Sunday, February 28, 2010

Northwest Indiana Homes

I was wondering out loud today what terms consumers actually use when they look for a home builder. Thoughts?

  • Home Builder
  • Contractor
  • Homes and Models
  • Floorplans
The problem with thinking about search engine optimization is that often we can't relate to real google and bing users. For years I've though that dominating Northwest Indiana Home Builder, or any of the more specific community searches like Portage Indiana Homes, or Valparaiso New Homes ... would do the trick. But now I'm not so sure. Do real consumers really use these kinds of terms?

Be honest, what do you think are terms actually searched in the region.

6 comments:

C. Hedges said...

Hi Steve,

I've wondered the same thing about local searches for legal terms. I asked a few people a while back what terms they would use and it was interesting.

I wonder if people use Northwest Indiana as much as they might use other terms, such as Merrillville home builder or other terms. It's somewhat like the term Chicagoland -- only car dealers use that phrase.

One way to check could be to use a Google Adwords account to run a search volume analysis to see what people are looking for in our area.

Brad said...

The quick and dirty way is to do some searches on Google, Yahoo and Bing and see which search phrases bring up the most text ads - those tend to be the most used. Or at least people are gambling the most money on those phrases.

The better step is to do your keyword research. There are several KW research tools available: the best ones are the paid ones.

Additionally, look at your direct competitors at their back links, and the anchor text and see what phrases they rank well for for more data.

The most competitive phrases will take some time to rank for, so it does not hurt to build your site big and generate pages of content aimed at the "long tail" of lesser used search phrases.

I know I'm being very general but I doubt you will generate a big enough data set by just asking NWI users. It does not hurt but first get the big picture.

The problem with NWI is we are so fragmented. Decide where your core geographic areas are to build and go for those town names might be a good strategy because "Northwest Indiana" is kind of amorphous. Usually owning the specific niche first: "Portage" is where you want to start then expand out from there.

briefs said...

Thanks Chris and Brad, I've wondered this for a long time. Frankly searching consumers tend to search really odd things. For example, Portage Homes will get searched but Portage Indiana New Homes and Portage Indiana Homes for Sale don't get searched.

I feel bad for consumers, and small businesses I guess, that searching ability is so low. They really aren't getting the results they want.

C. Hedges said...

I'm tending to agree with Brad about Northwest Indiana not necessarily being the best search term because 1) Google doesn't know where we are so that probably hurts any kind of local business listings, and 2) People around here probably tend to think in terms of cities and towns, i.e. Portage, Gary or Dyer.

Maybe Northwest Indiana is the same sort of term as is Chicagoland -- it's a media created term that people don't necessarily ever use in their lives.

briefs said...

Heading into my writing bunker now to begin series of posts on Crown Point, Portage, Valparaiso, LaPorte home building opportunities for buyers who want to stay under $200,000 total.

Mike said...

There is much written on SEO, and that is what you are talking about. In the the Real Estate Business it is more difficult due to the competition for keywords used in the search. One of the easy ways to use your key word in what you write.

Getting Local is the same. Many web writers fail to even mention their location, let alone repeat it in their copy. An example of the way to gettin' local can be found on this page

http://www.unlimitedphones.info/cricket_valpo.htm

try this search in google

cricket valpo 

or

cricket valparaiso

Either search should return a top ten page.

Now cricket is a wireless company, an insect, but it is mostly a sport
SEO LOCAL is why this page comes up.

I am not posting this as a plug to buy a phone but as an example of SEO