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Podcast Episode 323: Lucas Capestany, Co-Founder & CEO, Twiz SEO
Using Smart SEO to Dominate Real Estate Crowdfunding
Lucas is one of those rare people you get to meet who is a true genius at what they do and you are going to LOVE his insights and intellectualism in this podcast as he unwraps Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for you in this episode.
Before meeting Lucas some months back, I was completely oblivious to the power of SEO and how by making some basic tweaks to your content production strategy you can dramatically move the needle on your reach to qualified high net worth prospective investors.
Listen to best of class practices in this episode and see below for more links to Lucas's online profiles.
What You're Going to Learn
* Why proper SEO helps your deals get discovered online
* How your real estate articles can bring more traffic to your crowdfunding website
* Google will reward you with more traffic for having a fast-loading website
* Best SEO practices for the most important pages on your real estate development website
* #1 Tip for getting more readers for your real estate investment articles
* Build trust with potential investors by using links on your website
* Get more visibility from investors by helping Google crawl your website
And much, much more.
Listen To or Watch the Full Podcast Here
Best SEO Practices for the Most Important Pages On Your Real Estate Development Website
Adam: Talk to me about anchor pages and how, when you develop a website, or build your website, from an SEO perspective, the way you create content kind of changes.
Lucas: In terms of creating pages around certain keywords, the reason for that is because when you create a page around a certain keyword, you're essentially signaling to Google the importance of that page to your website. Now, Google ranks websites by a variety of factors, as I mentioned, but one critical piece of the pie is the way your URLs are broken down.
Google starts at the top and then scrapes your page continuously. If your URL has a keyword within it, then it'll serve as an anchor page, or a keyword-driven page, which then will signal to Google that that particular keyword is A) incredibly relevant to your business, and then, B) will also help to speed up the indexation, because that'll help you stand out a little bit more.
A lot of other websites in that particular space may not be building these kind of landing pages around particular keywords. They might just be posting content and that's it. But simply making it a keyword-driven page basically tells Google that you are placing so much importance on this keyword that you need to draw people to your site for that keyword and that it's particularly relevant.
That's why designing particular pages is important. We've had experiences where some of the pages are the top-ranked page on the website because of the importance that that particular keyword has to the site. Now, while blogs are important, a lot of these evergreen pages, or anchor pages, or what have you, tend to drive very relevant, high-intent traffic towards the website.
What I always tell people is if you have a service page, really make it a service page, and then trying to determine what the keyword is that people are searching for before just making the page. Because, sometimes, people may actually phrase something differently or type something differently than you think.
We were just working with someone, where it was a lighting installation. So, I guess people search for light design installation more than they search for a lighting installation alone, and that distinction is very important, because if you do it without the design part in it, then Google will reward more traffic to where more people are searching than vice versa [cross talk]
Adam: -are you talking about the URL, or are you talking about the words that are actually built onto the page?
Lucas: The URL and the words that are built onto the page, primarily because they both could be in tandem. What a lot of people miss the boat on is they place a lot of importance on their pages, but they place almost no importance on their URL structure or any of the technical components of SEO.
A lot of times, what I get over and over again, is people will tell me, "Well, I've used Yoast - the plug-in - and I've implemented these keywords," and that's it. But the thing they're missing the point with is that it's an ongoing process. If you do it one time, you might see a bit of a boost, but it's going to level up.
If you continually optimize for all these different pieces, as you add new pages, it signals to Google that you're an active site, and that, if you're constantly updating it, you will get rewarded by updating your site for a better user experience, being more topical, and you'll be able to implement more and more of this technical work into the site, which will then just make it easier for Google to categorize.
#1 Tip for Getting More Readers For Your Real Estate Articles
Adam: What I've actually really enjoyed is this idea that what you do is create outlines for articles, where you do [cross talk] Tell me about the outlines and how you create those outlines, specifically in my space, obviously.
Lucas: The thing about outlines is that when you just write content to write content, traditionally speaking, at least from what we've seen, the content that we write, or that we help people write through an outline performs a lot better. The reason for that is because Google has a particular way of, again, categorizing things, but also wanting to see things formatted.
