unlike most major carriers, when you switch over to Red Pocket, they conveniently allow you to keep your existing phone number, network coverage and phone, or bring a new one. Plus, their prepaid plans are very affordable.

When was Red Pocket started?

It might surprise you to learn that Red Pocket has been around for quite a while— since 2006!

How do prepaid mobile phone services work?

Prepaid wireless services, also known as pay-as-you-go, are exactly what they sound like: you pay in advance to have a certain amount of phone access (text messaging, call minutes, and data), each month. As long as you don’t mind paying upfront, there are several benefits to this method. Prepaid plans have no contracts, so you aren’t stuck with them for any longer than you prepay for. Plus, prepaid plans have no overage charges or hidden fees. If you run out of texts, call minutes, or data, you simply have to purchase more, or go without until the next month. Essentially, prepaid plans allow you to save money. They also give you freedom and flexibility.

With traditional, postpaid wireless services, you’ll get a bill at the end of each pay period (usually each month). If you’ve gone over your limit— which is pretty easy to do, as many traditional services don’t give you warnings— you will have to pay extra fees. Traditional wireless services also include contracts, so if you’re not happy with your service, you’re out of luck— you’ll be either stuck with them or you’ll face charges for breaking contract.

What networks does Red Pocket Mobile operate on?

Red Pocket uses the terms GSMA, CDMA, CDMAS and GSMT, but what do they mean?

It’s simple. Each acronym stands for a different major national wireless network. Different networks will offer slightly different benefits— most people choose a network based on the coverage and call quality in their particular area. Here are the four major networks that Red Pocket provides:

  • GSMA = AT&T
  • GSMT = T-Mobile
  • CDMAS = Sprint
  • CDMA = Verizon

Now that you know what each of Red Pocket’s networks are, you can figure out if your device will work with the plan you want, or research to find out which one is best for you by checking the coverage in your area. Coverage for each network can be checked on the Red Pocket Mobile eBay storefront.

As stated above, you can keep your existing phone number and phone, or get a new one when you switch to Red Pocket Mobile. Let’s discuss how that works.

In nearly every case, you can keep your existing number. Your old phone company doesn’t “own” your phone number. According to the Federal Communications Commission (fcc.gov), your old provider cannot refuse to transfer your number to your new service provider.

Phones/Devices

Can I use my current phone when I switch to a Red Pocket Wireless Plan?

The answer is probably yes! Do you have a phone from AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon? If so, you’re in luck.

Most phones will work with a prepaid carrier as long as the underlying network for the carrier matches the carrier you currently use with your device.

What devices will NOT work with this service?

Even though Red Pocket works with all different types of devices, some exclusions do apply. These include:

  • Locked Tracfone devices
  • Boost/Virgin Mobile Branded devices
  • Devices that have been reported lost or stolen
  • Devices that have been reported for fraud
  • Devices under an existing contract with another carrier
  • Devices that are blocked due to unpaid bills with another carrier

If I am going to buy a new phone, what type of phone should I buy?

You’ll probably encounter 3 different types of phones if you’re shopping around: CDMA, GSM, and Unlocked. CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and GSM (Global System for Mobiles) are simply acronyms for the different radio systems used by cellular devices. This can get complicated, so for the sake of time, we’ll just give you the most important information:

  • Sprint and Verizon use CDMA.
  • AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM.

“Unlocked” devices aren’t tied to any specific network. However, even if they’re unlocked, you will generally want to stick with the appropriate network for the model type. For example, you would generally use an unlocked GSM device on AT&T and T-Mobile networks, and use an unlocked CDMA device for Sprint or Verizon plans.

Plans Available

Red Pocket offers a variety of plans with plenty of perks. Here’s the rundown:

  • Plans can be purchased yearly, quarterly or monthly and start at rates as low as $8.25 per month. View all of their plans on their storefront at http://stores.ebay.com/Red-Pocket-Store.
  • LTE is included with all plans (as long as an LTE device is used).
  • International dialing available to 72 countries free (it deducts from your regular voice minutes the same as national calling).
  • There are no overage charges.
  • Add-ons are available, so you don’t have to worry if you’re running low on voice minutes, texts, or MB of data.
  • Refills are easy and only take a few minutes.

How do I activate my Red Pocket Mobile Service?

