You're listening to the REI Marketing Nerds podcast, the leading resource for real estate investors who want to dominate their market online. Dan Barrett is the founder of Ad Words Nerds, a high tech digital agency focusing exclusively on helping real estate investors like you get more leads and deals online, outsmart your competition and live a freer, more awesome life. And now, your host, Dan Barrett.
Dan: Alright, hello everybody and welcome to this week's... What do we call this? We're calling it SEO IPA? Are we calling it on the podcast?
Patti: September's SEO month?
Dan: Alright. We're keeping it. Hello everybody, this is September, if you've been paying attention, September is SEO month, and this is a very special edition of the REI Marketing Nerds podcast, because I am here with Patti Dalessio, Patti Dalessio. [0:01:08.1]
If you have not listened to the other episodes, you have been missing out. First thing you need to do, pause this episode, go back, download our two previous episodes from September where we get into SEO with this wonderful woman. But if you are still, you don't know who we're talking about, Patti Dalessio is the head of the SEO division here at AdWordsNerds.com, she's one of my oldest SEO friends, I think I can say that, and a wonderful person and coming on to help us improve the SEO for real estate investors everywhere. Patti, my wonderful friend, how are you this morning? It's about 8:30 AM in Connecticut where we are, well you are not in Connecticut, but in Connecticut. So how are you this wonderful morning?
Patti: I'm terrific.
Dan: You're terrific.
Patti: I'm terrific, yeah, yeah, I'm excited it's officially SEO month. Right? Because we're recording this in September. [0:02:03.7]
Dan: Yes. Children everywhere, wait with bated breath for SEO season to roll around, the leaves are changing, the air has that crisp feeling of leads coming in for free from Google, and it's a wonderful time of year, my favorite time of year.
Dan: SEO month, SEO September. We have done a lot of kind of digging into SEO in general. This week is a very important one because we are actually going to get into the strategy and tactics. Part of the reason that we spent two full episodes dealing with why SEO is important, dealing with some of the mindsets around SEO, dealing with some of the mistakes that people make with SEO, is because a lot of those things are going to impact you before you even get started. If you get started, you decide that SEO is great and you hit the ground running but you're doing the wrong things, well you're going to basically be driving your car in the wrong direction, you're not going to get where you want to go. [0:03:10.9]
So we kind of had to deal with that stuff. As we were kind of designing these episodes, we sort of sort of realized like, hey, we haven't actually talked about what you should do, what SEO actually is comprised of. So this episode I'm really going to kind of be interviewing Patti, and we're going to be digging into the model that she and Jeremiah who works with us have developed for SEO for real estate investors. It's something that is very important for people to understand is that for pretty much everywhere that you look, if you are looking up strategy and tactics for real estate investors to do organic marketing like this, what you are getting is this stuff that works in other industries just kind of apply to real estate industries, and what Patti found when she first came on the team and started doing SEO for our clients, we very quickly found that what works for other industries doesn't necessarily work we're investors. [0:04:07.3]
And so we've really had to throw out the old playbook and focus on just things that we tested in the wild that we know work for investors, we know where right now are top real estate investing websites across the country, and Patti's really been the sort of spearhead, or spearheading that whole project. So this is going to really, really impactful episode, I highly recommend that you listen to this multiple times, that you listen all the way through, take notes, etc. because we are going to get into it, and frankly you can't get this information anywhere other than paying me thousands of dollars to tell it to you. We are opening the curtain, we are getting into it. So Patti, are you pumped?
Dan: Okay, you don't sound pumped.
Patti: Ready to go.
Dan: That's about as pumped as Patti is. Alright. [0:05:04.3]
Patti: I got coffee.
