Search Engine Optimization

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DYI Listing Detail Pages Content For better SEO2018-12-27T19:50:19+00:00

We’ve been busy (as usual) to bring you some more upgrades, and here they are. This week’s updates mostly revolve around search engine optimization, and the update is on the homes section. Keyword density on your website is very important to gain higher rankings on Google, and here’s how we can help you.

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Meta Title

The title of search results, as well as on Social Media share posts of each listing page, is dictated by the Meta Title. This is one of the most critical parts for Google to determine the relevance of your website. It also is what shows as the main title on Google search results, or on shared posts on the majority of Social Media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+. Make sure this accurately describes each listing, and include the right keywords.

Make sure your meta title has:
  • Neighbourhood and city name

  • Property type and style

  • Street name, Building/Complex name

  • Other commonly searched attributes such as “waterfront”, “mansion”, “rental” etc.

Meta Description

Apart from the actual home description that you get to enter on each of your listings (or fed from MLS® reciprocity), you can also set up a custom description that will show on Google’s search results that is much shorter (about 156 characters). Our SEO tab on the home editing screen allows you to enter this description manually. With a blank description, it will default to a blurb that summarizes the listing price, type and size related features.

Make sure your meta description has:
  • An attractive intro to the sentence that would entice more visitors to click

  • Bed/Bath/Kitchen/Parking information that are relevant

  • Other amenities such as schools, recreation or sports facilities nearby

Custom URL slug

For the longest time we’ve offered a rich URL scheme that includes the full address and city name of the listing in order to be more clear to the human eye, as well as give more relevance to the page on search engines. Each property and building detail page can have a fully customized URL for even better presentation, as well as performance on search engines such as Google.

Sample of Great URL Slugs:

www.yourdomain.com/showlisting/12/123-main-street-mount-pleasant-vancouver-east-close-to-transit-large-yard-dog-friendly
www.yourdomain.com/showlisting/12/4550-caulfield-street-caulfeild-west-vancouver-water-city-views-south-facing

Like this, you can emphasize some key features of the listing to increase your performance on google over that of competitors’ sites.

New Search Engine Optimization Strategies for 2016 ~ 20172017-10-05T00:06:54+00:00

Dynamic, changing, morphing and evolving – such is the nature of digital marketing. As a firm entrenched in helping Real Estate Professionals, which is one of the most competitive industries with so many competitors, we are constantly working to improve our service standards and quality. Recently we have re-vamped and re-structured our SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as well as the pricing. Here are some of the key changes in our strategy, followed by what is being kept constant as the past.

New Changes To Our Real Estate SEO Programs

We will explain our newer SEO strategies here in the simplest terms possible. We understand that some technical terms can be confusing, and we are happy to answer more of your questions directly should you have any.

#1 – Blog Articles Now Mandatory For Content-Rich Websites

“Content is King” is one of those phrases thrown around a lot – and for very good reason, because it is Google’s mandate to deliver relevant & useful content for their search customers. All of our SEO programs now include a specified number of blog articles by default, because on-site content is hands-down the best way to improve the quality score of your website. Blog articles offer a wealth of options to link to other sections of your website (MLS® search results, or individual listings) as well as link out to reliable 3rd party resources to be of more benefit to your customers (such as reputable news articles, service providers or real estate board websites).

#2 – More Focus on Quality Backlinks Rather than Quantity

There was a time when most SEO engineers would pick as many online directories, public forums & blogs to plaster the internet with backlinks to their websites. Some went as far as creating automated posting software that would hit bulletin boards worldwide for tens of thousands of backlinks to be generated within a matter of days. Others went for paid links – which mean absolutely nothing to Google in terms of how valuable & relevant the content on a website is. These practices fall more under the black-hat realm of SEO techniques, which we have never used. Back in the days we leveraged many more sources for more backlinks (but we never used, and never will use, black-hat SEO techniques), but we are putting less emphasis on the number of links, and more emphasis on the quality of backlinks. Certain directories and online blogs are valid and legitimate sources where we can acquire reliable backlinks that have meaning.

