How to Get a Search Engine 'High'

July 1, 2000

Dear Mr. Internet,
How can I get my site to place consistently high in the top search engines?—Sharon Hodnett, Century 21 Mike Bowman, REALTORS®, Euless, Texas

Dear Sharon,
Depending on the search engine, you can accomplish this with a great deal of work or by buying your way to the top.

You let search engines know your site exists by registering with them--providing your contact information and brief descriptions of your site. Unfortunately, since each search engine follows different rules, this process isn’t straightforward.

Online services, such as SubmitIt! (submit-it.com), help you automate the registration process. But many won’t keep track of how often you resubmit pages. For maximum optimization, you want to resubmit frequently, but, and here’s the catch, not too often. Resubmit too often, and you could find your site censored for search engine spamming. How do you know what’s too often? Unfortunately, each search engine has its own magic number.

Choosing keywords and phrases that people are likely to use when searching for real estate services can help. Incorporate them directly into your site.

Since real estate is geographically oriented, your keywords should include a reference to your location. If you’re a Denver buyer’s agent specializing in luxury homes, for example, keywords and phrases to consider are “Denver relocation,” “Denver buyer’s agent,” “Denver schools,” and “Denver fine homes.”

Also, substitute “Denver, Colo.,” and “Denver, Colorado,” as well as the name of every suburb, township, and county in which you work, for “Denver.”

Search engines find keywords in the content of your site. Add them to

  • Metatags--Special tags within your site’s HTML code--hidden from users’ view--that describe your site’s content
  • Page title--Text in the title bar of the browser when the page is loaded
  • Body text--Content of your site
  • Domain names--Your Web address, with keywords separated by hyphens: denver-homes-relo-realestate.com
  • File names--The file you or your developer creates that gets uploaded to your server as a Web page, such as denver_real_estate.html.

At least one search engine, GoTo.com, lets you bid to get your site ranked for any number of keywords.

It’s probably becoming clear that real-life search engine optimization isn’t for the faint of heart. A software solution may help. WebPosition Gold handles everything I’ve described (including knowing how many times to resubmit your site to each search engine) and tests for results.

Or, hire a pro. Professionals charge a minimum of $1,000 just to get started and will limit whom they work with in any particular geographical area. The people who make WebPosition Gold post recommendations on their site
(http://www.webpositiongold.com/).

If you decide to use search engines, expect a major investment of time and money. But don’t obsess over placement. It’s just one of many online business-building tools available to the Internet-savvy professional.

Michael Russer, a.k.a. Mr. Internet®, is CEO of Russer Communications. He is a leading speaker and author in the real estate industry and has been writing about Internet marketing and virtual outsourcing since the dawn of the commercial Internet.

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