It’s simple and takes under 5 minutes. Visit any Red Pocket Mobile listing page for details and instructional videos.

So, why choose Red Pocket Mobile over other mobile phone services?

Red Pocket Mobile is a great way to go if you need a low-cost, contract-free phone plan. You get to take advantage of the best phone networks while saving money—what’s not to like about that? Whether you’re an iPhone lover or an Android person, you can take advantage of Red Pocket’s inexpensive wireless plans. The customer service is great, and everything, from purchasing, to activation, to refilling is super easy. Check them out on eBay at the Red Pocket Store.

What You’re Doing Wrong When Trying to SEO-ify Your Website—And How To Fix It! Part 2

SEO can go wrong. Here’s how to make it right. Click here to read Part 1.

Keyword Stuffing Vs. Responsible Keyword Optimization

Another way to avoid keyword stuffing is to utilize Google’s lexical database index. This index includes a list of synonyms for words so you can use different words with the same or similar meanings. This way your site will still show up for users in Google search results. Having a variety of related words not only means that your site will be safe from getting shut down by Google, but it is more likely to have well-crafted, professional sounding content, therefore adding to it’s overall validity.

How to Avoid Keyword Stuffing

To make sure you keep your site from getting “blacklisted” by Google, the basic rule of thumb is to make sure you maintain a 2-5% keyword density.

In order to avoid keyword stuffing, try grouping items that you want to include on your site into larger categories. For example, if you are listing the areas in which your service is offered, list counties or regions instead of individual towns. You can pick a few towns that you really want to optimize for (the ones you expect to get more business out of or the ones you want to focus on because of the potential for good business) highlight those, and then stick to keywords related to larger regions or counties otherwise.

What Actually Gets You More Traffic

Sometimes keywords and search engine optimization are not actually the best way to bring more people to your site or business. One way to gain credibility and customers for your business is to verify your company on Google My Business or GMB. GMB is a tool for businesses, brands, artist, and organizations to manage their online profiles. GMB gives you the ability to claim your business so it will be the first to pop up in a user search for the service that you offer in your area. If you are using GMB it is important to make sure your info is accurate, relevant, and consistent, that the location you have listed is owner verified, and that the specific city, town, or area you are targeting is listed on the landing page title. Also try to make sure that any primary categories you have listed also match broader search categories. This increases the likelihood of more traffic.

Benefits of claiming your business online

It builds trust. If you claim your business, it makes your business seem more trustworthy in the eyes of the general population.

It’s really great for SEO. When you list all identifying information by claiming your business, you include a link to your website. The more linkbacks your site has, the larger the audience is, the more the traffic it will get, and the higher the potential for customers.

It attracts locals. People no longer use phone books and newspapers. The first place people will look if they hear about your business is online. If they can easily find you, they are more likely to visit your business or site.

It attracts tourists. Putting your business online might end up being the only way people that are from out of town will know you exist.

It creates opportunities. You open yourself up for customer feedback, positive or negative, that can be used to either promote or better your business.

It stakes YOUR claim, not someone else’s. There is nothing stopping competitors from claiming your business just to drive potential customers away. Claiming your own business will prevent this from happening.

(Source + more info: http://www.connectivity.com/blog/2015/09/10-benefits-claim-your-business-online/)

Another thing you can do is include keywords within the image title on your website. For example, if you run a coffee shop in Cedar Falls, Iowa and you include a picture on your webpage, you can embed a description in the image when you post it to your web page, such as “coffee shop Cedar Falls, Iowa.” If you do this, the image of your business may pop up when someone uses Google to search for a coffee shop in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Additionally, try to add on-page content keywords. These on page SEO factors can be included in any of the following:

  • The landing page title tag
  • The landing page H1 tag
  • The landing page URL
  • The landing page content

You can also embed Google Maps with a business marker into your landing page to further your chances of getting more business based on location.

Get on review sites

A really good way to get your website out there without optimizing excessively is to get your site on external review websites such as Angie’s List or Yelp. Positive reviews from either of these sites can be grabbed and featured on your own site. Businesses can fake good reviews on their own sites but if there are good reviews on other sites then you can become far more credible and trustworthy.

Here are a couple of the benefits of Angie’s List according to www.handymanstartup.com

It’s free to get listed. If you are willing to put in the effort to get a lot of reviews, this can be a really good way to get new clients at no cost.

