Four out of five consumers use the Internet to find local information. This means local SEO for real estate gets more important than ever before. As a real estate agent, you just need to capture all that valuable traffic and make sure it’s your expertise people see when looking for the best properties in your area. Besides, why should you pay for AdWords traffic when you can get it for free? In this post, we’ll take a look at how to get quality local backlinks and what really works for local link building.
What’s the No.1 thing you should do when promoting your real estate website online? Think local, all the time! You need to center a huge deal of your marketing efforts upon local SEO for real estate. This is the crucial factor that’ll enable you to get higher rankings and successfully compete with nationwide property portals.
According to Moz, out of the top-50 search results for roughly 1,500 keywords entered into Google, 99.2% of the websites listed had at least one external link. This is a clear signal that if you haven’t ironed out your link building process yet, it’s high time to get started.
[If you’d like to dig more into the basics of the local search, you might want to check out this post on the most powerful local real estate SEO techniques that we’ve made recently.]
Why are local links so important for SEO real estate?
If properly optimized and promoted, local (and small) businesses can actually rank in the first 10 results for many of their most important keywords. The reason for this is search engines have been paying growing attention to the locally optimized websites.
Over the years, Google was continually providing businesses with powerful and free tools such as Google Analytics or Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools). This was aimed at helping even very small businesses with limited resources get up and running quickly and actually succeed in ranking high. More recently, the huge number of discussions around local positioning clearly shows that local SEO will continue to be one of the most important ranking factors for local businesses.
At AgentDrive we love the spirit of this change because that’s exactly what real estate agents can fully capitalize on.
In particular, local link building is especially effective for your SEO rankings for at least 3 reasons:
- when you have backlinks pointing to your site from the other popular local sites, it’s easier for your customers to find you. You secure yourself a fraction of that valuable traffic and online exposure that you’d otherwise find hard to win;
- local link building strategies are quite easy to implement. Indeed, it’s much easier to come to terms with other local businesses or non-profits than outreach a national newspaper which receives hundreds of pitches every day. And the best part? It’s exactly these local links that are the most valuable to you in terms of local positioning and boosting local rankings;
- links are at the core of Google’s ranking algorithm. The importance of various ranking factors may change over time, but one thing remains steady – link building is one of the most powerful and evergreen techniques to build and expand your online presence.
We decided to break things down and outline all the most powerful and actionable link building strategies. This definitive guide compiles everything to get you up and running immediately. With no further talk, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of local link building.
12 brilliant techniques that nail your local link building efforts
1) Identify all of your existing relationships
If you don’t know where to start, start from the beginning, right? The best way to get started with local link building is come up with a list of what you’ve already managed to get.
Here are 3 most important things you should check out (and fix, if needed):
- if the existing backlinks are not broken;
- if they point to the right pages;
- if they contain correct anchor text (preferably the keyword or your brand name).
Because backlinks are so important to local SEO for real estate, you should always keep an eye on how they appear on the web (for example, broken backlinks negatively affect your SEO so you’d like to fix them asap). You can use backlinks checker tools for this, for example, Open Site Explorer or Ahrefs to find your existing backlinks. (AgentDrive.com customers receive their monthly backlinks reports automatically). Once you’ve found your existing backlinks and fixed them where necessary, it’s time to move on with the next techniques.
2) Get listed in local directories
Local directories are just what they sound like – lists of businesses working in a particular area. You can use both general local directories and the ones that specifically cover local real estate.
For local businesses, local directories prove to be much more useful than big ones. Speaking of local SEO for real estate, they usually bring more traffic and qualified leads. For example, here’s how the Hua Hin local business directory looks like.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t claim your business in nationwide and international directories – just make sure to start with the local ones first.
A few things you should remember when claiming your listings in the local directories:
- add your business description to these listings and make sure it’s concise and tells the best about you;
- make sure that your NAP information – name, address and phone number – is correct and the same everywhere. For example, if your street is Phetkasem Road, then use this exact match, and not variations like Petchkasem Road. Always remember about consistency with your NAP details as it’s crucial to the local SEO for real estate;
- don’t try to get listed in every single local directory – only use the ones that are popular and trustworthy. For example, one of the most important metrics you can look at first hand is PageRank. If it’s very low, cross the site off your list.
3) Get local customer reviews
For all agents seeking for ways to improve local SEO for real estate, reviews work extremely good. Not only they generate a positive buzz around your agency, but clearly signal that your business is providing a real value to the customers and deserves to be ranked higher.
The first thing to focus on is to try and get 5 Google reviews. This can be done via a Google My Business page for your agency (if you don’t have it set up yet, you should do this asap).
The whole matter of getting customer reviews boils down to reaching out to your customers and asking them to take a few minutes and leave you a review on your Google page.
Once you’ve managed to get five Google reviews, your Google profile will start showing 5 golden stars next to your listings. Google favors these stars when ranking your website as they signal your business is trustworthy and popular among users. In other words, it knows you deserve to be ranked higher.
Collecting Google reviews is the very first thing you’d like to do. However, there’s also a bunch of other popular review sites on the web which you might want to use, for example, Yahoo!Local, Tripadvisor, Zodio, Foursquare, Bing Places, TravelIndex, WhoDoYou, etc.
We’ve got a huge post on all the smart ways of getting plenty of real estate agent reviews, so make sure to check it out too.
4) Ask your local partners to link to you
If you have partnered with another local business and if they run their own websites, you can ask them to link back to your site. Similarly, your partners might ask you to link to them too, and you can always do this for them. It’s good to link to trustworthy sites from your pages as it positively influences your SEO.
Another source of local links is local suppliers. If you’re buying from these companies, ask them to post your link on their website, be it on the testimonials page or on their local resource list.
