#160 Mail-Right Show SEO (search engine optimization) Part 4 Link Building

In this episode (part 4 of 4 show mini series ) we go deep link building and why you the real estate agent should really care about SEO (search engine optimization) and why so many real estate agent’s website are so bad in this particular area building quality external links Robert gives some great examples connected to websites that are really working connected to getting quality leads. We also discuss is really important to have a good quality property search on your website powered by IDX and have it freely available or have it semi locked down.

Jonathan: Welcome back folks to the Mail-Right Show. This is episode 160. It’s going to be our ongoing discussion about SEO and why it’s important for you, the Real Estate Agent. It’s a series of four and this is our final episode about this subject and we’re going to be talking about link building and why it’s really important in this ongoing discussion around SEO. And I’ve got my great co-host here. So, Robert, would you like to introduce yourself?

Robert: Certainly. My name is Robert Newman. I’m the founder of a Real Estate Marketing company called Inbound Real Estate Marketing and we do focus mostly on SEO and you can always look us up at InBoundREM.com.

Jonathan: That’s great. And I’m the founder of Mail-Right. We’re an online platform which helps you get quality leads with an emphasis of using the power of Facebook. So, Robert, we’ve had this series of three shows. This is going to be the final one.

Robert: Right.

Jonathan: We thought we needed this time to cover a very important but large subject and I understand from our pre-show discussion that we’re going to talk about link building and then have a quick round-up of all the subjects we’ve discussed. So, link building, what’s it about and why it’s so important Robert?

Robert: Okay. So, first and foremost, I’m going to use once again a screen share for those of you who are viewers but I’m going to also do a verbal description. Hopefully, this will match up well for all of our audiences, whether they’re podcast or video. So, link building, the reason it’s so important is that Google does 95 percent of Real Estate search traffic so we’re really talking about Google, number one. Number two, Google has always been a voting algorithm based on popularity.

People really don’t realize that and the way that Google always organized votes was through a system of something called backlink and a lot of guys like me talk about backlinks, backlinks, backlinks and it’s pretty rare that I come across clients that actually understand what a backlink is. So, a backlink is when a website puts your website address on their own and that is a backlink. And I’ve moved into a screen share and I’m going to be pointing at in this screen share this number on a graph that says backlinks and I’m going to click on it.

This is a Real Estate client and they have 3,790 backlinks and a lot of them are Real Estate listings that probably contain the Real Estate website’s address somewhere on them. These are one kind of backlink and then you have a lot of other kind of backlinks including, by the way, one from me to the client’s site. You can see InboundREM right here. So, somewhere on this page, I have backlinked to this particular client. There is a link in here that connects into my client’s site. And what Google does is they take a look at the website and there’s about 200 factors that they look at. They have a score that they assign to every website. It’s called domain authority and it’s 0 to 100.

My tool here takes a reasonable guess at both the domain authority and the URL authority. So, one, you have the value the website as a whole and two you have a value of the page that your actual vote is located on. It’s very similar to the way that our political system works. All the people cast the vote but they go to a smaller section of political representatives and then they’re supposed to cast the vote for their constituency.

Link building is exactly the same thing. You have a Real Estate related site that has a very popular page on that site and if you happen to get a vote off that particular page, that vote is going to count for far more than many other votes. That, in general, is link building and I hope I didn’t lose everybody. But here, I’m going to give a couple of tips. So that’s the 1,000-foot high top level thing. In the course of this particular podcast, I’m going to give two backlinks that are widely value for Real Estate, that every single Real Estate Agent and Broker can get.

That’s going to be the secret sauce to this podcast. So, hopefully, everybody understands what a backlink is and now I’m moving my screen and I’m going to go to a different client because they’re slightly easier, well, actually, maybe I won’t. Let’s see here. The two types of backlinks that you can get, actually, I’m going to go to my own website instead of using a client’s site. Here’s my site. Two types of backlinks that every Real Estate Agent can get. Number one, ActiveRain. ActiveRain is a Real Estate blogging platform that does allow for links to pass authority from their site to other websites. Because it’s Real Estate related and because you can add your own content to that site, these links tend to be very valuable. So, this is my backlinks, my votes to my website and this tool sorts them by value. So the fifth most valuable link on the site is an ActiveRain blog post that I did in 2017 and it just so happens that the URL authority is very high.