#3 – More In-page Content Throughout (not just the blog)

Outside of the blog, we aim to place more unique text content to describe neighbourhoods, buildings, property types/subtypes in order to boost the actual quantity and quality of the text content throughout your website. When walking a precarious line between clean & minimalist designs VS content-rich pages, our design/development team’s expertise really shines to achieve a balance of both. Our photo galleries for listings/buildings can have detailed descriptions and information, as well as many other sub-sections of our sites.

To discuss more details: subscribers of Brixwork are welcome to contact us directly from our website or email us at support@brixwork.com.

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Things We Have Been Doing That Will Continue Steadily

Some core elements of our real estate websites that naturally improve your position on Google are steady, solid and rarely-changing because they are based on solid fundamentals, and here are some of the core features or continuous improvements.

URL Structures, Meta Titles and Descriptions

Even our MLS® search result pages are very well optimized in its keyword-rich URL structure that well-defines the listing(s). For your own pages, our team (or yourself) have the ability to fully modify the meta titles & descriptions to make it more relevant and easier to read. This has been one of the most core functionalities for all Brixwork websites for years, and will continue to be so.

Load Speed & Mobile Responsiveness

Our core software is constantly tweaked and improved to reduce bottlenecks, decrease page load time, as well as show up better on social share results. Some of the notable improvements made throughout 2016 already include (these upgrades help all of our clients, not just those on the SEO packages)

  • Image load time for MLS® Reciprocity listings
  • Thumbnail & mobile generation
  • Code & architecture load time (framework files are minified further)
  • Off-loading between multiple servers

Server Security & Reputation Management

Entire servers & IP addresses can be blocked or deemed as spam from 3rd parties. Our code is improved constantly to be more secure & stable, and we vigilantly monitor against hackers and intrusion attacks. We also have a strict policy to leverage professional 3rd party email services such as G-Suite (formerly known as Google Apps) to avoid our own servers being infiltrated with spam or losing reputation due to a 3rd party security breach.

Things You Can Do To Improve Your Presence On Google

Apart from what our engineers and content generators can do, there are many other things each Realtor® can do in order to improve their rankings and presence on Google.

  • Ensure that your social media profiles (Instagram, LinkedIn) have links to your website included.
  • Share sections of your website (generate a specific property search in neighbourhoods) and copy-paste to share those results on your website.
  • Find cool listings on your own website (whether your own listings, or MLS® Reciprocity driven) and share on your social media.
  • Customize your own property listing descriptions with headings & longer paragraphs (above and beyond what the MLS® system allows you to)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: The SEO Package prices have increased a lot! Why is that?

A: SEO is a relative game, and the amount of time & effort put into generating content on websites has significantly increased across the board among all competitors. Therefore we need to put in more than double the effort for our SEO campaigns to be effective. Think of the average time of Olympic sprinters decreasing each decade – the standards always go up as a whole. Our pricing is competitive and in-line with other competitors in the SEO industry.

Q: How long does it take to rank well for specific keywords? And are there guarantees? 

A: Any properly run SEO campaign actually cannot make solid guarantees, as it is all relative to what the competitors are doing. That being said, traffic increases can be detected as early as 2 months, and up to 1 year may be required to really have impact on the bigger keywords. The bigger the keywords, the more competitive it is.

Q: It says that blog articles are now mandatory as part of our SEO campaigns. What if I do not have a blog? 

A: Since SEO is a longer term commitment, with a 3+ month commitment we will install a basic blog for your website at no additional cost.

Four Reasons For Realtors To Claim A Place on Google My Business2019-08-30T19:38:59+00:00

Google My Business (formerly known as Google+ business pages) is an essential piece of online presence for any real estate professional. It affects how you appear on Google results, as well as how often you appear. This directly correlates to your website visits. It also affects how easy you can be found from mobile devices.

