Beautiful, fast, real estate websites
Woah! I just blasted out an offer to personally do an expert real estate SEO audit for anyone who had over 50, organic visitors per day (only a few mins ago) and my inbox already looks like this:
Seems that SEO is a hot topic! (As it should be, since it is one of the few places you can put in your own effort as opposed to $ to get more leads) < < Important option during a recession.
Most of the sites I’m getting sent though are well below the 50 visitors per day (so really they are quite early in their SEO journey or have not done much SEO at all) and so for those folks, I decided to create this thread so that we can do a “one to many” audit, and everyone can benefit from the teachings.
(For those over 50, I’ll be working on your personal audits this week)
First to volunteer her site was @Kristina who asked me to look at homesalesofbatonrouge.com
And her first question (via email) was about creating an account or verifying Google search console. She said we manage DNS so she could not verify.
All good! You don’t need DNS management: What you can do is use the meta tag verification method (anyone in Renaissance can go to settings, tracking codes and then look for the Google verification meta tag /backend/settings/tracking-codes/?website=1 (It’s right here and looks like this)
For your audits (if you don’t have one) I’ll be adding my own tag, so please don’t replace with your own until after the audit, but then you can replace with your own and will have admin search console.
If you do have search console, then you can just invite me (you have my email
I’ll do this in replies so that you can quote specific sections when you have questions… Let’s get this party started… (note I’ll be on and off of here between meetings today and the rest of this week).
Ok, let’s start with a quick reminder session on a few critical elements of SEO (the basics of the basics)
There are 3 main things you can do to improve your SEO: Content, Links, and Technical
Content: This is by far the most important thing you can do. If you don’t have great content (and lots of it) you don’t deserve to rank. That is Google’s position.
List item 1 page of content with a few paragraphs not optimized? Won’t rank.
List item Hundreds of pages of “thin content” (just listings with headings) won’t rank (probably won’t even be indexed
List item Duplicate content (if it exists anywhere else on the web already)… Won’t rank.
We’ll be talking about creating awesome content pillars as a way to rank for specific keywords. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it!
IMPORTANT NOTE: CONTENT IS 50%+ percent of your ability to rank. (More if you’re an SEO purist)
Links: (Backlinks) What I’m referring to here is “other websites” (not your own) that link directly to your website in some way. Backlink development is a deep topic (and one we’ll cover in depth, but it’s important to recognise that if you do not have strong backlinks, you will not rank no matter how good your content is.
List item If links are easy to get. They likely will not help.
List item If you are paying for the links, they likely will not help (and could get you penalized)
List item If you are “trading” links with other websites, they will likely not help
List item true link building is relationship and authority based. You must “earn” links.
Important note: Linking is easily 30-40% of SEO rankings. If you don’t have a strong backlink profile you will not rank even if your content is perfect.
Technical SEO: This is the part everyone wants to focus on (because it’s mysterious, complex, sexy & interesting) but “spoileralert” it is actually the LEAST important part of SEO.
And let me tell you why.
Google understands that not everyone who can produce amazing content (the best content) is highly technical, or has a big team or budget to help them with technical SEO elements. As such, while technical SEO is a way to get an advantage (such as how Zillow and Redfin do it) it would be unfair to allocate too much weight to the technical side of SEO.
It is still important you follow Google’s best practices for SEO but it is nowhere near as critical to be “perfect” technically from an SEO perspective.
Important note: Technical SEO is at most 10-20% of your SEO ranking ability. It should be done last (if you are budget constrained) and will never help you rank if you have not first prioritized content and link building. It’s the “last mile”
Ok now let’s start on the specifics - I mentioned how important content is for SEO, and so we’ll start there. We’ll use Kristina’s site since she volunteered
First: a lot of folks start their SEO (or worse end their SEO) at their home page.
In general, the homepage is actually not where we focus our SEO at all. Instead, where all the true gold lays is in the hyper specific community pages and supporting content.
