Inbound links can increase your website's position in search results, enabling home buyers and sellers to find you. Generating traffic to your site provides more business to your physical offices, increases your workflow, and ultimately your income. Learning the “art” of link building is not difficult. You will need some patience, time, and the essential knowledge of how to create and share content. Learn how to attract inbound links to your real estate website through the tips provided here.
How Inbound Links Help
The easier it is for potential clients to find your website, the more business you will gain as a result. Building inbound links allows a website to gain higher rankings in search results and enables your site to be found faster. When creating inbound links, aim for quality over quantity. Low-quality links from spam sites can harm your reputation, just as links from authoritative sites will boost your reputation and your search ranking.
Ways to Create Inbound Links
Writing great content not only positions you as a leader in your industry, it naturally attracts inbound links. When you write a thoughtful and engaging piece, other local business leaders will potentially share it thru their social media communications, and ideally on their company blog. Through the sharing of content, a flurry of activity will result, bringing in numerous inbound links to your business. Blogging is a necessary and rewarding activity for you to participate in, and it will reward you long after the initial piece of content is published.
Groom Your Profiles
Online profiles are a natural place to link out to your website. Include links on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social accounts to boost search rankings. Always keep a professional appearance on social media sites, as you are still a reflection of your business on these networks.
Stay Active on Social Media
There is a strong correlation between social media activity and higher search rankings. Every time you add a link to a new listing or blog post, you essentially create an inbound link from a highly trafficked, highly valued website. By remaining active on social media, you continuously engage with your followers, directing loads of inbound links to your site. As a result of the constant activity, you will boost referrals to your website and may contribute to improved search rankings.
Cross-Promote with Local Partners
It is important for a real estate company to identify with local community groups and businesses that are involved in your home areas. Find ways to get familiar with these groups or businesses and partner with them for mutual benefits. Blogging about community events or other local engagements is a natural, yet productive way to connect with others in your community. In exchange for your promotion, these partners will potentially link out to your company when blogging.
Promote listings on online aggregators
Online aggregators like Trulia and Zillow are tremendous resources for home buyers looking for properties. Promoting listings on these sites is a clever way to gain inbound links while attracting more “eyes” to your active home listings. Creating blog posts about your real estate listings and then linking them out to content from Trulia or Zillow is another creative means to gaining more traffic. You may get more than a search results “bump” out of this, you might get a sale.
Search Engine Optimization, or better known as SEO, is relevant to a real estate business as it helps to generate more leads. When your real estate website comes up in search results, it introduces a larger audience to your business through organic traffic. Choosing a well thought-out domain name, implementing high-value keywords in page content, and featuring a relevant title tag, all contribute to page authority factors that improve your site's rankings in searches.
Keywords and SEO
Your website should feature individual pages with descriptive titles in both the header title area and on the page itself within a heading tag that refer to your real estate business's service areas. Keywords are simply words and phrases that potential customers are likely to use when searching. When devising your site's keywords, it is helpful to use words related to the industry such as "homes for sale" and "realtor." Also, as the mantra suggests, "Location, location, location" is especially relevant to real estate and should be integrated into all your web pages. Start by using keywords of neighborhoods that your company has a presence in and eventually include the surrounding areas of towns and regions. As a rule, the pages’ title fields are the highest valued by search engines, followed by page titles within headings, and finally, the rest of the text on the page.
The Domain Name
Your website's address, also known as the domain name, is among the most important elements of the SEO process for your real estate business. Keywords in domain names are extremely relevant, but they are also scrutinized and subjected to limitations. When devising a successful domain name, your audience is the most important factor. It is in your businesses’ best interest to focus on choosing domain names that emphasize both your business services and areas served. Exact match domains, or domains that use the same keywords tend to do well in search engine results. However, search engines use intelligent algorithms and are unlikely to rank an exact match domain highly if the rest of the site consists of poor-quality content.
Tips on Choosing a Domain Name
- A good domain name should be no longer than 15 characters long, easy to remember and easy to spell.
- Shorter domain names work better than longer ones.
- Having to spell out the domain name is a sign that its not a good choice.
- Avoid using hyphens. Spam sites often use several hyphens in domains, and your site could be penalized.
