#159 Mail-Right Show SEO (search engine optimization) Part 3
We Look At Why Mobile Is So Important When Comes To SEO In 2018
In this episode (part 3 of 4 shows) we go deep into why you the real estate agent should really care about SEO (search engine optimization) and why so many real estate agent’s website are so bad in this particular area. Robert gives some great examples connected to websites that are really working connected to getting quality leads. We also discuss is really important to have a good quality property search on your website powered by IDX and have it freely available or have it semi locked down?
Jonathan: Welcome back folks to the Mail-Right Show. This is episode 159. This is going to be a discussion between me and Robert. We’re going to continue our series about SEO and why it’s so important for a Real Estate Agent and for getting quality leads off your website, right Robert. Would you like to quickly to introduce yourself to the listeners and viewers first, Robert?
Robert: Sure, absolutely. My name is Robert Newman. I’m the founder of an Online Marketing company called, Inbound Real Estate Marketing and I’m an 11 year veteran of the Real Estate Marketing industry.
Jonathan: And he’s got the arrows on his back to testify. And I’m the founder of Mail-Right. What is Mail-Right? It’s a marketing platform that gets you more quality leads, with an emphasis of getting those leads by using the power of Facebook. This has been a series. We’re on episode 3 of the series about SEO because it’s such a large subject blessed viewer and listeners. So we’re going to delve a bit more in this episode and there’s going to be one final episode next week and that should give us the space to really cover this subject in the detail that it really needs. So Robert, how do you want to go on in this part of the conversation?
Robert: Where we left off. We were starting to talk about, actually, we mentioned in passing mobile SEO or how mobile is affecting SEO and it was a vast topic. We agreed that it deserved its own segment and we passed right over it. So I definitely would love to address that today because it shouldn’t be left to the very last. So if you don’t mind I’m just going to dive right in.
Robert: Okay, all right. So there’s been a number of changes as it relates to SEO. One of the biggest by far, in a way, is that Google went to something that was called Mobile-First SEO ranking or rendering and they used a number of different languages. But what it means if you scrape away all the fancy nonsense. It means that now, they look at the experience on a mobile phone before they actually look at the experience on a PC.
So they’re measuring first how users are engaging using their smartphone and they’re giving that more credit towards your SEO rankings than they do with the PC experience. So why is this so important? I mean, I make websites for a living and 99 percent of my clients, all they’re looking for you to do is say, “Hey, the website is mobile-friendly”, and indeed it is. But actually, the very first thing that we should, like everybody that owns and buys websites inside the Real Estate space, the first thing you should do is look how a website is operating that you are considering buying on a mobile device. And there are numerous ways to test it. You can find some really cool Google Chrome extensions that will allow you to see a website in different mobile views so you can actually look at all the, like Samsung 9s and handheld devices, iPads. You can actually see what the mobile experience is on many different devices, using one of these tools, and you should do that because the first thing that is going to affect your SEO rankings is how do people interact with your site with their mobile phone. So that’s number one.
Number two, I get to asked a lot of questions about what the difference is with the mobile SERPs versus the PC SERPs and that’s Search Engine Results, basically, that’s what SERPs means. So, the difference between the two and I strongly recommend that somebody do this and I’m just going to pick up my cell phone right now and I’m just going to do Los Angeles Real Estate is the search that I’m going to do. So what are some of the differences?
Because believe it or not Google has two separate search results databases now. They have one that is for mobile and they have another that is for PCs and the mobile is much more connected to the location of your device. There are looking at where are you located when you’re doing a search, such as Los Angeles Real Estate. Now, they’ve got an additional piece of information that’s going to be different than when you’re using a PC and that is going to be where are you located. One of the interesting things, and I’m, going to hold this up and you probably can’t see it. No, you can see it a little bit.
Jonathan: You can see it a little bit.
Robert: One of the interesting things about the mobile search results on Google is that you get nothing but ads. This entire first page is ads. It’s nothing there but ads. Then you scroll up, you do this, you scroll up and now you start to see some search results. But what amongst other things is different? You see something that Google refers to as mobile search packets, which again is completely different than PCs and it’s important that people understand this. Mobile search packets are where they’re connecting images to websites.
So they’ve changed the way that search results look and operate. You have a carousel that is left and right when you’re looking at these search results. Each one of these is saying “People also search for”. This is not what you’re going to see if you do a desktop search. Why does all of that matter? Well, another thing that Google has done with mobile is they’ve done top stories because they’ve gotten an understanding that people are using mobile devices differently than desktops. When people are on desktops, they’re not really interested in top stories. For some reason, people browse news stories more indifferently when they’re using mobile devices. So actually, the search packets have now become completely different with mobile devices.
