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SEO, SEM/PPC and Social Media Marketing

  Real Estate SEO Part II -- Off-Page SEO

Second in a series of Real Estate SEO articles by Austin SEO agency Semantic Advantage, Inc.
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Links and Search Engine Ranking

Search engines view a link from another website to a page on your site as an endorsement of your page by the referring site.  As with product reviews and political campaigns, the value of an endorsement depends on the
  • Authority of the endorser
  • Relevance of the endorser’s opinion
  • Prominence the endorser gives to the endorsement
  • Longevity of the endorsement
  • Number of endorsements the endorser gives (dilution effect)
  • Exact wording of the endorsement
  • Number of people who concur with the endorsement
Austin SEO agency Semantic Advantage does Off-Page search engine optimization to obtain these endorsements -- establishing links to your website from high quality, relevant websites and social media sites.  Ideally these hyperlinks should be near the top of the referring page, and the anchor text will include your web page’s keyword (or similar terms).
Search Engine Optimization – On-page and Off-Page
In our previous article on Real Estate SEO, we explored on-page techniques commonly used by an in-house web marketer, ad agency or SEO agency.  On-page SEO services include keyword selection, competitive SEO analysis, long- and short-tail keyword strategies, copywriting and website structuring.  This article will examine off-page search engine optimization methods, and how these can be used to enhance search engine rankings and increase the number of visitors to your Real Estate website.

Note: For those not familiar with search engine optimization terminology, here is an SEO Glossary (which will open in a separate window). 

Off-Page SEO refers to search engine optimization techniques which do not modify your website pages.  Our Austin SEO firm devotes most of its Off-Page SEO efforts to establishing links from other websites to yours.  These are called in-links, and they are created by issuing online press releases, sending out email and newsletters, registering your Real Estate agency with Internet business directories and professional organizations, blogging, social media marketing, and encouraging owners of other websites to add a link to yours.

Links from your website to other sites are called out-links, and these too are beneficial to search engine optimization.  An experienced SEO firm like Semantic Advantage can design and implement a link development program to establish in-links and out-links which will significantly improve your search engine rankings.

Link Building Strategy and Guidelines
While the internal workings of search engine ranking algorithms are closely held secrets, SEO experts generally agree about the link and referring website characteristics which are most beneficial from the standpoint of search engine optimization.  A professional SEO agency applies these heuristics to increase the number and quality of inbound links to your Real Estate website, significantly enhancing your on-page SEO and search engine rankings.  For best results, look for referring sites with these characteristics:

Authoritative (high Google PageRank or Yahoo! WebRank) sites.  Government (.gov) or Educational (.edu) sites – those related to housing or interest rates are applicable to Real Estate SEO.  Google Places, Yahoo! Local, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter are also high authority sites.  In general, you want links from sites with PageRank higher than yours – easy if you’re just starting out!

Highly relevant websites.
Real Estate association websites and blogs, local business directories, local newspapers and e-zines, green building sites.  The main keyword of the referring page should be similar to that of your target page.

Highly relevant pages.
  Even on a highly relevant website, it’s important that the link come from a page that is relevant to your Real Estate business (and with keywords similar to your page).  At the risk of stating the obvious -- you should blog on websites and topics most relevant to your agency and services.

Pages with few outbound links
.  A referring page with lots of links dilutes the value of the link to your page.  Search engines especially dislike pages with dozens of links (suspected link spammers), and discount these.

Relevant anchor text.
  The text of the hyperlink should contain your page’s keyword – or a synonym or other contextually relevant words.  Examples of sub-optimal anchor text are ‘Click Here’ and ‘<more>.’

Link near the top of the page.
  Search engines attribute more importance to words and links they find near the top of the page.

Longstanding links.
  The longer the link has been there, the more credence search engines give this. 

Pages with high traffic, Click Through Rate (CTR) and links with low Bounce Rates.
  We don’t know of any search engines using this information currently for search rankings, but expect they will begin doing so in attempts to combat link spam, content farms and web spammers.

Avoid paid links and bad neighborhoods
.  Search engines are getting very good at detecting paid links, link exchange farms and other low quality sites with tons of links.

