expected out next month, the average transaction sides per agent in 2009 was 7.1 but RE/MAX agents DOUBLED that, closing 14.3 sides per agent! Our nearest competitor, Coldwell Banker, was at 9.7. CONGRATULATIONS to our hard working associates who helped neighbors buy and sell!
Over the past few months I have been asked “How do I get more leads from my personal website?” I did a quick search on remax.net and found an article that says it all.
Insights from Malta: Optimize Your Web Site the Organic Way
The RE/MAX Malta Web site was named the 2009 Best Real Estate Agency Website at the annual International Property Awards in London last month. The site's primary administrator, Jeff Buttigieg, credits a deliberate online strategy with the award, which was judged by Google representatives.
"Our competitors are trying to buy their results," says Buttigieg, Regional Director of RE/MAX Malta. "We've figured out how to do it for free – the organic way."
These are the organic optimization methods that Buttigieg says increased the Web site's search engine performance and traffic:
1. Do your research – Once the region had an outside firm design the RE/MAX Malta Web site, the work of optimizing it was under way, Buttigieg says. "First of all, we had to do our research through Google Analytics and Google KeyWords, which lets us look up the most-used keywords," Buttigieg says. Because brokerages in Malta cater to foreign buyers, the region incorporated popular keyword phrases such as "Malta property," "property in Malta," "real estate in Malta" and "Malta real estate."
2. Use keywords appropriately – The RE/MAX Malta home page is keyword rich without being too obvious, Buttigieg says. "Visitors can see through the unnatural repetition incorporated by some sites, and if you overload pages with keywords, it puts your site at risk of ranking low on Google." Buttigieg gets around this by back-linking to the site using the same keywords on the home page in his posts on the region's blog, propertyinmalta.com and blog.remax-malta.com. Also deliberate was incorporating keywords into the blog domain names.
3. Simplify the message – Buttigieg describes the Web site as "unbiased," because it doesn't confuse Google with messages about RE/MAX and specific agents or brokers. It's about Malta real estate and giving consumer advice. "We do promote RE/MAX, but more subtly," Buttigieg says. "At the end of each article, for example, we'll recommend that the reader contact a professional 'real estate agent in Malta,' and that phrase is hyperlinked back to our agent search.
4. Give them what they want – Consumers visit Web sites for information, and they should find it, or links to it, right on the home page, Buttigieg says. "We have several pages about buying real estate in Malta, and the tax incentives and laws. It's written in a way that the average person will understand. The site is designed to make it easy for people to find the pages." Buttigieg describes a menu on the right that links to all internal pages, including ones for each of the most popular areas for real estate sales and letting. Google search results for "Portomaso Malta" rank RE/MAX Malta's site No. 3 behind the luxury development's own Web site and Hilton, which has a hotel in the popular area.
5. Update pages regularly – "We update five to 10 pages every few days," Buttigieg says. "Google picks up on whether you're active on your site. Plus, if you keep the content fresh, people will come back to see what's new."
6. Entice people back to your site – Buttigieg developed a free e-newsletter that features hot listings, real estate updates, and links back to RE/MAX Malta's Web site. It's available by subscription only, and more than 900 people have signed up to receive it every 10 days. "We didn't want to send it to just anybody," Buttigieg says. "If they choose to subscribe, we know they want it." More than 75 percent of readers click through to the Web site each week, based on statistics compiled by the company that sends the campaign. "The newsletter lets readers know that there's movement and new information on the site that should prompt them to go back there regularly."