Inbound Marketing Spotlight: Blogging, SEO, and building relationships in real estate with Bill Gassett
“Content is king.” How many times have you read that phrase in a real estate marketing how-to? If you’re not a natural-born writer, you might have a hard time with this strategy. But there are real estate pros out there that prove content marketing works. We reached out to Bill Gassett (a name you’ve probably heard before), one of the top RE/MAX real estate agents in Grafton, MA. He’s proof that writing the right content and building relationships within the real estate industry is smart, and he has the search engine rankings and business growth to prove it. Here’s his thoughts:
How do you choose topics for your blog? Is your content based on keyword research, feedback and questions from clients, or another strategy?
Great question guys! Many of my articles center around questions people have asked me during my career as a real estate agent. I’ve been in the business over 28 years so as you can imagine, I have been asked quite a few questions. There are times where I will see topics that I like in my social media channels as well. When I see something that catches my eye, I will often try to make my article even better.
Your site has great search rankings. What marketing strategy do you think has helped your site’s SEO the most? Also, your content is frequently shared and linked to by other real estate pros. Do you work to cultivate these relationships, or has it happened organically?
These are both fantastic questions and they actually tie well together. Great search rankings take a mix of a few things. First - you need to have a basic understanding of how search engines work. If you don’t take the time to understand basic concepts, it will be difficult to be successful. A real estate agent should know both “on page” and “off page” SEO tactics.
The two most important ways I have been able to achieve excellent rankings is by having great content and by building relationships with others in the real estate industry. The first is probably simple to understand - people will gravitate to well written content. Real estate is a very competitive field and many of the topics we all write about have been written on over and over again. If your quality isn’t exceptional, it will be hard to rank well!
Here’s where building relationships comes in. This ties in to what I mentioned above about off page SEO. Without a doubt, having people mention you or linking to your content goes a long way in giving your site better rankings. In fact, without links you can forget about getting to the first page of Google for anything competitive. It won’t happen!
So going about building relationships is very important to understand. Most real estate agents think about social media as a place to advertise your listings. This will get you nowhere fast. The real point of social media is to be social with others. This is where building relationships begins. I’ve managed to build a tribe of people who are readily willing to share my content. This has been achieved through relationship building that has taken place on sites like Google+, Twitter, and Linkedin. Without these relationships, my rankings would not be where they are today.
Once you start to get noticed, the effects of what you’re doing can snowball. For example, I’ve been asked to write for some of the most well know publications in the real estate industry including the sites below. Many of the articles are not just consumer focused, but also try to help other real estate agents. You can see an example next to each of these websites.
- Inman News - How Google+ can grow you business. See helpful tips on how Google+ is a great place to build real relationships with other real estate pro’s.
- The National Association of Realtors (YPN) - How to use LinkedIn for real estate. See some of the best tips for using LinkedIn to capture business and relationships.
- RIS Media - Tips for winterizing a home. Here’s a helpful consumer related article. This is the kind of article that others will share.
- Credit Sesame - How a mortgage pre-approval can be denied. Another helpful consumer related article that will be of a benefit to numerous first time home buyers.
- Behance - Framingham Real Estate Agents Guide. Here’s an example of how to write a piece of content off site that links back to your own real estate blog.
Do you feel your website content and search rankings have directly impacted your business?
Absolutely! There’s no question that my blogging has brought a tremendous amount of business my way over the years. One of the best examples I can give you is when short sales were in vogue. People would seek out the help of a professional over and over again to help them escape a financial crisis. They would see many of the helpful short sale articles I was writing and reach out to me for help. I was making a six figure income from my blog on just this part of the business alone!
Secondarily I have written on numerous occasions on how important having real estate community pages are for bringing in business. Every real estate agent should do something similar on their site. Done well, these kinds of pages make the phone ring!
Many real estate professionals may be hesitant to link to other agents’ content on their blog or social media. How do you feel like it has helped you?
The reason why many real estate agents do not link to other real estate agents is usually because someone has told them not to. Typically it is some self proclaimed guru that knows nothing about SEO or social media, but pretends they do. This is so WRONG! In fact Google tells us right in their webmaster guidelines that it is a GOOD thing to link out to other authority content. Now I am not suggesting that you link to a local competitor’s content. That would be incredibly stupid, as you don’t want to increase your competitors’ search rankings. Linking out to someone that is not in your market, however, is going to HELP you!
How does it help you? A few ways - One of the ways Google places content in search is via the quality of the content. It’s silly to assume as a blogger that when you write an article you are the only one who has written anything worthwhile on the topic. That’s rarely the case. When Google sees other exceptional references in your content they REWARD you by placing your content higher in search.
Second, if you’re smart, you will notify anyone you have mentioned in your content. What happens when you do so? If you guessed they will readily share your content you are 100% correct!
This is another way that I have been able to achieve a massive following and people sharing my content all over the place. When I mention others in my content, I tag them so they know about it. This gets my content spread around the web like wildfire. People love to see their name in the spotlight. When you mention them, it does nothing but give them good feelings.
Real estate agents who want to get business from having a blog can do so easily when they let go of pre-conceived notions that are incorrect. Just give some of the sharing advice I have mentioned here a shot. In fact, if you want to see your content get more visits than it ever has before, mention me in your next blog post. I will share it all over the place and you will get exposure like never before.
Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized Real Estate leader who has been helping people move in and out of the Metrowest Massachusetts area for the past twenty eight plus years. He has been one of the top RE/MAX Realtors in New England for the past decade. You can follow him on Google+ or Twitter.