Dan: Yeah. Let's kind of start at the beginning. So we've kind of broken down the SEO process into four distinct things. Okay? And just like as a general definition if you're just tuning in now, so SEO is anything you're doing on your website or anything you're doing in general to rank your website more highly in Google so that people can find you and they contact you and they're like, "Hey, I want to sell you." Right? So we've broken this process down into four kind of unique phases. There's the strategy phase, the local SEO phase, the on page SEO phase and the link building phase. So we have this kind of four phases mapped out. So let's start with strategy. And you are in many ways our head strategist, so you do a lot of kind of strategy stuff with clients. We've done a lot of strategy stuff with clients in your own business before you worked with Ad Words Nerds. So when we think about SEO strategy in general, like if someone comes to you and says, "Hey, I want to develop an SEO strategy." What are the first few things that you think about or need to know in order to help that person be effective with their SEO? [0:06:15.3]
Patti: Yeah, so it's need to know I think is where to start. There's a baseline tracking that you need, so there's a data collection piece, that problem that you have to solve. So what we're doing here is first putting the tracking ability that you need on your website, such that you know what the baseline is. What are we ranking for today, how many impressions are coming in, who is clicking on what parts of the website. Like all of this data you may not be set up to gather. Right? So you need to make sure that you've got this foundational step of... And we're talking about things like Google Analytics and some special tools that you would need to do the ranking. So when we say ranking, I mean this is the keyword, where am I in the ecosystem of Google. Am I on page one, am I beyond page five. So you need to know where you're starting from before you do kind of any further strategic. [0:07:14.7]
Dan: Right. Like you need to know where you are in order to figure out where you want to go, and in order to figure out if what you're doing is work. So if people don't have that stuff in place, so if I'm a real estate investor and I don't have Google Analytics, for example, which is free, is there value, even if I don't know how to do SEO, I don't know how to read it, is there value in me going through the work of like getting it on my website and so on, even if I personally don't know how to use it yet?
Patti: Yeah, yeah. So I would say there's two ways, that's super helpful. One is you're supposed to plant a tree like 10 years ago, so even if you put a code on it today it will help you if you don't figure how to read this or to take the time to take that in house, a future SEO or a future resource may be able to help you with that. [0:08:06.3]
So if you add the codes, add this tracking ability now, it'll start gathering data for you. It's free, it's relatively simple to install, we know that our friends at Carrot and some of these other, REI Blackbook make it relatively easy to install this on the site. So if you don't have it, I would install it for sure. One is that, the other is you can take some tutorials, YouTube's a great resource, but you can figure out how to read the basics, some of the basic reports within analytics.
Dan: You mentioned there are like things you want to know. So if I'm an investor and trying to figure out how like basically like where am I, like what are the really like key metrics you look at to figure out where an investor is when they come in? You don't know anything about them, you want to know where they're at with their SEO.
Patti: I would use two tools, which are free, and then I would set up a pay tool, honestly. Unfortunately some of the rankings specifically you have to pay for, but I would say Analytics is going to tell you things like click throughs, what people are doing on your sites, it will tell you traffic, where your traffic's coming from. You can kind of see that whether it was from Facebook or organic. [0:09:21.9]
Dan: Or if you have traffic at all, I guess, too.
Patti: If you have traffic at all, if anyone's visiting your website. Another kind of important tool, I don't know how much you're going to get into this, but it's something called Google Search Console. That's also another free resource that gives you some additional data that shows you exactly what Google is showing you for. So it shows your impressions for some specific keywords, and that will actually tell you, if you kind of pull the lens back and look at that as a collective, all these keywords are what Google thinks it should show you for. That's an impression. And it kind of tells you does Google understand me, does it understand my site, is it putting me in for words that I want to show for, that makes sense. Right? And sometimes we find clients with interesting creative branding names that could get a little bit, confuse Google a little bit. [0:10:13.7]
Dan: Like what for example? Like if my name's like Dapper Dan's Dandy House Buying Diablo...
Patti: Yeah. So we've had clients, I don't want to get into it too deep, but whose name was actually the name of a very popular game when we were kids, and then it kind was showing all these variations of that game. You know the game where the animal would come out in space, it would grab the balls? I can almost say what it is.
Patti: Hungry animal. There was a hungry animal, and the Hungry Hungry Animal name was getting kind of like confused with some other ideas. But you know what I'm saying? It's a horrible, it's you know, they can show you for other things as well, but it could get a little bit funny. You can solve that issue, but without something like a Google Search Console you kind of can't see what Google's showing you for. And Google doesn't show you all the keywords, because that's Google's algorithm is a bit of a black box. [0:11:10.1]
Dan: I think that the key takeaway there is like you want to know even if you haven't done any SEO yet, or you haven't really worked on this, it's very possible that you are already ranking for things, and if you're ranking for things you want to rank for, that's a great indication of what you should put some work into, because you're like, "Hey, I'm already doing pretty well and I barely tried." or it could be that like if you just happened to be named Doug Oreo and your Oreo Homebuyers company is ranking for Oreo cookies, hey, that might be interesting to note too, because maybe you got to do some work there, maybe there's something you got to do about that. I think we want to know kind of where we're at, what we're ranking for, are we getting traffic, are people using the site the way we think. Now if you come in, at what point, or at what extent do you worry about what people's competitors are doing? [0:12:08.0]
It's a very common thing an investor will come in and say, "Hey, I'm in a competitive market, there's this guy or this woman in my market and she spends 50 million dollars a month on SEO." or whatever. So like how much do you worry about or what do you look at when you look at people's competitors?