5) Outreach to local media
Yet another way to get more local links is to maintain contacts with the local newspapers. Oftentimes, they might have their own local business directories where you can easily get listed.
Local newspapers often ask businesses to comment on the local goings-on. When giving a comment to a local newspaper, ask for the backlink next to your citation. This won’t cost you a dime but you’ll easily win local exposure and reach the audience of these publications which is usually the type of audience you need too.
6) Get in touch with the local bloggers
Reaching out to local bloggers is a great way to gain more local backlinks. Local bloggers usually have everything to do with local events. They update their content frequently, have their own network of fans and followers and their opinions do matter to local folk.
Do quick research and trot out a list of all bloggers writing about your area. Next, reach out to them asking to link back to your site. Remember though, that you have to offer something back to them, to get these people interested in you and motivated to share information about you.
Here are a few things you can do for local bloggers:
- link back to their site;
- offer them a guest blogging opportunity on your website. They are usually interested in gaining exposure via new websites and reaching new audiences so they’ll gladly agree;
- help them promote a piece of their content via your social media;
- include their latest post into your newsletter, etc.
These are really actionable ways to connect with the local bloggers. Depending on your specific situation, you’ll most likely come up with something even better and more tailored to your needs that you can offer to local bloggers in exchange for a backlink.
7) Leverage local sponsorships
If you happen to sponsor any local events, it’s only natural that you’d like to be mentioned in the media coverage.
Local sponsorships have various benefits which might urge you to join an event, with branding opportunities probably being the most significant one. These local events that you can sponsor usually have a dedicated page with all the information about the event and its sponsors. Of course, the sponsors’ links are published too. So all you need to do is head to that page, check out if the link to your website is included (if not, ask the webmasters to post it) and that’s it – yet another backlink pointing to your site goes on your list.
If you don’t yet participate in any local events but feel that your budget allows you to untap this opportunity, you can make some inquiries and find out which events are planned to take place soon. Reach out to the hosting party and suggest your participation. We wouldn’t say for sure, but plenty of agents go as far as tell that just a lunch solves everything pretty well, so you might as well give it a try.
You might also wonder which local events are worthwhile sponsoring. Depending on your location they may vary, but the following events usually work well:
- local business conferences;
- local business awards;
- local trade shows;
- local fairs;
- local concerts and festivals.
You can easily find info about local events on a bunch of local sites or city council sites.
Another point definitely deserving your attention is local non-profits. If you happen to support any local social responsibility programs, ask your partners to post a backlink to your site too.
8) Create a “Work with us” page
Another way to get yourself more backlinks and improve local SEO for real estate is to create a “Career”, or “Jobs”, page on your website. Next, put together a list of local colleges and let them know about the employment opportunities you offer. Colleges will usually gladly link back to you because:
- they like to keep up to date with the latest job offers to let their students know about them;
- if their alumni already happen to work for your agency, colleges can link back to you too to demonstrate the quality of their work.
Not only colleges post your backlink on their sites, but they also share your job announcements across their social media. This way you not only get yourself some quality local links but also win broader online exposure.
Also, remember about local job posting sites. If there are any, reach out to them too and place your job adverts there.
9) Give testimonials to the others
Leaving testimonials is one of the most straightforward ways to get more backlinks. It’s as simple as it sounds. If you buy from a local business, just write them a testimonial, asking to include a link to your site at the end. Needless to say, any business loves positive testimonials and local businesses love them even more, so you’ll never find it hard to implement this strategy.
Any local business you buy from could do. For example, as a real estate agent, you probably work with local photographers to get some beautiful pictures of your properties. Leave them a nice testimonial and don’t forget to ask for a backlink – people will be happy to include it.
10) Local resource lists
Here’s yet another way to secure yourself more local backlinks and improve local SEO for real estate. Do some quick research to find any sites that publish lists of local resources: restaurants, golf clubs, local activities, tourist spots, hotels, etc. It’s highly likely these sites will also like to include plenty of info on local accommodation and rentals as well as info about local real estate agents.
That’s exactly what you need. Reach out to the webmasters suggesting them to make their list more accurate and include a link to your site – it’s as simple as that.
11) Reach out to convention & visitor bureaus
CVBs, aka destination marketing organizations, are underrated much more often than they should be. These are organizations created with a single purpose: to promote a city, region and entire country and attract more tourists to these territories.
CVBs include all kind of information about your city. People who search for more info about your area naturally land on these websites and that’s what you can fully capitalize on. Reach out to the CVB in your city (for example, here’s the website for the Tourism Authority of Thailand in a city of Hua Hin) and suggest them to update their city information with the link to your website.
It’s highly likely that these organizations will gladly do this for you, as information about real estate is what most people look for first hand. So the more links to agents these sites have, the more quality and informative they are.
12) Keep an eye on your competitors’ backlinks
Knowing where your competition promotes itself is a good way to come up with even more ideas to getting more local backlinks. From time to time, make some research on competitor backlinks and make some notes on any worthy sites. If you aren’t mentioned there yet, reach out and suggest your website.
Remember though, that you don’t have to use every single site that your competition uses – some of them might be of low quality and will provide you with a little if any, value. Just focus on the sites that have already build authority for themselves.
Here’s the key takeaway from this definitive guide to local link building. You can list the best properties in the city but if your website doesn’t win some authority online, you’ll find it hard to get leads and sell.
In fact, you may have your website perfectly optimized for SEO and come up with a bunch of awesome neighborhood landing pages, but if you don’t have external, locally relevant links, your SEO efforts can turn out to be futile.
With this guide, you’ll never find yourself stumbling in the dark next time it comes to the SEO for real estate and local link building. In most cases, it all boils down to just asking for a backlink. Start with all the points we’ve put together for you, one by one, and you’ll notice that your list of backlinks is growing quickly, bringing you more qualified traffic and motivated leads.