Digital marketing, especially Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), has become an important part of doing business online.
SEO enables small businesses to compete with big companies. Good local SEO strategies can ‘level the playing field’ on Google Search, and when done well, it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your real estate business online.
But SEO is not an exact science and it involves using hyperlinks, keywords, content, and other strategies to convince search engines like Google that your website is relevant for the people making your target search queries.
13 million Australians make 6 million Google searches every day, so it’s really a massive opportunity for real estate businesses.
However, a lack of regulation in the industry and a lack of understanding from real estate businesses on how SEO really works today has allowed self-appointed “marketing experts” and “SEO gurus” to flourish. Dodgy operators are giving false or misleading advice and many still run SEO scams today that are fleecing real estate businesses of potential profit.
For all the feel-good digital marketing stories we hear about, we are unfortunately just as familiar with as many horror stories. We hear them almost every week!
The majority of these horror stories are usually in relation to SEO – and more specifically, Google Search ads.
The war on dodgy SEO/SEM consultants
In 2019, the Australian Small Business & Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) announced that they were going after SEO fraudsters. Seemingly sick of people being promised the world and delivered peanuts. They are now calling on small businesses to come forward so that a report to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) can be made.
It was reported that in 2018 a mere 100 formal SEO complaints were made. Considering the sheer number of companies recently venturing into this segment of the digital landscape, this number is more likely just a drop in a very big ocean. Thus leaving a substantial amount of SEO issues unreported.
Usually, the script goes a little something like this:
“We promise to get you on Page 1/Position 1 of Google search results for $x per month”.
What they really mean:
“We’ll run ads on Google search results to position your brand in the sponsored ads at the top”.
SEO companies have made a killing in recent years with this approach to selling their services. Who wouldn’t want to be number #1 on Google!?
But here’s what they’re not telling you:
Up to 95% of Australians scroll straight past Google Ads
Think about the last time you searched for something on Google. Did you scroll past the ads? I thought so.
Moz Keyword Explorer – moz.comThe reality for a lot of real estate businesses is that their hard-earned advertising dollars are going into SEO/SEM (Search Engine Marketing) tactics that deliver little to no return on investment and because we’re too busy listing and selling real estate in this industry we love, we leave this stuff up to the “experts” – trusting they’ll do the job for us and deliver us results. The problem is, it’s hurting the bottom line of real estate businesses.
In some industries, Google Search ads are still very effective if done properly. In real estate, however, your business is competing for visibility against third-parties platforms with much bigger advertising budgets than you so you really need to question whether Google Search ads are worth investing in before handing over your dollar bucks to an SEO/SEM company or consultant.
It’s safe to say we’re not big fans of Google Search ads and the tactics by SEO companies to swindle real estate businesses out of cash, don’t discount advertising on Google altogether.
PS… If you want to know how to position your business at the top of Google’s ‘organic’ search results, read this post instead.
Google, being the number one search engine by far, offers a range of other advertising placements aside from its Search ads that can benefit your business and deliver a healthy return on investment if done right and with the right SEO company beside you.
Google has a network of websites in various industries and with an array of audiences that opt in to display Google Ads, known as the Google Display Network. The benefit to the website owner is that they’re paid per click or impression on the ads. The benefit to advertisers is that they can get their content in front of audiences that are aligned with their personas. These are typically image ads that draw users attention away from the content on the webpage.
Video ads are displayed before or after (and sometimes in the middle of) YouTube videos. Remember, YouTube is a search engine, too. In fact, it’s the second biggest search engine on the internet just behind Google – and YouTube is owned by Google. The right keywords will place you in front of a video, disrupting the user’s behaviour just enough to grab their attention.
If you’ve made it all the way to the bottom of this article, congratulations. You’re now much wiser to the dodgy tactics and loose truths peddled by some SEO companies to drain your bank account. Good SEO companies and consultants don’t tend to cold-call or spam you by email. You need to go looking for them because they’re too busy focusing on their current clients rather than playing the games we’ve mentioned above.
Have you been ripped off by an “SEO/SEM guru”? Tell us your story in the comments below, but please keep it G rated.