Typically, there is something called your H1 tag, or H2 tag, and your subheadings that are within the article itself, and the actual formatting of that article - making sure that the H1 tag is the proper keyword, the H2 tag is the proper keyword; making sure that the images themselves are using the proper alt text, so then signaling Google that that image is doing particularly well, and looking to see if there's what is called internal linking on every single page to also signal to Google that this is a very important page for this particular subject.
Now, the way we determine how different outlines are created is we reverse engineer all of your competitors, and then we determine, based on that, how they're formatting their pages, what they're using in their different keyword headings, and then we'll try to emulate it, but not copy what they're doing and implement it for your site.
The actual strategy of determining the outline is incredibly important, because if it's not broken down in a structured way and it's just a big block of text, then you're probably not going to be as successful with that particular blog. You'll be less readable by Google and, in turn, receive less keyword indexation, which leads to less traffic.
Build Trust With Potential Investors By Using Links on Your Website
Adam: ... move to both the internal links inside a website and external links. In other words, inside an article, you've got
Lucas: You're pointing it out.
Adam: Yeah, you're pointing to other pages inside the site, but you're also pointing to other websites beyond. Explain those two concepts, now, on-page, if you like. How does [cross talk]
Lucas: Exactly. With internal linking, it has to do with time on site and bounce rates. The thing about Google, again, is that they ultimately want the best user experience possible. If the users will stay on site longer, it's usually indicative of them having a better user experience, because there's more information for them to devour on that site.
What internal links will do is it will point people from a blog they're currently reading to another blog that they may also find interesting. Then they just keep reading blogs continuously. If they keep reading these blogs continuously, that will improve time on site, which will also grow the site faster. It ultimately comes down to the same thing, which is how do you keep people's user experience to be quality, which will, like I said, in turn, generate more trust and more traffic with Google.
When it comes to site links that are pointing out from the site to other websites, what's important to keep in mind there is you want to use these ... You want to be pointing to other sites as reference, but if you do it in a way where you point to a site of lower quality, and you don't reference it as 'nofollow,' then you actually could be penalized suddenly for making that reference, because then Google will associate yourself with that website.
You want to make sure that, if you're going to do that, you put the 'nofollow' link - if the site is of lower quality. However, if you point to references- to other sites using links, it actually can be beneficial, if the site is of higher quality, because those people will then start to see you as more of a resource; they'll see you as more trustworthy; that you're actually providing real, genuine value to other websites.
One thing that we did for one of our clients is we created an article, "Top 10 Real Estate Investing Websites," because they were into real estate investments, because they're a software. We included them as the first one, but then we had the other nine, these other companies. They were getting their questions answered, and now they're on the first page for real estate investing websites.
That is one way to build trust with the audience, which it sounds redundant, but, again, brings everything back to the main point, which is to try to improve the user experience, build trust, and keep people coming back over and over again to your site.
Get More Visibility From Investors by Helping Google Crawl Your Website
Adam: Footers and site maps, what is all that about, and why is that important to Google?
Lucas: It goes back to the categorization system I had mentioned before that Google has and how they determine the benefit of a site to its particular user base. The thing about footers is it allows for a quick crawl ability of a website. Essentially, it has to do more with computer processing power and the ability for Google to scrape trillions of sites, because there are so many sites out there.
If you are able to make your site easily readable for Google, then it's going to reward you for that, as well, because it's going to see that you've built your site in a certain way, which allows them to scrape it more often and more frequently. If you scrape the site more frequently, then you'll index more keywords.
Essentially what happens - this is where it gets really interesting - is you have your user-experience side of things, which is just improving the user experience. But then you also have to appease Google in a way, because, if you think about it ... This is kind of like a mathematical thing, but let's say that you have your ... Let's say you have your page, your web page, your home page. Google comes, and it crawls it once; then, it crawls it again a week or two later. That frequency is going to happen ... It will crawl the main page, and it will crawl maybe some other pages.
If you have a really big site, then it needs to be able to crawl a ton of different pages, and the only way it can do that quickly and with a similar frequency as the main pages is if you build a footer structure, and you build a site map. That way, it can go, and it can crawl it really quickly and effectively, multiple times in a given time period.