More is better – but slowly.
  Subject to the above quality guidelines, the more inbound links to your page, the higher search engine ranking you can expect.  But search engines are wary of sites and pages that acquire dozens of links overnight.  It’s best to build your links gradually.


Selecting an Austin SEO agency for On-Page and Off-Page SEO
Link building is a long-term proposition, and your SEO firm should devise and implement a link acquisition strategy that will increase the quality and quantity of in-links to your Real Estate website, beginning with the pages containing your most important keywords.

Note: As a leading white hat Austin SEO agency, Semantic Advantage supports the guidelines and Terms of Service (TOS) of the major search engines.  We do not condone the use of paid links or cloaking to enhance search engine optimization.  These techniques violate the Google Webmaster Guidelines and Terms of Service of Yahoo!, Bing and other search engines and advertising platforms.

In-links and Out-links Your website pages should have as many high quality in-links as possible, from sites relevant to your page’s keywords.  Each page should also have two or three out-links to high quality reference sites.  In Real Estate SEO, these could include links to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), Institute of Real Estate Management, Realtor.org, as well as to your state and local real estate organizations.

All out-links on your website should open a new browser window, to enable the visitor to easily return to your page.  The anchor text for the out-link will generally be the name of the organization you’re linking to, and you should link to the home page – unless there is a higher PageRank page or specific information resource you want to provide your visitors.

Sources of High Quality Links
There are many categories of websites that are good candidates for high quality in-links and out-links.  An experienced SEO firm will develop a program and schedule for establishing links to and from the following types of websites:

Business directories: Google Places, Yahoo Local, state and local business directories, YellowPages,com, YellowBook.com, LocalPages.com, SuperPages.com, etc.

Web directories
(some of these require paid listings): DMOZ, Yahoo, Americas Best Directory, Ezilon, Best of the Web, etc.

College/University (.edu) and Government (.gov) sites:
  Search engine give heavy weighting to links coming from .edu and .gov domains.  Links from .gov sites are difficult to obtain, but many colleges and universities have blogs.

Social media sites:
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc.  Because of their high traffic volumes, the search engines value links from these social sites very highly.
Ratings and Reviews sites: Angie’s List, BBB.org and Yelp.  Real Estate-specific sites include AgentScoreboard.com, RE-Agent-Review.com, RealEstateRatingz.com and Zillow.com

Blog sites and forums:
  By blogging or participating in online forums, you can leave links to your website pages.  Note: Not all blogs or forums allow you to leave links (or embed HTML code with anchor text and a link to a specific web page), and some render links “no-follow” which prevents search engines from considering these in determine your search engine ranking.

Online Articles:
Most editors are delighted to receive relevant and informative articles, and will publish these with a link to your site

PPC and Display Ads:
In addition to directly driving traffic to your site, every ad creates an in-link; and the SEO benefit of this in-link depends on the authority and relevance of the referring site.  This is something to consider when you specify where your ads appear. 

Press Releases:
Issuing online press releases is a great way to get your content and keywords out there – along with a link to your site – and there are many press release distributors that do this for free: PRLog.org, Rree-Press-Release.com, I-Newswire.com, Mashable.com, PRFree.com, etc.

Email:
Every email you send should include your home page in the email ‘signature’ and at least one more URL link to one of your website pages which is germane to the topic of the email.

Newsletters:
A newsletter gives you a chance to communicate to your audience periodically, and also provides a vehicle in which to distribute multiple links to your website.  If you do distribute your newsletters through a leading commercial newsletter company like Constant Contact, MailChimp or Vertical Response, your newsletter (and in-links) will be hosted on their high PageRank website.  

Increasing Real Estate Website Traffic With Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO is an important component of search engine optimization.  Combined with on-page SEO techniques, off-page search engine optimization can significantly grow your Real Estate website traffic, bring you new buyers and sellers, and increase your sales.

Semantic Advantage is an Austin SEO agency specializing in Google search engine optimization, Google Places SEO, enhancement of clients’ Yahoo! search rankings and Bing SEO techniques.  For more information on enhancing your online marketing program, fill out the Semantic Advantage Contact Form or email us at info@Semantic-Ad.com




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