Your website was meant to be seen. Unfortunately, a lot of websites just like yours hardly get any traffic and yield poor results.
How can you improve your website’s results? Many Web operators use backlinks, which prove your website’s worth to Google by improving your domain authority and page authority. They can be a quick and easy way to increase your search engine placement. In other words, these link sources are a great way to impact your business quickly.
Here are five of my “secret sauce” SEO backlink tactics, which come from authority and untapped resources. Most of the tactics are completely scalable.
(Before we get into this: These tactics work best for websites that already have some domain history and a decent amount of original content.)
1. Work with charities
It doesn’t take much to get on the first page of Google in most cities. A search for “Kansas City real estate” turns up websites with a domain authority of 20 and page authority of 20. These authority levels are relatively easy to achieve with backlinks.
Charities provide a great way of doing this. There are two main ways to go about getting a link to your website from a charity:
- Donate to a charity that has a sponsor page. This is the easiest way. The organization already has a structure in place for placing links to your website. You can get these links quite easily for less than $15 in annual donations. You’ll probably need about 10 of them to see significant improvement in your SEO. That means that for less than $200, you can greatly improve your SEO.
- Sponsor a website. Most charities do not have a sponsor-page program in place. So, what you can do is offer to sponsor a website redesign project for them. This is quite easy with the advent of Squarespace.com or custom themes assembled through outsourcing help on oDesk.com. For less than $300 a year, you can help that organization update the look of its website. This makes it only natural for them to link to you! After all, your generosity is the reason they implemented the website redesign. Sponsoring a site like this is very powerful for you. You might suggest having the “Sponsored by John Doe Real Estate Team” in the footer of every page. This gets you many links from just one website.
This technique is a huge win-win. Plus, everyone who is remotely attached to that organization will be sure to hear about your company and generosity. There are multiple spillover bonuses from using this method.
2. Write testimonials
Websites for local services have testimonial sections, and most of the time the testimonials have a slot for your URL. As a Realtor, you interact with individuals like plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians and contractors. These people have websites, and the majority of their sites have terribly out-of-date testimonials.
To start, reach out to your inner circle of contractors. Write them a simple email like this:
Hi <First Name>,
I was on your website the other day and saw that you still had that same old testimonial up there. You’ve really impressed me with your work over the years, so I took the time to write you a newer one.
[four- to five-sentence testimonial]
Let me know when you post it so I can share on my social channels.
– John Smith
As you can see, there are several elements at play in this email. You are never asking for a link to your website. You’re giving value 100 percent of the time by praising their work, offering a new testimonial and telling them you’ll share it.
This type of approach gets a much higher conversion rate. The links you get from this method will really boost your SEO rankings. They have a high contextual trust ranking to Google and count for more than offshore links.
Want a method that doesn’t require you to reach out to others? Fiverr.com is basically the black market for Internet marketing. Most of the SEO services out there can get you banned from Google in two clicks. However, there are a few quick (and cheap) ways to purchase links from this website. And they will help your SEO (albeit not as much as some of the other methods mentioned).
Here are the two things I look for from a Fiverr.com gig:
- Guest posts on an authentic blog related to real estate: The majority of the time, people on this website are running spam blogs. These websites are easily distinguishable by their low-quality content and multiple orders. Read the description to determine whether a gig is an authentic blog or a spam blog. If the gigs talk about the SEO benefit of their site, chances are it’s spam. If it sounds like an honest bloke trying to get content for his site, you’re most likely fine. You can search for these posts by typing in phrases like “real estate guest blog” or “real estate blog.”
- New to the marketplace: Another key factor is looking for people who are new to Fiverr.com. This will make sure their blog isn’t overrun by too many guest posts. Blogs with too many outbound links to suspect sites lose their effectiveness in ranking your website. This tactic helps you get the most bang for your buck.
Finally, the gig seller will always show you their site after you purchase. If their website has a domain authority and page authority above your websites’ domain and page authority, consider purchasing an ad slot from them. This will often cost less than $50 a month and give you great SEO benefits. Your ad will be shown on multiple pages. And small blog owners usually include additional posts, social mentions and email blasts about their dedicated sponsors. All this means more traffic for you!
Help a Reporter Out, or HARO (HelpAReporter.com), is a service that sends you emails every day. These emails contain queries from reporters who need expert advice. Real estate queries are found almost daily in these emails. As a small-business owner, you can also provide useful information to queries about other business-related topics.
It helps your SEO when a reporter decides to use your information in their publication. Reporters often include a link back to your website and a bio. Additionally, these reporters are writing for websites with a lot of authority on the Internet. It is a great way to score a very powerful link to your website in exchange for only five minutes of your time.
The main pitfall with this strategy is lack of persistence. Will you open up every single email HARO sends you and write an honest answer back to the reporters asking for the advice you can provide? If you’re able to work this into your daily schedule, it’s a very easy way to build up your link portfolio.
Newspapers — specifically the ones in your locale — need content daily. As a Realtor, providing content about neighborhoods, reporting on the quality of schools, interviewing teachers at local schools, and taking video or photo tours of the area are things you should be producing for your website. This type of content will get you found and provide great value to your website’s visitors.
However, it also may lead to partnership opportunities with local news organizations.
Local newspapers and television stations are much more likely to trust you writing for them if you have content that is outside the typical “tips for real estate buyers.” You can become the online authority for these specific neighborhoods with a surprisingly limited amount of content. Then, you can simply approach local reporters and ask them if you can write similar content on their website. They need content and most of the time will welcome the opportunity to work with you.
Try connecting and contacting these people via LinkedIn. I’ve experienced the best response rates when messaging people directly through LinkedIn rather than via email.
Some of these backlink tactics are more time-consuming than others. However, if you spend a little bit of time on one or more tactics every week, you’ll start to see dramatic results in your Web traffic numbers.
Tyler Zey is an award-winning digital marketing expert who frequently works with small businesses. He also plays clarinet professionally in several orchestras. Currently, he is the digital marketing director and contributing editor for the Real Estate Digital Marketing blog on easyagentpro.com.