Another interesting thing about mobile versus PCs is that they are often times when you look at this one page, which you’re scrolling up and down with your thumb, even though it does not look like there are many results, there’s actually far more. Your mobile phone on what is considered to be one page has more like 15 or 20 results. Again, why does this matter? I’ll give you a perfect example. This mobile device, I love Google, is connected into YouTube.
Okay. So this is again, I want to be really clear, this isn’t necessarily something you’re going to see on a PC, on a desktop. So you’re not seeing this, You’re only this on mobile. Why does this matter? These videos, because I can tell you for sure that on my page, that my videos which are enclosed inside a large content piece are now being separated by Google and served up in the search results individually through this mobile application. So, in layman’s terms, how does that impact SEO?
At this point, if you’re not including a YouTube video, specifically on YouTube inside a content piece, you are hamstringing yourself. At first, it was a good idea because Google definitely enhanced rank. Now, you’re running against a headwind in terms of your mobile search results if you don’t have a YouTube video connected to your content. And Google is trying to serve up the best video possible and in connection with mobile, I know this sounds like another topic, but it’s not, Google has connected additional features inside their videos that connect into their mobile search results. Let me give you an example. They added a latitude and longitude feature that says you can tell them the latitude and longitude of where this video was taken or the latitude and longitude of where you would like this video to be related to.
Why do you think they did that? They did that so when somebody who’s holding a mobile device is doing a location-based search, which is many of what people do on mobile devices, they’re now going to be served up the content that you’ve told them is related to the area. So, it’s a massive tie-in. It only works with Google, it doesn’t work with Vimeo or any other video service and it is increasing traffic and viewership on YouTube videos by a very large amount. So everybody is talking about how YouTube and it’s this channel that is growing, but at this point, YouTube is facing a lot of competition They’ve got Instagram and other people, everybody is getting into video. So what did Google do? They’re linking video in an absolutely inextricable, help me out with the word, inextricable? What’s the word? Inextricable.
Jonathan: You haven’t quite got it but I can’t remember which word you’re using.
Robert: Okay. You cannot separate the two. I’ll use the longer, instead of the fancy word, I’ll use the longer description. You cannot separate the two anymore. And I and everybody that I know in SEO is anticipating that video and mobile are going to be tied-in to each other more and more. Another thing about mobile that is just fascinating is that as people are getting better and better sound systems inside their car and everybody is upgrading, then you have that nifty little plugin, almost everybody I know kind of listens to videos now as podcasts, like they play music off YouTube in their car. So what they are really doing is playing a video but they get free endless music in their car. So, if you’re going to say, “Well, why are you bringing all this up? I’m not sure that our audience really truly understands the power of video or why or how they should be using YouTube and why it matters. There’s no doubt that they need to be, everybody needs to be doing, they need to be number one, focused on mobile first, which believe it or not, by saying that, you are also saying, you need to focus on video. So, having said all that, there is another really nifty thing and I was going save it as the tip but we are not going to do bonus content so I’m throwing it right out there before even the first break. There is something else that Google has done to make mobile more successful and more of a priority.
So, they’ve done two big changes that both are SEO related. Number one, they’ve said that all websites need to be secured, that’s the HTTPS protocol, which is supposed to be for financial stuff. But you know what else it’s for? It’s so that Chinese hackers can’t hack you as easily. There are two different reasons why Google, because that causes everybody on the Web this massive problem and hackers are getting more aggressive, which almost everybody and their mother knows. So, Google has added about 10 percent bonus to websites that do the HTTPS credit. Now, there are some complicated things that get involved in that that say that the bonuses isn’t as extreme as they really are claiming that it is. I will just simply say this. It’s an important update and it does affect mobile because they’re giving an even bigger bonus slightly with these secured websites that are working on mobile.
Jonathan: I just want to add a little bit more information here. The other reason is, at the present moment, if you are using Chrome and some other browsers and it’s not HTTPS folks, the warning that you get isn’t that aggressive. You literally have to understand what to look for but it is there. That’s dramatically changing in October. If your site is not HTTPS in October and you use Chrome, a whacking big warning is going to appear right in the browser window saying “This site is unsecure” and people are just probably not going to go your site. Sorry, Robert but I had to say that.