Patti: I always ask who are your competitors, who are your top three competitors. We use some tools to track them against, baseline them against... So again, we're talking baseline. So right now we have a baseline, we're gathering our data and then we have who are three, top three competitors are. Everyone knows, I rarely get, "I don't know, you tell me."
Dan: Everybody's seeing that at the local arena, you're stink-eye-ing them from across the room because they stole a deal from you or whatever. Everyone knows, everyone know who it is. [0:12:59.6]
Patti: All day long. And then they're friends, sometimes they know each other and they're friends, it's pretty funny. I like to know who their competitors are, and then I like to see exactly kind of what they're doing, why are they ranking for these words, what pages are ranking for these keywords that I want to go after, and see kind of what they're doing. We haven't seen too much like shockingly impressive moves that competitors have made, to be honest. So yes, we monitor those competitors, we monitor the geo location that you're in, because this is really what we're talking about. When the rubber meets the road it's really about the city that you're and ranking within those locations for those actionable high traffic, high value keywords. Everyone's kind of buying after those sort us same keywords. But I think what we've been able to do when it comes to keywords, I am jumping to another question, but when it comes to those keywords as we have, I would argue, the most data in this industry in keywords. I mean I have a list of about 35 keywords that I really care about, and that's really what we go after. When we're talking about competitors, we're all going after those same, similar terms. Right? So that's what I look for, is anyone doing anything particularly new or particularly creative or writing any kind of content that Google may find better than ours. [0:14:24.8]
Dan: I think the interesting thing to take away from that too is that it's a very rare for us to go out and find a competitor that's just crushing it. Like most markets, the people who are on top in that market. They’re on top mostly because they've been doing it longer, not necessarily because they've been doing an amazing job. So even if you feel like SEO Sally has been doing this forever and she is kind of on top, it's often not as difficult as you might think to upset that balance a kind of disrupt that and get your website in there. Doesn't mean it's going to be easy, but I think a lot of people have this sense of like, "I'm competing against this behemoth, and I'm never going to be able to beat this person." and it's just not necessarily true. [0:15:21.8]
Patti: So I would say too that usually the competitors fall under two categories. One is there's a couple national brands that we know that can be playing in these local arenas, and you have the local players, and I honestly think that the non-national brands have a leg up. I think just from a branding and messaging standpoint they can say, "We're local, we live here, this is how this goes." You know what I mean?
Dan: Google wants to show local competitors, absolutely. I really thought you were going to say competitors are divided into two camps, you got jerks and you got morons. I don't know why I thought you were going to say that. That's not our internal language. Shut this podcast down. Anyway. The other thing I want to put out too, so everybody thinks SEO's all about keywords. How long is the keyword list we use again? 35, right? [0:16:18.7]
Patti: 35, yeah.
Dan: Look guys, keywords is, it's important, it's not a huge part of this strategy piece here, because honestly if you're an investor and this is a big, big place where investing differs from SEO in other industries, you know what your keywords are, I can almost guarantee you could sit down and off the top of your head come up with most of them. I'm not trying to be cagey by hiding them, it's just if you think of 20 you pretty much got 80% of the market there, and that's just kind of the way that it is. We're not even going to talk about keywords the whole time, we may come back to it. So that's strategy. Obviously there's a lot to look at, but I think the big takeaways here are understand where you're at so you can understand where you want to go, understand what your competition is doing, look at your top three competitors and think are they doing anything massively different, make sure your tracking is in place so that you can track your progress going forward. Right? [0:17:13.9]
So that's kind of it in a broad way. Let's move on to local SEO. Local SEO is typically when we work with an investor, this is the first place to start, it's the thing we kind of nail down before we do anything else, because it's vitally important. So like can you explain to me, because we're going to get into on page SEO next, so like what is local SEO, how does it differ from on page SEO, and like why is it so important? So what is it, why is it different and why is it so important? I may throw three question at you at once, because one question is not enough. Let's start with what is it. What is local SEO?
Patti: The goal of the local SEO is to establish your business firmly where you are, tied to an address, a phone number, you want this NAP, this name, address and phone number to be firmly established. There's a handful, and its consistency as well. So my business is here, here's its name and you can find it in all of these places and it's always pointing back to me. So it's firmly establishing your business where you are. [0:18:20.4]
Dan: I just thought of the best metaphor for this.
Patti: I see his eyes like here it comes.
