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April 2007
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June 2007

RealBird hack

For those of you who wondered how to start your RealBird single property website with the description, video or photos screen instead of the default map view, here is a "hack" from Alex Keyser:

http://listings.realbird.com/Default.aspx?post=Real_Estate&c=Gilroy&s=CA&fid=3786#section-5 

The link above will open the property website with the photo slide show as the default page. Note, the #section-5 part of the link (highlighted).

To do this with your own listing, first get the default link, then add #section-1 or #section-2 etc. to the end of the link until you get the screen of your choice. The next version of the service will officially include this screen selection method as a configuration option. Until then, you can use the hack submitted by Alex to achieve this. Thanks Alex for the hint.

-- Zoltan Szendro
RealBird


IceRocket shows your listings again

After a long absence, IceRocket.com - a blog search engine - shows RealBird listings again. Originally, when we released our RSS push technology at the time of Edgeio's launch, most of the blog search engines including Technorati, Google Blogsearch and IceRocket picked up the RealBird listings in almost real-time. Later, blog search engines decided - pretty much at the same time - to ignore those RSS feeds, which are clearly database syndication as opposed to RSS feeds of regular blogs.

A week or so ago, I started to notice that IceRocket jumped back in the game, showing RealBird listings as they get published.

For the time being, we add IceRocket back to the list of distribution sites where your listings get the exposure they deserve.

Check it out here

-- Zoltan Szendro
RealBird Inc.


PictureTrail slideshow support and showcase

As we wrote about it before, one of the unique features of the RealBird Publisher single property website builder is the ability to embed any 3rd party widgets.

PictureTrail Logo One of the best Flash photo slideshow builders is PictureTrail. While it is mainly for the younger, non-professional crowd - judging by their website design and samples - it is a perfect fit for real estate professionals also. They provide 27 different, highly interactive slideshow types with very intuitive animations and user interface.

Integration with RealBird is simple: Once you created your free PictureTrail account and uploaded your property pictures, you will be provided with an HTML embedding code for the selected slideshow type. You can copy and paste this code snippet into your RealBird editor and rename the tab from the default video to "Virtual Tour" , "Slide Show" or whatever you pick as a good title.

Alex Keyser has a listing in Gilroy, CA which demonstrates the seamless integration of a PictureTrail slideshow with his RealBird listing website.

Visit the listing site and click the "Virtual Tour" tab for a preview.

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BTW: Alex is also a user of the RealBird Map-based Property Search service. If you are planning to buy in the Santa Cruz, CA area please visit his map-search application for a quick, easy-to-use and intuitive MLS search experience.

-- Zoltan Szendro
RealBird Inc.


Outer Sunset houses for sale

One of the important features of the RealBird Publisher is the flexibility to add free-form content to your single property website, whether it is embedded media of any type or property description and neighborhood information. While it takes only a little extra time to enter description and neighborhood information, the benefits in terms of search engine results can be significant.

Anna's listing Anna got it right ! -- See this listing

GetClicky showed an interesting Google search referral yesterday.

A consumer searched for "Outer Sunset houses for sale" on Google and found Anna's listing as the 2nd match on the first page. The consumer clicked through to the listing published via RealBird, and followed the link to Anna's website. While we could not continue the tracking of the consumer's activity on Anna's 3rd party website, I have a feeling that an engaged user like this probably started to utilize her other services such as the RealBird Map-based IDX search widget on her site.

 

GetClicky shows click-through to Anna's website

By taking the time (only few minutes extra) to enter a meaningful description and neighborhood information for the property, Google rewarded the listing as a perfect match for this real-world query. By meaningful I mean something which is very specific for the property. Having the neighborhood described as "Outer Sunset", which is specific to this particular San Francisco neighborhood, Google increased the relevancy mark significantly.

The great thing about it, is that a consumers searching for this particular term are more likely to have significant interest in this particular neighborhood and are already pre-qualified therefore, than consumers who searches for a more general term, such as "San Francisco real estate" for example.

GetClicky also shows, that the particular user clicked through to Anna's website. While we do not have further information on the visitor's engagement, this seems to justify the above statement, that is, a consumer with such specific term seems to be more pre-qualified and convertible to an actual lead.

Here are a few hints on how to best utilize the RealBird Publisher for search engine results:

1., Enter property description
You can start by copying and pasting the description from your MLS listing and modify the terminologies and sentences a bit to avoid duplicate content penalty (Google does not like duplicate content on different pages). Having an extra paragraph added and grammatically rearranging a few sentence will do the trick.

2., Enter neighborhood information
As described above, having neighborhood specific terms and descriptions included can increase your relevancy rank and the actual pre-qualification of visitors. Enter market statistics, census information and make sure you pick a neighborhood description which is well-known for your particular market.

3., Pick a good title
Just like with the above two items, the facility to enter a free-form title for your property can be a very valuable tool to highlight those search terms you'd like to be searched for.

4., Enter feature list
Again, it takes only a little time, but having at least 10 main and unique features entered per property can significantly boost your ranking. We use these tags not only to display information, but also as search engine keywords and as tags on 3rd party classified sites such as Edgeio.com

5., Enter your blog RSS feed for cross-marketing and SEO
If you have a real estate blog, make sure you update your RealBird profile with your blog's feed. Our unique feature of listing your recent blog posts on your property site will surely help search engines with relevant outgoing links and indexable terms. You only have to enter the RSS feed on your profile page once and we'll automatically include the latest posts from there on.

6., Keep it fluid
When utilizing the above features, always think about writing to real-world readers, not for search engines. Keeping this in mind will make it easy and quick to format your content. This benefits both consumers reading and search engines ranking your content.

7., Link in and out
RealBird enables you to add as many outgoing links to your content as you want. For example, you can link to your county site for further neighborhood info and to your 3rd party virtual tour or your corporate site for more listing information. We suggest that while entering as much information via RealBird as possible, also make sure, that you link to your existing MLS content or virtual tour (e. g. using the Virtual tour field or More Info field in the editor). On the same token, if you are using other platforms besides RealBird to market your listing, make sure, that you link to your RealBird listing. Having relevant sites chain-linked is another great way to increase your search engine results

All of these steps take only an extra couple of minutes per listing, but as demonstrated, they can increase your visibility in search engines significantly.

-- Zoltan Szendro
RealBird.com