- Your domain name should reflect the market/city/area you serve and what you are selling. For example, "Townsville Homes," "Townsville Real Estate", etc.
- Try to provide specific names for example, "Townsville Luxury Homes" performs better than "Townsville Apartments."
If your first domain name is not working for you, you can always buy additional domain names and redirect them to your main website.
- You can purchase other similar domain names to prevent competitors from taking them.
- When selecting your domain name, use high-quality Top Level Domains like .com and .net before resorting to .biz and similar types.
- Research your domain name for trademark registration, as claiming a domain for something that has already been trademarked, will get you sued.
Designing a real estate website that abides by Search Engine Optimization best practices is an effective way to attract business. The term Organic SEO refers to the practice of bringing in website traffic naturally, through results generated by Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines. Discussed here are the components that impact organic SEO such as your keywords, content, blogs and social media that impact your SEO.
SEO Keywords are specific words and phrases that describe the content of a web page. They are the leading factors that drive traffic to websites. Search Engines are extremely intelligent. They use computer systems to analyze the content of web pages to determine how it compares to other similar content. If your site contains words that are relevant to the information your target audience is searching for, it is likely that they will find your site. The type of content used in keywords should relate to the kind of business you run and the location of your business's served area. However, overusing keywords or those that are not related to your content, as an attempt to bring in unrelated traffic, will penalize your site in search results.
Location, Location, Location
The real estate mantra, "Location, location, location" applies online as much as it does in real life. It is essential to include the location of the area served before or after the businesses name whenever referring to them online. Start with specific neighborhoods such as "Sycamore Landing" and gradually work your way up to more populated areas such as "Northern Jacksonville." The more detailed you are when using keywords, the better.
Your time and efforts on keywords will be futile if your website's content is lacking. High-quality content boosts SEO and drives traffic. Developing pages about the areas your business covers and the types of services that your company provides is an excellent way to provide quality content.
Producing blog content regularly is also an effective way to boost your site's SEO performance. A company blog that includes content about your real estate business and your industry will lead to more clicks and ultimately more traffic to your home page. Including engaging content that consists of written articles, photos and video will make it not only informative but entertaining and most importantly, it will keep your clients returning on a regular basis.
It is necessary to use the most relevant keywords in fields for the page's header title. A header title appears on the top of one’s browser window. It is also important to include keywords within heading tags and on the pages themselves. By using the H1 tag to keep the page's title on the page and the H2 tag to contain section headings, your pages will become more SEO friendly. The content in these fields is critical, as it is valued higher by search engines than the general content found on the page.
Social Media and Mobile
How well your content performs on social media such as Facebook and Twitter as well as how "mobile friendly" your site, contributes to search engine rankings. Social media also facilitates opportunities for real estate agents to engage with prospects. Sites that use responsive design, a programming technique that adjusts website content to fit on desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile devices depending on the screen size, will boost SEO rankings. Easy-to-read content available on any platform encourages more activity and results in more traffic too.
Adding your properties and business listings to real estate directories like Trulia and Zillow contributes to improving your SEO significantly. Search engines value links from respectable sites and recognize them as a sign of authority, translating into higher rankings. Links from news sites and blogs also help with your rank.
How to Make Sure Your Home Listings are discovered in Search
While home buying may be about "location, location, location," home selling is about doing everything you can to attract interested parties to your real estate listings. Whether you're trying to draw the biggest crowd to an open house in hopes of getting multiple offers, or trying to find the right buyer for a unique property, you've got to position your listing to get found in search. Here's how to do it.
Optimizing Real Estate Listings
House hunters aren't just searching for two-bedroom apartments or downtown condos, they're searching for specific properties in specific locations. Many times they will drive by a home, and search for that exact address. To get your listings found by the right people, you need to capitalize on this by making sure every listing has the right amount of details to get found in relevant search results. To do this, you'll use SEO or search engine optimization tactics.
- Return your listing when users search for apartments in your city
- Help your website get indexed by Google, so you beat out MLS aggregates and get more direct traffic
- Help you capture leads even after a sale by referring new home buyers and sellers toward your brokerage
Simple SEO for Real Estate Professionals
SEO does not need to be intimidating. In fact, with the right real estate platform, many of these SEO benefits are built-in.
