Every couple years SEOmoz surveys top SEO professionals to get their thoughts on current search engine ranking factors. The result is a document detailing the opinions of leading SEOs on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to search engine optimization.
This is a great resource for real estate agents & brokers working on their own sites who don’t have the time or money to do their own extensive testing to compile this type of information. Check it out…
Now that you’ve seen the survey let’s take some time to review the…
Top 5 Ranking Factors
- Keyword Focused Anchor Text from External Links
This is the text in the link pointing back to your website. Be sure not to get carried away using only one keyword/keyword phrase here. You want to have diversified anchor text linking back to your site.
- External Link Popularity (quantity/quality of external links)
This includes PageRank, but remember that PageRank is not the end all (I personally stopped looking at PR a long time ago). I prefer to look at site traffic (using something like Alexa or Compete.com) as well as the overall quality of the site (is it well designed, does it have good content and user participation?).
- Diversity of Link Sources (links from many unique root domains)
Basically this means that it is better to have 10 links from 10 different website then to have 1000 links from 2 different websites. This is a generalization and there are many other factors that could affect this. But all things being equal this is the case.
- Keyword Use Anywhere in the Title Tag
This is in your HTML head tag where you see <title>Your Kewywords Go Here</title>. There is also some consensus in this survey that having your keywords closer to the front of the title tag is better.
- Trustworthiness of the Domain Based on Link Distance from Trusted Domains
This is referring to how far your link is from a trusted source. So if a U.S. government website (a highly trusted site) links to a mortgage website, and that mortgage website links to your real estate website you are 2 clicks away from a trusted source. The closer you are to trusted sources the more trust your website will carry.
Top 5 Link Building Tactics
- Linkbait + Viral Content Creation
This is a more advanced tactic that is harder to employ but can be very effective in the real estate niche. An example is the SEO survey we are currently discussing which is a great piece of link bait. Learn more from the man himself—watch this video by Matt Cutts on link bait.
- Blogging and Engagement with the Blogosphere
Everybody told you to blog about real estate. Now you know why. It builds links back to your website.
- Classic “Create Valuable Content” Strategies w/o Promotional Marketing
Creating valuable, useful and original content is a great way to get links back to your site. Imagine if you create the best “moving to (your neighborhood goes here)” article on the web. People would naturally link to that content.
- Public Relations (beyond just press release publication)
This is a tactic I use pretty heavily. It’s how I get links from sites like CNBC and The Wall Street Journal. If you want to employ this tactic but don’t know much about PR it might be wise to hire a public relations person. I say person opposed to company because you can hire an independent contractor for much less then an agency.
- Direct Link Purchases from Individual Sites/Webmasters
I’ll take a little more time to explain this one because it is a controversial tactic. Done in the wrong way this could be considered gray or even black hat. If you’re going to purchase links, think of it more as purchasing advertising. Look for highly relevant websites (whose visitors would find your site useful / interesting) with decent to good traffic. Look for areas with high click-thru rates (NOT in the footer). Google recommends that website owners nofollow these types of direct link ads, but you do not have control over what the website owner will do. I will say when buying this type of advertising you shouldn’t care if the website owner ads a nofollow to your link because the link itself should be for delivering targeted traffic…not buying PageRank.
There is more excellent info in the survey and I suggest reading through it if you’re serious about SEO. If you have any question about the other ranking factors not included in this post, please ask in the comments.