It’s good for link building. If you build links to your website, it will rank higher in Google and other search engines.

Here are some of the benefits of Yelp according to www.biz.yelp.com

You can easily connect with customers. Yelp gives you the ability to respond via direct message to customers that have left you a review, or you can post a public comment for all future users to see.

You can grow your business. If you claim your free Yelp Business Page you can start Yelp Ads. Advertising through Yelp is a great way for you to reach new customers. In a recent study, business owners that advertised with Yelp saw an average of $15,000 more than business owners who only claimed their free Yelp Business Page, but did not take the extra step to advertise on Yelp.

In Conclusion…

There’s good SEO and bad SEO. Good SEO is super beneficial; bad SEO can get you grounded from search results and do way more harm than good! Keyword stuffing and over-optimization are never OK, and there are better ways to go. There are lots of ways to improve SEO if you’re willing to take the time and effort, and you can always outsource your SEO to a pro if these articles have left you feeling overwhelmed!

What You’re Doing Wrong When Trying to SEO-ify Your Website—And How To Fix It! Part 1

SEO can go wrong. Here in Part 1, we’re sharing what can go wrong. In Part 2, we’ll explain how to make it right.

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of the most important factors in getting as much traffic to your webpage as you can. This we know. But can the use of too many keywords (called keyword stuffing or over-optimization) be your downfall? Are you focusing too much on technical SEO and not enough on actual content marketing?

Here at Strong Estate Marketing, we’ve seen too many clients who try to get quick results when it comes to SEO. This can have dire consequences for your business! We want to keep you from falling into the traps that too many people fall into… we want you to succeed instead!

Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t over-optimize. In Part 2, we’ll share some great ways to promote your business without resorting to bad SEO tactics!

Why You Shouldn’t Use Keyword Stuffing

Although SEO stuffing might give you short term benefits, these benefits are not worth the long term consequences. Since keyword stuffing focuses on beating the search engine algorithm rather than the user experience, Google will take your site down if your site is overusing keywords or over-optimizing for search engine optimization. As of 2012, Google’s penalty was to completely de-index the sites that were stuffing keywords and links.

If your site is “blacklisted” by Google, it will take you a lot of time and effort to build it back up and begin to re-optimize the right way for search engines. The time it takes for you to rebuild your site can cost you a lot of visitors and, therefore, a lot of business. Doing SEO the right way might take more time initially, but the long-term benefits will greatly outweigh the time it takes for you to establish your site.

Signs That You Might Be Over-Optimizing Your Site

You have too many keywords in internal links. Internal linking is good, but too many keywords in an internal link is bad and qualifies for over-optimization.

You are using non-relevant keywords. Google ranks your site for relevance and too many keywords that don’t relate to your actual site take away from the overall credibility of your site.

You are pointing all links to top navigation pages. A good link profile has links that take users to deeper internal site pages in addition to the home page. If your links only take the user back to your home page or other higher traffic pages, then it is pretty obvious that you are over-optimizing.

You are using multiple H1’s (Heading 1’s) on your page. H1 is just for the page’s main heading. Using more than one of these does qualify as over-optimization.

You are linking to toxic sites. If your site links to a spam site, then your website will most likely receive negative repercussions.

You have a keyword stuffed footer. Over-optimizing the footer of your page is the best way to get your site shut down. In fact, footer optimization should not be used at all. Google devalues footer links and because they are at the bottom of the page, they receive minimal recognition anyway. Over-optimized footers add little to no value to the page.

You are using a non-branded, keyword dense URL. Because your brand name is so incredibly important, choosing a hyper-optimized URL instead of a balanced brand name compromises your business too much for it to be beneficial.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll discuss some of the good SEO tactics that we use here at Strong Estate!

(Source + more info: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/avoid-over-optimizing/)

10 Great Ways For Realtors to Boost Their Business

great ways for realtors to boost business - strong estate marketing

Are you a realtor looking to grow your business virtually? There are lots of ways to accomplish this! Though the task may seem daunting, there are plenty of small ways you can get started.

Before we dive into the 10 different ways to grow your real estate business, here’s one simple tip that applies to everything you do online: Always keep your audience—i.e., your potential clients—in mind. Make it as easy for them to find information about you and the homes you’re selling. Convenience for them will then directly translate to more business for you!

