Transcend traditional SEO–supercharge your internet marketing by optimizing for local, social and reviews

We get many of questions about providing SEO services. What we’ve found is this: the result that clients are actually looking for is being found when people search for either you or your target market.

Example 1. I meet you at an open house or I am referred to you by a friend. What’s the first thing I do? I Google ‘Your Name’ or ‘Your Name Realtor’ or ‘Your Name Real Estate’. I’m going to want to check you out online before I call you to get a read on your character and your competence.

Example 2. I don’t know you. I haven’t been referred by a friend to a local agent. I Google ‘My Favorite Neighborhood Real Estate’.

Two distinct problems—best served by moving beyond traditional SEO

Finding You is about making yourself findable by your name and occupation and can be addressed by making sure you have rich, complete social and local profiles. Discovering You based on your Target Market—keywords like ‘Edmonds real estate’—is more traditional SEO. However, it’s much easier to find success by focusing your effort on Local SEO results and reviews.

More on that in a bit. First, some context.

In the figure above, you’ll notice 3 distinct content areas in the search results:

  1. Paid Ads
  2. Organic
  3. Local

Ads. Paid ads are complex to manage, expensive, and you are competing against large companies who have big budgets and sophisticated systems in place to out-bid you (automatically). Better to focus elsewhere.

Organic. This is traditional SEO. Popular keywords (known as ‘short-tail’ in SEO-speak) are generally dominated either by large companies with huge content creation budgets or by local competitors with a ton of local content. Note and Zillow in the screenshot. You’ll also see local folks having great success who’ve been at it a while. is an example of a client of ours who has a great domain, lot’s of experience creating locally focused content and been building that SEO-equity for a very long time.

Our advice is that the best way to win traditional SEO right now is to actually focus instead on Local setup and content and reviews, and let the traditional take care of itself over time.

Local. This is where you can win right now against the big boys. Zillow, Trulia and don’t have an office in Edmonds (nor does ZipRealty or Redfin). You do. And Google really wants to give the searcher what they are looking for. More often than not, that means the local business. Physical presence and local experience (reviews) is your competitive advantage here.

They key though, is the search result doesn’t happen automatically. You really need to be set up properly to be found. The good news is it’s a pretty straight-forward process.

Finding You—Social Profiles and Reviews

Getting back to our first example. What happens when someone searches for You. This is where social profiles and reviews can be extremely powerful.

In this example, I searched for Bob Wold, our client that works in Edmonds.

Yelp. Note the 5 stars in the example. That little icon is one of the most powerful things you can see in a search results. You need to both have a profile on Yelp and encourage your clients to review you there.

His site. This is good. If your own site doesn’t come up near the top when you search for yourself, something isn’t set up correctly. Beyond just making sure your contact info is prominent on the site, you want to take it one step further and embed the microdata that identifies this as your site and ties back to your profile on your Google Local page.

LinkedIn. If you have a profile here, make sure it’s complete and includes contact information that matches your site.

Company Profile Page. Same as above.

Trulia, Zillow, Active Rain. Complete your profiles on at least Zillow and Trulia. These are the two most trafficked real estate sites and having a complete profile with reviews is both good for business and sends even more positive signals to Google.

Target Marketing—Local SEO and Reviews (again)

Back to local. In the following example, we searched again, but this time pretend you don’t remember a specific agents name and instead search by company. Note how Bob shows up again:

This time Google recognizes the search as a local business and thus prominently includes it’s Local section. Again Bob’s Yelp page ranks high in the results with its review stars, but also notice the link to Google reviews under the office location. This is where you need a complete Google+ profile page and to encourage your clients to review you on Google+.

Wrapping up

Those are the key elements to get beyond traditional SEO and make sure you can be found by name, company and your target market. Most of this is about one-time setup of your profiles and a tweak or two to your site.

Given the effort it takes to rank for organic keywords vs making sure people who already are looking for you and your target market find you, our strong advice is to first take care of the high-return: Local and Social profiles.

Instant Notifications? You want it. You got it.

You may have seen Redfin’s announcement about instant listing notifications, and you may be wondering how you can get in on this new feature.