#1 – Higher chance of appearing on mobile & map search results

Having a listing on Google Business gives you a better chance of being found by people searching online. With the sharp increase in mobile device usage, more and more people are searching up business on the fly as they are on the road, using the mobile Google Maps app available on most handheld devices.

#2 – Easier for your customers to find your phone number & website

Google Business results on mobile or desktop have a quick-link to the phone # (great on mobile searches) as well as a link directly to the website, making it easier for people to reach you.

#3 – Enhanced search appearance on Google search results

Websites can be embedded with meta data that claims a relationship with any Google My Business page. In the example below when searching for “Dave Jenkins”, along with the primary website being at the top, the Google Business page details show up on the right with even more information such as your star rating, reviews, and additional photos.

realtor google profile and location on google search results

3 Easy Steps to Get Your Real Estate Profile on Google+!

#1 – Go to Google Places

First thing you should do is to visit the Google Places page. If you’re not logged in with your Google Apps email account or a @gmail.com account, you will have to do so.

#2 – Create your listing or claim an existing one

Follow the prompts or buttons to start entering your business data. It’s very straight-forward – just read everything on the screen carefully as you progress.

If an independent Google user has registered that a certain business or store exists, Google will attempt to find that listing based on your phone number or address entered. This is often the case with small retailers. This is probably not the case with most real estate agents, so chances are you will have to create a brand new listing.

#3 – Verify that you belong in that address

To ensure that no false or misleading business listings are created, Google will send out a postcard to the address that you specified, which contains a verification code that you need to enter on the Google Places system in order to verify that you are indeed the owner or operator of the business at the reported location.

Mobile Browser Usage vs Desktop Browser Usage2017-11-06T19:17:03+00:00

Mobile Browser Usage VS Desktop Browser Usage

The fact that mobile browsing of the internet is on the rise is no secret nor surprise – but by how much, and what are the current statistics for the real estate industry, specifically? We took the Google Analytics statistics on 10 of our most active Realtor® websites, and aggregated the total visitors from mobile and non-mobile devices.

38%

More Than a Third

The numbers we researched based on the last 30 days of traffic (as of March 25th 2015) revealed that more than 1/3 of the visitors were visiting from mobile phones or tablets. 61.64% were visiting from conventional desktops or laptops.

 

What This Means to Realtors®

Whether your clients are using your website to search for listings, or checking out your credentials to ensure you’re the real deal, your website must be mobile responsive and ready for all screen sizes. This also has implications on your Google rankings.

Our Website Design
Our Portfolio

Google’s New Algorithm (Hummingbird) and Brixwork’s Response2013-09-30T18:54:53+00:00

All is smooth, and all is well.

When new algorithm updates roll out from Google, the implications are generally serious. While many websites benefit from the new algorithm, others see a severe drop in traffic. The algorithm, according to Forbes, has been active for over a month already. Some other sources have cited it was deployed more than several months ago, although Google’s announcement came only recently.

Over the weekend after our move to our new office (which we will cover soon enough) we have examined our Google Analytics records of our clients’ websites, and there have been no significant loss of traffic whatsoever – business as usual!

Google Hummingbird and Resulting Traffic

Google Hummingbird release had no negative impact on traffic to our clients’ websites whatsoever.

How did we manage to keep traffic up & steady?

We always emphasize great content structure, great navigation and clear/concise data presentation when it comes to our websites. Not only do our websites look great as a consequence, but well designed websites also tend to have better performance on Google as well. We do not utilize any black-hat methods of search engine optimization (stuff that, if Google finds you’ve done, will get your site demoted or even banned from Google). Delivering quality content through good code structure with a combination of posting on social media outlets and 3rd party websites with good reputation is our main game, and that will not change. Quality original content always wins out in the long run, according to Google.

So What’s Next for Brixwork’s real estate website clients?

