One of the fastest ways to improve your search engine rankings is to build high-quality inbound links—links from other websites to your website. In fact, successful search engine optimization (SEO) demands a focus on inbound link building, also called backlinking.
Here’s why: Although Google (and other search engines) evaluate scores of factors as they rank your site against the thousands of other agent sites on the Internet, inbound links are among the most powerful determinants of where your site will show up in the list of results.
And here’s another reason to focus on inbound links: Getting more relevant links to your website also increases the chances that real estate consumers looking for your type of services will find you as they naturally surf the web.
How Not to Build In-Bound Links
Before I give you the eight ways to get inbound links, let me warn you of a tactic from the early web days that could backfire today: link trading. Also known as reciprocal linking, trading links with relevant peers can be helpful to your efforts. But joining a link farm could be SEO suicide.
A link farm is a collection of websites that each link to every site in the group. Don’t be enticed by automated programs that promise to get you hundreds of links. The links are bound to be irrelevant and the search engines will punish you for trying to outwit their algorithm. In fact, Google may even ban you. Build inbound links the right way and you will gain credibility with the search engines.
The Right Way to Build In-Bound Links
Here are eight KW-sanctioned strategies you can begin using today.
1. Launch a Blog
You can use a free service like Blogger or Wordpress. Blog about your particular niche, i.e. luxury condos, foreclosures, vacation homes, or trends in your city or region. Linking from your blog to your website offers relevant inbound links.
2. Craft Strong Content
Content is still king online. If you produce interesting, relevant content, people will link to it. Let your service providers and partners know you are blogging or adding content to your site and invite them to share it with their customers in exchange for a link.
3. Consider Pay-Per-Click
Narrow in on your niche audience, choose a budget and launch a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. The text ads link to your site, giving you a potential boost in the rankings while also driving qualified leads.
4. Submit to Directories
There are many web directories you could list your site on, like Merchant Circle and DMOZ. There are free and paid web directories. You can find them by doing a simple search online.
5. Join Organizations
When you join organizations like the Better Business Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce and industry associations, you can often get the group to link back to your site.
6. Employ Article Marketing
Have you seen sites like ezinearticles.com? You can repurpose your blog content to submit to article marketing sites, position yourself as an expert, and get reputable in-bound links.
7. Get Social
When you join communities like Facebook and Twitter and post links to your site in status updates, you set the stage for high-quality links and relevant traffic to your website.
8. Write an E-book
With Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can include links back to your site in an e-book and post it on sites that host e-books, either as a free offering or for a small fee. This also positions you as an expert in your niche.
A final note: The text of the link makes a difference. Ask those who link to your site a to link on relevant terms like “Chicago real estate expert” rather than “click here.” The more descriptive the text is, the better Google likes the link.