Great news! GraphicalData has been providing instant updates for years (although you may not know about it, so here’s the scoop).

Here’s how it works.

First, you or your client can quickly and easily create an account on your GraphicalData website:

Just find the ‘Log in| Register’ link or the ‘Listings by Email’ feature on your Home page.

GraphicalData Log in | Register Link

Listings by Email feature

After creating an account, simply start a home search and select to save that search.

Save Search

Choose instant notifications when saving, and your client is set.

Instand notifications

Notifications—and even search details—can be changed or stopped at any time by clicking the ‘Searches’ link in the upper right of your website when the client is logged in.

Change Notifications

That’s it! Instant Notifications.

As always, we love to hear your feedback on how we can improve the service. Leave a comment or contact us.

The one trick for an uncluttered main menu

Have you recently created a new page on your website that you don’t really need in your menu? Hiding a page takes a few moments, and using the URL (the direct link to the page) is easy. Read on for a quick how-to.

First, of course, build the page.

Once you have your page set up, return to the gdSiteBuilder, and simply select “Turn Off” under “Page Status.”

To access the page, you’ll need the direct link, so click the page to open it in your browser, then copy the URL. It will look something like this:

The contents of the page will determine what you do with the link.

Add it to a listing

If your page has a video or photo gallery, add the link to the listing. Begin at the gdListingManager and select the listing you want to add to, then paste the URL you previously copied into one of the Virtual Tour link fields. Click ‘set’ and you’re done.

Add it to another page

Add a link to any page using a page layout tool.

Edit the page layout tool,

and type the name of your link, for example “my cool new page”. Highlight the text and click the link button,

then paste the URL in the URL field and click OK.

Save your changes, and you’re done.

You can also share the link in your social networking sites!

What other ways do you use hidden pages? Tell us in the comments!

Video! One exciting way to use the Text Element on your gdWebSite

You’ve heard it’s a great idea to post video on your website, right? It can really help your SEO, adds interest and variety for visitors, and can get more buyers looking at showcased properties. What’s not to love about video?

If you’d like to take a crack at posting video on your gdWebSite, read on.

Your first step is finding a hosting site. There are a lot of free options to choose from, and for a simple home-tour video, they should all meet your needs. Squidoo has a good article listing many of your options for free online video hosting.

Host your video and then copy the embed code—which should be available after you finish uploading your video to the hosting site. Now you’re ready to get started!

Begin at the gdSiteBuilder and edit the page you wish to add your video to, or, start fresh with a new page.

Add a text element from the controller menu by clicking the green plus sign and then edit the text element.

Paste the embed code into the text box. Check the “Do not format…” box and click ‘Save Changes’.

That’s it! You’ve got video on your gdWebSite!.

Keep your website fresh! Add new content whenever you want.

Here’s a quick how-to on creating a new page as a blank canvas for…well, anything!

Begin at the gdSiteBuilder and click ‘Create a New Button.’

Choose the ‘Build your own page’ option.

Name the button and click ‘submit button name’. You can change the name at any time, so don’t over-think this step.

Then click the big big green link ‘Click here to build your own page.’

Choose any of the page content options from the left hand menu, and if you need to, change the button name at the top.

That’s it. Easy? Super-easy.

gdIntranet Launches at Windermere North Spokane

SPOKANE, WA — Dallas Becker joined the ownership of Windermere North Spokane in 2007. Today he continues his family’s commitment to providing world-class real estate service to his clients and the best resources and tools available to his agents.

GraphicalData is providing some of those tools. We’ve recently launched gdIntranet to help the owners, staff, and agents of Windermere North Spokane improve communication and productivity.

Figure 1. The intranet dashboard.

Here’s just a few of the ways gdIntranet works to unify Dallas’s team while saving them time and effort.

Company calendar

A single, unified calendar allows the entire team to know the schedule without having to worry about making it into the office or calling and emailing to find out about changes. Open houses, Office events, partner meetings—everything’s right there, updated in real time.

Figure 2. Company calendar.

One place to find the right document

Document management is streamlined and simplified with electronic copies and permission-based access. Each member of the Windermere North Spokane team—from owners and management to agents and staff—can be assured that the latest updates to manuals, handbooks, contracts, etc. are available to the right people at the right time.