Because we have been doing it the right way, no loss has been incurred as a result of this algorithm upgrade. We keep pushing forward. But, we believe in making things better all the time, so here’s what we have in our roadmap for all of our SEO packages:

Heavier Focus on Longer, Natural Queries – More “Human” Queries

Because the new upgrade algorithm has a heavy emphasis on long phrased natural queries, we will be focusing our SEO efforts in that direction to ensure that our clients’ real estate websites can be picked up. In fact, we have been focusing on long-trail queries already for quite a while now if you noticed. Previous upgrades to Google’s algorithms did start focusing shift on more natural phrased queries. For example, back in the days, people had to query like a computer (“Condos Yaletown Listing”). Nowadays, people are more used to testing Google with more complex searches (“West Vancouver Waterfront Homes For Sale”, or “Condos listed around the Waterfront Skytrain Station”).

Increases In Social Media Presence & Leveraging 3rd Party Websites

With an increasing shift from Google’s part to monitor human browsing behaviour, social shares on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ (especially) have an impact on your search engine performance. The visitor patterns on your website also have a feedback effect. And as always, other websites’ links that point back towards your webpage always helps. We are focused on finding quality websites that we can leverage for legitimate back-links. We never buy links, or link-spam your website address on sketchy blogs created by some guy sitting in his mom’s basement. We do things the white-hat way. Effort has its price, and it also has positive results on your marketing efforts, and that’s what we’re all about.

 

The Numbers That Really Matter On Your Website Traffic2013-08-14T17:43:36+00:00

Are you getting a lot of visitors to your website? Great, but having a high volume of visitors alone may not be helping you as much as you think. There’s another key factor of your website traffic, and that is engagement.

When it comes to analyzing the quality and effectivity of your website, it is the visitor engagement that makes a difference for your business. But what is the difference between visits and engagement? Think about when you are browsing the world wide web. There are a lot of pages that you end up on but don’t read, right?

That’s exactly why a high volume of visitors can be misleading. There is too much of a focus on the sheer number of visitors through ads, campaigns and other marketing strategies and too little focus on engaging those visitors.

The reason that engagement is so important is that it shows you how interested your potential clients are in you and your business. In real estate, for example, it can show you which listings people are the most and least interested in, as well as many other statistics. Measuring these statistics–or metrics–is critical to determining the quality and amount of real leads that you receive.

Here is a list of 5 metrics to really pay attention to:

1. Page views per visit

  • A good number of page views per visit is five. If you have reached that statistic, then you can confidently say that your website is functioning quite well. It shows that your website is easy to navigate and people are interested enough to click on links.

Pages / Visit 1

Pages / Visit 2

2. Bounce Rates

  • Means people left the site as soon as they opened up page, without any engagement
  • Should be under half.

Bounce Rate 1

Bounce Rate 2

3. Visit Duration

  • Amount of time spent consecutively throughout pages in website.
  • Similar implications as the pageview metrics.

4. New vs Returning

  • Shows the loyalty of people coming back to see your stuff.

5. Visitor flow

  • Shows the exact flow of which pages they entered through, and which pages they clicked on.. and when they finally left.
  • Good visual indicator to emulate customers’ experience on your website

Visitor Flow 1

Visitor Flow 2

Other Experts

If you are interested in learning more about these metrics and other ways to improve your online presence, here are two articles that we feel do a great job of explaining the benefits of images and simplicity:

Images and video get more likes on Facebook and more shares on Twitter. -by Kristin Piombino

About Minimalist Web Design. – by Mrs. Neff

Google Traffic Spike for Real Estate Agents After Switching2013-05-16T00:28:44+00:00

One of the greatest selling point that BRIXWORK Real Estate Websites has is its strong search engine optimized core. With advanced URL schemes, proper headers & text placement, clean structures and tagged images, we boast some of the best SEO results in and out of town. Recently we have converted some new clients from our competitors and we did some site search traffic analysis on those sites before and after the new BRIXWORK site was launched, and the results were impressive.

In the past 2 years, we have only lost one client back to a competitor after a transition (and even that was due to a mis-understanding of some sort between the partners etc.). The remainder of the new converts have remained loyal with us in the wake of solid leads from search engines and other sources.

