Dichotomy of the Real Estate Blog – Do You Please the Readers or Search Engines?

Spy_Vs_Spy

A little knowledge is dangerous thing, as can be a lot of it

The Challenge:
How to be found in Valley of Search and write Compelling Content that has you building relationships with your readers.

This article is not about helping you be more compelling of an author, but rather an effort to keep you from overstepping the comfort level with your readers and the search engines.

There are two very different concerns that people discuss, with all sorts of conflicting opinions.

What is the tipping point of including relevant keywords that will
a. Have you being found, but not enjoyed?
b. Have you punished for over stuffing?

They are not the same.  What your audience may find bothersome, can still be acceptable under the Google Guidelines to creating a Google friendly site.

That said, the understanding I have gained in order to stay within the comfort levels of both is the following:

1. Write for the Reader.

You’ll get your Optimization in the suggestions below, so let’s get our priorities straight.

To build our business, we need to build relationships with the reader.  In order to do that, we need to create trust and value in our written offerings.

If your article looks like you are trying to over-market, the message will be lost.  The debate for this tipping point is subjective.
Look at your article.  What do you think?  Do you like how it reads?
If the answer is that you are unsure, then you might have a problem.

2. Recognize Your Indicators

If your article looks like you are trying to over-market, the message will be lost.

Different sections of your article carry more weight than others.  These make convenient and effective locations for keywords and phrases.  In most cases, it is the location of the keyword, not the number of times used in an article that has the most leverage.

The Title (or h2) of your article ‘outweighs’ the general body content by a ton.
The Headings (h3, h4, h5 etc) that you add to your article also will ‘outweigh’ general body content.
Sub-headings, the sentence(s) directly after Titles and Headings, also carry some significant SEO weight.
Links are alternate routes for the search engines’ spiders.  If you are sending them to other articles you have written, be keyword descriptive.

3. Hide the Keywords

(Warning, the following could be considered advanced, feel free to skip to #4)

Google can handle more keyword density (number of mentions of a keyword) than your reader.  So let’s find ways to continue to include them, and yet keep them out of sight.

Use Anchor Tags: Tucking keywords away into the  Easter Eggs tied to images, links and the “abbr” tag are a convenient way to have them in the article, but not in your face.  (Warning: At risk of Google Penalty, do not keyword stuff these areas either.)

Edit the Post Slug: In full-featured blogging platforms, the Permalink (Article URL) can be changed to include keywords in place of the standard duplication of the Article’s Title.
For Example: An article’s title such as “Screwed or Glued” normally has the URL structure like this:
http://www.YourSite.com/screwed-or-glued
Editing the Post Slug allows you to change the URL to something more search engine friendly such as:
http://www.YourSite.com/fixtures-in-your-chapel-hill-home

Edit the Title Tags for the Posts, Categories and Pages :
Similar to editing the Slug, plugin enhanced blogs allow you to edit the Title Tags (Those words that appear at the very top of your Internet browser).  Keywords work nicely in the Title Tags because the search engines take them into account and your reader pays no heed to them.

4. Use Pronouns

Replacing nouns (potential keywords) with pronouns like it, she, he, them, etc. won’t help your keyword density.
However, if you are pushing the bounds of readable, it might be time to make a few replacements.

5. Use Modifiers

Google isn’t worth more than most countries for being easily fooled.

Modifiers are non keywords that have been included to enhance or buffer keywords.
Instead of beginning every title, heading and link with the same keyword(s), throw something else in there first, or to break up a keyword phrase.
Ex: “Real Estate Blogging Advice” might be the phrase we want to be found for, so perhaps we modify it to read: “Professional Blogging Advice for Real Estate” instead.

6. Use Stemming

Blog, Blogs, Blogger and Blogging are all different.
Mixing different, yet similar and related terms not only broadens your searchability, but curbs the overuse of one keyword.

7. Use Common Sense

If what you are publishing feels like you might be ‘gaming’ for search engine placement, then it probably is.
Google isn’t worth more than most countries for being easily fooled.

**So remember, your readers’ threshold for digesting keywords is certainly less than that of Google.
This alone makes it important to consider their experience first.
After all, you are in the business of relationships, not Adwords.

Great websites that support the above advice:
Aaron Wall’s SEO Book
Matt Cutts’ Blog
SEOMoz.org
Google’s Own Guidelines