Robert: Yeah. No, that’s an amazing point. You’re 100 percent correct. I hadn’t even remembered that but it’s very true. Another reason again everybody, all of that ties back into mobile. More and more and more people are doing transactions off their mobile phone. But guess what guys? Cloning these devices, doing keylogger, it’s easier with mobile phones than it is with desktops and mobile phones are being toted around everywhere. Mobile phones work off radio signals and radio signals are actually not that hard to hack when you know what you are doing. So, in terms of website stuff, actually, Google, I feel they’re 100 percent spot on. You want to lower the credit cards being stolen, lower the amount of fraud of which is becoming more and more rampant?
This is one of the ways that you can do it and again, mobile is the driver. So, last but not least and this is the tip that I was mentioning for everybody 2 minutes to the bell, it is called AMP pages. That is Accelerated Mobile Pages. Now, AMP pages is a Google invention and all it is, is it’s a little teeny tiny extension that says .amp and they add it to a page. And what that little .amp does is gives them permission to save a copy of your page, your mobile page specifically and what they do is they use their servers to serve up your page. Now, they created a whole new server network for Accelerated Mobile Pages. So, actually, they have dedicated resources to literally making the mobile web faster.
The thing is, is that most people, Developers, even the great ones, aren’t adding it. Now, if you have a WordPress website and guys, if you have a WordPress website, every single person needs to stop this recording, grab a pen and piece of paper, do it right now. There is a WordPress plugin that is literally, you go to WordPress.org, you search and you put in “Google AMP”. Google themselves made a plugin for WordPress and what it does, it installs this nifty code on all of your pages. They claim that it would affect 1 percent of searches or something really minute when they developed the AMP protocol but I personally have watched my pages, I think I’m getting 300 visitors a month off AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages at this point, which is about 5 percent, which doesn’t sound like much but that’s a 400 percent difference than what they said would be served up. And my feeling is, like everything else that Google does, I mean, they’re a good company, they try to be legit, I really kind of feel like, stop raising your eyebrows. I think that they mostly try to do.
Jonathan: You sounded just like my mother there. It’s like a ghost. My mother has been dead for about 30, 20 years now.
Robert: Anyway, we are at the break. I’ll pontificate more but still, that’s probably a good place to stop. Stop raising your eyebrows.
Jonathan: We’ll go for our break folks. We’re coming back. Mumsy here can put me right again when we come back. We’ll be back in a few moments folks.
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Jonathan: We’re coming back, folks. I’m just going to let Robert start off where he ended in the first part of the show. Off you go, Robert.
Robert: All right. So, as with most things, these AMP pages are actually producing more visits. My opinion is that they are going to be producing even more and more and more and more visits as time goes on. That’s my strong opinion. The last thing that I want to say for Real estate Agents specifically and I’m going to pull up a couple sites here while we are talking, one in particular that I have been looking at in New York. So, guys, what else can you do? What else should you know to be mobile friendly? And I’m about ready to lay some pretty heavy knowledge on you. So once again, for those of you who are on the radio or listening in your car because it’s a podcast, I apologize. You won’t be able to see this.
Jonathan: Well, you just go to the Mail-Right, in a couple days time, go to the Mail-Right website folks and there will be a full video of this conversation and a full set of show notes.
Robert: There you go. So, I’ve now shared my screen and we are looking at a website in New York and the thing about these, like the websites that I’ve noticed that do really well, so this website is killing it in the search engines and it keeps doing better and better and better and it’s in a very competitive market. As a matter of fact, one of the most competitive in the entire US Real Estate Market and it’s not anything all that exceptional except that it and portal sites like them, it’s Glenwoodnyc. That’s G – L – E – N – W – O – O – D – N – Y – C.com. Here’s the thing.
They’re doing lots of image-based button clicks. What does that mean in layman’s terms once again? Pull up this site on your mobile phone. It is a very complete experience where basically you can shop all of the properties without ever putting anything into the search bar. It’s not so much a new concept, but somebody that does it really well and finding a site that navigates cleanly using nothing but a thumb is actually pretty hard to find. Not even the sites that I’ve been building do it and I am ashamed of that. I’m in the process of fixing it. But none the less, when I look at what the differences are between this site and others, it really is they’ve gone backwards in time to old design principles such as linking the name of a building, which didn’t use to do very well, in terms of providing information. But you link the name of the building and then it takes you to a page and if you’re looking at it on your phone, you’ve got a slider and the information scrolls up and down really cleanly and with a touch of a button, you can do “Contact us about available apartments”.
