Search Engine Optimization & Building Backlinks Can Grow Your Real Estate Brand Online

Real estate is a game of hustle. Show those homes, negotiate those deals, close those sales. It’s a competitive space with a lot of players and every agent needs to do what they can to stand out from the crowd.

To ensure you get the most success for your hustle, you need to make sure prospective clients find you online. To get to the top of Google’s search results, you need three things: a fast-loading, mobile-friendly site; a navigation scheme Google can easily crawl; and a very strong profile of backlinks.

Think of a backlink profile like your reputation with Google, where it finds which sites linked back to you and assigns you a benchmark known as domain authority.

Take Inventory

The first step to improving your search presence is understanding where your website stands at the moment. Do you have hundreds of links to your site? What quality of websites link back to you – spammy microsites or respectable directories? Are the links embedded over relevant keywords or inane text?

It’s important to know because links from trusted sites boost your search ranking, while links from spammy microsites will drag you down.

This assessment process is what’s known as a backlink audit and usually requires tools like Google Analytics, SEMRush, or Ahrefs, but it can be done manually. Some tools simply present you with a list of sites and you need to evaluate the quality yourself, while others provide information on their domain health. You’ll want to find the tool that best fits your specific needs and budget.

Next, address the sites that are dragging down your domain authority, contact these harmful sites and ask them to remove their links to your site. Otherwise, you’ll need to put together a disavow report with those links included and request that Google have them removed.

If you’ve recently changed your site domain or navigation format, for instance, if your ‘About’ page used to be at yoursite.com/about-us and now it’s at yoursite.com/about, check for outdated links out there, contact the referring sites and kindly ask them update the links with the new versions. Otherwise, visitors will get 404 error, which will drag you down in search results.

Break Ground

After cleaning house and ridding yourself of toxic links, it’s time to get proactive. 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. This includes factors like location, your specialty (luxury, vacation, commercial), and the anchor text which is the literal text the link is embedded on.

Collect a list of websites that you think would offer valuable links to your site, ideally focusing on professional & general directories, news & industry media, and associations. You can use tools like Ahrefs or Moz’s Open Site Explorer to assess the domain health of your list and rank them accordingly.

most reputable referring domains for U.S. real estate firms chart

Source: SEMRush

Start by getting listed on sites like Zillow, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Yellow Pages. These should be easy wins on sites with incredibly high domain authority and visibility, which would mean very good things your site.

Another avenue is to share any news related to your business, like listing announcements, moving offices, or doing good in your community, via 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 reside on sites with high domain authority.

Some drawbacks to this approach are distribution sites for publishing press releases often charge per release and you won’t always have newsworthy updates to promote, so take advantage when you can – forcing matters to be newsworthy won’t serve your business.

Deliver on Quality

The last step you can take to build a strong backlink profile is to produce good content on your site that others will want to refer to. This can be content that’s designed to be evergreen in its usefulness or so compelling that it gets shared and referenced on other sites.

Some examples of valuable, share-worthy content:

  • A to-do list for first-time homebuyers
  • Guide to getting the highest price for your home
  • Renovation ROI on sale price
  • Community resources

If you’re able, try to make your website a destination for members of your community. That traffic will not only boost your domain authority, but you’ll benefit from other people linking back to your content.

Be sure to research your competitors’ sites to see what tactics they employ and check their domain authority periodically to see how it’s working. If it is, emulate; if it isn’t, get creative and you’ll outrank them pretty quickly.

Building a strong backlink profile requires ongoing effort – it can’t be done overnight. It may seem taxing and not worth the effort at first, but over time you’ll find more leads on your website, organically, as you rise in the search rankings.

There’s no need to splurge on expensive billboards or get your face on every bench in town. Landing at the top of prospective clients’ searches is sure to drive much more business your way in the long run.

For more tips and deeper insights, there are helpful walkthroughs explaining how to best build a backlink profile, like this one from SEMRush.

This article was provided to us by a guest contributor from SEMRush. SEMRush is a search engine optimization platform and competitive intelligence suite for online marketing research.