Dan: Imagine your business it's trying to find a girlfriend. So it goes on a chatroom. Remember chatrooms? And it's like when you get into a chatrooms, first of all I was 17. You go into a chatroom and everyone's like, "Age, sex, location? How old are you, are you a boy or a girl and where are you located?" "I'm 17, I'm a boy and I'm in New Paltz." or whatever. And then someone can go like, "Oh, you're in New Patlz, I'm in New Paltz, let's meet at the mall, we'll go to Hot Topic, we'll dye our hair purple and we'll go and eat." Anyway, so like that, you got to tell Google where you are. Is that fair enough? [0:19:04.8]
Patti: Yes, pretty much.
Dan: Okay. Feel free to use that metaphor for all your clients. that's amazing. Okay, so how do we tell Google where we are? We want Google to know where we are so it could show us to sellers in our market. Like what is that actually, how do I do that? Like do I send them a letter and I'm like, "This is where I'm located." Like how do I do that?
Patti: Yeah. I could start with your contact page on your website, make sure that you actually have an address on it, along with your phone number. A lot of people don't... I do get a lot of pushback in this sense where people don't want to put their address.
Dan: Well let's bring this up. It's such a common question. So let me be, I'm Doug Oreo, the real estate investor from earlier, Oreo Homebuyers, thank you for having me on.
Dan: I got to be honest, I'm a little bit nervous because I work out of my house and I don't have an office, I work my house. Is it bad if I show Google, I mean what if Google looks at my house and they judge me and they don't think I'm cool and they don't send anyone to Oreo Homebuyers, what should I do? [0:20:07.9]
Patti: I have this conversation all the time, Doug. So there's a lot of businesses that don't need a physical brick and mortar space with a sign out front to actually conduct business. I'm in basement right now doing business.
Dan: Very unprofessional, I don't want to stay anything, but there you go.
Patti: You don't need your own office space, although having said that, there is the address that's on your home page, on your Contact Us page. A lot of people want to just throw a PO box, USPS box or one of those box stores, those mailbox stores you can...
Dan: UPS, Post Office.
Patti: Okay, so there's twp ideas. I think before we go any further I have to say what we're talking about is Google My Business listing. I think we can't really talk about the issues of one without talking about the other. [0:21:00.4]
Dan: I'm just going to just give a blanket statement, use your actual address, don't use a PO box, don't use the UPS box. Okay? What we talk about using them, what we're talking about is you're setting up a page with Google. So break this down, because it is really one of the most important SEO things you can do. What is Google My Business, what is it going to cost me, Doug Oreo from Oreo Homebuyers? Like tell me what this is.
Patti: Google My Business, again, is a free listing that you create, that you own and that you verify with Google. This is how those little push pins get on the map whenever you search anything and a Google map comes. We're talking about how do those businesses get on that map. Now they can get there in one of two ways. You can either create one and say this is me. Again, we've established our address and this is me, Google, verify me, it's for real. Or there are a bunch of businesses with unverified pages out there, unverified things, because Google's gotten smart. [0:22:03.4]
They're like you can't just have it blank because the store hasn't written and said, "I'm here." it has access to all kinds of databases and other sources that are going to feed into Google and say, "Okay, their store's here." Having said that, and then you can see whether or not those have been verified by the owner. If anyone has ever left a Google review for someone, that's what we're talking about, you can't get a Google review unless there is a Google My Business listing. And unless you declare that as your business and said, "This is my business." then you can't even respond to those reviews as the owner.
Dan: This is very important for variety of reasons, this page by itself can send you leads. But probably more important than that, this is the mechanism by which you give Google your address so that they say, "Okay, cool, you are located here, therefore you are going to..." Like if I type in like "real estate investor New Paltz", I don't know, New Paltz is my new random place. [0:23:03.9]
Patti: I see.
Dan: So anyway, "real estate investor New Paltz", that way it knows who is in New Paltz is by looking at primarily their Google My Business listings. Also some others contact list page. What else goes into local SEO? Is that it? Like do I just have this side of Google My Business, what else is entailed in this kind of phase of this?
Patti: So there's a couple steps you would set that Google My Business, you verify it and there's ways you can find out how to do that online. That listing contains information that you want to have optimized for you. So there's a description, there's different categories of the type of business that you are, there's certain phone numbers and tracking that you can actually set up. Remember earlier we talked about foundationally there are some tracking information that you're going to want to add to your URL such that you can see people that have come from this listing, so you can again, track the value and the quality of leads that are coming in from this link? [0:24:01.4]
I would say too that once you're verified through Google, and again, they do this in a couple different ways, typically in this industry I see them doing it through postcards. So Dan, they're going to mail a postcard... Sorry, Doug. Who are we? Doug Oreo?
