Link Building – Should You Care?

Link Building – Should You Care?

Link Building – Should You Care?

There’s always a lot of swirling opinions on the internet about what Google still uses to rank websites, and what they don’t. While only Google’s algorithm knows exactly what it’s measuring to rank your website, there are a few things SEO experts have come to agree on as key factors in search engine results page rankings. And yes, one of those things is still the number of quality links that exist to your page. While it’s great to have links to external sites within your own pages, Google still uses the number of legitimate websites who are linking to you, to determine how worthy you are of a higher page rank.

In the past, SEO experts and webmasters alike have attempted to hack this factor of page ranking with various “link building” techniques, some of which worked, and some of which really didn’t. It’s good to know that while you’re researching link building, you should really only trust blogs and content about link building that have been published in the past year. Google always updates their algorithms regularly, but the past few years especially have seen massive, internet revolutionizing updates that also affect how you should go about link building.

Because of those updates, it has become really tricky to link build in a way that doesn’t end up in a Google site penalization. Older tricks like posting links to your page in the comments section, guest blogging, and most definitely link-building schemes, will only result in the penalization of your site by Google. So, since link building still matters for page rank, how can you do it in a way that’s above-board, and will get you the links you want, without a Google penalization?

Have Something Worth Linking To

The absolute best way to get legitimate links is to first have something people want to link to. Whether you’ve got an e-commerce site with cool products, or your site has a number of interesting, informational content pages like blogs posts and how-to’s, the only way you’ll get people to link to those pages is if they like what you have to offer, and if it makes their lives easier in some way. So, if you’ve got a basic website with no blog, and nothing to make it interesting to others in your industry, it’s unlikely that anyone will organically link to you. On the other hand, if you’ve established yourself as an authority in your industry, and offer a great deal of helpful content on your website, you’re more likely to get some quality links.

Build a Community Around Your Content

The best, easiest way to build links is to have people organically link to your pages of their own free will. When you have quality content that speaks to your target audience, you’ll start to build a community of followers. Those followers will check in regularly to read any new content you’ve got, and the more they do, the greater the opportunity that someone will link or share your page.

When someone likes your website and your page content, they’re more likely to link to your page when they create their own content. That sort of linking is the best you can get: people who genuinely like what you have to offer, and want to tell their own followers about it. Unfortunately, it’s not that efficient, and it requires a great deal of relying on other people. While it’s possibly the best way to get links, there’s no guaranteeing when or if it will happen. So, if you’re not comfortable relying on just organic links, the following steps might help:

Ask Nicely

Once you’ve got content on your site that people might actually want to link to, go ahead and ask people nicely! Reach out to other website owners in your industry who hold a bit of authority to ask if they’d consider linking to a certain page or blog post on your website. The best way to go about this efficiently is to follow these three steps:

 

Set up Templates

It’s not wrong to have a general template that goes out to each person you ask to link to your website. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel twice, so draft a really great email that talks about your company and why the page you’re requesting they link to should mean something to them. What’s more, offer to link to their site in return. People are more likely to agree when there’s something in it for them. Be sure to include your contact information, along with a sincere thank you.

 

Personalize

While it’s great to have a standard template, it’s important that you’re still personalizing each email according to who you’re sending it to. At the very least, each email should be addressed to one specific person in the company, and ideally, your email’s intro paragraph should mention something specific about them that drew you to their website. The more general your address, the less likely you are to get a response. People get millions of emails a day, and if it doesn’t seem like your email was meant specifically for them, they’ll probably delete it.

 

Don’t Mass Email

Finally, once you’re ready to send out your request emails, be sure you don’t mass email. There’s nothing worse than getting an email asking you to do someone a personal favor, only to see that 25 other people also got the same exact email. It often comes across as rude, and most people won’t respond when they realize your email wasn’t meant just for them. What’s more, try to send your requests to just one person in the company, especially if you’re using a template. People in the same office do actually talk, and if multiple employees get the same exact email, they’re likely to think it’s some sort of scam.

Never Buy Links

As a final, cautionary note, we’d just like to remind you that it’s always, always bad practice to buy links. No matter how legitimate the company seems, if you buy links your site will face penalties. Google constantly updates their algorithm to sniff out link-buying activity and will flag your site almost immediately if you do buy links. The best way to build links is to do it organically, either by building a community around your site’s content or by asking others in your industry to link to your site.

We get it, link building is a tricky subject. It always has been, and it probably will continue to be, so long as Google uses it as a ranking factor. That said, there are good, white hat methods to go about link building, that can work to get you those links you’re looking for without danger of penalization. If you’re feeling wary of link building, or you’d like a little advice on how you could boost your site’s search engine rankings, get in touch. Search engine optimization is kind of our job, and we’d be happy to help you figure out how best to boost your rankings.