In essence, SEO entails accurately describing the property using keywords and phrases, taking advantage of photo and video content to entice viewers, and pushing out the listing to the places where it will earn you traffic.
To get started optimizing real estate listings, do the following:
- Include the neighborhood and address in the listing title
- Place the city, street name, and zip code in all tags for the listing - title, body, URL, and header
- Officially post the listing on your site 48 hours before it hits MLS to get indexed before competing listings
- Add the neighborhood and address to image titles and descriptions to give search engines more keywords
- Push listings to local news outlets, community blog, and social media channels to draw attention
- Create a friendly page for sold listings that will attract users to active listings.
These actions provide search engines with geo-specific data about property listings and tether this data to your website. When a house hunter searches for properties in a neighborhood, your relevant listings will pop up.
While these tips will help users find your specific listing, site-wide SEO can also improve your entire website's return in search results. If you're looking to get a leg up on other brokerages in your area, this is a must!
Make sure that all website copy, including your Contact page and your welcome page includes relevant keywords that a house hunter might use to search for realtors near them. Consider adding a blog to your website to drive traffic, promote listings, and give you more places to put relevant keywords.
These tips might sound time-consuming, but work through them. Over time, you'll get used to the extra effort of optimizing listings and find that it comes easily!
A real estate company’s most critical tool for attracting business is their website. Research reveals that 92 percent of real estate searchers used realtor websites to search for their next home. Providing meaningful information and attractive images can make your real estate website an authoritative resource for those seeking homes for sale in your community. Your website can also generate valuable business leads that result in sales. By including high-quality content and the right features to your site, you can make it stand out from the others in this crowded real estate market.
It is important that you direct your site traffic not just to listings but to the pages that provide information about your real estate business. You will want to include geo-specific information of all the locations you serve. By providing precise, local content, search engines will display your site more often when users search for realtors in your community. Just as important, it generates relevant search traffic for your business. Your company information should include:
- Office and mobile telephone numbers
- Business hours
- Address and a mapping feature, such as Google Maps
- Photo of Real Estate agents
- A brief bio that includes agent’s areas of specialization
- Social media contact information
- Additional information to share that makes your office unique, etc.
Property listings help to generate visitors to your site and increase your bottom line. A good “listings showcase” tool will support embedded photos and videos along with property details. If possible, include virtual tours of your more prestigious listings that will provide a more comprehensive and visually pleasing view of those properties for sale.
Property Detail Pages
Real estate buyers tend to be sophisticated when viewing of real estate listings. They demand the ability to browse listings quickly and to utilize search features to find properties by address, neighborhood, or other local keywords. Take advantage of potential clients and leads viewing your site. Attach a contact form to each property listing so that interested parties can reach out immediately and request information. Be sure to have fields that will capture their email address and telephone number and to provide a brief message to you. Include social media buttons to encourage communication.
Customer testimonials from satisfied home sellers and home buyers are a quick and powerful way to gain the trust of new clients. It is important always to ask for permission of former customers before including a testimonial on your site. To expedite the process and to avoid taking up too much of their time, you can offer to write the testimonial for them and have them approve it.
A blog allows you to create shareable, keyword-rich content that enhances your authority as a property expert in your area. It also helps to increase your website's placement in search results. When the information that you provide in your blog is shared with others, you create a natural traffic stream that will continue to attract new home buyers and sellers.
A survey by Realtor Magazine revealed that 91 percent of realtors use social media for business purposes. If you've been told that you need to use social media for business, but aren't sure how to do so, this post will get you up to speed so you can hit the ground running.
Why Real Estate Professionals Need Social Media
Social media helps you stand out from the competition and gain a competitive advantage. For realtors, social offers the opportunity to broaden the reach of your real estate listings, attract the widest possible base of clients, and ultimately sell more homes with less work. Who wouldn't want that?
While real-estate specific platforms like Trulia or Zillow maximize the reach of your listings, you'll need to use the major social networks to engage real estate shoppers. After all, the industry is a face-to-face business and top social channels let you connect one-on-one with potential home buyers.