Dan: My friends call me Doug, it doesn't matter, it's fine.
Patti: So Google is going to mail a postcard to your house, because you can imagine the chaos that Google has been dealing with over the years with people trying to claim competitors or businesses that aren't their own, so now Google actually does those through snail mail or phone occasionally. So they're going to verify you. So once you're verified, that's a pretty powerful position, like I said. One is you can reply to Google reviews on your site, and then another you can use additional tools to help get your business listing onto databases and sources across the web, and that sends a very strong SEO, local SEO signal. So we're talking things like super pages and yellow pages, a bunch of different databases you've never heard of will all take that verification from Google and allow you to kind of make that consistent across the web. [0:25:08.5]
Dan: Okay. So we're kind of...
Patti: Strong signal.
Dan: Confirming things in multiple places. So just like if you hear something, like five people walk by you and they're like, "Something just exploded down the street." You're like, "Okay, cool, something just exploded."
Patti: Oh jeez, stop. But also, yes, so it sends that strong signal, your business is going to be found consistently where Google would expect it to be found. And also, I would take into account it's a google property, so it takes up space within a search results page. You get that little map in the middle sometimes, right? Even though we're not, the goal here isn't about driving people to your doorstep, your home, it's really about the signal it sends to Google. Now, Google has put a lot of new bells and whistles to Google My Business in recent years, and i think with Google+ going away, that's kind of what's happening. So this is a very important place to make sure that you are active in and you own your listing and everything's consistent. We're talking if you're on the road, it's either Road or Rd., you want that stuff consistent, you want to make sure that you are the same business everywhere. It's on your website, it's on your Facebook page, it's on your Google My Business listing and you've been able to navigate that. [0:26:28.0]
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Dan: So once it's propagated and I've told Google and a million different people kind of where I'm at, that brings us to the next of the next phase of the cycle, which is on page SEO. When we talk about local Google My Business, all these third party websites or whatever, none of that was actually like on my website. You mentioned the Contact Us page, but pretty much we're all elsewhere. So now we get into like my actual website, OreoHomebuyers.com. I wonder if that exists, I'm going to look it up.
Patti: Amazing. I really want it to.
Dan: What is on page SEO, how do I do that, what's involved in that?
Patti: So this is where we're talking about two pieces of on page. You've got what the users are, you know, what the visitors are reading and seeing when they come to your site, and then there's some metadata on the back end as well. That's on your site. So those are things like titles and descriptions of each page. [0:28:00.6]
So each page has a title and a description of what's on this page, you want to make sure that that's all customized and makes sense and coordinates with the copy and content that's on the page. And then you have the content on the page. You've got a title and you've got a subtitle and you have the paragraphs of content that are on the page. Now in this industry I break that up into we have geo pages, we call them internally, Jeremiah and I call them strong geo pages. So those specifically the cities that you are targeting, that your website is targeting, where you want to buy houses, where these homeowners are. You want to make sure that you're showing up and optimized for people putting in those keywords, that list of 35 within those locations. We want to make sure it's really clear where you do business, where you're targeting and who your audience is, so that when they come to that website it's, you know, no one has to think. You've got that three seconds to really get the point across, "Yes, I buy houses, I buy it for cash, I do it this way and I it where you are." [0:29:08.1]
Dan: How do you decide what kind of geo pages you want to build? Like how do I decide what cities I want to build or what pages I need?
Patti: Which markets you're targeting?
Dan: Yeah, I guess it's like how do I decide where I want to target? Is that an SEO question or is that a real estate investing question, I guess?
Patti: I typically, when I have that conversation, honestly it kind of depends on the Metro and kind of where you are. Sometimes it's an area, sometimes the cities have parts of town that are actually their own, can kind of behave like a target market all themselves. But really the conversation I have is, "Okay, well where do want to target? And put your real estate hat on, try to get out your crystal ball and try to see where you want to land on top when the market conditions are in your favor, such that that's where you want to show up." It's a little bit of a guessing game, but I think it's helpful to think ahead for one thing. [0:30:03.5]
Now having said that, I have clients in, say, rural Texas where there's one city. It's kind of a city in it of itself, there's no surrounding cities and towns necessarily. That could be you, that could be your situation, I've got one city and that's what I'm going after. If I'm in New York City or some large cities, say New Jersey or something, those kind of sub-regions where you're going to reach out, and that's where you'll show. I like to target this on page to like a list of manageable, handful, we're talking like five or so at first, so that you can really apply these tactics and strategies and kind of see how they're targeting. So for example Carrot makes it really easy to dump a whole list of 50 cities in by zip code or something, it'll kind of spit out some pages, but I don't see that as really targeting those areas. You really need to do, you need to take that to the next level, you need to customize those pages, you need to write your own content, you need to really focus. If I had on your page and you serve everybody, I might go to a competitor. [0:31:10.2]
Dan: Yeah, the big thing to remember about these kind of pages is that they have to be unique and they have to be high quality. So if you have basically the same page with just place names swapped out, it doesn't actually do much for you/anything necessarily. I know you talked about, you know we've got what the pages say, like what the content that's on the page is, and then you've got kind of the code piece of it, what you call metadata, titles and the description. Divide it into a percentage for people, like how important is the content versus the code, can I do one and not the other, like how important are these two pieces comparatively?
