Google’s latest algorithm update, Penguin, will mean big changes to the real estate SEO landscape. Penguin is focused on devaluing links that are considered spammy. Here are four such examples:
- Excessive Anchor Text- If another site that is linking to your page is going out of its way to create the proper anchor text or multiple anchor texts, then Google will consider devaluing it.
- Link schemes/networks – If you are involved in reciprocal linking with another site, then your links will get devalued. If you’re also building partner pages for the sake of cross-linking, Penguin will catch it.
- Buying Links- If you have been buying links that pass PageRank, then it will get devalued by Penguin
- Guest Posting- This is a common link building tactic by relying on overly optimize author bios. These same bios will have links that is loosely associated to the content of the guest post. Look for Google to start devaluing these as well.
Let’s go back to about 5-7 years ago and see what effective online real estate marketing looked like. This is what I refer to as the initial golden age in online real estate marketing.
That’s it. Back then, SEO was easy. Well, relatively easy. Unfortunately, it created a generation of real estate agents who are now resting on their laurels thinking that they can continue to reap the rewards of years gone by. They cannot. Unfortunately, many don’t know better because they hired agencies and consultants who are no longer around or that they no longer have a relationship with.
When Google starts devaluing a website’s links which ultimately leads to a drop in search engine rankings, these agents are going to feel the pain in their pocket.
If you are one of those agents, here are some proactive steps you can take to make sure your site doesn’t get hit hard:
- Do a backlink analysis to detect bad links. Paid software such as Ahrefs and SEOmoz is very valuable. You could also try free tools such as Google and Bing Webmaster. I’ve used all of these with the exception of Ahrefs. You will find that each tool will detect links that the other tools may not pick up so it’s important to consider using multiple tools to be comprehensive in your backlink analysis.
- Start building a list of spammy links as suggested from the above list.
- Take this list and use Google Webmaster’s Disavow tool to have Google disavow these links. Be warned that Google will not give you a notification that it is disavowing the link. The disavow process can take several weeks with no notification whatsoever. You also want to consider emailing some of websites owners and ask them to remove the offending link.
If you have backlinks in the hundreds or thousands, you’re better off hiring an SEO consultant to do it for you. It really is tedious work. There are alot of grey areas in link building and a proper consultant can tell you which links really need to go and which can stay.
In my next post, I’ll talk about how content marketing and the new social web is ushering in the 2nd Golden Age of online real estate marketing and link building.