We’ll be looking at the content pillar strategy (video from Academy at that link, graphic below)
What you will see here is an advanced REW content pillar. The listings part falls under “technical” SEO, so let’s put that aside for a minute, but the main premise of the content pillar is that you have one main topic, and then a bunch of supporting content linking to that content (blog posts, sub pages etc)
The content needs to be relevant to main page, but also should be unique in it’s keyword focus (not cannibalizing the main page)
So let’s look at Kristina’s site: I’ll grab https://www.homesalesofbatonrouge.com/west-baton-rouge-real-estate.php
2: Questions: #1, is she utilizing the Pillar Strategy and #2: how well is this page SEO’d
Let’s start with the content pillar: What I would hope to find is several blog posts related to West Baton Rouge Real Estate, as well as several “sub page” related to West Baton Rouge real estate.
I do not find the existence of either
And so here is the question (and yes it’s rhetorical) - do you think Google with determine that you are an expert in West Baton Rouge, if you have only ever published a single piece of content on the subject?
The answer is no: Clearly, you are not an expert (in Google’s eyes) on the subject if you have only ever produced a single page.
Recommendation: Watch the video Then add sub pages and start blogging about your most important areas. (Don’t forget in all sub pages and blog posts to link back using strong anchor text to your main Baton Rouge page.
Next, let’s look at the on-page SEO itself:
What is this page optimizing for? Is it done well?
We’ll start with the page title (in the header): Note, the page title is the single most important on-page element and it determines the topic of the page.
Why is the title so important? Because it’s what Google uses as the clickable link in the search results
Kristina’s title is “West Baton Rouge Real Estate” - A simple title that clearly defines the subject of the page. (pro tip, you have room to improve your click-through rate by making your title more interesting, like "West Baton Rouge Real Estate in 2023. Where are we headed?
Ok, so let’s check her next most important element: The h1 tag.
It’s " WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH HOMES FOR SALE"
This is our first opportunity: The problem here is that because she only has 1 page of content, she is trying to go for 2 very competitive keywords on just one page. “Generally” that won’t work. Homes for sale is very competitive and deserves it’s own page (a sub page of real estate)
If it was me, and I really wanted to rank for “real estate” (which is massively competitive and honestly not where she should start) then my H1 Tag would say “West Baton Rouge Real Estate” (matching my title)
Let’s continue on the page, shall we?
The first block of text (keep in mind the topic is west baton rouge real estate) does have West Baton Rouge… but it is completely silent on the topic of real estate. (screenshot below)
This is a missed opportunity.
But don’t get me wrong - I do NOT want your content reading “my keyword is the best keyword of all the keywords”. Think of a “sprinkle” (a pinch) of your phrase (and synonyms) throughout. This site is a bit light on real estate.
On the flip side, great job on the H2 tag!
Note that it is a variation of the word, she’s worked in “Parish” and “Stats” (a good way to mix it up… not every heading should read exactly the same)
There is one more heading (properly optimized) and then some listings (always a good idea for conversion) and then… that’s it!
There is no more unique content on this page.
And in fact, since listings are duplicated in many places on the web… This block of content is the only really unique content on this page: (I am assuming it’s unique, I didn’t check)
So we’re back to asking ourselves. Have we done enough (content-wise) to ensure that compared to ALL the other sites out there related to West Baton Rouge, we are clearly, truly and unequivocally the authority on the subject?
Obviously, that is not the case. So before moving onto anything else - some pillars need to be chosen and truly focused on (quality of content) and then she can move onto building links to that content.
Protip: Content comes before links, since if your content is not uber high quality, why would anyone want to link to it?
@Kristina asks " I did a quick blog post for that area and linked back to the main WBR page.
Am I on the right track?"
The right track? Yes.
But the execution has a lot of room for improvement:
Here is your entire blog post:
As a general rule: If I can snapshot your entire blog post in one screen, it likely needs a lot more work/effort put into it.
Also, in this case, you have linked out (almost completely) to other sources. While linking out “generally” is not a bad thing, if it’s just a small bulleted list with nothing but external links then it’s probably not going to be seen as “quality” by Google.
But the “idea” is right
What would I have done differently?
First of all, I would have written at least a paragraph or two of completely unique content explaining the reason you wrote the blog post and what benefit it brings to the reader. The google helpful update is all about big G determining if your content is “helpful” or not.
So something like: (I’ll pretend I’m Kristina)
It’s almost Christmas time in West Baton Rouge Parish (<<< make this a link back to your main pillar page) and every year I go out looking for a list of things to do, and I can never find them in one place. So I figured, if I have these questions, then I bet a lot of other folks do too!
So since I could not find a great list, I decided to create one!
