Friday, August 30, 2013

Directory of New Home Listings on Local HBA Websites

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

New Homebuilder Local Search

For quite some time, local search has been coming on strong in Google SERP’s.  NewHomesource is an aggregator and nationwide, so we really to not participate nor compete in the space, but it is important for our homebuilders.  If you search for new homes in Katy, TX you find in the number 1 organic spot and a 7-pack of builders just after the number 3 spot.  This is typical. 

Katy is huge for new homes.  There are 87 communities on coming from 22 different builders.  All of these builders want to be in that 7-pack of listings on page 1 of this Google search.  If you want to be there, you can, but it will take a bit of work.  To be there, you need 2 things:

1)      You need a local address and phone number.  If you have a community in Katy, you have an address.  Make sure you also use a unique phone number.

2)      You need to be relevant as measured primarily by citations and links.

So, what is the citation stuff? A citation is no more than your name, address, and phone number (NAP) that Google might find in a directory of businesses, a news site, a social site or just about anywhere else.  The map and local search in  Google uses its own algorithm and is largely driven by local citations.  In short, more is better.  The more citations you have from credible sites, the more likely you are to rank highly in the 7-pack.

Let’s go back to our Katy example.  The number 1 position in Katy is Cinco Ranch which has 86 citations and number 7 is the Waterstone community by Beazer but has just 31 citations.  With just a little work gaining citations, you will likely see your presence in such Google displays, and your traffic improve.  So, how do you do it?

There a plenty of submission services for links out there, but these come with risks.  Get a bunch of links from spammy sites and you are playing with SEO fire.  Better to select relevant sites and submit your business or get citations from just about anyone you support who will mention your name, address, and phone number as part of your support.  Okay, but how do you find the right sites?  I just started using whitespark to find appropriate sites.  To use this tool, submit the search in Google where you want to show up and use Whitepspark’s location citation finder ($20 CDN/mo.) to find sites.  Then submit your site to those sites with relatively good ranking in SEOMoz domain authority rank and/or Majestic SEO AC Rank.  Don’t want to do the leg work?  Outsource it to Whitespark for $4-$5 per citation.  Feel free to call me if you have questions 817-658-7698.      




Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Best Second Tier PPC Network

Is there a best second tier PPC network? I have been searching, but have been unsuccessful so far. The huge volume of what appears to be valueless clicks on most of these networks leaves me with a tremendous conclusion. Since it seems none of the second tier PPC vendors are taking click-fraud seriously, a huge marketing opportunity exists for anyone who does.

The first second tier PPC network to actively address PPC fraud has the opportunity to create a remarkable service that will attract both publishers who will earn premium revenue and advertisers who will be willing to pay more for quality traffic. Here are some ideas (do them all):

· Address click-fraud as a real issue and talk to publishers and advertisers about it.

· Install click-fraud detection software to reduce the incidence of fraudulent clicks.

· Put all publishers on probation and have a 3 strikes, you’re out rule.

· Pay publishers in arrears so complaints can be immediately credited while issues are investigated. Just like my credit card company.

· Expose through click quality reporting all you can.

· Take the approach that the advertiser comes first. Take care of the advertiser and the publishers will follow.

· Be incredibly transparent in what you do and how you do it.

If a second tier PPC network were to actually do this, you win:

· Publishers and advertisers would beat a path to your door.

· It would be viral.

· Publishers would make more and advertisers would make more.

· You would save money in sales and churn

· You would be profitable over time

Do you know of a PPC network already doing this? If so, let me know.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Second Tier PPC Programs You Can Trust

So, after 2 months of testing just about every second tier PPC program it seems, I have come to a number of conclusions.  Some may be accurate, some may be just plain wrong, but they are all fact-based.  Two general conclusions are that it’s hard to trust any of these vendors and cheap just will not work to drive conversions.

PPC click fraud is a huge problem.  I have heard estimates running as high at 80% of all paid clicks being click fraud.  Among second tier networks, I think this ratio is higher, much higher.  On many, I saw average bounce rates of 90%+.  Bounce rate alone is not a measure of click fraud, but if you track goals and make a goal a page that is deep in your site and associated with engagement, you can quickly see who is sending you good traffic.  Looking at this I saw rates of bad traffic well over 95%.  So, what do you do?