I’ve got a lot of activity on this particular blog post and that blog post has a link to my website. Anybody, anybody listening to this podcast can go and open up an ActiveRain account. They can go and get an ActiveRain blog. The basic blog is free or you can subscribe for $100 a year. You’re just going to have to take my word for it. If you’re going to do SEO, that $100 a year is very much worth it. I’m showing on the screen for those of you who are watching an actual ActiveRain blog post and this vote would count as much as maybe 100 other votes. It’s an incredibly powerful vote because you can see the domain authority is 81. So that, in the Real Estate world, is one of the highest authority domains that you can find and anybody can get a vote from this site making it the hands down number one place to go get a backlink from if you’re a Real Estate Agent or Broker.

Jonathan: Can I ask a question, Robert?

Robert: Sure.

Jonathan: Why is it important or why do you recommend to pay that $100?

Robert: Okay. That gets into something a little more complicated that I was trying to avoid.

Jonathan: All right, so we’ll avoid that. On you go.

Robert: Because it relates dofollow and nofollow links.

Jonathan: Yeah. That is a little bit, yes, I understand.

Robert: And I don’t want to get into it.

Jonathan: No.

Robert: If you pay the $100, the blog posts are more valuable. That’s an easier way to explain it.

Jonathan: Yeah.

Robert: The next link, which you’ll find all over my site, for those people that are watching and this has got to be my favorite SEO trick of all the SEO tricks that there is because it works actually for any industry, not just Real Estate but it does work very well for Real Estate. It’s called a DMCA backlink. Now, this is probably the only backlink that I can think of or that I have personally found so far that provides two or three levels of value. You still have to pay for it. You pay $100 for a year and you get something called this. For those of you who are watching, it’s a little certificate that says that the particular page on my website is protected by the DMCA. Now, the DMCA is a content protection service that has been around since the early days of the Internet so it is a wildly authoritative website.

It carries a domain authority of 91 which is, besides Google and a couple of other sites, that’s one of the highest domain authorities that you will find. And when you subscribe to their services, they’re creating these certificates. But these certificates actually do something. It’s not just for nothing. If you have a certificate on your site and somebody happens to copy the content, like if you use a duplicate content searching tool and discover that people have stolen your content, which happens frequently, these guys, if you paid them $100, will actually put a team of lawyers and have them reach out actively and basically pursue the people that stole your content until they take it down. So, this $100 buys you two things. One, it gets your content protected and two, it gives you one of the most authoritative backlinks that you’ll find in all of SEO.

So it’s an incredibly interesting way to do it. Plus, on top of everything else, the third level of value is you get to put this really cool badge, which is what the backlink is, on your website which is like kind of saying to anybody that knows anything about the Web, “Hey, my website is insured.” For those people like, it’s down here on mine, but for those people who are duplicating content and stealing content, scraping services, they actually avoid sites like this. So, actually, you’re putting something on your website that certain scrapping tools will avoid once they know it’s there because it’s too much of a pain in the a** to have these guys start to pursue you once your content is getting stolen.

So, hold a sec here, I’m going to pause the share now at this point and I should not be sharing anything anymore. Can you see? My desktop is not, actually, I’m going to stop. There we go. Now, we’re back to the full-screen everybody. So, that right there guys in our first 15 minutes of the show is one, a very brief description of backlinking and two, two incredibly valuable tools. Jon, I want to start digging into one other section of backlinking which is directories. Do you think we should do that before the break with 3 minutes remaining?

Jonathan: Well, I’ve just got one question that maybe you can answer before we go for the break. Most of listeners and viewers, they operate in a finite GEO area. Either they operate in a specific part of a town, city and they want to get clients in their area. So there’s a bit of a difference between local and regional and national kind of SEO, isn’t there? I suppose that’s why you’re going to talk about directories because they still have a, to my knowledge level, they still have quite an effect on what I call local SEO. Would that be correct Robert?

Robert: Yes and I was absolutely going to get into that because it is actually also a different type of link building. So directories are link building plus they affect the local SEO. So, pretty much every single SEO expert that you ever talk to is going to say directories, directories and there are companies out there like Local Easy and others that people hire.