Jamie MacDougall

4,500 impressions -> 10,000 impressions per month, with nearly 3X click-throughs

Jamie’s former website was hosted by one of the larger competitors who boast a lot of volume – and Jamie converted to BRIXWORK in September 2012. His search query exposure & traffic saw tremendous increase since then, and more than half a year later he’s sitting on more than 2X impressions, and nearly 3X clicks from Google Searches (according to Google™ Webmaster Tools).

Real Estate Website Traffic Increase SEO Results

Jamie’s impressions went from 4.500 to 10,000 on average. Clicks improved to over 700.

Jamie’s website contains some significant search engine optimization work, such as listing pages pre-defined from the MLS® feed. You can easily browse Vancouver Westside Real Estate, West Vancouver Real Estate, and North Vancouver Real Estate. You can also quickly narrow down to condos & townhomes in Downtown Vancouver as well.

 

Harvey Kardos

Steep Increase in Traffic within 2 weeks of new website launch

Harvey’s previous website was littered with flash animation blocks (which are terrible for Google performance) with no significant search engine optimization done. The following graph compares the month before and month after the launch. The blue lines rising says it all! Harvey has a good inventory of West Vancouver real estate for sale.

Harvey Kardos Traffic

Visits soared from 41/mth to 1,930/mth, with pages-per-visit increase of 29%.

 

Haya Halabi

Immediate spike in Google impressions & clicks

Haya reached out to us all the way from Burlington Ontario, looking to improve her website. The previous website was managed by a competitor in Ontario. After the switch to BRIXWORK, her search engine exposure & traffic saw an immediate and significant improvement. This is our most recent conversion launch, and we are excited to see more statistics come out of this. With the Burlington MLS® System fully integrated, as well as the Burlington Community well portrayed, we are anticipating great long-term results from this website.

Quickest re-index of pages we have seen in a while by Google!

Quickest re-index of pages we have seen in a while by Google!

Best Time To Post on Facebook or Twitter (and email)2012-09-14T16:27:04+00:00

Timing on Social Media is important to generate the most click-throughs and impressions. Bit.ly (a URL shortener system used by Facebook/Twitter posts to link the final destination) released this statistic on click-through rates based on the time of the day and the day of the week. There is also a cool infographic (courtesy of Raka Creative) that visually displays the best times to hit Facebook & Twitter.

When to Post On Facebook

Links posted on Facebook on a weekday between 1 to 4 in the afternoon have the most effectiveness in generating traffic, peaking at around 3pm on Wednesday.

When to Post on Twitter

Twitter’s patterns are very similar to that of Facebook – 1 to 3pm during the weekdays gets the most click-throughs, while Friday afternoons dramatically decreasing in its efficiency.

When to Email

Although the attached infographic does not cover emails, we found reliable information on Mashable.com on the best time to send out email newsletters. Don’t forget the impact of the recent surge of mobile browsing habits – many people look at their emails and click on links from their smartphones. Is your website mobile-traffic ready?

Why We Do Not Offer Flash2011-11-13T03:41:26+00:00

We have had several inquiries recently on why we no longer offer Flash™ animation services on our REALTOR® websites. We have many great reasons for it, and here is why:

  • The trends in web standards is going towards the direction of eliminating Flash™ as a mainstream web design element. This is because Flash™ is not a web-standard language like HTML or CSS – it’s a 3rd party plug-in. The World Wide Web is moving towards the direction of not relying on plug-ins – browsers by themselves are fully capable of the things we need.
  • This is why the innovators at Apple decided to stop supporting Flash on their mobile devices (iPhones and iPads) several years ago. Our websites are fully compatible with these mobile devices without restriction.
  • Flash™ content is not readable by robots from Google or other search engines, reducing your SEO performance. To alleviate this, designers often use raw HTML layers behind the Flash™ piece; but this is more time consuming and expensive.
  • Flash-free websites load faster. We have the modern technology on pure HTML and Javascript that enables us to create the smooth animations and interactive user interface features without relying on Flash®.

