I have owned and maintained a real estate website since 1998. My site has been responsible for generating well over half of our company business during that period of time. Needless to say, I feel that search engine optimization (SEO) is important for all of us.
One of the items that Google and other search engines use to determine whether a site has value or not is that site's incoming links.
What is an incoming link? Basically, it's any link which points directly to your site (e.g. Austin Texas real estate links to my website).
In essence, Google views incoming links as "votes" for your site. If you have no incoming links at all, you have no votes. Clearly, a site has more value if it has lots and lots of incoming links. While it's certainly not the only factor, it is one worth considering.
Beyond that, the anchor text (title) of the link itself makes a difference. In other words, if you are optimizing your site for "city real estate", it will help to have the link titles match your most valuable keywords. Try to put yourself in the client's shoes for this part - what would they be most likely to enter as a search to find you? If it's a niche term, such as "luxury condos in downtown city", it will be even easier to place well. If the term is more broad, it will also be highly competitive.
Google uses its PageRank ("PR") system as one measure of a site's value. You can see any site's PR by downloading the Google toolbar at http://toolbar.google.com. For example, Google.com is a PageRank 10 site (the only one around, to the best of my knowledge). ActiveRain's main page is PR 6. My primary website is PR 5. Sites which aren't indexed or which have little value for SEO are PR 0.
Now, where was I headed with the title of this post?
Well, all of this time spent blogging and networking on social media sites has had a strong benefit to my "outside" site as well.
But how? Here are a few quick examples:
My AR profile page, which is PR 3 right now, provides several links to my www.austintexashomes.com site.
Our BlogTalkRadio page (http://blogtalkradio.com/jckc) is also a PR 3.
My Twitter profile (http://twitter.com/jasoncrouch), which also links to my real estate site, is a PR 5! This is a terrific incoming link for my site, since I have that link in my profile.
Some of my previous posts here have a PageRank of 2 or above.
So, how can you use all of this information to help your SEO efforts?
- Make sure you put links to your other sites in the body of your blog posts. If you are already talking about a topic, consider using a viable keyword as a link to your primary site, such as the one I did above.
- Link to your site from the profiles that you maintain elsewhere.
- If you are looking to link to a previous post of yours, you can also strengthen your AR outside blog by sending the link directly there if possible.
- Leverage your relationships here and elsewhere by linking to your social media friends and vice versa. Link exchanges don't have the value that they once did, so you should probably consider an outgoing link to site A in exchange for an incoming link from site B. If this is confusing, just think of it this way: a link will have more value if you are not directly linking TO that site.
I covered a lot of info here - feel free to ask any questions that you might have. :)