Jonathan: Before we go there, I think we’ll leave that until after the break. But I think what we need to maybe, I’m just suggesting this, that we re-emphasize is claiming this Google local page because I think a lot of people don’t do that, don’t they?

Robert: Ah no, they don’t, they don’t.

Jonathan: So do you want to quickly just mention that before we go for our break?

Robert: Sure. Well, Google My Business page is a, these days, I think they make you create a Google Plus profile to go along with the page. I’m pretty sure that they do.

Jonathan: They keep changing it, don’t they? It’s a bit confusing, isn’t it?

Robert: Yeah. They’ve changed it a number of times. So, actually, my information may not be correct and the funny thing is, I make my teams do that work so I’m not as in tune with it as I once was. But the last time I checked, you had to create a Google Plus profile and as part of that, you could create a business page which turns into your Google My Business page.

Claiming it is a very smart idea. It gives you the start to getting into Google’s local search packets and I kind of have to show this one more time because, the people who are viewing can see when you do searches that contain an area and then certain keywords that Google associates with a local such as Realtor, like if you do Los Angles Realtor, you’re going to get what’s called a hyper-local search packet which is how they connect into maps and they’re basically showing Real Estate offices and Realtors, making the assumption you are on your phone looking for these people. So, everybody’s asking, “How do you get into these search packets?

How do you get into this search results?” Well, the answer is directories, it’s citations, is what Google calls it because they haven’t made everything confusing enough, they have to give directories another name because they’re scientists and they need to make everything very complicated. So, a citation is a business address and location and the more citations you have or in other words, the more directories that they find credible that you’re in like the Yellow pages or White pages, Manta, Hotfrog, they give you priority in these local listings.

Jonathan: That’s great. I think we’ll go for our break and then when we come back, we’ll delve into this specific area of directories and how it affects local search which is really important to you. We’ll be back in a few moments folks.

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Jonathan: We’re coming back. We’ve had a feast about SEO, our final of a series of four about this subject. So, do you want to continue about building these directories and why it’s important for Google local search engine Robert?

Robert: Sure. First of all, whoops, whoops, whoops, whoops. I just stopped sharing my screen which I didn’t really want to do. There’s a lot of companies out there that do directories and they all claim that, like they’re really not going to tell you what they’re doing they’re just going to say, “Oh, we have this really cool thing that’s going drive traffic and get you business.” And Yext is another example of a company that’s made a huge business out of doing it and all they do is submit you to 100 qualified directories. Probably a couple will be local directories, that’s directories that are literally located inside your city.

And then, a lot are going to be national directories such as the Yellow pages and White pages like I already said. These directories, let’s just do the whitepages.com, so this is the White pages and let’s look for me. Let’s do Inbound Real Estate Marketing. So it actually didn’t give me the proper listing. Let’s try it with Van Nuys, California. Let’s see if it does it. But anyway, these are listings though. It doesn’t really matter. We don’t really need to see my listing. What we need to see is these are listings inside of the White pages and Google can see these and the more of these that you have and the more different directories, especially ones that are managed by a human team and not automated, those are the ones that then put you into this list. And the last and final element that Google looks at is how many reviews you have and how high of a quality they have and the more reviews, the more directories, the higher up in this listing that you’ll get.

Jonathan: I know folks this might sound a little bit daunting but I’m just going to go through a couple things and see if Robert agrees with me. It isn’t as hard as this sounds actually. First of all, like we’ve discussed, you want to get your Google page, your business page and just do a general search, put in this year’s date, put in 2018 at the end of the search and do look if there’s a date on the information that you’re looking at to set up your Google profile and your business page because they frequently have changed how you set up this page so you want the latest information and I will make sure that there’s some links in the show notes to up to date information.

But you want to set up this Google business page and it’s free and it’s a bit like a LinkedIn profile. You can upload photos. You can upload a video which I suggest you do and a good description and fill in all the fields on that as much as you can on that Google business page. One of the things that I understand and maybe Robert will correct me is that one of the things is that you’ve got a lot of these directory type websites and one of the things that Google looks for is that the information like the address, the phone number is consistent, there are no mistakes on almost all these entries that you’ve set up. To get that kind of consistency it is best to use a kind of paid service and the one that I’ve, I haven’t done this for a long time and I will have to check to see if they still offer this service is Mozz and it was the best value. I think when I was doing it, it cost about $79 for a year and then they would push it out to all these directories.

