For the beginners: What is SEO?
I imagine most of the readers we have here at the Top of Mind Networks Blog have some degree of understanding of online marketing, social networking, and web 2.0 strategies. However, I know many people in the mortgage industry do not, and in case you are one of those folks and have happened upon our blog I would like start at the beginning for you. The primary motivation behind all of these concepts is Search Engine Optimization.
So what is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? The best way to answer this question is with another question. How do I get found online? The number of consumers shopping online has steadily increased over the past few years. And the mortgage and real estate industries are no exception. If you think your client base is not doing their due diligence online then you are mistaken. Everyone in our industry needs a web presence, and everyone needs to able to be found online. And how do you expect your clients and prospects to find you online? The answer to this is simple, they use Google, MSN, Yahoo!, etc. And when using these tools to research mortgage rates or local real estate, if they don’t find you they will find your competitors.
Search Engine Optimization is a strategy to make your web presence easier to find. There are a plethora of resources out there (simply Google the term SEO and you will see what I mean) and varying opinions on the absolute best ways to get your web site or blog higher up on the search results page, but there are a few basic, universally accepted ways to help increase your “Googleability“:
- Content Is Key: This is the number 1 piece of advice I can give anyone who is trying to up their online presence. It may not be the number 1 factor is SEO but if someone happens to find your site and there is nothing good there then they will simply hit the back button and move on to the next site. Make sure your site provides valuable content. This will not only have a positive effect on your SEO but will also provide your audience with more value once they have found you… and that is what keeps them coming back.
- Link Building: Get websites from either in your industry or in relevant industries to link to your site. Outside links have a positive impact for your SEO.
- Keywords: Try to find out which search phrases get the most attention from the search engines. There are many tools out there one can use to find out what search phrases are popular based on what your company does. Once you know what search phrases you want to compete for, try to incorporate them in your website; both in the content and in the META tags of your site.