Here it is! My top 5 things to do West Baton Rouge Parish
Now for your top 5 things:
You should not just be posting their name, and when they occur, but you should be explaining what is exciting about them, and why they deserve to be on your list. (And don’t link out from your bulleted list, that is what the related links section is for in the bottom (if you even have to) but ideally all the information would be there in the post in your own words.
#1: A polar express showing? I love this movie! (Animated Tom Hanks, YUM!!!)
It’s really awesome when the community puts on free movies (reminds me of when I was a kid and mom used to take us to pubic movie night).
The really cool thing about this event is it’s at the West Baton Rouge Library (message me if you need directions and they are also providing free train rides, a hot cocoa bar and they are encouraging the whole family to come in their PJ’s or ugly sweaters… (PG 13 please)
The event is on Friday Sept 2nd from 6-8 PM. Will I see you there? (comment below)
… (keep going with other 4)
That is just an example @Kristina - but do you see the difference between that and " * Dec 2, 2022 Friday 6-8pm West Baton Rouge Parish Library Polar Express Family Movie Showing"
One is full of commentary the other is a copy-paste.
BTW, I do not know anything about your area, the event, or even that movie and I was able to write this entire response in 10 mins.
If you know your area, it should come even faster to you.
And that is just 1 of the top 5 (I think you had 5)… go back and do the rest. Don’t link out (you don’t need to) - instead provide the details IN your blog post…
And bring that big bright personality of yours with you! You’re the best!~ Make sure you blog readers feel like they are getting to know you through your post
Makes a ton of sense. I knew better than to do what I did! LOL
Spent some time cleaning it up and also did one for East Baton Rouge Parish
Thanks so much for the guidance. I have a plan now!!
The best blogging advice I can give Kristina is don’t pick topics that bore you, or are based on keywords, pick things related to those topics that you LOVE! Then your personality and passion will come out and you’ll want to write more (not less).
Give you an example - as you know, we have a place in Youbou < see what I just did there? Built a backlink and one of the things I have always wondered is where the hell do you catch fish? I’ve been there like 4 years now, and only ever caught one tiny fish!
I know I’m a shit fisherman (That’s part of it) but I also know there is a tonne of scattered info out there on good fishing spots.
So for me, if I ever want to catch a dang fish, I need to do more research. Might as well write a blog about it, cataloging all the things I find in my research.
What does “The best fishing spots in Youbou according to locals” have to do with youbou real estate? Not a lot. But it has everything to do with “Youbou” which is part of the phrase, and part of the authority I want to build.
Remember your blogs are not about “keyword rankings” (it’s cool if they rank, but it’s also fine if they don’t) they are there to “support” the pillar. So they just need to be topical, valuable and interesting
PS - proof that it’s not just some fish tale
Ok folks (holy smokes!) I have like 100 replies requesting Audits. And I plan on getting back to every one of them!
What I am finding though (most of the requests) are well under 50 organic users per day.
If this is you, no problem! You’re not quite ready for an in-depth SEO audit yet, but we have this thread to teach you all the basics (and you can ask specific questions or volunteer your URL if you want us to take a look here on the thread).
All I ask is that you please just read the posts before yours first to see if the topic has already been covered.
Now - by a landslide the #1: I’m hearing from people is:
"I used to rank really well years ago and now I don’t"
There are a few key reasons why (and it is generally nothing to do with what framework you are on)
#1: You have not continued to do SEO faithfully. SEO is an every-month (if not every week) activity. If you don’t keep at it, your rankings will slide.
#2: Your competition has continued to do SEO (while you haven’t) and now they are ahead of you. That makes sense, right?
#3: Google is changing ALL THE TIME! If you don’t keep up with the changes, then there is a good chance that the structure you used to use, or that tactic you employed just doesn’t work anymore.
Show me your content and link profile and I’ll show you your SEO future
If you can honestly say you have been keeping up with SEO, putting a lot of effort into both unique content development (truly quality / helpful content) and you’ve been building a lot of links and you still can’t rank - well maybe we might need to dig a little deeper.
But start with answering these questions (pass those 3 gates if you will)
Also - if you are on an old site (REW or otherwise) then there are also likely many “code factors” that are impacting your technical SEO at this point. Google has done a lot of work around accessibility, CORE web vitals and page speed. Those things require new platforms and your old site won’t cut it (for SEO) any more.