What do you reckon about what I’ve just said, Robert?

Robert: Yes, I haven’t checked out that service, not sure that we’ve simplified it for the audience but I will say this. I’m showing on the screen my Google page. This is literally my Google business page. So this is the core page. This is what you’d see if you owned a page just like this and I don’t know if that helps or hurts but this is the kind of information they ask, the name, address, basic information of the business, when are they open. Now, you can do things like add posts and do things like that but I have not found any of this other additional stuff to affect position inside local search results. So, I think all you really need to do is just set up your profile and get reviews.

Jonathan: Yeah. I think filling in as much as possible and then having some system, not gaming it but having it, you should be trying to get reviews anyway for your free Zillow account and some other free accounts that you could set up because people do check and you don’t have to give Zillow any money but filling in that free Zillow page and having reviews is similar to your Google. So you’ve got to have some methodology to try to attempt to get honest reviews and to have consistency about that. What do you reckon Robert?

Robert: I do and it plays into one of our guests that was talking about social proof. Once you get some social proof, it is a fantastic mechanism to build credibility. I use social proof on my own website and I have for a long time. You saw, for those that were watching, I have 27 reviews on my Google account and then on my blog right next to my content, I have those reviews posted so that people can read all of my 5-star reviews which was exactly what our guest said which is social proof, social proof, social proof. So, I think that, not only would it impact your local business rankings which would be really important for Real Estate, it’s going to impact people’s opinion of you before they ever talk to you and I think that’s just as important. And then, last but not least, you can see these number here, I’m really not a big player yet and yet I still had 750 views on my local page. So it really does get traffic and people really see it.

Jonathan: Yeah. We also touched upon this last week. It’s the chicken and egg scenario. Obviously, you’ve got a website. You want to get traffic to it. You want to build up backlinks, don’t you?

Robert: Yeah.

Jonathan: But for you to get backlinks, you’ve got to get traffic but to get traffic, you need backlinks. I’m specifically talking about a Real Estate Agent’s website aimed at a local community or area. So you’ve got any insights about how you start developing content or strategies that start the ball rolling?

Robert: Well, in terms of backlinking, because you’re right. You’re absolutely right. The domain has to have some authority for content that you’re putting onto the domain to rank in the Google search engine. So how do you start that?

Well, a directory campaign is how I started for my clients because entering yourself into 50 to 100 directories, not only does Google not view that as suspicious, they view that as necessary for companies. They want you to be in directories and they assume that if you’re a legitimate business, that the way that you would start to announce yourself to the world is listing yourself in directories such as the Yellow pages and the White pages.

That logic isn’t 100 percent true anymore.

Jonathan: I just want to quantify something. I mentioned this Mozz service if you’re attempting to do this yourself. Obviously, if you’re hiring a company like what Robert runs, obviously, they do this manually which is the best solution, to be honest. If you’ve got people that know what they’re doing and they’re going to set it up manually for you then check it over and blah, blah, blah and they know the ones that are worth setting up, because a lot of these hundreds probably aren’t worth and it changes radically year by year. I kind of handed out the Mozz thing for the do it yourself people really.

Robert: Right. I’ve never used that solution but I’m sure that if you’re recommending it, at the time that you used it was

Jonathan: Well, it comes from Mozz, doesn’t it? Mozz and they’re one of the leading

Robert: Moz. You’re talking about Moz? M – O – Z.com?

Jonathan: Yeah.

Robert: Okay. All right. I’ve got you.

Jonathan: That’s why I’m suggesting it because they’re pretty legit, aren’t they?

Robert: Yeah. No, no. Moz has tended to do good things. I haven’t really been following too much ever since Rand left the company. But the last time I checked in, they were still doing cool stuff. So directory campaigns would be how I’d start. I would definitely enter into 50 to 100 and Moz, whoever you’re going to use, somebody manually, whatever it is. Let’s just say that you’ve got your 50 to 100 directories built, that’s going to give your website some authority. That actually does count as some backlinks and transfer some value to your website. The next thing that I would do is I’d start blogging on ActiveRain.

