Real estate is a tough market to win in. Lots of competition from other agencies and good deals take a lot of work, so you need to make sure your team has every advantage you can muster – things like a strong brand, good community relations, and a website that everyone can find.
The brand and relationships all depend on your preferences, but a very prominent website is something that needs a process – albeit a very easy one. Google is the #1 way people find information these days, including when they want to find a real estate agent or start looking for a new place to live, so you’ll need to work with Google’s search algorithms to rise to the top of the list whenever your potential customers start searching.
Those algorithms expect three things of your website: that it loads fast, that it’s optimized for mobile, and that it’s trusted. Wait, trusted? Google’s version of trust for websites comes from your “backlink profile,” the total collection of times when your website is linked back to by another.
Know the Landscape
In order to have a strong backlink profile, you need good websites to vouch for yours with a backlink. But that’s not all! You need to make sure that you don’t have backlinks from poorly built or spammy websites. In order to meet these two goals, you need to conduct a backlink audit and assess who’s linking to you.
You can do this manually or use tools like Google Analytics, SEMRush, or Ahrefs, which would probably easier. These tools will present you with a list of all the sites giving you backlinks, with some providing information on their impact on your domain’s health. You’ll need to do some research to find the tools fits your needs and your budget the best.
Once you have a firm grasp of who’s linking to your website and of who’s helping and hurting you, you (or an intern, probably) should reach out to the sites dragging down your domain health and request they remove the links to your site and not post anymore in the future.
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If they refuse or don’t respond (which is very likely), you’ll need to send a disavow report to Google, which will hopefully adjust the search algorithms to not punish your search ranking for low-quality backlinks.
Also, if you recently changed up your site domain or navigation format, you’ll need to make sure all the backlinks you have out there correctly direct users to your site. If a lot of visitors get 404 errors for your site, they’ll go to your competitors’ sites instead and Google’s algorithms will punish you in the search rankings.
Make Your Deals
After cleaning house and tossing out the toxic backlinks, it’s time to get hustling for better backlinks. Google’s search algorithms will reward you for accruing backlinks that not only come from sites with high domain authority, but also links on pages that are related to the real estate game. This includes factors like location, your specialty (property development, luxury, office space), and the anchor text, which is the actual text someone clicks to visit the link.
First, make a list of sites you think would offer you valuable backlinks, ideally focusing on professional & general directories, news & industry media, and trade associations. You can use tools like Moz’s Open Site Explorer to measure the domain health of the sites on your list and sort them accordingly.
The best sites to target first would be sites like the Chamber of Commerce, Trulia, Homefinder, and the Yellow Pages. These sites should be easy wins and they have incredibly high domain authority and visibility, which would mean very good things your site’s search rankings.
Another avenue is to share news related to your business, like when you list hot properties in town or by doing some good in your local community. You’ll need to deploy media pitches and press releases to spread the word. News sites have consistently high levels of traffic, which gives them strong domain authority, and online press releases serve as webpages that host any links you include and reside on sites with pretty high domain authority.
This method does have some major drawbacks. Press release sites often charge per release and for backlinks and it’s really unlikely you’ll regularly have newsworthy updates to promote, so just take advantage when you can rather than forcing the matter.
The last other step you can take to build a strong backlink profile is to produce good content that others will love enough to share. This content can be designed to be evergreen in its usefulness or so compelling that it is widely shared on other people’s sites (in other words, viral).
Real estate companies have a ton of places to start for producing content: a to-do list for first-time homebuyers or guides to improving your property value. If you can afford the effort, try to build your website into a destination for members of your community, which will greatly help your domain authority and get you backlinks (and leads!).
As well, check out your competitors’ websites to see their tactics and check their domain authority regularly using your SEO tools to see how they’re doing. Copy what works and ditch what doesn’t; a little creativity can help you beat out the competition.
Building a strong backlink profile isn’t the end of the process – you need to maintain it by getting new backlinks on strong sites and keeping a weather eye out for toxic backlinks from spam sites. The more you improve your domain authority, you’ll start getting more customers organically.
Save yourself the trouble of getting on every bus stop bench in town and focus on your website instead. For more tips and deeper insights, there are some great walkthroughs explaining how to build a backlink profile, like this one from SEMRush.