Real estate firms that do well in the search results must earn unique links from trusted sources that set them apart from the competition.
But the real estate industry faces unique challenges when it comes to building links.
An effective link building strategy for this industry requires a creative approach that takes into account:
- The semi-local nature of the subject matter.
- The quirks of the target audiences in question.
- The difficulties of avoiding “sameness” around the topic at hand.
In this post, we’ll:
- Discuss how to approach outreach in this space.
- Recommend some specific link building tactics to help you boost your search engine visibility.
How to Approach Outreach in the Real Estate Industry
Real estate firms inhabit a somewhat unique space in the online marketplace.
The location-centric nature of the business means that tactics developed for online businesses don’t necessarily apply.
At the same time, standard local SEO tactics aren’t necessarily the best fit for the industry either. This is because the locations in question are in constant motion and you are primarily marketing to promote to a specific region without your efforts centering around a specific address.
In your outreach and promotional efforts, you will need to earn links from a wide variety of sources.
- Regional links will help your pages turn up for local queries from homeowners and those looking to buy or rent.
- National and global links from topic-centric sites will help build authority for your brand around topics related to real estate and any secondary topics that are important to your target audience.
Successful outreach in the real estate industry should be built in large part around long-term business partnerships.
Most of the authoritative links you earn will be coming from clients and business partners who link to you naturally as part of broader cross-promotional campaigns.
There will generally be less of a focus on picking up links from cold outreach and more of a focus on making sure that your firm’s name gets associated with as many projects and campaigns as possible. You want to be listed as a partner or sponsor that helped make things in your region possible.
This isn’t to say that content can’t or shouldn’t still play a big part in your link building strategy. However, your content strategy must be very carefully devised to target a unique and regional audience in a way that helps you stand out from other real estate firms.
Focus on developing a strong unique selling proposition for your content strategy in order to earn links and build a following.
1. Original Research
Publishing original research is a powerful way to earn links. This is as true for the real estate industry as it is for most others.
Consider, for example, this original research published by OnCarrot. The real estate SaaS company ran a study on their clients and used it to make marketing recommendations to their audience of real estate agents:
As a real estate firm, copying this strategy too directly wouldn’t generally be a good fit, since your goal should be to cultivate an audience of buyers and sellers, not other real estate agents.
Nevertheless, it serves as an example of the power of original research to capture links and attention.
In approaching your own original research, you will need to consider:
- What proprietary data you have access to as a real estate firm.
- What data yields interesting insights that others would find interesting enough to link to.
- What target audiences would be a good fit for both the data and your brand.
Bear in mind that the data you have access to isn’t necessarily going to appeal to your bottom of the funnel target audience. This is OK.
The goal of releasing original research isn’t to target those ready to buy and sell right away, it is to boost brand exposure and attract the attention of people who have audiences of their own.
Put another way, the primary target audience of your original research should be a group of bloggers, webmasters, and other influencers with the power to send you links and traffic.
Precisely who this target audience is will depend heavily on your brand’s USP and how you hope to differentiate yourself from other real estate agents.
To maximize the impact of your original research, be sure to reach out to influencers who would find the data interesting and who would be likely to use it in their own content.
Be careful to provide unique context and personalization in your outreach efforts so that your recipients know you are addressing them specifically and why you chose them.
2. Real Estate Blogs (& More)
Guest editorials have been a mainstay of SEO for a long time. As long as you are focussing on high profile blogs with real audiences and the potential for brand exposure, writing guest posts will help your rankings in the long term.
We recommend starting by reach out to HubSpot’s 29 recommended real estate blogs, especially the blogs that target homeowners and homebuyers.
You should also search for queries related to selling, buying, and renting homes and identify any other sites that publish content on the topic, even if it isn’t the primary focus of the entire blog.
To avoid cultivating an audience of other real estate firms:
- Be selective about what topics you choose to cover in your guest posts.
- Put the focus on topics that will attract sellers, buyers, and renters, and those who are likely to join those audiences soon.
Some topics to consider aside from the obvious include:
- Home and garden.
- Topics related to moving.
- Things to do in the region your real estate firm operates in.
- Personal finance.
It’s a good idea to get creative with the types of blogs you consider working with.
The number of blogs that cover real estate topics specifically is limited, many of them are run by other real estate firms, and the subject matter often concerns real estate agents more than your actual target audience.
3. Rental Listings & Directories
Rental listings sites like Trulia often allow you to link back to your site. Trulia, in particular, allows you to do so with a followed link.
Rental listings make up an important part of your promotional strategy, so be sure to include a link back to your site from any rental listings you post.
In addition to rental listings, take advantage of directories and various other listings that people use in your area, such as:
- Yellow Pages
- Chamber of Commerce
- Angie’s List
- Google Maps Listings
- Google My Business
What’s important is that the listings you use for link building are also used by real people for reasons that make sense for your firm. An approach that aims for variety is especially helpful here.
The real estate industry presents unique challenges when it comes to building links, owing to:
- A mix of online and local attributes that most SEO approaches aren’t designed to handle.
- And an industry that tends to repeat the same topics ad nauseam for audiences that mostly include other real estate agents.
With the right outreach mindset, business partnerships, a creative content strategy, intelligent editorial placement, and skilled use of listings, you will be able to capture links your competitors won’t and place closer to the top of the search results.
Screenshot taken by author, March 2019