SEO for Property Managers: A Primer, Part III: Off-Page SEO
Why and how would you need to do a bunch of stuff on other people’s web pages in order to boost your own page’s rankings? The answer is in the links.
Last time: On-Page SEO.
In part I, we talked about how SEO for Property Managers has changed in the past decade, and part II gave a basic once-over of the aspects of on-page SEO. Now it’s time to talk about the second part of the SEO process – the part that happens on other people’s websites.
Off-Page SEO for Property Managers
The single strongest predictor (out of several dozen, but nonetheless the strongest) of how any given site will rank on Google is called the unique root domain inbound link count. Which is basically jargon for “how many different sites — not pages, but sites — have links to this page?” This means that the vast majority of off-page SEO is creating or obtaining links from websites to your page of choice (called ‘backlinks’). The techniques of off-page SEO break up into two categories: determining which sites are valuable enough to build or request backlinks from, and actually building or requesting those backlinks.
Determining a Site’s Value to You
There are several factors that go into deciding how valuable a site is to your site.
- Authority: How often do people turn to the site when inquiring about that subject matter?
- Relevance: How similar is the site’s subject matter to your site’s subject matter?
- Backlinks: How many other sites link to the site?
- Age: How long has the site been around?
The more authoritative, relevant, linked-to, and aged a site is, the more SEO power (typically called ‘juice’) it passes through to your site. The factors are arranged in order of importance, so getting a backlink from an irrelevant but immensely authoritative site (say, the Wall Street Journal) is more juicy than getting a backlink from a perfectly-relevant but non-authoritative site (say, Joe’s Property Management).
Also important to keep in mind in doing SEO for Property Managers is how long the backlink in question will exist and how long the page the link is from will remain authoritative and relevant. For example, that link from the Wall Street Journal might be powerful, but if it’s in a news piece that no one will read after a few weeks, it’s only going to be juicy for those few weeks. A link from a Quora Q&A page that gets traffic for years will remain juicy for years.
The Trap of NoFollow Links
There’s one major caveat to all of this: there’s a special kind of backlink called a NoFollow backlink, which tells Google (and most other search engines) to not pass any juice through that link. Most of the biggest, baddest authoritative websites in the world — Wikipedia, for example — deliberately use NoFollow links so that businesses trying to SEO their websites don’t spam their pages with thousands of irrelevant links. There are reasons to build NoFollow links, but they’re not SEO for Property Managers reasons, so we’ll cover those in a separate article. Before you put any effort into building a link from a site, make sure they don’t use NoFollow links.
How to Obtain All These Links
There are three basic categories of backlinks: those you create yourself from pages you own or control (i.e. your own blog or your self-created entry on Reddit), those you get by asking other people to give you links (i.e. guest posts you write and have other people post on their blog), and those you earn without even having to ask because your content is just so damn good that people link to it just because it’s that awesome.
The first category is entirely in your control: you just take a page you can build your own content on, and you put a link to your site. Just make the other content around your link relevant, and try to build your links from sites that are authoritative, aged, and well-linked-to.
The third category is entirely outside of your control, unless you are just so extremely phenomenal at writing content that you can consistently write content that goes viral. And if you can do that, you’ll make more money writing than you will doing whatever you’re actually in business to do.
The second category is where all of the interesting stuff happens. There are a number of techniques experts use to get links from other sites. The simplest is simply to ask for one. The most common is to create something that you believe the target site would like to use, and then ask them to give you a backlink in exchange for allowing them to use it, as with a guest post on a blog.
In extreme circumstances, when you have a site that is extraordinarily authoritative and relevant and has a single person you can convince to build a link for you, you may even need to treat it more like a networking opportunity and build a relationship with that person and their business before you go requesting the opportunity for a backlink.
The upshot of all of this is that off-page SEO for Property Managers is a game of finding the best pages to get links from, and getting those links. Do that, and your website will climb the rankings. Fail, and your doom is to languish in an eternity of obscurity.