Facebook for Real Estate Professionals
Facebook has more users than any social network, which makes it a must for realtors. As a first step, create a Business Page for your agency. or for yourself as a business professional. This separates your personal posts from professionals ones and helps you retain privacy. Facebook walks you through the process of creating your first Page.
Once you've got a Page, update it with your contact information, website, and a brief profile that discusses who you are and what you do. Then share content. SproutSocial recommends sharing social content that's relevant to your niche. For realtors looking to attract home buyers, this means posting surveys, news articles, infographics and events that are relevant to the area you serve and the home buying (and selling) industry. Post a link to an article you've read and add a brief explanation of what you're sharing and why. Then, make it a habit to do this consistently to be seen as an industry expert.
Twitter for Real Estate Professionals
Twitter is the place to share breaking news about the real estate industry and about home listings. Twitter supports pictures and allows you to use hashtags (like #realestate or #homesforsale) to classify your content. Its user base is highly active and loves to share, which can expand your reach greatly.
Use Twitter to advertise home listings, open houses, price reductions, and successful real estate closings. You can also connect with, and share content created by, other national and local real estate professionals.
LinkedIn for Real Estate Professionals
The real estate industry also thrives on industry connections, which makes LinkedIn a good platform to use.
When getting started with LinkedIn, build up your profile by listing your education, credentials, skills, and interests. Then search for people you know using LinkedIn, or join groups for real estate professionals. Post blog content or articles you've authored on your LinkedIn profile to get seen as an industry expert.
Ease your way into social media by joining these top three networks, familiarizing yourself with the way they work, and posting regular content. Once you get started, you'll be surprised at how many leads come your way socially.
A recent joint study conducted by the National Association of Realtors revealed that 9 out of 10 home buyers rely on Internet searches as their primary Real Estate research tool. It is entirely possible that 90 percent of your potential clients are currently searching for Real Estate services online, elevating the importance of online lead generation to any real estate business. Provided here are a few tips for generating real estate leads online through your real estate website.
Landing Pages with Persuasive Call to Actions
Your landing pages are your potential customer’s first impression of your business. Your landing pages must grab your viewers' attention, or you will quickly lose them. The landing page should contain strong call to actions that direct your viewers to specific areas of your site.
For example, if home buyers are viewing your home page, through a strong call to action, you would direct them to click on an embedded link that takes them directly to your listings pages.
Through A/B split testing, you can try out different landing pages to determine which call to actions generates the most leads. Engaging content provided from videos, stunning photography, and easy-to-follow site layouts will help your landing pages generate even more leads.
Social Media elements should be embedded in all of your pages by including sharing icons to your social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. It is essential to encourage your users to engage with you at all times through sharing icons, feedback and other online communications.
Email marketing allows you to stay connected to your clients and to share new listings with both potential and existing clients. It is also important to bundle your email marketing and social media campaigns together through content and the use of sharing icons.
Online Real Estate Forums such as Zillow, Realtor.com, or Yahoo Real Estate, provide you with an opportunity to build a strong relationship with consumers and other professionals in your industry. Make sure that you always respond to customer questions or comments as this allows you to connect with them, drive them to your website, and transform them into leads and ideally active clients.
The Power of Blogs
Blogging is one of the most efficient and easiest ways to generate new real estate leads. It not only helps to provide information but keeps you connected to buyers, sellers, and tenants. By providing valuable information through your company blog, you can potentially create numerous opportunities for lead generation. Here are a few tips to consider when blogging:
- Contain a brief "about the author section." Include your name, credentials, links to your website and social media. Always embed contact information.
- When you write or create a blog, it should be with high-quality content.
- The blog should never be a sales pitch.
- Include content that is compelling, informative and entertaining to read.
- Connect with your reader by always providing relevant content.
- Include links to other authoritative sites
When used properly, the above tips can help you generate more online Real Estate leads. Remember to track your results and follow up on all your leads. New customers can easily be lured to your business if you provide great content on your landing pages and in your blogs.
With more house hunters shopping online before they hit the open house circuit, it's critical that you have an online presence to attract new clients and grow your business. Blogging is one of the best ways to do this, as it positions you and your team, as an industry experts who can help home buyers and sellers. Get up to speed on why you need a blog and how to do it right.
