Before we begin the creative link building process, its important to understand what search engines are looking for when ranking websites. I know, youʼve heard it before, Page Rank, Page Rank, Page Rank. Well, Iʼm here to tell you, forget about Page Rank! While PR used to rule the SERPs (search engine results page) several years ago, Googleʼs algorithm changed, and today PR isnʼt even as important as on page optimization.
So what are search engines looking for?
- Affiliations and associations – “who” you do business with.
- Relevancy – “where” you do your business.
Think about it like this, if youʼre affiliated with other authority (a.k.a trusted) businesses and programs within your community, then you yourself will gain trust as an agent within that same community. This type of “good” business naturally leads to referrals and other opportunities. In the search engine world referrals = links. Getting links from authority website tells search engines that you are a trusted real estate agent in your niche market. And trusted websites tend to rank high in Google.
Now that weʼve established that ranking in search engines is really just standing out as an agent or brokerage within your community, the next and obvious question is, how do you become “the” real estate agent / brokerage known within your target market?
To answer this question, lets work through the thinking process backwards. We know, that to be a top agent / broker, we need referral business. So the more important questions here is, how do I create referral business? And this is where the creativity comes in.
Creating a company based on referrals is really just good business practice.
Who do you work with? Helping a client sell or buy a home requires more then just you, the real estate agent. The process includes a broker, home inspector,
contractor, gardener, cleaning service, moving company, agents you refer to…and the list goes on. You refer out business and these companies should be referring business back to you. Part of this referral process should be links between your websites (yes the gardening service we recommend has a very nice website).
Community service. Are you participating on the PTA of your childʼs elementary school or do you offer reduced commissions for first time home buyers graduating
from your local University (hint: .edu sites are highly trusted by search engines)? Just last week, I volunteered on a government committee for a new bike path in my neighborhood. The next day, I received an email from the committee asking if I would like to be recognized on their website and in the local newspaper.
Ummm…yes (hint: .gov and news sites have high authority as well).
Rotaries and Clubs. Are you participating in mixers at your local chamber of commerce, Lionʼs club or church? These are all highly trusted sources and great
places to create connections and earn referrals.
Non-Profits. Even if you donʼt have the money to donate to non-profit groups you can still volunteer. In my state, there is a great non-profit organization that educates 1st time homebuyers on home ownership. I have my agents volunteer at these classes doing whatever the instructor needs. Not only do my agents earn business from these 1st time homebuyers, the non-profit links back to our site.
This is just a start to the creative link building process, but these are all tactics I use, not to get links, but to make my brokerage stand out in the state of Hawaii. And by standing out as “the” real estate agent / brokerage within your own community you will be rewarded by the search engines.