Patti: Yeah, so I would say that on page, the content that people are reading is super important to the visitor, it's got to match with we usually call searcher intent. So someone's searching for you, for your services, that page needs to match what they're looking for. [0:32:06.6]
And that's what's going to be ranked. That's a ranking factor. The metadata, the code on the back end, these titles and descriptions are not ranking factors, meaning I can't just say, "Show me for this stuff." but you should consider that to be your ad copy. So this is what's going to show when someone searches for these keywords, and you've got your nine, ten results on the page. The title and the description is what someone's going to see. So this needs to be well done. First of all, also, if you don't put anything in these meta, this metadata, Google will just kind of grab some stuff off the page. It won't leave it blank, obviously, we don't see blank listings, but it will just pick some stuff off the page, it'll pick off a run on sentence, put some "..." at the end. You want that to be compelling and you want that to be competitive within your space. So I think it's important for click through rate, it's not a ranking, you can't say, "Google, rank me for this stuff." Is that helpful? [0:33:10.8]
Dan: Yeah, it is. I think there are people out there who, they're going to be able to wrap their heads around making their page good, writing really good content, but the code part's going to be kind of beyond them, and vice versa, there are going to be people who are like, "Hey, I'm really comfortable of kind of going through like the Carrot interface, with the REI Blackbook interface. I'm tweaking all the numbers, but I hate writing." I think it's like whatever you can do, do but eventually these are the chocolate and peanut butter, they go together. So we've built our pages, the pages are good, the code is good on the back end, and I mean this is a very deep topic. We don't tend to get into every single thing, but I think just knowing that that has to be there, and that like a lot of these kind of out of the box things do a lot of this for you... If you have an Investor Carrot site, it does a lot of this SEO stuff for you, but there is still work to do. Even though it's 50% done out of box, it's still 50%, you still have to provide the other 50%. Let's move on to the final phase of this, which is links, and building links. So describe for people who are like just maybe a little unclear on this, like what is a link and why are they so important? [0:34:29.6]
Patti: So a link is just by definition, is another website linking to you. So it's any other website that contains, you know, is linking back you, a hyperlink back to your website. And it's important, it sends a really strong, you know, you can imagine... If you're Google and you have to make choices, a really frank decision how to order all the websites in the whole index of that's been crawled, you have to put them in order really quickly, a really strong ranking factor still remains to many other sites are linking to that website. [0:35:07.0]
It's kind of a vote of confidence, it validates your website, it really is a score in a scoreboard, it's even some of the major SEO website tools such as Moz pull something, domain authority. It says how authoritative is this website, and it's pretty really much just based on linking, inbound links that are coming to your website. It even says how is your site, an authority site, let's see how many people are linking to it. So we can create a website today, throw it out there, if no one links to when it's literally not going to be crawled the same as a site with a lot of links. So if you think of sites being crawled you have all the websites and all the pages in the big diagram, Google is going to follow each of those links and it's going to crawl those links and index those sites and then decide how to rank them in order. [0:36:00.9]
Dan: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I think this is interesting to me because it's like from the very beginning this is what made Google Google. Right? Like Google's patent or their Ph D. thesis or whatever was on using links this way. Links have been built into the Google formula forever. Right?
Dan: So it's one part of SEO, but it's so important we broke it down to its own stage. That's because I think links are probably the single biggest kind of deal maker or deal breaker for an investor's SEO. So can we explain a little bit like what a good link is versus the links, because links are also kind unique in the sense that like they are good for your business, but doing it the wrong way can actually hurt and that's kind of unique in that way. So can you explain good links versus bad?