My conclusion is that you need to look at PPC networks that are simply less likely to be subject to this fraudulent activity.  You can wait for PPC networks to clean up their act, but I would not hold your breath.   More to come.




Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2nd Tier PPC and Click Fraud

I am trying hard here.  I really want to find some gems among the diamonds in the rough.  Okay, maybe some clear glass in the sand.  Unfortunately, I have not been so lucky.  My normal expectations are that I get a conversion from about 100 clicks.  At the low cost of most 2nd tier networks, 300:1 would be okay.  Here’s the honored list of who I have tried using, in most cases, fairly long-tail phrases:

·         Miva – I like their interface, I like their people.  Maybe someone else can get results, I have not. My words are a bit strong, but I do feel a little cheated.  2 campaigns: (1) 1,410 pageviews, 79% bounce, Zero conversions.  (2) 846 pages, 88% bounce, Zero conversions. 

·         Kanoodle – I have to commend this company on their recruiting.  Very nice people.  2,429 pages, 99.6% bounce.  Now, this is inflated.  There was one term that got 1,600 clicks in a day, was obvious click fraud and they credited be back $100.  It looked like  got 1 conversion, but who knows for sure if it was legitimate. 

·         Looksmart – This is getting old.  Turned it off today.  Last I checked, 95% bounce and 1 possible conversion on what I can see.  Cost per conversion did not make any sense.  I killed it after spending just under $200.  I got off cheap comparatively. 

·         Marchex – I hate to even list them with the others at this point.  I am seeing good engagement (people going to deeper pages).  The bounce rate is low so far.  I will update you.

Meanwhile, if you have tried Miva, Kanoodle, or Looksmart, I want to hear from you.  What was your experience.   My conclusion, you get what you pay for.  More to come.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Second Tier PPC Network - Advertiser Cannibalization

As I come to learn more about these networks, it is hard to see beyond the smoke and mirrors.  Maybe you already knew this, but publishers using these networks treat them as they do ad networks.  They leverage software so they so they can select which of several PPC network ads to accept based on CPC being bid.  So, the implication for me is that I can drive my own costs up if I choose to participate with more than one PPC vendor as an advertiser.  Of course all of this is far from transparent. 

If you have experience and best practices you want to share on this topic I welcome your comments. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Quest for PPC and Display Advertising Traffic

I decided to start writing again.  I guess this is because I feel I have something worth saying and so many questions worth asking.

I need traffic and a lot of it.  Over the next several posts, I will share with you my experiences and observations about the methods being considered, tested, analyzed, and proven.  This may be a lot of posts.  I hope you find information you can use and will share your own best practices.

My company has always been a big spender on Google AdWords, Yahoo!, and MSN.  These are good and work for us.  Going into the world of second tier PPC advertising networks, Google/Yahoo! content networks, and Ad Networks is daunting.  I bet there are hundreds of people facing the same challenge today.  I would love to hear from you and get your advice and guidance as I venture into the unknown.  In return, you can follow this thread and save yourself a ton of money by avoiding my mistakes.  I do ask you one favor.  Comment!  Share what you have learned, think is b.s., or anything else.

That said, what will be tested beyond Google, Yahoo! and MSN/Bing?  Here’s what I have had running (none are an endorsement at this point) over the past 4 weeks beyond the big 3 PPC:

·         Google Content network display ads

·         Marchex Premium (Also called AdHere)

·         Marchex PPC (Just starting)

·         Miva (about $1,000 into a test)

·         AdKnowledge (separate email ads from Miva, just starting)

·         Kanoodle (A story to come, but in for $240)

·         Looksmart (Just betting started)

·         Site and retargeting through Collective

·         Yahoo! Ad Network

·         Search retargeting (vendor confidential for now)

·         AdBrite – targeted display on a range of websites.

·         AdRoll – Not sure what got into me on this one

·         AdBlade (these are the ads you lover for teeth whitening and stay at home moms making big money – not mine)

·         REALM Network (a real estate focused ad network)

·         Several Real Estate specific ad buys

Daunting, isn’t it? So, I welcome you to join me on this journey.  Hopefully, both of us will walk away more wise.