Certain aspects of search engine optimization are simple, easy to understand, and something that can be done to your website in an instant. If you’re a real estate agent with a website and have taken the time to understand even the basic fundamentals of search engine optimization, you likely already know that quality content, appropriate headers, correct keyword implementation, and various other techniques will benefit your website’s ranking with the major search engines.
Link building, however, is one of those search engine optimization practices that many real estate agents fail to understand and misuse entirely. If your real estate website has been live for an extended period of time or you’ve explored search engine optimization services with third-party companies, there’s a good possibility you’ve seen numerous advertisements and spam e-mails for effective, low-cost link building.
Of course I certainly understand that everyone has a budget when it comes to web marketing and everyone loves a great deal. But before you risk all the hard work you’ve already put into your real estate website and the ranking your site has already achieved, you need to be absolutely certain the link-building strategies you implement are legitimate and follow white-hat search engine optimization practices. So what exactly does that mean? Here’s a comprehensive explanation of everything you need to know about real estate link-building:
Real estate link building is the process of obtaining relevant, high-quality, inbound web-links to your real estate site, which ultimately help your website achieve a higher ranking among major search engines. In this simplistic definition, take note of the words “relevant” and “high-quality.” This doesn’t mean writing poor quality articles with links to your site and submitting each to an article directory. In addition, this also doesn’t mean constantly spamming blog comment sections with opinions, suggestions, and links back to your site. Instead, real estate link-building starts with writing quality content for both your real estate site and outside websites and building relationships within the internet community!
Proper Link-Building Practice
When I explain to real estate agents that writing quality content and superior blog posts will eventually translate to relevant link-building, it isn’t long before a confused look of disbelief is starring me right back in the face. The logic behind writing engaging, noteworthy content and blog posts is that other professionals, website owners, and media personnel might eventually take notice. How does that help?
For starters, if you write an interesting piece about the unique history of a listing or special features of a home for sale in your local market, there’s always the possibility someone else may find that topic interesting as well and write a follow-up piece on your original article, including a link within the context of their work back to your site. Don’t believe me? Believe it. This actually happens more than you think; but in order for someone to be motivated enough to share your post or link back to your original content, it of course has to be worth sharing—i.e. interesting, engaging, unique, funny, or significant.
Is it a definite possibility you’ll have success with outside parties sharing or linking your content? Simply put: no. But that’s where building relationships comes into play. Obviously, the likelihood of someone sharing or linking back to your real estate website is much greater if you know or have established a rapport with that individual. Quality link-building doesn’t just happen overnight and it rarely occurs randomly. So think of link-building as virtual networking. Start including relevant links in the content you write and the blogs you post, and you never know who might contact you or return the favor.
Guest Blogging & Link Building
Waiting for someone to mention your website or article isn’t enough when it comes to real estate link-building. If you’re serious about generating quality backlinks to your real estate website, be proactive. Find high-traffic real estate blogs and news websites and request to be a guest blogger. Guest blogging not only helps advertise your services as a real estate agent while providing backlinks to your website, but in doing so, you’re also supplying content for the blog or news site itself, which will benefit that site as well.
But before you jump at the opportunity of becoming a guest blogger, be absolutely certain you’re capable of providing engaging, well-written articles that people will want to read. Website owners don’t want to post low-quality articles, and even more importantly for you personally, it’s your name attached to the article, so make sure it’s something you can be proud of and will want to share with the rest of the internet world.
Create Your Own Links
A common misconception regarding the link-building practice of creating your own links is to buy a domain name, throw together another quick real estate website and link it back to your primary real estate website. Unfortunately, the process of creating your own backlinks is much more involved and quite a bit more time consuming. Instead of simply throwing together a handful of cheap, low-quality real estate websites and inner-linking each one, pick out your top 3-5 market specializations and build a substantial web presence for each.
Whether it's several high-end condo buildings or a group of highly-desirable subdivisions in your community, make the determination that you specifically want to rank for these market segments. Next, buy a relatable domain name and create a high-quality, comprehensive website and include every piece of information about that community from the history and original builder(s) all the way down to home features and pricing. Make sure these websites are the go-to sites for any buyer considering a home or condo within that community. Regularly blog about events, units for sale, and community happenings and dedicate just as much time to these sites as you do with your primary, lead-generating website. Over time, all of these sites will gain authority and you’ll have a useful group of websites that will not only help generate more business, but can also be used to inner-link and help significantly boost your core search ranking.
Real estate link building is perhaps the most involved and complex search engine optimization technique around. It requires a lot of effort, focus, and even a little bit of luck. But doing it the right way will ensure an increase in traffic and an improvement in how your real estate website is found on the web via search engines. So stop relentlessly commenting on blog posts and start your journey towards high-quality link building today!
Joe Heath is a graduate of Indiana University and also holds a Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development from Drexel University. After working as a Market Research Associate and writing published Market Snapshots for Hanley Wood Market Intelligence in Chicago, Joe now works as a Web Marketing Specialist and is a managing partner at Real Estate Web Creation, LLC.