June 6, 2019

Boutique Project Marketing for Townhomes and Condos

Brixwork has been providing project marketing services for new builds for years. As demand for more new boutique townhome/condo projects increases, so does the need for higher-level project marketing. No matter how big or small, your project deserves a proper brand presence that'll set you apart from the rest.

Written By Jeff Kee | Design & Visuals, Featured Clients, Features & Development

May 7, 2019

Notable Realtor® Teams and Brokerages Custom Website Showcase

High performance teams and boutique brokerages need the best online image possible. Brixwork combines functional features and exceptional visuals to create custom website designs built to stand out!

Written By Jeff Kee | Design & Visuals, Featured Clients

April 11, 2019

Comparing Brixwork and WordPress

There are more real estate website platforms than ever before in the marketplace. Choosing the right platform for your business is critical to meet your business goals and be efficient with your time. Let’s compare how WordPress vs Brixwork works for Realtors® and their websites.

Written By Jeff Kee | Features & Development, Technology & Trends

February 20, 2019

Realtor® Website Pages Designed for 3–5x Better Performance

Is your website getting the numbers you want? Our bold designs are proven to give your website results by improving 3 key on-site metrics. Don’t settle for a cookie-cutter design like every Realtor®.

Written By Jeff Kee | Design & Visuals, Features & Development

January 8, 2019

What Is The Future Of The Real Estate Market?

It’s hard to predict the real estate market. The last downturn saw 1/3 of Realtors® hang their licenses and walk away. What’s your next move?

Written By Jeff Kee | Marketing & Promotion

January 3, 2019

Hiring – Office Admin & Customer Support Position (Maternity Leave Contract)

We are having a baby! We have a maternity leave position opening up to help with office administration and customer support. This is a great entry point into the industry for those who are eager to learn more about digital marketing & cloud web software!

Written By Jeff Kee | Company Updates

December 18, 2018

Get Your Branded Holiday Instagram/Facebook Posts Ready!

Its that time of year again! Make sure you have your graphics ready in time for this holiday season. Chose from a selection of beautiful posting templates for your Real Estate Instagram and Facebook pages for your social media presence to truly stand out.

Written By Jeff Kee | Design & Visuals, Social Media & Marketing

December 17, 2018

Listing Presentations & Buyers Guide Booklets Supercharged

You deserve better than generic, mass-produced, templatized listing presentations or buyers guidebooks. Stand out amongst thousands of competing Realtors®!

Written By Jeff Kee | Design & Visuals

November 1, 2018

Open House & Buildings/Presales Search Overhauls on Version 4.45

Our last major upgrade to finalize our move to the AWS cloud has springboarded us for even more enhancements to the Brixwork system, and packs some amazing new features to help our real estate pros gain more business. Learn how helping buyers find suitable listings has never been easier with version 4.45.

Written By Jeff Kee | Company Updates

October 31, 2018

4 Reasons to Upgrade Your Real Estate Listing Gallery Page

Showcasing your listings is one of the most important value you provide as a real estate agent. While the listing gallery systems on our templates are great as they are, our custom designed listing gallery icons have many benefits for your Real Estate business results!

Written By Jeff Kee | Featured Clients

October 19, 2018

Increase Realtor® Website Traffic with this Essential Tool

As the second most used search engine after Google, Youtube offers a variety of opportunities for Realtors® to increase website traffic and generate backlinks to their domain! Don't miss out on the opportunity to make the most of your Youtube Channel with these simple steps.

Written By Jeff Kee | Search Engine Optimization

October 11, 2018

Steady, Solid, Strategized SEO Results in Significant Traffic Growth

With a 34% increase in traffic, our dedicated SEO campaigns helped Vancouver based real estate website NestPresales.com improve SEO presence and google search traffic within as little as 3 months

Written By Jeff Kee | Search Engine Optimization

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