This post is for all the real estate agents out there who read our blog…
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a word that gets thrown around a lot. It’s an ever changing world of tips and tricks to help get your website noticed and many people don’t have the time or skill to learn it or keep up with it as it evolves. Real estate agents, hungry for more traffic to their websites, often employ SEO companies to help them boost their sites in search engine rankings so they can get noticed. What they don’t know, is how many of these companies are doing it. As someone who spends a lot of time fiddling and tweaking their real estate website, I know a thing or two about the internet. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, there are people out there with far more knowledge and experience (and I turn to them often for advice and information), but I do know enough to know that real estate agents need to stop wasting their money on some of the garbage tactics that I’m seeing more and more of.
SEO: The Linkback
One of the best known tools for generating better search page rankings is the linkback. Every time Google sees a link heading back to your site with appropriate keywords, it starts to think “wait a minute, if everyone is linking back to this site, it must be important” and when Google starts to believe something is important, it begins pushing the value of that site up in their search engine results. The more links, the better your exposure to people searching for keywords related to your website’s topic.
Links are not easy to come by though. Many sites block the search engines from seeing and cataloging these outbound links, so as not to open up the floodgates to a flurry of spam comments with no purpose other than to gain linkbacks. However, some websites use what’s known as “dofollow” to allow such links to be read and cataloged by the search engines. We are an example of such a site. We believe in a more open, sharing web where we are more than happy to give our fellow webmasters and bloggers what tiny little boost we can provide in return for them stopping by our site and opening up good conversation.
But, this same openness can be abused…and it is quite often. An agent or real estate brokerage pays a company oodles of money to “get them to page one of Google” and these companies set out to spam the internet with garbage comments on sites like ours that allow links so that they might get a bit of a boost from what we have created. We don’t mind giving anyone a boost (as long as they’re a legit company and not trying to do something scammy or nefarious). What we do mind is watching agents waste their hard earned money chasing a dream without any understanding of what it is they’re chasing or how the company they have chosen is going about doing it. We see instances on this site all the time of links back to agents, some that we even know and respect greatly, where the actual comment is nothing more than some gibberish in order to just comment for the sake of getting that link. What does that say about the owner of the website it is linking to?
An SEO Appeal To All Real Estate Agents
Instead of hiring these companies and throwing your money at them, take same time to understand what it is they are doing for you. Get involved. Want a link on our site? Comment on our posts and leave your link in the field provided, but don’t just comment blindly. Take a moment to talk about the subject at hand – discuss, dissect, and add to the conversation. Give your thoughts, stories, anecdotes, and relevant additions. By being a part of the community, you not only get a link, but you also show people who you are. Agent from another company? Go ahead and comment on our website. We’d love to hear your thoughts. (Keep the need to advertise out of the picture – if you’re awesome, people will recognize that, we don’t need your phone number and company name plastered after every sentence.) We have a ton of content here on the site and there is sure to be something that you know a lot about or feel passionately about or even have some extra information to bring to the table (some of the posts are much older and as we know, rules and laws change, so maybe there’s an update that you’d like to discuss). We as an industry should be and can be more of a community – and we’d love to be a part of making that happen.
And if you’re an agent in San Antonio or surrounding areas, feel free to drop by and comment. I know in talking to many of you in person that you read our website. We love reading other blogs and we’d love to see more of them in San Antonio. Build a website and get involved in helping educate and inform the buyers and sellers of all the things we see on a daily basis. The more they know and understand what we do, the more we can do for them as an industry. Just stop wasting your money on junk services – we get the calls all day long, so we know what these snake oil peddlers are selling you. Don’t be impressed by fancy tech-speak and “we work with Google” sales tactics. You want linkbacks and a boost in your SEO? It’s right in front of you and you can get more out of some personal involvement than a poorly spelled, grammar destroying, nonsense filled post. Would you hire a doctor based on a comment and link if they posted an unfocused, rambling comment about the latest advances in neurology on a blog about the best ice cream in Texas? Probably not.
So come on over and have a seat. Read, comment, get involved, and boost your website’s SEO all while having a bit of fun with the real estate community. It’s not nearly as hard as those sales people make it sound.
PS If you’re a Realtor interested in blogging about local real estate and are looking for a new brokerage, let us know. We are always looking for ways to expand our website and the content we provide. Our website has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years and we can provide you with a platform for your voice to be heard and your business to grow.
image courtesy of Christian Schnettelker