With Google search still reigning supreme as the top way home buyers and sellers shop for homes and agents, ensuring your site gets a lot of Google search visits for key words and phrases is as important as ever. Yet most Realtors and other small businesses who depend on their websites are ignoring a critical piece of their site’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
What are backlinks, you ask? Well, it’s simple. Backlinks are other sites that link to yours. It may sound simple enough, but it’s one of the most important, yet ignored parts of your search engine marketing.
You see, part of Google’s powerful, mysterious algorithm for ranking websites tries to evaluate how much of an “expert” your site is on what its content says it’s about. It also tries to determine which sites have more “authority” than others on a subject. One of the main ways they measure this expertise and authority is by, you guessed it, the number and quality of backlinks your site has from sites that are also relevant to and have authority on your site’s subject matter.
To put it another way, they look at who’s linking to your site to tell if your site knows what it’s talking about and thus should rank highly when web and mobile searchers type something relevant into their Google search bar.
So, if you want your site to rank well and get more and more traffic from relevant searches (i.e. buyer and sellers), you’ve got to be constantly seeking out links back to your site from other reputable sites that themselves have solid search visibility.
Again, sounds simple. In reality, most businesses ignore it because it’s very hard work and requires a great deal of diligence to accomplish consistently. But savvy Realtors who know what you can get from good backlinking certainly get the effort required – and the payoff.
“A backlink is coveted!!,” according to Kevin Vitali, digitally-focused Realtor with EXIT Group One Real Estate in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. “This is a long game and does not happen overnight. Quality and consistency are key, but once you get out there more and more opportunities will arise as your site gets more and more traffic and becomes more visible.”
More site visibility, of course, means more traffic. And more traffic means more new leads.
Here are some top ways you can work to get backlinks to your website:
- Donate to charities and higher education – Pick a good local college or school and make a donation in exchange for having your site listed on their scholarship or donors page. Not only is it a great way to help locally, but domains such as .edu are some of the most reputable backlinks you can get. With backlinks, quality matters more than quantity.
- Post guest blogs or articles on local or national industry sites – Many of our HomePocket lead generation website customers boost their SEO by submitting guest posts with links back to their websites to their local MLS site blogs, their national franchise brokerage site blogs, local visitor’s bureaus and partner websites such as mortgage lenders, appraisers, contractors, builders and more.
- Post on national sites that allow posts – Sites like RealtyTimes and Medium are free and only require registration to post your articles. Sites like these are well-indexed by Google and other search engines and can be a big boon to your SEO and backlinking strategy.
- Reach out to local or national writers – A great way to get traffic to your site and build backlinks is to help reporters or journalists who need sources for stories on real estate. You can track relevant content with tools like BuzzSumo then email them quotes and reactions to popular stories or events. You can also sign up for services like HARO, or Help a Reporter Out, which will send you daily emails of reporters looking for quotes and insight from experts in fields such as real estate.
- Answer questions about real estate on Quora – Millions of people each day use Quora for everything from baking a pie to getting a mortgage. Replying with answers that you’re expertly qualified to give and that are in your field allows you to get profile visibility and link to helpful blog posts on your own site.
- Write testimonials and reviews for products you use – Realtors and other small businesses increasingly use dozens of products and services in their business. Writing your own positive reviews and linking back to your site is a great way to get links. It’s also good to offer up your review more formally especially to local vendors and service providers as they will often feature your words and your URL on their websites too.
- Submit your website’s blog to the best blog directories – Reputable blog directories are great ways to get your site exposure and backlinks. Here’s a solid list from Search Engine Journal: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/20-essential-blog-directories-to-submit-your-blog-to/
- Post your blog links consistently to social media – While social media links are not backlinks, they do get your links out there to a wider audience. That often results in someone linking to you in their own blog posts or on their sites.
Lastly, it’s always a good idea to see what your competition or the top sites in your area are doing and make sure your strategy isn’t missing opportunities for your website to get backlinks. Head over to www.cognitiveseo.com or https://ahrefs.com/ and compare your site to theirs. You can then go after links they have that you don’t.
Backlinks are but one part of an SEO foundation that gets your site more traffic – and you more leads. Too often, Realtors and small businesses ignore link building thus robbing their website of any authority and lots of traffic. You truly can’t expect to rank well for any relevant keywords and phrases without solid quantity and quality of backlinks. If you don’t have them, your site will simply sit unvisited by buyers and sellers searching for homes or agents in your local market.
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