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#1 crallin

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Posted 27 April 2011 - 11:13 PM

So my wife and I have this dream of being digital nomads with our family living in a motor home traveling around the US and the world living off of our website CABCOT.com.

I feel the site is well designed, thought out, and has pretty good SEO. BUT, it is not climbing in the search engines for my keywords. I have spent a year trying to get it higher, but feel like a failure. I recently decided to hire an SEO company by the name of Ecombuffet, which I have used in the past, but am still fairly concerned about my rankings not increasing. I have read countless books, blogs, forums, and am starting to lose hope in my dream. I feel the website has so much potential, but I must be missing something. Please help! :frustration:

#2 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 12:32 AM

Are the listings unique? Or do other sites have the same listings / same content?

Have you gotten good backlinks? Or are most of them from directories, or other low hanging fruit?

Any social action? Tweets? FB likes?

Anything extra-special that makes your site different from the competitors? Better? Much better?

I'm heading to bed now, but wanted to throw those questions out so we can all discuss later.

#3 EGOL

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 02:40 AM

You are going up against some heavyweights - national real estate sites

... and highly optimized local real estate sites

========================

Title tags are the most important on-page element....

"For Sale: A Home for All Seasons: Ashland, Oregon"

Needs better optimization.

========================

What is the SEO company doing to acquire the links that will power your rankings? Going down the wrong path here will be fatal. Attacking without the resources to be competitive will also be fatal.

#4 jonbey

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 03:49 AM

Hi again.

Try to get totally unique content. If that means less, so be it. If there is an efficient way to list several cabins on one page, so that so there are less pages to view. How many pages do you have? Is there a lot of turnaround? Do old listings remain or 404 (deleted?).

I like the site, nice map on front page, good use of google maps, good features on the sides.

Maybe default text size could be bigger. Grey text on a blue background does not make the words leap out at me.

The blog section (http://www.cabcot.com/tips-and-guides/) does not have any of the sidebar links to properties - this is the part of the site that could draw people in, don't waste it. Maybe get excerpts on that homepage (like the categories) look.

Sounds like a great plan, cruising around in a camper van and running a website.

#5 Dr.Marie

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 09:11 AM

Welcome!

I like your site. It looks very professional.

EGOL's right - you have some stiff competition. But, I think if you can find some more ways to be "different" than other real estate sites you can succeed.

Stick around here and ask lots of questions and don't get discouraged! The people in here really, really know their stuff!

#6 crallin

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 11:22 AM

I have tried to reply to each of you. Thank you so much for your feedback.

-----

Are the listings unique? Or do other sites have the same listings / same content?
-Some of them are, but most of them are not. We have been actively trying to acquire new listings that are unique.

Have you gotten good backlinks? Or are most of them from directories, or other low hanging fruit?
-We have a few good backlinks (never enough). I have been working on this through requests, blog comments, forums, directories, social networks, etc. Here is a simple report:
http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/www.cabcot.com/a!links

Any social action? Tweets? FB likes?
-We have a facebook page at facebook.com/cabcot and twitter page at twitter.com/cabcot. I think we have FB 47 likes and I haven't spent much time on twitter.

Anything extra-special that makes your site different from the competitors? Better? Much better?
-There are many real estate websites, but we feel that some people are looking specifically for cabins or cottages and not just cookie cutter homes. There isn't large competition in this area. One idea we had would be to feed a sample of our listings out to other sites like zillow, trulia, google, etc in order to bring back traffic and also have the slogan "List here and have it everywhere" or something like that.

-------

You are going up against some heavyweights - national real estate sites
-I definitely agree. That is why we thought if we could just go after a small niche, we could succeed. Any suggestions?

Title tags are the most important on-page element...."For Sale: A Home for All Seasons: Ashland, Oregon"
Needs better optimization.
-I have thought about all of the various possibilities of how to do the title tag. Because the content is user generated, I thought the best would be to have it the main listing title hoping people would put in good keywords. I am definitely open to suggestions.

What is the SEO company doing to acquire the links that will power your rankings? Going down the wrong path here will be fatal. Attacking without the resources to be competitive will also be fatal.
-To be honest, I am not quite sure what they are doing to acquire links. I feel sad admitting that, because normally I do my homework. Where would you spend your resources if you were me?