1. Create social media profiles

Real estate is directly hinged on realtor-client relationships. A realtor with a strong social media presence can better interact with customers and do so as much as desired. Social media is also a way for satisfied customers to express their gratification, which can help boost your validity when it comes to acquiring other potential customers.

If you market your business through social media channels, it is easier to show potential customers what you’re all about. Putting your business out on social media will help with self-promotion. It will also make it easier to initiate interaction with potential customers. Through social media, it becomes easier to prove your trustworthiness and show homebuyers your personality, your brand, and your credibility.

Additionally, not only can users share your information through these channels, but it becomes more likely for people to stumble upon your business through Facebook shares, the Instagram discover page, Twitter retweets, etc. These can then direct them to your website to begin their house search.

2. Include share buttons

It’s very important to include “share” buttons on your website to make it convenient for shoppers to post listings to social media sites or share them by email. Be sure to include a share button with every new listing so that shoppers can do some of the marketing for you by showing potential properties to their family and friends. Shoppers also look for share buttons because they like to get the input of family or close friends before they make a decision on a property. Make it as easy as possible for them!

3. Make contact easy

Making contact easy for homebuyers is essential for your real estate business. Putting your contact information on every page of your website and every listing is a good way to make sure buyers can click and contact you at any point in time. Also, be sure to include your contact in other places such as social media bios and email signatures. If your contact is hard to locate, customers are more likely to give up and move on to another website tailored better for their convenience.

4. Incorporate local images

It’s important to remember, when selling a property, that you aren’t just selling the house; you’re also selling the land and the town or city that it’s located in. Your clients want to see the quality of the area they could potentially be living in. Any desirable scenery, shops, or restaurants might all be features that will motivate a homebuyer to make the purchase.

5. Hire a great photographer

Photos are an essential part of selling a property. Most Internet home shoppers won’t even look at a listing that doesn’t include photos. The pictures included with the listing become the buyer’s first impression of the house. If the photographs do not leave a good impression, it is going to be a lot harder to sell the property. When including images on your website or social media profiles, making sure the photographs are high-quality is imperative. Bad photos will automatically diminish the interest of potential buyers. If photography is not one of your major strengths, it might be extra beneficial to hire a professional photographer to make sure that the pictures you are putting on your site are as appealing as possible for prospective clients.

real estate photo - strong estate marketing

6. Create irresistible online content

Another thing you can do to grow your realty business is create online content that’s unique and desirable.  For example, create a blog or an e-book full of helpful information. By providing this kind of helpful information to homebuyers, you will not only be aiding them in their search, but you will be providing yourself with more credibility which will make you stand out from competitors. Additionally, unlike physical books or pamphlets, e-books and blogs are quick to make and easy to distribute. Faster production means quicker customer response.

7. Create virtual tours of properties

A good way to make buyers’ lives more convenient is to create virtual tours of properties. Virtual tours are much more immersive than simple photographs. Customers will definitely appreciate this convenience if they are able to get a good look at a property before visiting in person. This is another thing that will give the buyer a good impression of you.

8. Make your site mobile friendly

Since it is especially common for people to be doing things on their phones now, making your site mobile friendly is a huge help for your customers and, as a result, you. If your site isn’t mobile ready and potential customers are trying to navigate on a mobile device, the site may take a long time to load or may not load at all. According to kissmetrics.com, studies show that mobile website users will abandon a page if they have to wait more than 6-10 seconds for it to load. By making your site easy to navigate on a mobile device, you are more likely to turn website visitors into clients.

9. Create an e-newsletter

A good way to promote your business is to create a weekly or biweekly newsletter. This can be another convenience for buyers. Within these newsletters you can include notifications about new listings, upcoming open houses, etc. to keep your clients in the loop and to maintain a relationship with them. Keeping your newsletter virtual is also incredibly easy and a lot cheaper than sending one through traditional, direct mail.

10. Include locally oriented keywords

When creating a listing, be sure to use locally oriented keywords in headings. Town names, county names, and even the wider region (i.e., our business is located in Northeast Iowa) are all helpful search terms for getting local clients. Local keywords will make it more likely for homebuyers to stumble upon your site when searching for homes in their desired area.

 

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