by Morgan Carey
on Sunday, March 21st, 2021 at 8:25pm.
I want to talk about domain authority and how it applies to SEO for real estate websites.
This is an SEO topic that I think most Realtors® Team leaders, Brokers, and even real estate SEO experts don’t have a strong grasp on, yet it is one of the most important factors in ranking a website.
First, let’s make a distinction between “on page” and “off-page” SEO,
On-Page SEO For Real Estate:
On-page SEO is what you can physically do or have your team of programmers, designers, writers, and SEO people do to your website. This is the stuff Real Estate Webmaster’s SEO experts do for you when you hire us.
Some of the things we do are:
Meta Descriptions For Click-Through Rate
Image Optimization and tagging
Unique custom copywriting
Internal link optimization
For larger / more complex SEO engagements we also provide things like:
Dynamic Page Linking
Related Properties Algorithms
Wildcard IDX Meta Optimization
Data & Sitemap Sculpting
Those are just a few things (of many) that professional search engine optimization companies like Real Estate Webmasters provide.
But the point is, those are things “we” (or you) can do “to” your website. Meaning you’re in the driver’s seat. You can literally compete with anyone else on the planet for on-page SEO including the likes of Zillow.
Off-Page SEO or Link Building In Real Estate
This concept is very simple at first glance, however, it is how deep it goes that makes it complex.
The idea of “off-page” SEO or link building is that it refers to other websites that you do NOT control linking back to your website.
Think of it this way, each other website linking back to your website is a “vote” back to your website.
Pretty simple right? Just go get a bunch of other websites to link to your website and you have lots of votes.
But not all votes are created equal: Some votes come with more “authority”.
Let’s use our real estate industry as an example.
Imagine for the moment that you want to get an understanding of where our industry may be going in the next 5-10 years.
You “could” ask a newly minted Realtor® let's say they are just in the business for one month. They are very unlikely to give you helpful information since they are new to the industry themselves
Which answer do you think will be more credible? Which do you think might have more value when it comes to getting the best answer to your question?
The answer is obvious, Bob, Adam, and Glenn are “authorities” on real estate. You are very likely to listen to what they have to say about real estate. A brand new Realtor with no deals yet? Probably not so much,.
And it’s the same with backlinks & authority!
Google spends a lot of time identifying and ranking which websites are the “authorities” on the internet. These authorities are given more “PageRank” (Google’s proprietary score) and thus when they link to you they give you a larger boost than a website with a low PageRank.
Use the same example as above.
A brand new Realtor spins up a $20 domain on a free WordPress website and links to you.
Obviously, that link from NAR is going to be FAR more valuable. And thus if they did in fact link to you, that link would be far more beneficial to your rankings.
What is the impact of authority vs no authority?
While Google’s exact algorithms are a closely guarded secret, for the purposes of this article we will use a logarithmic scale of 10. This means each increment of authority is 10X (ten times) stronger than the previous increment.
How you should think of this is “your” ability to rank is the “product” of: your on-page score, multiplied by, the sum of the authority of the domains ranking to you.
Confused? That’s ok, it’s actually pretty easy when you see the numbers. Check it out.
Let’s take 2 websites owned by brokerage A and Brokerage B (and let’s say both brokerages hired REW and have a perfect 100 out of 100 on their on-page SEO).
So really if all things on-page are equal score-wise, the brokerage who will win the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) is the brokerage with the higher “authority” of “off-page” score.
So brokerage A has links from:
1 Realtor website (a friend with a low Pagerank of 2) = max 100 points (log 10x10)
1 Local Charity website (well known and respected has a Pagerank of 4) = max 10,000 points (10 x 10 x 10 x 10)
1 REALLy awesome link for being featured on the homepage of the franchise website (big franchises have a page rank of 6-8) = max of 1,000,000 to 100,000,000 points.
Brokerage A would be doing pretty well as two of these are really strong links.
If you add the max PageRank up it’s (100 + 10,000 + 100,000,000) or 100,010,1000
Now multiple their perfect on-page score of 100 and you get 10,001,010,000
Brokerage B has only one link.
1 Link From NAR Homepage (which is a PageRank 9) = max 1,000,000,000 points. (Yes that is ONE BILLION)
Multiply that by their perfect on-page score of 100, and brokerage B has a total of 100,000,000,000 (one hundred billion) points.
Brokerage A has 3 links, Brokerage B has only one link but brokerage B still wins (it has the higher authority score).
Does this make sense?You can rank with far fewer links than your competitor if they are of higher quality.
Take on keywords that match your authority level if you want to win
This is the actionable part of this article, one that I hope helps you with your SEO efforts.
In the beginning, you won’t have much authority, so you won’t be able to compete in the SERPS for the most competitive keywords. Your authority might look something like this:
Luckily, there are a lot of keywords called “long-tail keywords” that are actually far less competitive, meaning most of the top players are not trying to rank for them. You should go for these keywords first to start establishing traffic and driving leads.
At the same time, you should be building your authority by building backlinks to your website from reputable high-authority websites.
As you build up more authority, you can start taking on higher competition keywords.
I hope this has helped you understand what us real estate SEO expert type folks mean when we talk about "off-page" link building or "authority"
If you have questions, feel free to hit us up on the SEO forums, and of course, if you need help, head over to the SEO services page and fill out a form. We'd love to help you start ranking for more keywords and generating more leads organically
And PS, if you liked this article please share it on your social AND (if you really want to encourage me to write more of them) please link to REW using the following code (it will help our SEO just like the article says) here's the code: (copy-paste where you want to link or comment on this article)