------

Try to get totally unique content. If that means less, so be it. If there is an efficient way to list several cabins on one page, so that so there are less pages to view. How many pages do you have? Is there a lot of turnaround? Do old listings remain or 404 (deleted?).
-I agree on getting totally unique content. That is a big goal of ours. We do have pages by location that have more than one listing per page. For example: http://www.cabcot.co...tates/colorado/, but I may not have interpreted the question correctly. We currently have about 110 pages or so. So far, only two listings have been removed. I have set it so that the pages do not 404, the listing instead loses all pictures, address, and specific information. The city, state, title, and description stay. I thought that would be the best for SEO, but let me know if I made a boo boo.

I like the site, nice map on front page, good use of google maps, good features on the sides.
-Thank You!!!

Maybe default text size could be bigger. Grey text on a blue background does not make the words leap out at me.
-I agree about the text size. I will change that soon (hopefully doesn't mess up the layout). As far as the grey text, are you talking about the body text? If so, should I go darker? or are you talking about the main navigation at the top?

The blog section (http://www.cabcot.com/tips-and-guides/) does not have any of the sidebar links to properties - this is the part of the site that could draw people in, don't waste it. Maybe get excerpts on that homepage (like the categories) look.
-I never thought of that. Do you think it would be better to have the Search by Location widget or the Featured Listings widget in the Tips and Guides sidebar?

Sounds like a great plan, cruising around in a camper van and running a website.
-It is funny, you get to a point in life when you ask why am I doing this? What is the point? I guess you could say we are alternative, but we want to experience living and not just be alive.

-------

I like your site. It looks very professional.
-Thank You!!

EGOL's right - you have some stiff competition. But, I think if you can find some more ways to be "different" than other real estate sites you can succeed.
-I am really open to feedback, so if you have any suggestions, I would try them out. My main problem is my limitation in money and time. Go figure!

Stick around here and ask lots of questions and don't get discouraged! The people in here really, really know their stuff!
-I have asked my friends and others for feedback and all I usually get is "Looks Good, how are you going to make money again?" Needless to say, this has been refreshing!!

Thank You!!

#7 jonbey

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 11:33 AM

The grey text on blue was in some of the descriptions, middle of page.

I would be tempted to try to keep the blog section as similar to the rest of the site as possible, so yeah, have the featured listings down the right hand side.

And yeah, it is real shame when so much of our lives is driven by the need for money.

#8 EGOL

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Posted 28 April 2011 - 12:09 PM

I have been working on this through requests, blog comments, forums, directories, social networks, etc. Here is a simple report:

Links obtained through these methods are mostly worthless to worth very little. If you look at your OpenSiteExplorer report you will see that lots of them are nofollowed, lots of them are on sites that have nothing to do with your real estate listings and the anchor text is unrelated to your site.

To get good rankings you are going to need a LOT of followed links on high quality sites that are related to your topic. What I see tells me that your linkprofile is weak and you need robust to vigorous to be successful.

If I owned this site I would be brainstorming to develop content that lots of people who build, own, sell or buy cabins would want to know about and try to get links into those pages from other websites that are all about building, owning, buying, or selling cabins and other types of related real estate. I am not talking about sit-down-for-an-hour-and-bang-out-a-story content. I am talking about something that is best-on-the-web in your niche with lots of photos, data, graphs, or diagrams, etc. that make it impressive.

it is not climbing in the search engines for my keywords


This suggests that the linkbuilding and other promotion that is being done on this site is not effective. Instead of getting links on blogs and directories that anyone can get (that means they are worth nothing to very little), you need to get links that must be earned and awarded by webmasters of authoritative and trusted sites because you have content that they can't resist sharing with their visitors and freely give some of their traffic to you. That means your content must be exceptional.

That type of content is not easy work. If you can produce it regularly and repeatedly over time then your site has a chance at success.

#9 crallin

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Posted 29 April 2011 - 04:49 PM

Sorry I have not gotten back on here. Thank you for taking to time to reply again. I posted a fast reply that somehow disappeared. Anyways here was my reply:

-----

The grey text on blue was in some of the descriptions, middle of page.