Ok now let’s get into some fun stuff: Opening up a search console:
@Impassioned has volunteered her site https://www.parkcity4u.com and shared that she feels she used to rank a lot better but now doesn’t rank as well.
She recently upgraded to Renaissance and has been putting in the work, hoping to improve her SEO.
Let’s dig in!
First, test the theory. Have rankings really dropped? (we check search console)
What I like to do is find the highest traffic “by impressions” keyword which is also typically one of the most competitive. In her case it’s “Park City Real Estate”
Now search console only goes back so far, but from what I can tell in the past 12 months the keyword has bounced around a bit but you’re actually within a range:
Today you’re at 12.1 (that’s good, it means you’re in striking distance for a hugely competitive keyword)
And 12 months ago? You were 11.7
So really you have not changed by any appreciable margin in the last 12 months. Some ups and downs but nothing that looks like a drop off the face of the earth.
So how do we crack the top 10?
Honestly, your domain https://www.parkcity4u.com you’ve done a pretty great job on developing your homepage content (the page that is currently ranking)
There are a few small things you could do to further focus on “real estate” terms as opposed to mixing it in with condos, homes for sale etc, but in this example (because it’s a homepage) I would actually prefer you keep it as it is, since the purpose of a homepage is to act as an index for the whole site (which is why I often don’t optimize homepages as much as internal pages).
So the #1: Recommendation since your homepage content is solid (and you’re clearly in the mix) is you need to build a few backlinks. (Not a 100, just a few)
These links should be targetted and relevant (that means they could be from real estate authority sites, or from local park city sites, or both)
The anchor text you use should be specific to your keywords (if you can get it) for example “Park City Real Estate” “Park City Utah Real Estate” etc.
But don’t look for easy links. Basic trades, guest posts etc won’t cut it. We need true authority here. Try to think of some ways you can leverage your relationships (groups you belong to, local not for profits you donate to, press relationships you have) that sort of thing.
I wrote a post on link building and authority (which I should probably update for 2023 as things have changed a bit) but you should find it a helpful primer.
This is not to say the rest of your site is perfect when it comes to content though - you actually have several areas that you could improve the pages significantly while employing the Pillar strategy, and could likely boost your Park City rankings.
Let’s take this page Park City MLS Homes for Sale in Park City Utah
This page is no good (sorry) and it’s linked to right from your home page.
Why is it no good?
Because this is the only content on the page that is not duplicate
So you have this massive amount of listings on the main page (too many to be honest) and almost no high-quality/unique content.
The title is super spammy too (Park City MLS Homes For Sale In Park City Utah) … would you click on that in Google? Remember, click-through rate matters!
How could this example page be improved?
#1: Focus. What is the true intent of this page? I “think” it is meant to be “all current homes for sale in Park City” is that right? So why not make it all about that instead of including all these other areas like Kamas etc.
What about this for a title: ALL Homes For Sale In Park City New Every 15 Mins
Wouldn’t that get more clicks?
Now on the “on page” content. I think you know about thin content (unuseful) content already. So what I’ll say is that this page needs it’s ratio of listings to content fixed.
Set the users expectation: Why did you create this page, and why is it truly more valuable than any other page they might find out there.
What’s going on with homes in Park City - that is what they are searching for, but would they logically have questions? Pique their interest (it can be a jump link after the listings)
Can you get some easy win FAQ’s in there
What is the buying process like in Park City for out of state buyers?
What are the property taxes in Park City?
How much maintenance does a winter home require if I’m not always there?
See where I’m going with this?
Now I know I said that technical SEO comes after content and links (but we’ve covered quite a lot on that already) so definitely read up on the elements above (review all your support pages and make sure they are super high quality, linking back to their pillars) write your blog posts as instructed above etc.
But in your case, since you’re “so close” to the top for some really great keywords, you’re a candidate for doing some more technical SEO. I created a thread with some recommendations for programmatic SEO right here if you’re interested.
A couple of other things to check in on are ADA accessibility and Google page speed.
On accessibility (at least on your homepage) you have achieved god mode! (congrats!) this is the best I’ve seen (you’re literally perfect)
For page speed - it’s Renaissance, so it’s going to be fast (especially on desktop)
But on mobile there is some room for improvement: But this is hyper-technical stuff (and you do have a lot going on for your homepage). 79 is “not bad”, but could be fine-tuned (some image optimization, consolidation of third-party scripts, (maybe even cleaning up, removing some) deferring or lazy loading some of those further down elements etc. There is a whole thread on WPO here as well for that.