Now, you have a contact form and this is probably the only weak part of the entire mobile design which is this contact form doesn’t load fast or easily. But everything else, you’ve got a slider that has floor plans on it and you can be literally be moving the floor plans with your thumb. So you’re looking at every detail of this building including a map and mind you, by the way, if you’re on this site, Google knows where you are located, They’re watching you drive along the street. So, when they know, with simple thumb-clicks you can simply get to floor plans for buildings, sit right outside the front of the building, you’re looking at the floor plans, now you’ve got the contact information for the building, I’ve done this a long time, you’re not going to find a better mobile experience than this site.
And then of course, if you’re interested in the building, you probably call them which is another interesting thing about this website is that the calls to action are phone numbers, which is, I know for a fact that the site is wildly successful. So now, you’ve got probably an operator that’s going to direct you to the building that you’re interested in and they just have one central phone number for you to call that will redirect all of your traffic.
Why am I pointing all this out? It’s a mobile-based experience for a website. All the stuff, like the logic on this site, is exactly the opposite of the way I’ve always built websites. It’s very limited menus on the home page and when you scroll down, you find these micro-links on the bottom. If you’re on a desktop, you probably don’t find them and you can barely find the blog. But if you look at the, oh, that’s not true.
Sorry, it’s in the upper right, but it’s also a very small link on the lower left. But when you look at this on a cell phone, everything becomes clear. All of a sudden you realize holy sh*t this site works better on a cell phone than it does on a desktop and that’s exactly what I’m personally talking about. This is an example of a website that absolutely functions better on a mobile phone. It’s in a major metro market. I would suspect that the traffic to this site is 70 percent mobile and 30 percent desktop, which is probably why, and it’s not highly optimized.
You’re just going to have to take my word for it as an SEO expert that this site is not doing anything magnificent, yet it has 15, 000 visitors, most of its pages only have a handful of links, only the top pages have a lot of links and yet, they have tons and tons of pages that rank for hundreds and hundreds of keywords in one of the most competitive markets in the country. Like Luxury Apartments Midtown Manhattan and this page has 8 links. That’s unheard of. The domain authority, the URL authority for this page is 16, which is good but when you say Midtown Luxury Apartments NYC, that is a very competitive keyword.
Jonathan: So, to recap what you’re saying is in other factors, it’s not a fantastic site but it’s achieving high traffic numbers because when Google looks at it, it says this site is really usable on a mobile device.
Jonathan: And they’re giving it a lot of juice because it works really well on mobile devices. Is that what you are saying, Robert?
Robert: That is what I’m saying. Now, this is your turn to reign me in Jon because I’m probably being a little over-technical but people could see my screen. So, this keyword that I just pointed out, Midtown Luxury Apartments NYC, my analytics tool which is pretty accurate most of the times says that to be on the first page of Google, you would need to have 22 backlinks coming into this page. This website had 8. In addition, this is just to get into the bottom 10. For this particular keyword, this website is ranked number 2. Normally, you have to get twice as many links, like 44. It has 8. What’s the differentiation?
Why this sudden dramatic change in ranking? Again, I’m 100 percent convinced that the weight of this website is because it’s so fantastic on mobile phones. So, if you’re trying to figure out really what is the advantage of a mobile-first site, this is a perfect example in one of the world’s most competitive markets with a wildly competitive keyword. I really strongly believe that if we managed to build Real Estate websites mobile-first, that we would have to build a lot less back links, the content wouldn’t have to be quite as compelling, it would just have to be usable on a mobile phone. Sorry, I probably zipped off way too much there, my apologies for that.
Jonathan: No, well, kind of back links folks, you want people to link to your website. It’s a difficult concept because it is a bit like the chicken and egg really scenario folks. Obviously, for people to back link, they normally are writing an article, they’re writing some piece of content for their own website and they want to add extra value so they do searches on what their article is about to find other articles that can give additional information about their article. But if you don’t show up in those searches, they’re probably not going to link to it in their own articles. Can you see a bit of the chicken and egg here folks? Because obviously, what you can do is aim your articles at particular, what is used as a long-tail term or a specific niche term that isn’t too competitive, but still gives traffic but you stand to show up without too many back links.
links to it. Have I explained that coherently, Robert?
Robert: A little bit.
Jonathan: All right. I think that’s high praise.
Robert: I think ultimately for those that are listening, when you start getting into terminology, I’ve always found that that’s where people get lost because a lot of different people use different terminology for the same thing. I call back links votes because Google is, at the heart of it, a popularity contest and different votes count for different amounts of value. So, essentially if there’s a lot of novices listening to the show Jon, I would say look at it this way. There’s a way that websites can get votes.