Figure 3. Browsing for documents.

Communication is key

Communication is vital to the success of Dallas, his agents and his staff. gdIntranet covers this area in a variety of ways.

  • A secure, internal blog enables Dallas to update his entire team, while team members can access these broadcasts at their convenience.
  • If something urgent needs to be shared, push email—flitered by group or role—can get the message out immediately.
  • Message boards allow for discussion and feedback between interested parties without the cumbersome scheduling of conference calls or meetings.

Figure 4. Message center.

Thanks to GraphicalData, we now have a user-friendly, customized intranet solution to offer our agents. Not only did Mike and the rest of the GD team work hard to understand our needs, they quickly turned our wish list into reality.

The response we received from our agents has been very positive—easy to navigate, aesthetically pleasing and packed with useful information. We look forward to working with GD as we continue our efforts to deliver world class tools and services to our agent partners.

Dallas Becker, Windermere North Spokane

GraphicalData and Dallas Becker are working together to offer a wide array of productivity tools to the agents of Windermere North Spokane. Tools that get used, and can be found in a single place, accessible from any internet-connected computer or device the agents use, for productivity anywhere, any time.

Use a Text Element to Add Social Media Badges and Widgets to Your gdWebsite

So, you have a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and you blog faithfully on your gdWebsite. But how do you let your website visitors know what’s in your social feed or how to follow you? The answer is the amazing flexibility of the text element.

Begin at the gdSiteBuilder and edit the page you wish to add your social widget(s) to.

Figure 1. Edit the page.

Add a text element from the controller menu by clicking the green plus sign and then edit the text element.

Figure 2. Add a text element.

Copy the HTML code for your widget or badge—if you’re not quite sure where to get this, look in the help pages of your favorite social sites, or do a Google search for it. Then paste the code into the text box.

Figure 3. Paste widget code and save changes.

Check the ‘do not format…’ box and click ‘Save Changes’.

That’s it! You should see your widget or badge displayed on your page. If you want to change the placement, just move the text element up or down on the page.

Figure 4. Reposition the element on the page.

Note: With our new gdSocial product, we’ll not only add these links for you automatically and include them in context-intelligent locations on your site, but we’ll setup syndication to link your blog to your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account. Interested? Contact us to learn more about gdSocial.

Search for Bank Owned and Short Sale Properties in the RMLS

We’ve got some great news for our clients—and their clients—in the RMLS. We’ve added two new search fields to all our gdWebsites in the RMLS area: Bank Owned and Short Sale.

Your clients can select Bank Owned or Short Sale options in any map search. You can set up a custom search for a variety of specific areas or price points by simply using the Showcase element on your webpages.

Enjoy the new functionality!

Phone fun. If you’ve tried to call us, and can’t get through, here’s why.

Ahh, Qwest. What fun would moving our office be if Qwest didn’t totally and completely screw up the process of forwarding our phone numbers on the date promissed…

If you’ve called our old number (which, by-the-way, should and will eventually forward to our new number seamlessly and indefinately so you don’t have to hassle with updating your address book), you’ve either got voice mail, or entered a black hole. The voice mails we are actively returning. If you got the black hole, we are really sorry.

Here’s the new phone number:


NOTE: The fax line and 800# are still down. We’ll update when those come back on line.

Introducing, the all-new,

After many months of team effort, we are really excited to launch our new public site.

While the new site started as a re-branding effort—as new owners, we wanted to refresh the look and feel of the site to make it better reflect our personal design aesthetic—we also had a few other goals in mind:

  • More clearly define our products and services
  • Make support articles, videos and contact information drop-dead easy to find
  • Eat our own dog food: Use our own product to build the site+blog with social media integration (more details on that in a future article)

We’ll be posting news articles, how-to’s, tips, product announcements, industry news and the like on our new blog on a regular basis. To keep up-to-date, we invite you to subscribe to receive automatic email updates:

» Subscribe to the gdBlog now

If you prefer, you can also follow us on facebook or twitter.

P.S. We’d love your feedback — good or bad — just leave us a note in the comments.