Patti: So a good link would be possibly a publication, like a known publication choosing to write about you. Interview you, write about you, link to your website, talk about your business. [0:37:03.0]
We're talking a newspaper publication, a magazine, something like that. Talking you up and linking back to your website. That would be fantastic. Other local businesses linking to you would be also fantastic, it would send a nice, strong signal. Meaning, kind of again, grounding yourself where you are, where you're located, having local links confirm that, reaffirm that with Google. "Yes, they are located in the city." Another type of high quality link would be people within your industry. So reinforcing again that message that you do what you say you do, you know what I mean, like maybe a mortgage company or if you flip houses maybe partners that are your roofers or your construction people who's going in on like a before and after. Something super kind of hyper local and specific to what you do, those are examples. Now if you are someone who wants to game the system or practice really poor with like a black hat SEO, you'd say, "Oh wait, I just need links? Well I'm going to build some websites and all those websites do is link back to me, and I'm not going to really take time to write real content on those sites, it's going to be kind of just junk, and I'm just going to point them all back to myself and then count them. One, two, three." [0:38:18.6]
You know. Those are called PBNs, or private blog networks, so those exist only to link to sites. Companies will really cheesy, you can't buy links, buying links is right in the rule book for Google, they say you can't buy links, but there's a lot of companies out there that will, you can buy hundreds or thousands on these really junky PBNs, and you can imagine that sends a negative signal, that can work against you, that can hurt how Google perceives you. If all of the links coming into your website are all trashy stuff that was not likely paid for, they're junk.
Dan: This reminds me of there's some movie, it's like tween movie. [0:39:02.2]
I can't remember, very briefly, but the plot of this movie is like this kid, like he's like nerd, he's getting picked on and he like wants to date a real popular girl. So he like pays the popular girl to like pretend to be his girlfriend, and all of a sudden he becomes super popular and he is like the king of the school. He eventually, he gets found out, she tells everyone, "Like he paid me to be his girlfriend and you all fell for it." And of course, the whole house of cards falls apart.
Patti: But she falls in love with him first, though.
Dan: What movie is this? You know what I'm talking about?
Patti: I think it's all the 90's teen movies, there was more than one, for sure. Patrick Dempsey was in it, Patrick Dempsey was in it.
Dan: Probably, yeah, yeah, yeah. Look, you do not want to be the person that pays someone to be their boyfriend or girlfriend. Okay? You want to go out and get a real boyfriend or girlfriend by doing the work, make sure you clean yourself up, dress and be charming, etc. Right? So it's like, it's in fact listing thing, you're buying the thing to fool Google into thinking you're popular. [0:40:17.4]
Patti: You can't buy Twitter followers and make yourself look cool on the Twitter, you can't buy... I mean you can, but you can't ...
Dan: You can't, but it is not cool. Let us be clear.
Patti: Instagram followers, do not pay for those either, that's kind of a bunch of garbage. We know this, we're beginning to know bots from real people.
Dan: You have to get your Instagram followers the same way as everyone else, by taking pictures of your butt and posting them online. Right?
Dan: It is how it's done. I don't make the rules, those are the rules. Yes, basically anytime you are exchanging money for links, this is pretty bad. Now there are like some rare cases, so for example you might for example join the Chamber of Commerce and pay to join the Chamber of Commerce, they might link to you, that's fine. [0:41:07.3]
Same with Better Business Bureau or whatever, great. But mostly it's a general rule of thumb, good thing to remember. How do I... We're going to talk about PBNs in our next episode when we talk about common SEO scams. It's going to be really, really critical. I don't want to belabor the point. So like how do I get these? How do I get more of the good kind, if I can't pay for them, how do I get them?