Alright, one more actionable item tonight for @Impassioned (and hopefully everyone learns from this)
It’s time to go looking for fast wins, that is hyper targetted and have obvious solutions.
Pouring through your best ranking keywords, that are also very relevant and already have good to great rankings I zero’d in on “Ski-in ski out”
You are ALMOST THERE!
But do you notice something? You have practically zero click-through rate.
Now it’s important for everyone to understand that click-through rate has nothing to do with the users experience when you are on the site.
Why? Because click-through rate measures how often they click “from” the search engine “too” your site. So the only things you can do to improve click-through rate are:
Focus on more compelling titles and meta descriptions:
Consider these two sets of content
Title: Ski-In Ski-Out Homes for Sale | Park City | Deer Valley | The Colony - Canyons Village
Description: Looking for a ski home in Park City, Deer Valley or maybe The Colony? Easily preview homes for sale on ParkCity4u.com. Call us at 435-9012781. The Wallace Group with KW Park City Keller Williams Real Estate
^^ The actual description
Title: How many Ski-In Ski-Out Homes Are there In Deer Valley?
Description: Not every home in Deer Valley is Ski-In Ski-out (and we have the secret sauce for finding even the hidden ones not everyone knows about). Are you looking for one? Click before we sell them all.
It’s a fictitious example, but do you take my point? Optimizing for CTR is as important (when you’re top 5) as rankings.
The other thing you can do which is a quick win is keep working these pages until they go from 2.5 or 3.5 to #1. The CTR in #1 is HUGE compared to any other ranking. And you’re basically there.
Pro-tip, consider making Ski-in Ski-out a pillar with sub-pages for the various areas so each can have hyper focused sub pages and corresponding blog posts
The next comment/lesson comes from a conversation with @dfwbroker
Here’s the issue:
Average rankings have stayed the same
Impressions have gone “up” (meaning more searches on those phrases)
And yet clicks have gone down.
check it out…
How can this be?
The answer to this one is actually pretty simple: Google wants more ad revenue.
Over time Google has gotten better and better at ensuring people click on ads, and thus as that CTR has improved, it means less traffic for the organic results that come “after”.
Also, if you’ve looked at any competitive local result over time, you’ll notice that Google also is including a lot more into the mix (images, reviews, videos, FAQ’s etc) all of these things can either push your organic rankings down the page (even if you’re top 5) or draw attention away from organic rankings to the other elements.
There are 3 solutions to this:
#1: You need to get to the top 3 now (not top 5 and certainly not top 10) with #1 or #2 preferred (the CTR is much higher there)
#2: You must focus on CTR optimization (not just rankings) there is commentary on this above. Here is a link on CTR as well.
#3: You need to leverage any other elements you can on the page to get additional references (FAQ’s, Google Ads, Your Google business profile. Try to dominate your local SERP
A special note on AdWords: There is data to suggest that when people see your ad (even when they don’t click on it) and “then” they see your organic result, they are more likely to click on it (they register consciously or subconsciously that they have seen you already),
This is also great for branding, I call it the 2 billboard effect.
What you want should look like this
I am going to share a quick visual using a specific keyword “Condos For Sale In Dallas”
Here it is ranking 9.5 in 2021 and still getting a few clicks (A CTR of 2.7%)
And now here it is today ranking 9.9 (for all intents and purposes the same) and yet it is getting 0 clicks and a 0% CTR.
Another interesting thing to note is how much impressions are “down” 74 vs 23 that is a 69% drop. Now impressions have nothing to do with rankings (as long as you’re ranked top 100) so what this says is that 69% less people are searching Google “at all” for that keyword.
The point is, you will no longer get traffic outside of the top 5 (or at least VERY rarely) so instead of trying to get everything top 20 and nothing top 5 you should pick a few specific battles (using pillar strategy) get them top 5, then top 3, then #1!
You can’t do this with on page alone - you will need to have a linking strategy in place as well
Just curious at the end you mentioned,
“Pro-tip, consider making Ski-in Ski-out a pillar with sub-pages for the various areas so each can have hyper focused sub pages and corresponding blog posts”. Can you give me an example of what you mean by Pillar Pages.