We’re not going to be able to explain it to you easily but believe me, there is. So votes count, then how easy your site is to use, especially on mobile phones counts, and I do agree with you. You’re trying to say the site has to be worthy of votes but you have to get a little bit of search traffic to get the votes in the first place because people have to see the content and all of that is very true. There’s cheats and Google is trying to get you to pay for their traffic. They’re being a little bit, I mean, they are being a little bit, I don’t know.
Robert: Mercenary, thank you. I was not going to use that kind of a word. So they are being a bit not cool and they’re like, “Hey, you want to prove to us you have a great website? Great. Pay us $1,000. We’ll send 1,000 people to your website.” You’re like, “Ahh okay. What is that supposed to get me?” And you don’t even know for sure. But anyway, before we go off, we have 4 minutes left, there’s one topic I want to open but address the majority of the topic in another session. I’ve talked about this a lot and I think we talked about in brief in other videos or other podcasts. I want to emphasize to everybody that video is not as hard to do as you think. Jon and I right now are creating a video. We’re actually creating the video in relation to a podcast that we’re doing. But you know what? It’s video content and some of the videos that we’ve done, which aren’t even technically my company’s videos, I am a co-host, but some of my videos are ranking.
Jonathan: In our agreement, every video that you appear in, you’ve got full copyright. So you’ve got every right to take the video and use it for whatever purpose.
Robert: Oh, I didn’t know that. I didn’t even know that. Okay cool.
Jonathan: As long as you’re not going to use it for illegal purposes.
Robert: No. I am only posting it on the University section of my website. But here’s the thing. Some of those videos are already ranking for keywords. These podcasts now drive about 20 or 30 extra visitors to my website every month, which is cool because I’m really doing a voice thing with you. So creating video is you just have to get a little bit creative about it and some of the ways you can do it, you can use these little tools that they’ve got that put your phone in the distance and just walk a neighborhood and talk about the neighborhood. And we have spent so many time with so many experts that all say find your unique selling proposition, I’m going to say, I’m going to add this little entendre. When you figure that out, make sure that you apply a YouTube video strategy, even if you didn’t have a marketing expert yet on your team like me or Jon, you know what, still start to create a catalog of videos.
Jonathan: In a way, if you’re passionate about Real Estate, like you go to a local event, a chamber event, whatever it is and you’re talking to somebody and they ask you what you do, “I’m a Real Estate Agent. I specialize in this part of North Reno.” This particular area, North Reno and you’re talking in the conversation and the person says, “Well, I’ve got a friend there that might be looking.” Basically, to that individual, you would attempt to show them your knowledge of that particular area in North Reno that you know what’s going on. You understand what is going on in that part of Reno when it comes to the property market. So if you’ve got any sense, if you’re an experienced Real Estate Agent, that’s what you would attempt. Well, the beauty of the Internet is that you can do the same thing but not one to one but too many. Can’t you?
Robert: Yeah. You can do the same thing on video. If you figure out what your message is and even if you don’t figure out what the message is, you can always take the videos down. My thing about videos is like learning baseball or learning to pitch, you queue yourself up, you walk up to the plate and you keep taking swings until you learn how to hit the ball. I cannot emphasize enough how many of my clients say, “Oh, I don’t like to be on camera,” this that or the other thing. You know what? I don’t like to be on camera too. I have little weird things in my beard and I am tired and I’ve got circles under my eyes. But you know what? If you want to be successful in the digital realm, it is becoming necessary and it’s a quick cheat that your competitors probably aren’t doing.
Jonathan: And you’re exchanging time for visitors instead of money for visitors so if you’re a little bit limited in your budget, everybody has a budget, you can still get great results, can’t you Robert?
Robert: Yep. Absolutely.
Jonathan: So, we are going to end the show now. We will be back next week where we are going to finish off our 4-part series about SEO and Real Estate Agents and it has been fascinating. So, Robert, how can people get ahold of you and find out more about what you’re up to Robert?
Robert: Well, they can always check out my website. I’ve got all these podcasts there. I’ve got blog content of my own that reviews major technology companies and, of course, I do have ways to contact me should you want a personal consultation with me.
Jonathan: And if you want to find out more about Mail-Right or see all the great discussions we’ve had plus our guests, go to the Mail-Right website. There is a full catalog of the podcasts, the videos with a full set show notes for each episode. It’s a great resource if you want to learn how to get results in 2018 or better results for your Real Estate business. We will be back next week folks. See you soon. Bye