Patti: It's not easy, it's the bad news. The bad news is it's not easy, the good news is it's worth it, it's worth it in the end. A lot of times it comes down to the relationships that you have and relationships that you can bill locally with businesses, and you can kind of reciprocate links, but again, that's even a little bit frowned upon, like I'll link to you if you link to me. That can't be all your links, that's just going to look like garbage too. Right? [0:42:02.4]
Patti: But yeah, it's not easy, it's relationships, it's creating content that's worth publishing in other places that can link back to you, it's making a name for yourself. There is another way that I kind of like to promote sometimes, believe it or not, that sort of feels like you're paying for links but it's a little bit different, and that's sponsorship. I really actually do recommend that my clients look at local opportunities to sponsor something that they already care about that's giving back to the community and that is a site that will actually link back to you. So even though it's 2019, it comes down to you can put your logo on the back of a Little League shirt, but it's going to do a bunch of things. It's going to help a team, it's going to help your local community, it's going to get your name out there, websites will then link back to you, they will thank you, they will thank you for that sponsorship, and that's kind of its own little category of kind of paying for links. If you can find ways to do that that's within your industry, that's helpful. [0:43:06.9]
Dan: Yeah. I think that this is not a thing that I think investors very commonly misunderstand, is that not all things are created equal, and you can get links from all over and they're great, but the best links are real estate specific. So asking for example a contractor that you might hire a lot, like, "Hey, can we set up a page on your site?" Or it's like, "Hey, I work with these investors, maybe I'll even, I'll write the content for you, you just link to me and I'll link to you." These kind of like relationships within your industry are really critical and really valuable sources of links, that again, most investors are not going to do the work to get. This is kind of part of the reason that it makes it valuable. I mean if you, I want to wrap this up because we're going to a little bit long, but I want to think about there's a lot of stuff, I mean we've barely scratched the surface. For an investor that wants to get started with their SEO, they want to do it right, give us some like, some real like concrete places to start. What's a task that I can actually get done that's small enough, it's concrete, I can do it and it's going to put me on the path to success long-term? [0:44:23.2]
Patti: There's probably a way that you can do a little bit in each of the four categories that we just talked about. So the first one, strategy, I would make sure that you have your Google Analytics set up, it's ready to go, you're collecting data on who's coming and going from your site and what's driving traffic. I mean that's kind of a no brainer, I would start there. The Google My Business, that's something that you can take on. Again, use an actual physical address, get that verified. We didn't really get into the tactics of if Google kind of rejects you or won't verify you, there's things you can do but that's another conversation. See what you can do about getting that Google My Business verification. [0:45:02.2]
Don't just take content, the canned content that comes with your CMS, there's thinking through that a little bit and customizing it is also a good place to start. And then thinking about the relationships that you have. Other websites that would link to you that you can partner with, that you can create real content, real authentic content with and build those links.
Dan: Right. I think that's great. I mean I think it's, again, if you're feeling overwhelmed you can take it a step at a time, don't be afraid. Obviously we do this for a living, so I'm biased, but don't be afraid to reach out, do a strategy session with us if you want to talk this through with someone. You can go to AdWordsNerds.com/strategy, it's AdWordsNerds.com/strategy, then I'll set you up with this tragedy session, you'll be able to talk to someone who does this all the times, so you can talk through this process, figure out what makes sense for you. Just take it one step at a time. [0:46:06.8]
Commit to doing one thing, and when you finish that thing, commit to doing one other small thing and just keep doing that until you're rich. And there you go. My friend Nick always says it's process, not the product. He always says work the system, and the goal line comes to you. And it really is the case, it's like just like focus on doing the stuff you're supposed to be doing and everything else will kind of shake out. If you like me, would pay literally any amount of money to listen to Patti Dalessio talk, I have news for you, friend, because it's not our last episode together, we're doing another episode next week, all of September is SEO month. By the way, I didn't even mention this. We are giving away close to $9000 of SEO tools and coaching and courses and materials and all and sundry, all sorts of SEO stuff, everything. [0:47:08.4]
So we're going to be giving away so much stuff, critical tools that we use for our clients hours and hours and hours of free educational material, coaching calls, one on one call with Patti, one on one call with Tom Croll one of the most successful real estate investing coaches of all time. Amazing stuff. So the way you are going to do that, the way you are going to get there, the way you are going to enter yourself in this contest, you're going to go to the REI Marketing Nerds Facebook group, which you can get to at AdWordsNerds.com/group, AdWordsNerds.com/group. "I am Groot." No. Or just go on Facebook, type in REI Marketing Nerds, it is in there, you will see it, it's the top pinned post, all of September. If you're listening to this outside of September, I'm sorry, it's September only, but it's free to enter, you can enter multiple times and you can get $9000 worth of free awesome stuff, go and do that. [0:48:05.7]
Patti Dalessio, my wonderful friend, as always, you are a delight and a testimony to your industry and so much more. So thank you so much for coming and helping us improve SEO for real estate investors. We're not done, next week there's going to be more, so thank you again so much for being on the show.
Patti: Awesome, thank you.
Dan: That's all you got?
Patti: That's all I got.
Dan: I give you that kind of an outro, that's what you give me? "Awesome?"
Patti: How come we don't have a pun for SEO-tember?
Dan: I've been trying to make it work, and SEO-ptember is really weird, because of the O into the P. Anyway, we're going to do it, I'm going to see you guys next week, let us know if you need anything, this is REI Marketing Nerds and SEO IPA, and as always, this is our catchphrase for SEO and IPA, as always, please optimize responsibly.
Patti: Optimize responsibly.
Dan: There you go; we'll see you guys next week.
Patti: Okay, bye.
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