I am not sure how to improve the 79 Performance on mobile. You mention that it is hper-technical stuff and that there is a whole thread on WPO? Curious if others are finding the same…performance numbers are high on desktop but not so great on mobile. Where can we go to learn more?
The thread for learning about WPO is here: Free WPO (Web Performance Optimization) For Renaissance Users (Contest has now ended)
Yes, there is a video post referenced further up on this thread (you should watch that whole video, I go into great depth on it) - but there is also a graphic here as well
This is the “good stuff” of SEO
Think of the pillar concept like there is one main structure, and in order for it to be weak supported and strong it needs a bunch of supporting structures (some people call this the spoke and wheel) concept is the same.
As I dig into your content more I actually see you are doing a great job creating multiple pages that are specifically targetted:
But let’s just pick one and make it a pillar (meaning we really want to rank tops for it and will build supporting content to achieve that result:
Let’s take Park City:
First, I would like to recommend that you separate Park City and Deer Valley into unique pages, as each is competitive enough on it’s own to have it’s own page.
Anyways, let’s say we are determined to rank #1 for Park City Ski In Ski Out (or better yet, Park City Ski properties)
You would have your main page:
Title: Park City Ski Properties
And then all the on page optimization would be related to Park City and Ski properties (you would not dilute it with Deer Valley, or condos etc)
So that is your “main pillar”
Next you need to create “sub pages” (you already have several of these, you just need to link them together properly and ensure they are optimized properly. An example of this would be “park city ski in ski out condos” (great sub page, not as competitive, related to the main topic, very supportive.
You also have ski in ski out land as a sub-page (only referring park city << NOT deer valley which is separate as a keyword)
And then you’d create hyper-specific blog posts that are super interesting about ski in ski out properties, but specifically in relation to park city.
How you link them together is important (you should be using contextual links, not cannibalizing your other pages or diluting your keywords etc.
That’s why it’s important to reach up on other threads on pillar pages, but most important, what the video here’s the link for that Creating Content Clusters & Pillar Pages For Real Estate SEO
Also you asked for specific examples of these pages:
Here you go:
Pillar page: https://www.carlycarey.com/youbou-real-estate.php (keyword is “Youbou Real Estate” + other related real estate terms)
Sub page: Youbou Waterfront Real Estate | Lakefront Homes in Youbou, BC (keyword is youbou waterfront real estate)
Blog post: How to Buy a House in Lake Cowichan or Youbou, Vancouver Island (keywords don’t really matter, it’s more of an interest blog that supports the pillar.
Listing: 9808 Miracle Way, Youbou Home For Sale 2299900 (keyword is the address)
FYI, that section is newer (the Youbou section) but as you can see, we are already starting to rank decently well including #1 for the community name and community name + BC
Generally “real estate” is super competitive as a term, and takes intentional link building (which we have not yet done for that phrase) but that is what we would need to do in order to go from top 10 to top 5, top 3 and so on.
The money phrases for us though, are things a bit longer tail like “Youbou Waterfront For Sale” which is million+ properties that we love to show. So we’ll focus on that in favor of generic “real estate” terms.
In regards to backlinks, could you give us some ideas of where we can get them? For instance, I was thinking of my preferred mortgage lender, but she has a company site with "page’ that has her info but does not have her own website. Additionally, I am sure she would not want to show just a link to my site without having to do same for all of her customers. I am struggling as to how we get these backlinks that would be relevant. Suggestions?
Ah, the age-old question: How do I get backlinks? (And “quality” backlinks, those are even harder?)
This is why SEO is so damned difficult. No matter how perfect your on-page is, without backlinks (quality and relevance) you still can’t rank for competitive terms.
A primer for you Kim is here: Domain authority, Link Building and SEO For Real Estate
But after you read that, let me give you some examples of easy ones, then we’ll talk about hard ones.
Make sure your profiles are up to date everywhere (social media profiles, directories, if you’re a member of local chamber of commerce, your high school if they have an alum page) anywhere that is a “profile of you”. That part is easy.
Next - what about the places you are NOT a member of (but you can get backlinks from) perhaps the fish and game club (or in your case equestrian club) etc. I would never suggest paying money, or joining a club “just” for a backlink - but if it makes business sense to do it anyways for your business AND you can get a backlink? Don’t forget to fill out the profile or ask for a link.