How Blogging Benefits Real Estate AgentsBrokerages
Blogging has a range of benefits for agents, including:
- Increasing your website's position in search results, so that more house hunters find you
- Helping you draw attention to existing listings
- Ultimately helping you sell more houses
- Positioning you as a the real estate expert in your community
- Giving you more opportunities to network in your community and via social media
When you blog on a regular basis, you build up a large amount of web content in your niche. The more content you have, the more it can benefit your business.
To get the most mileage from your blog, you'll need to incorporate SEO keywords, which are descriptive phrases that a web user might search for. Think "condos in Denver" or "Chicago real estate agent." Adding place names helps ensure that your website comes up in relevant local searches; after all, it's no good to you to attract house hunters if they're not looking for homes in your area.
When you incorporate keywords into your blog posts, you are essentially helping search engines realize the services you offer, and the area you service. Search engines evaluate your website's content and use keywords to decide what sites to return when house hunters search for realtors or homes for sale near them. The more content your website has, and the more local keywords it uses, the better your position in relevant search engine results.
A real estate blog gives you a chance to showcase your listings and celebrate your community. You needn't just post photo galleries from new listings. Keep a calendar of community events, holiday celebrations, or nearby attractions. Then create blog posts that discuss the event or highlight the attraction.
Consider demonstrating your expertise with posts that give answers to house hunters' common questions. From how and why to get mortgage pre-qualification to what to look for during a home inspection, you've got insight into topics that home owners want to understand. Demonstrating your expertise lends you credibility and can convince a home owner or house hunter to work with you over another realtor.
As you post content, share it via social media to broaden your reach.
Running a blog can be time-consuming, yet ultimately very rewarding for your business. Consider soliciting guest posts to lighten your workload and bring diversity into the blog's tone. Not only will this help you get fresh and unique content, it can also increase your community connections and be an important networking tactic.
For best results, come up with a blogging schedule that works for you and stick with it. Over time, you'll see your reach grow and that can inspire you to commit more to your blog.
In April, 2015, Google made a change to the algorithm that it uses to rank websites. Google will now determine how mobile friendly your site is to visitors when determining where your site should rank in search. This change has the ability to affect the positioning of your real estate website and, thus, its ability to attract new clients who want to buy and sell homes. Learn more about Google's new mobile update and how you can weather this latest change successfully.
Google's Mobile Update Explained
On April 21, 2015 Google announced that it was going to add mobile-readiness to the lengthy, often-mysterious list of criteria that it uses to determine where a webpage should rank in search results. With this change, websites that have a usable mobile version will perform better in mobile search, while those that are not yet optimized for mobile may notice less mobile traffic arriving on their site.
If your real estate website is not optimized for mobile, it will fall below the websites of your competitors, who have embraced mobile-friendly design. This means that users looking for realtors to help them buy or sell a home will increasingly choose one of your competitors over you because their website pops up above yours.
At present, 92 percent of house hunters use the internet in their home search, either to find real estate agents or to view properties for sale. In addition, 59 percent of real estate page views on the weekend come from mobile devices, as users are looking at property listings on the go.
As these numbers show, the majority of home buyers and sellers already use their laptops, smartphones, and tablets in the house hunting process. It’s important that your website can meet the demands of these mobile visitors.
How to Embrace Mobile Design
If your website provider does not already offer a mobile friendly website option, there are steps to take to make this mobile friendly yourself. Note that here at Gabriel’s Technology Solutions, we have created SEO optimized mobile themes to boost your website in search.
As a first step, check how your website displays on a mobile device by visiting a mobile validator and typing in your website URL. The validator will check your website's code and tell you how mobile-friendly your website is in a matter of minutes.
If your site passes the test, the validator will report that the page is mobile-friendly. If your site is not mobile friendly, the validator will explain why and tell you how to make the page mobile-friendly. For example, it might report that the text is too small or the mobile viewport is not set.
Answer a simple question about how you built the site -- by hand-coding it, paying someone to do it for you, or using a content management system -- and receive advice on how to fix errors or work with a developer to correct outstanding issues.
As we move forward into a mobile-driven world, it is becoming more important to invest in a website managed by a capable team who can ensure your website is always meeting mobile and search engine best-practices.