Use Backlinks to Organically Grow Your Real Estate Business
By Josh Elkin
In the real estate game, you need every tool you can get your hands on to beat out your competitors. Tip-top agents, a good reputation, and highly ranked website are some of the essentials to running a strong real estate company.
I can’t help you with the agents or the reputation, but I can help you with getting your agency’s website to the top of Google’s search results. To do that, you’ll need a fast-loading, mobile-friendly site; a navigation scheme Google can easily crawl; and a robust backlink profile.
Think of a backlink profile like your reputation with Google, where it finds which sites linked back to you and assigns you a benchmark called domain authority. Raising your domain authority makes your site much easier to find on Google Search and you’ll get a lot more web traffic as a result –and therefore more business leads.
The first step on the road to topping Google’s search results is understanding what your domain health looks like. Do you have a hundreds of links to your site or none? What quality sites link back to you –respectable business directories or poorly built sites riddled with ads? Are the links embedded over relevant keywords or text?
It’s important to know because links from good sites boosts your search ranking, while links from microsites that look like spam will only drag you down.
This evaluation process is what’s known as a backlink audit and usually requires tools like Google Analytics, SEMRush, or Ahrefs, but it can be done by hand. All of these tools scour the web looking for links pointing back to your site and some will even provide helpful information on their domain health. You’ll need to find and implement a tool that best fits your needs and your budget.
Next, you need to ask the sites dragging down your domain authority to remove the links to your site, if they wouldn’t mind. Otherwise, you’ll need to put together a disavow report with those links included and send it to Google.
Also, be sure to check on the links you want to keep and make sure they actually point to your site, especially if you’ve changed your site’s domain or navigation scheme (your Contact page used toreside at .../contact and it’s now at .../contact-us.
If you do find bad links out there, contact the referring sites and kindly ask them update the links with the new versions. Otherwise, the 404 errors visitors get will drag you down in the search results.
Break New Ground
After dropping the deadweight and ridding yourself of those harmful links, it’s time to get proactive with acquiring backlinks.
Search algorithms will reward you for links that not only come from sites with high domain authority, but also links on pages that are relevant to your business in some fashion. This includes factors like location, your specialty (luxury, rentals, commercial), and the anchor text, which is the literal text the link is embedded on.
First, collect a list of sites you think would offer valuable links to your site, chiefly looking at professional & general directories, news & industry media, and associations. You can use tools like Moz’s Open Site Explorer or Ahrefs to measure the domain health of your list and rank them accordingly.
Start out by getting backlinks on sites like Trulia, the Chamber of Commerce, Homefinder, and the Yellow Pages. These should be very easy wins on sites with very high domain authority and visibility, which would mean very good things your SEO.
Another avenue is to share news items related to your agency, like listing hot new properties, moving offices, or doing good in your community, by using media pitches and press releases.
News sites are visited very frequently, which gives them strong domain health, and online press releases function like permanent webpages that host the links you put in and they live on sites with pretty high domain authority.
The major drawbacks to this approach are press release sites frequently charge for each release and for backlinks and you won’t always have newsworthy updates to share, so just take advantage when you can rather than forcing it.
Showcase Your Agency
The other major step you can take to build a strong backlink profile is to produce awesome content like this blog, which others will want to refer to on their own sites –it would do wonders for your SEO. This content can designed to be evergreen for its usefulness or so compelling that it gets widely shared on other people’s sites –in other words, try to make it viral.
Some ideas for this content: a to-do list for first-time homebuyers, a rundown of renters’ rights, or guides to raising your property value. If you’re able, try to build your website into a destination for your local community. That consistent traffic will not only boost your domain authority directly, but you’ll really benefit when other people link back to your content.
On top of that, research your competitors’ websites to learn their tactics and check their domain authority periodically to see how it’s working. If it is, don’t be ashamed to be a copycat; if it isn’t, get creative and you’ll probably start outranking them pretty quickly.Building a strong backlink profile requires ongoing effort –this can’t be done in a quick spurt. It may seem annoying and not worth the effort at first, but over time you’ll find more customers approachingyou organically as you rise in the search rankings, basically free advertising.
With strong backlinks, you won’t need to splurge on expensive billboards or get your face on every bench in town as badly. Landing at the top of prospective clients’ web searches is sure to drive a lot of business your way in the long run.
For more tips and deeper insights, there are some great walkthroughs explaining how to build a backlink profile, like this one from SEMRush.