Every time it crawls a website, it's picking up new keywords and categorizing you. So, you want to increase the amount that Google is crawling a website, in order to actually get them to pick up more keywords over time. You have to play by the rules a little bit, if you want to keep the keyword indexation up and you want them to be able to read every single page on your website.
Why Proper SEO Helps Your Real Estate Deals Get Discovered Online
Adam: What is SEO, to the uninitiated ... I know I've got a website. What's SEO? What does it stand for, to start with, and what is it?
Lucas: That's a very good question. Search Engine Optimization is what it stands for. It's been around since the beginning of search, so the beginning of search engines. Essentially, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin, and other search engine company founders tried to find a way to categorize the world's information. Going all the way back to the beginning of search, there's always been people like us optimizing for that categorization, in order to be seen more frequently online.
For people like us, our overall goal is to try to comply with the algorithm that these companies create, specifically Google. There's other algorithms as well, like DuckDuckGo, or Bing, but nobody uses those as much as they use Google. What our focus on is trying to deduce the Google algorithm and to determine what specific parameters allows for companies to rank highly on search pages.
That is the process of SEO. It's creating content to feed the beast and to index keywords, and then, once you get keyword indexation, to rank on the first page of Google for as many of those keywords as you possibly can. The reason why the first page is important is because most people don't go to the second, or third page at all, and if you're there, then it's very hard for people to find you.
How Your Real Estate Articles Can Bring More Traffic to Your Crowdfunding Website
Lucas: About 50 percent - this is conventional wisdom, both from the massive data we've collected and also just experience and other communities of SEO experts - but the conventional wisdom is that about 50 percent, 40 to 50 percent of all growth in a website is from the trust that the website has built up with Google. Usually that's in the form of backlinks.
How you generate backlinks organically - which is what people like us put a huge emphasis on - is by putting out quality content online and then trying to encourage other websites to share that content. The way that happens is by showing up more often on Google, because people like yourself, people like myself, when we share an article, it's usually because we've found it online.
If you show up more often online for different terms, through optimizing your website and writing content, then that concept will get reshared. When it gets reshared, then you build up trust with Google, because you're building what's called backlinks, or referring domains. The more that you have, the more your trust is built with Google. The more trust you have built with Google, the higher rankings you're going to get.
The other 50 percent is content, website hierarchy, structure, anything to do with on-page - what's on the website. Off-page is the other 50 percent; on-page is about 50 percent on its own. Now, with on-page and off-page SEO, Neil Patel, who arguably has the most data of any SEO expert, predicts that about 300 to 500- there's about 300 to 500 different ranking factors that he's determined.
We've experienced a very similar thing here. There are a lot of different ranking factors, but the most important ones tend to be off-page. The only way for the average business to build off-page trust is to start on-page and build quality content with the website to then essentially build a community around it. That's the best way to do it.
Google Will Reward You With More Traffic for Having a Fast-Loading Website
Adam: ... We're talking about Google and accommodating Google's algorithms so that people can find us. What's site speed got to do with that?
Lucas: With site speed, the thing that I always mention to people is that there is ... Google, at the end of the day, is a business. The reason why they place such a huge emphasis on site speed is because a business that is involved in search wants the websites that are building their site in compliance with Google's algorithm to be rewarded for creating a better user experience.
If somebody searches for something and then they end up finding the website quickly, exactly for what they want, and that user experience is very, very good, meaning they check out, they buy something, or they move through the process that is laid out for the user on the website - maybe that's just reading content or whatever it is - then there's a positive feedback loop that's created between the search engine, the business, and the user. That creates a whole positive user experience.
The reason why site speed is important is because without proper site speed, then the user experience is typically deteriorated. If you've ever been on a site where it takes six, seven, eight seconds to load, you're probably going to click away. The bounce rate is going to be incredibly high.
Google has an imperative to essentially make sure that every site possible is optimally optimized for performance. If they do that, then they will, in turn, receive more keyword indexation and receive better traffic. Luckily, it's very easy to determine how fast your site is. There's a lot of tools out there like GTmetrix, or Lighthouse, or Google [PageSpeed] Insights, where you could run a report for free in like five seconds to figure that out.
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