-I see what you are talking about - the location pages have featured listings that are blue. I have been thinking about redesigning these as well, so we are on the same page.

I would be tempted to try to keep the blog section as similar to the rest of the site as possible, so yeah, have the featured listings down the right hand side.

-Thank you for the suggestion, I will make this change soon.

-----

If I owned this site I would be brainstorming to develop content that lots of people who build, own, sell or buy cabins would want to know about and try to get links into those pages from other websites that are all about building, owning, buying, or selling cabins and other types of related real estate. I am not talking about sit-down-for-an-hour-and-bang-out-a-story content. I am talking about something that is best-on-the-web in your niche with lots of photos, data, graphs, or diagrams, etc. that make it impressive.

This suggests that the linkbuilding and other promotion that is being done on this site is not effective. Instead of getting links on blogs and directories that anyone can get (that means they are worth nothing to very little), you need to get links that must be earned and awarded by webmasters of authoritative and trusted sites because you have content that they can't resist sharing with their visitors and freely give some of their traffic to you. That means your content must be exceptional.


-Agreed. We are on the same page as far as linkbait. I will have to put some more thought into this. So far, I have thought of: famous people who have lived in cabins and cottages, most unique log cabins, accessory directory for your log cabin or cottage. If anyone can think of any articles off the top of your head it would help. Or if you know of any resources of good writers let me know.

That type of content is not easy work. If you can produce it regularly and repeatedly over time then your site has a chance at success.

-It's not the size of the dog in the fight that matters... it's the size of the fight in the dog.

Thanks again. I will start working on these this weekend.

Edited by crallin, 29 April 2011 - 05:40 PM.


#10 SEO Beach Bum

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 03:01 PM

Hey,

Here are some thoughts:
  • Don't feel like a failure... that doesn't help
  • Check your anchor text from links
  • look at competitors successful seo strategies
  • check site architecture
  • what has the historical progress been like?
hopefully this helps!

#11 crallin

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 02:07 AM

Hey,

Here are some thoughts:

  • Don't feel like a failure... that doesn't help
  • Check your anchor text from links
  • look at competitors successful seo strategies
  • check site architecture
  • what has the historical progress been like?
hopefully this helps!



It is hard to not feel like a failure some days. Here I have created a pretty decent website spent all of our savings/credit cards on it, and don't know where to turn next. I haven't posted on here for quite a while out of embarrassment. I have made quite a few architectural upgrades, but it seems that nothing is making the site climb in the serps. I hired an SEO company that helped, but site traffic is still very low and no one is really adding any listings. It seems that the only way to make money is to have money already or be unique and gain followers.

I have taken almost all of the suggestions taken so far in this forum (i.e. larger text, more content, etc). You guys have been great!!

Could I please get more feedback to help grow this thing? Any on page SEO suggestions? Any tips or guides?

Thanks again! Peace and Love!

#12 jonbey

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 04:06 AM

It's tough alright. I run a local business directory and get hardly any business through it. Short of just keep writing and promoting it, I am not sure what to suggest. How big is the market? How saturated? Who are you competing with? These are generally the big questions to tackle.

#13 A.N.Onym

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 07:25 AM

Typically, it's about getting more links from sites that'd send you targeted traffic.

1. I see you've created a few guides, but have you promoted them? How?

2. Try writing a few guest posts for relevant blogs about choosing, building or buying/selling a cabin or a cottage to relevant blogs, online journals, etc.

3. You might want to identify resources that'd find your listing information useful, such as free online ad sections, hyperlocal bloggers or some newspapers with free ad sections.

Give them location-specific feeds and let them publish them on their website with links to your listing, category and location pages with relevant text. You can do this with embedded Javascript and a few text links, but it'd be better to have server-side scripts (PHP, Python, Ruby), so they'd serve HTML and get you more HTML links. Of course, it's not easy, esp. without a budget, but what is, if you want to get lots of links from relevant resources and get more customers?

4. If you want a guide, here's a guide on linkbait that you might find useful. You'll learn how to create better content and promote it from the guide, but apply it to your niche: find the people that are interested in your topic(s) (cabins, cottages, local real estate, etc) and communicate with them.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 05 December 2011 - 07:27 AM.




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