“SEO tricks for real estate portals” was another Google search term that resulted in finding Geek Estate this past week.

That’s a topic I happen to know a little bit about, having been involved very early on in Zillow’s SEO efforts (2007-2010). SEO is an industry that moves fairly quickly, and I haven’t been following trends day to day since 2011 while I worked at Virtual Results. That said, I think the same core tenants of SEO apply now as then.

What are the high level strategies for those building portals in other countries?

1. Ensure you have landing pages for your “city + homes for sale / real estate / property for sale” as soon as possible, and ensure they are linked from your home page with good anchor text.

Example: http://www.zillow.com/seattle-wa/ & http://www.homely.com.au/buy/st-kilda-port-phillip-melbourne-greater-victoria

2. Focus on great, unique content. Don’t just generate a bunch of crappy content that’s been written 50 times already by someone else. Great, unique content is at even more of a premium than it was back when I was doing SEO at Zillow. Content marketing is now a strategy virtually every startup uses, and hence there is a massive, massive quality problem (most people are NOT great writers). From my perspective, if you’re not generating truly unique content, you’re not adding much in the way of value to the world. Google is constantly trying to weed out low quality content from their results. Don’t get stuck in the race to the bottom.

3. Cross link heavily internally. See the following image as an example on Zillow’s Seattle real estate page.

seo footer from city landing page4. Ensure as many pages as possible are indexed. This comes primarily from cross linking, but just because you get something indexed doesn’t mean it will actually “rank” and generate traffic. Of course, if pages are not indexed, they are guaranteed to not rank.

5. The best possible links are from web properties with corresponding location pages. For instance, getting links from Glassdoor’s Seattle Jobs page to Zillow’s seattle real estate results would be about as good as it gets SEO wise. The holy grail? Getting links from a massively authoritative domain like Time’s Best Places to Live that has pages dedicated to specific locations (example city page). This led to the creation of the local market explorer.

There’s no silver bullet. Bottom line — if your SEO foundation sucks, your whole house will eventually crumble (when will the house of cards collapse?).

For those currently building portals, what SEO strategies are you using?