I would do a couple blog posts on my website and then I’d do some blogs off ActiveRain. Now, if you’re starting from 0, it’s going to take a little while doing blog posts on your site and doing blog posts on ActiveRain to get some value into the website. Even though this is a really hit and miss strategy, let’s just pretend that you don’t have a lot of budget and you’re trying to just get something going, I might even recommend going on to Fiverr. You’re not likely to find a lot of high-quality backlinks there but there some good Real Estate bloggers that sell space on their blog and they don’t do it for that expensive, $5 or $10 and they’ll either let you create a post and put it on their blog or they’ll create a post and put it on their blog for you.

And I have gotten some decent links from that. It was a little hit and miss but honestly, if you’re buying 10 and 2 are good, that’s actually a really good value. That’s $50 and you’ve got 2 really good backlinks. So, that’s a good way to go also is maybe check out Fiverr and look specifically for Real Estate guest blog posts and that would be the next thing I might try. I have a post on my blog that shows exactly what I do from A to Z to build up the Real Estate SEO value and I think that and this is a very rare case if people follow the show, but I’m going to plug my blog. I’m going to say go to InboundREM.com and I’m going to say look up my post on Real Estate SEO. It says a Step by Step Guide for 2017. The information is still good in 2018. Ignore the title.

Jonathan: Yeah. I think that would be a great resource. Definitely folks. Go to Robert’s blog and have a read up. I think there’s a lot of local organizations like the Chamber and a lot of similar organizations which you can join and some that you probably should join anyway and part of the package is that they can give you a backlink. The one thing is you’ve got to ask them is, no, I’m not going to go down there, this non-follow business because I think we’re going to confuse people. I think we’ve had a good synopsis and I’ll sure there’s resources and I’ll make sure in the Mail-Right show notes there’s a link to Robert’s blog post specifically that gives additional information. I think we’ve had a good go at this over the four episodes, haven’t we Robert?

Robert: I just want to close. Just let me say one last thing and I’m really sorry to cut you off but I do want to say one thing. What we’re trying to do to all of our audience is we’re just trying to give you the basics. You’re really going to need to study up. If SEO was easy, every single person out there would do it. They really would. And it’s not complicated as much as there are many details that need to, like a lot of boxes that need to get checked in order for you to be super successful. You could be relatively or minorly successful by just following these basic tips and that I think is Jon and I’s main goal is to try to give you a couple of foundational tips that if you follow them, you’ll have some success. But if you want to get good at SEO, you’re going to have to do a lot more than listen to this podcast.

Jonathan: Yeah. I think that’s totally true but I think also the good news is that a lot of your competition, even in 2018, are really doing a very poor job about this. So, if you learn the basics, I think the major thing and I understand why this fails, this is a problem because Agents are really busy people, even those that start in their career, that have got some traction, that have gotten over that hump, that are making some money so they can continue to build their career, is that time is a bit of a problem because it’s a very up and down industry where you’ve literally got to deal with a thing that’s really urgent that you’ve got to do and you’ve got to drop everything else. But what you’ve got to do is consistency here about blogging, about putting those blogs on ActiveRain. What Google looks is really for consistency and being semi-consistent about this and learning the basics, in the end, will get you great results. So, Robert, how can people get ahold of you and learn more about what you’re up to?

Robert: They can definitely go to InboundREM.com and they can see my latest blog post as I suggested. Anybody that wants to learn something about me, I have a beautiful video on my home page and that will really give you my whole story. It’s right there, InboundREM.com, video about me, check out my blog and if you want, you can reach out through my calendar.

Jonathan: That’s great. And if you want to have chat with me, you can go to the Mail-Right website. There’s a calendar there as well. It’s on the About Us page and if you want to have a one to one chat, totally free for half an hour, I’m available. I love Agents that have contacted me and I think I’ve answered their questions and provided some great value for them. We’ll be back next week folks where we’ll be either talking about a subject or talking to an expert that will give you some insight about how to use technology and this online world to build up a successful Real Estate business. We’ll see you next week folks. Bye

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