As many of you already know, the algorithm update from Google on April 24 dubbed “Penguin” completely changed the way many of us think about search engine optimization (SEO) for our businesses. What did this update target? Anchor text overoptimization and link relevancy, among other things.
seo image via shutterstock
For years, business owners and SEOs alike have spammed their keywords into every nook and cranny of the Internet in an attempt to rank for their desired keywords. Why? Because it worked! Web 2.0 sites, article marketing, low-quality directories and many more low-value linking activities actually helped your rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Google is continually working against poor linking strategies in an effort to provide relevant, useful and high-quality results in its search results. Penguin was a giant step in this direction, which served as a wake-up call to the industry that things needed to change.
What must we do now?
Let’s face it, real estate to the majority of the general public is flat out boring. Thus, the “create great content and people will link to it” mantra is even more difficult to attain in this industry than most. Some have had success in gaining authority by being thought leaders in the online industry communities and information sources like here at InmanNext. But for the average real estate agent, this is a highly unlikely scenario. In order to overcome this hurdle, you must start thinking about your link-building activities in a completely new way.
Do sh*t real companies do!
Wil Reynolds at Seer Interactive hit the nail on the head with this presentation for SEOmoz. In his video, he talked about doing sh*t real companies do. Real companies aren’t writing low-quality content and submitting to article directories. They aren’t spamming blog comments across the Internet for a backlink. They are creating value and building relationships!
Start by writing something of value that can help the consumer, which will build relationships with them, as well as others in the real estate industry. Now, how do you go about doing this?
Think like a consumer: Web-savvy real estate agents know the value of creating neighborhood-specific pages of content to drive consumer traffic. Ranking for keywords like “city homes for sale, city real estate, etc.,” are great for driving qualified traffic to your sites. What most don’t take advantage of are the loads of traffic and possible incoming links that can be obtained by creating content for relevant keywords within that niche.
For example: Say you rank No. 1 for a community page in your area. Go to UberSuggest and enter your niche area, and up comes pages and pages of other keywords to target that can drive consumers to your site, and link to your informative content. Think like a business and what it can offer its customers, not what keywords real estate agents believe they need to optimize for to game the system. Not only will this create evergreen content for your website, but it will also be future-proof no matter what algorithm changes come about.
Create content ahead of the news: Is HGTV promoting a dream home in your area? Is there a new private community being developed close by? Film or arts festivals coming to your town? Take advantage of news and events before they happen. Create a go-to source for the new area and establish its authority with local information and helpful resources that will drive search engine traffic and possible linking opportunities. By applying this tactic, you will have the opportunity to cherry-pick traffic for link-building possibilities before anyone else in your area ever starts to target it.
Establish relationships with the media: Some of the most sought-after links to be found are from major news outlets linking to your website. Start creating relationships with writers at those sources and help them! Twitter is a great resource to start making contact with these writers. Head over to FollowerWonk and start searching using keywords for your local newspapers, magazines and other media opportunities in your area.
Increase local relevancy: Small local businesses in your area can be a gold mine for gaining relevant links in your area. Request to be a guest blogger for them on a topic related to your city. Help them with their marketing efforts if needed and spread the word through your local community. This is not only a link-building activity that very few people utilize, it is great for building relationships within your area that can lead to further sales.
Start creating links in the way a real business would do so, and think about the consumer first. This will ensure that you establish a highly authoritative brand as well as be future-proof to any algorithm changes that may come along. Stop submitting directory links in your spare time, and use that time to get to know people online, as well as offline.