Backlinks are considered an important aspect of SEO. Digital marketing experts in all industries consider backlinks a sure-fire way to get content ranked on top of Google results for local searches – real estate included.
As part of our real estate digital marketing services for Realtors, investors and developers, I have worked with a lot of real estate professionals. I personally know many professionals who buy links from other websites without fully realizing the implication of this Blackhat SEO strategy. In my opinion, it’s better not to build any backlinks (instead, you should focus on creating more cornerstone content), rather than buying them and running the risk of a Google penalty. There is no denying the fact that if done correctly, link building actually pays off. However, it’s best to avoid blackhat backlink tactics.
Here is the latest Google update (goes into effect March 1, 2020) that you should know about if you are building backlinks to improve the ranking of your real estate content (I will also discuss some of the best ways to build real estate backlinks in 2020):
Latest Google Update: Rel= “sponsored”, Rel= “ugc”
There are different types of links including nofollow, and dofollow. The type of link your web pages get from other websites determines how effective it would be from the SEO point of view. For example, a nofollow link to your real estate website doesn’t pass any significant SEO juice.
- Do follow links tell search engines to notice and give SEO value to the links.
- No follow links tell search engines to ignore the links and give them less SEO value
If a website owner places a link with <rel=”dofollow attribute”>, Google will give SEO value to this link. On the contrary, if the link is <rel=”nofollow”>, you don’t get any significant SEO benefits (unless the anchor text is a brand mention).
Now with the latest Google update which will come into effect from March 1, 2020, a website can use another ‘rel attribute’ that is Sponsored.
Now if you pay someone to get a backlink and if you get <rel=”sponsored”> link, it will give your webpage absolutely no SEO value.
Take a look at the screenshot below. I found a link on a Forbes article, tagged as sponsored and user generated.
This is going to be a huge update and Google would likely use it to identify website owners who sell links.
Another type of links that Google wants webmasters to mark is the links from user-generated content.
For many real estate professionals, leaving links to their website on local discussion forums is a favorite way of getting backlinks. This will no longer work because the forums will now be required to tag the links in their user-generated content with a rel=“ugc”. This will help Google know whether the link was placed by a visitor or the webmaster. This type of link won’t pass any significant SEO juice to the visitor’s website.
What it basically means is that links left in forums of Zillow, Trulia, Realtor, Reddit and other popular forums won’t pass any SEO juice (most of these forums already mark links in their user-generated content as ‘nofollow’).
It doesn’t mean that forum marketing will no longer work for Realtors. Forum discussion is still a great way of growing your network and getting property buyer and seller leads, but as far as SEO is concerned, forum links for Realtors won’t work as effectively as they used to.
According to Google, “all the link attributes — sponsored, UGC and nofollow — are treated as hints about which links to consider or exclude within Search. We’ll use these hints — along with other signals — as a way to better understand how to appropriately analyze and use links within our systems.
Best ways to build real estate backlinks in 2020
As promised, here are my favorite 6 ways to build backlinks in 2020:
Tip#1: Repurpose your existing content
Real estate infographics are the best way to generate backlinks.
You can create infographics on almost every aspect of home buying and selling process. There is no dearth of topics for you to create infographics. You can create an infographic on real estate market trends in your local neighborhoods, amenities, demographics etc.
Studies show that infographics can help you build backlinks to your website.
If your infographic is visually appealing and gives relevant information that people can consume easily, it can potentially go viral on social media, and generate high-quality backlinks.
As part of our real estate digital marketing service, we create stunningly beautiful infographics for real estate professionals. Alternatively, you can free tools such as Canva.
Tip#2: Original research on local real estate market trends
If you want to establish yourself as an expert in your local real estate market, you need to do some data crunching and come up with original research about markets trends in your area.
Do studies on average days on the market for homes, most expensive/affordable neighborhoods, home buying/selling steps, staging etc and publish them on your real estate blog. Make a list of journalists and bloggers covering real estate and lifestyle in your area and share your findings with them.
Many of these bloggers and journalists will reach out to you when they write something related to the topic of your research.
You will not only get high-quality backlinks, but also build your credibility as a local real estate expert in the long run.
Tip#3: Guest posting for authority websites
Write guest posts for other authority website such as online editions of local newspapers.
In fact, you can use your own research (which we talked about in the tip#2) to write blog posts as a guest contributor. Write-ups with an original research have a better prospect of getting accepted for publication.
Tip#4: Create profile on listing websites and submit your listings
You are probably already aware of the top real estate websites where you can list properties. For example, this will look something like this for the USA-based Realtors:
Create a profile on these property listing platforms (with the link of your website in the profile) and submit your listings to them on a regular basis. Make sure that you leave a link to your website (wherever it’s allowed) in the listings you post.
Tip#5 Directory listings
In a recent article – Local SEO for Real Estate: Complete Guide, I provided a list of directories where you should list your business. Most of these directories provide a ‘nofollow’ link, but they definitely pass SEO juice in form of brand mentions.
Tip#6: Build free resources for buyers and sellers
Create useful resources for home buyers, sellers and investors on different aspect of property buying and selling process.
For example, you can create a free course which buyers and sellers can take to help them determine how informed they are about various aspects of property transaction process. Encourage them to test their learning by prompting them to appear in an online exam at the end of the course or each module.
These types of free resources tend to attract high-quality backlinks.
Google is releasing hundreds of search algorithm updates every year. It’s quite challenging to make sure that you stay up-to-date on all these updates in SEO guidelines. Check out our SEO audit service if you are struggling to get organic traffic from Google.
Since backlinks is an important aspect of SEO, many real estate professionals make the mistake of building links the wrong way. Keeping in mind that backlinks are a double-edged sword. Do it right, and you will get a lot of organic traffic. If you do it wrong, all the efforts that you put in creating content and promoting your brand online will be wasted.
So these are some of the best ways to build backlinks for a real estate website. If you have any questions or feedback, let me know in comments!