Become a columnist: Write for the local paper, another local blogger specific to real estate, get published in Inman news. You’re an expert right? Find where your expertise can shine, build relationships and then get writing. Not only might you get a direct link - but other people will discover your stuff and may link to you as a thank you for your contributions.
Do something AMAZING (but also make sure people know about it). Backlinks are all about people “wanting” to recognize you. They are after all “linking” to you, right? I mean not everyone can be The Largest Deal In Dragons Den History but you could do something really awesome in your local community (give back, volunteer, have the most epic Christmas lights) whatever. But GET NOTICED! Not only that though, promote the heck out of you getting noticed so that others see it. Post on social media, write a post of your own about the thing you did etc
Here’s an example from Yesterday - we just shopped for 40+ families (on our dime) with $175 per person for gifts + $150 per family for groceries / Christmas dinners. Pretty cool right? Here’s the link! Real Estate Webmasters on LinkedIn: Christmas Angels
But no one would love us for it, or link to us because of it if we didn’t make sure people saw it.
So we cross post on linkedIn, Facebook and all the things - tends of thousands of people will see it. Some might link to us, others might give us a like or a share, and maybe even some might become customers. It’s a worthy cause, and we’re a great company for doing it - but if we don’t “get it out there” - no one will see it.
Create “linkable content” - this is truly the gold standard of link building. It takes a LOT of effort to produce truly link-worthy content, and truth is, most of it won’t get very many links. You could write 20 articles, and only 1 or 2 might “go viral” (and that’s if you’re really good) but those 1 or 2 link worthy posts might get you 10’s or even hundreds of links.
Create “link bait” as an application. Code something really cool and then share it with the world. Maybe it gets picked up by the news (if you make sure you send it to them) maybe bloggers write about it etc.
An example of a link-worthy application? How about this - code a “realistic home search” - it’s exactly like a regular home search but there is a drop-down that allows you to set a setting for 10% less value on homes etc - because people are ALWAYS shopping for properties they probably shouldn’t and need to be more realistic. This one keeps you honest by letting you set your budget x .9 or even .8 (only shows you homes you can ACTUALLY afford).
Would take some programming (and some slick promotion to get it in front of people) but that’s the idea.
or something simple like the Real Estate Commissions Calculator - we coded recently. (You should link to it heh)
Those are just some ideas (I should really do a blog post on it, then I’ll get some links :D)
At the end of the day though, they don’t call them “earned links” for nothin… If they were easy to get, you probably didn’t really “earn them”
But it is possible! you just have to put in the work (and be intentional about it)
Alright - @kim.blanton since you’re such an awesome contributor here (and you gave per permission to share a bit of your stuff as lessons for everyone) let’s get you some actionable “on page” insights as well.
First thing I do? Head over to search console, pick a long enough timeframe that I can get some decent data (in your case 3 months) and a start looking for terms that
A: Have enough impressions on their own or in a group that they are worth going after
B: You have a clear shot at ranking for (you are already ranking top 10 for some phrases and clearly have enough authority to compete.
My initial screen looks like this: And what jumps out at me is Tims Ford…
There are already 2 on the first page, and I haven’t started digging yet. They have good search volume, and you’ve cracked the top 10 BUT you’re not in top positon.
Why go for top positions? Take a look at the click-through rates? They kinda suck at position 6 (5% ish) but look at what happens when you are in position 1 or 2 double digit click through rates! This is the way to skyrocket your traffic! Get from #5 to #1.
So consider creating a true content pillar around Tims Ford Lake…
Here check it out - I’ve gone out 16 months, used “query” to dial in only Tims Ford keywords, and sorted by impressions…
It’s super niche, but already you’ve attracted impressions from 105 “different” keywords, and over 10k impressions. Go get it!!!
Another potentially STRONG content pillar for you to create would be around horses. You clearly love them, already have content on them (probably enjoy creating content about them) and you’re already ranking very well for lots of different horse related terms.
Here, check it out!
Now your horse content (and really all your content) could be much more well organized into pillars, but since you’re passionate on the topic and likely could build relationships with many of the equestrian-related businesses, blogs, etc (think back to your link building) I see this is a place you could shine.
So create a horse pillar (or several of them)