One of our clients asked whether paid links are worth the investment. In my reply to him, and to you – there has been a lot of debate regarding this recently – most SEOs believe that “paid links” are not a good practice.
Here’s why – when you consider linking opportunities you must do your homework first. Like most things you have examine your options from all angles. The short answer is “no” paid links are not worth the time or finances because they go against most search engine policies/guidelines. While some websites may get away with this activity for a while or the practice was useful at one time, I would never recommend paying for links. Sooner or later those who have a quick-fix desire and try to take shortcuts in business do get penalized, such is life. See Google’s quality guidelines for more information.
That said, there are a few exceptions to the rule, Yahoo’s! paid directory being one of them. And so, when our client asked about Yahoo! I said the following: “The directory submission has a fee of $299 and followed by a yearly recurring fee of the same amount. Now the thing with the Yahoo! Directory, while Google does value its addition, Yahoo! does not guarantee that your paid entry will actually get listed, they will guarantee a review for your fee and maybe get you listed.”
The choice whether to make that submission is yours, at worst you’ll be out $299, at best it could help with your traffic, branding and increase the number of inbound links which helps your Google Page Rank.
As with all linking opportunities, I recommend that you keep your eyes and ears open. Here are some strategic tips for your Real Estate link building:
- Consider your networks as a place to go to for links, you already have the connection now all you need to do is ask, nicely. Present them with the opportunity and how it will benefit their visitors by having access to additional relevant information.
- Make noteworthy mentions of top brokers and websites, homes etc on your blog. People will like the gesture and most likely add a link without being asked.
- Sign up for Google Alerts, use your business and like terms to gather potential link leads. The same can be done through a number of social media networks.
- Take a look at similar businesses and your competitors to see who is linking to them and what directories they are using.
- Definitely sign up with big local directories and sites, but only those with a well known reputation, like Boston.com, business.com, botw.org …
- Review the site’s age and PR (google page rank). If either of these is low then browse along.
- Beware of spamy looking directories, follow your gut – if it looks unprofessional then don’t add your site, even it is one more possible inbound link and even if it is free, it’s not worth it.
While we certainly do recommend link building as part of your Real Estate SEO campaign, try to keep these tips in mind, remember to do your homework first. Your site’s reputation is on the line and you don’t want to risk a penalty. If you have any questions about linking or your Real Estate marketing feel free to contact us for advice.