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5 Myths about Digital Marketing for Custom Home Builders

5 Myths about Digital Marketing for Custom Home Builders

5 Myths about Digital Marketing for Custom Home Builders

Digital marketing isn’t new. It’s been around almost as long as Google, and it’s continued to improve and expand over the years. Today, you can even market on social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. So why are some custom home builders late to the party? It might be because you feel like word of mouth is still the best way to drum up business, or it might be because you don’t think you have the time for a digital marketing strategy.

The truth is, quality digital marketing is one of the simplest ways to generate qualified leads you legitimately want to work with. There’s a lot of information swirling around out there about custom home builder marketing, and not all of it is true. That’s why we’ve decided to debunk five of the most common myths out there about digital marketing for custom home builders, so you can have a clearer picture about how digital marketing might work for you:

Myth #1 I don’t have time for it

Since digital marketing is one of the top methods to generate qualified leads in a way that offers massive ROI, this myth is just silly. Digital marketing really doesn’t take all that much time, compared to the leads you have the potential to generate when you do it right. You can start your company’s digital marketing strategy as easily as setting up and regularly posting to a Facebook page. Really, you can put as much or as little time into digital marketing as you want to, it’s just that the more time you put in, the more you’re likely to get out of it. You can have a quality beginning digital marketing strategy by just posting one blog a month to your website, and interacting on your company’s Facebook once a day.

Now, if you want to see serious results from your digital marketing strategy, sure, you’ll need to put a bit more time into it than that. But if you’ve been considering digital marketing, and the only thing that’s holding you back is the time commitment, you’re leaning on an unfounded myth. If you truly don’t have time to manage any aspect of your home building company’s digital presence, then you should at least consider hiring someone to do it for you, whether they’re an intern or a digital marketing company.

Myth #2 I have enough leads

Let’s be honest. This one is just weak. No company has too many leads. If there actually comes a point where you have more jobs than you can handle, that just gives you the opportunity to start picking and choosing which jobs you actually want to do. The more leads you have, the greater your opportunity to break into a higher priced market. And ask yourself this: how many of the leads you have right now are exactly the types of projects your custom home building company wants to be working on?

When you have more leads than you can handle, you have the power to choose the projects that you genuinely want to do, and you can start to tailor the work you do to the higher price point your home building company is looking to break into. Digital marketing, when done properly, works to generate qualified leads, those leads you actually want to work with, rather than leads you’d rather not. And when you’re picking and choosing which projects you’d like to work with, you’re guaranteed to have the freedom to move up in the market.

Myth #3 No one uses email marketing anymore

Take it from anyone in business today, email is so far from dead. In fact, most people would rather have you contact them by email than phone these days. Strategic email marketing definitely has a place in your digital marketing strategy, especially when you know how to do it effectively. A great way to get people interested is to send out a monthly newsletter with some before and after photos of recent projects. It’s also the ideal platform to showcase different types of homes you’ve built recently.

This sort of regular email marketing provides those on your email list with content they’re genuinely interested in, and it reminds them who to go to when they finally decide they’re ready to build that custom home. Best of all, emails are a great place to ask for five star reviews from previous clients you know you’ve satisfied. The more reviews you have, the better your online ranking, which also works to boost the number of qualified leads you draw in.

Myth #4 Professional photographers aren’t worth it

When it comes to custom home building, image is everything. Your entire business is founded on the idea that you can build someone the dream home they’ve always wanted. Showcasing that is too important to gamble on a sub-par photographer or someone’s iPhone camera. One of the absolute best things you can do for your digital marketing platform is hire a professional photographer who can go out and take pictures of some of your best projects, both before and after they’re completed.

Those high resolution, quality photos speak volumes about your ability to create a home that’s above and beyond your client’s expectations. What’s more, you can use those professional photos in a variety of ways. Whether you want a gallery on your website, quality background photos for your home page slider, or just some decent photos to send out on your monthly newsletter, a professional photographer is well worth it.

Myth #5 It’s free

This last one is a bit different from the others. One of the biggest pervading myths about digital marketing for custom home builders is that it’s free. It’s not. No form of marketing is ever free. Anyone who tells you that you can market your custom home building website for free isn’t being honest.

While digital marketing is truthfully far less expensive than traditional marketing efforts like paper ads, radio ads, and tv commercials, it still costs a little bit. Even if you end up doing all your digital marketing yourself, it takes up time. There are a lot of digital marketing aspects you can complete on your own, but you’re still spending at least a small amount of time writing those blog and posting to your company Facebook account, and time is money. So, don’t let anyone tell you digital marketing is free. When done right, it provides massive ROI, which means you have to spend a lot less to get a lot more, but it’s still going to cost you at least a little time and money.

If you’re not sure how much you should be spending for a quality digital marketing strategy that works, get in touch with us here at Evenbound. We’ve worked with a number of custom home builders, and have cracked the code to digital marketing strategies that deliver the leads you want. Check out the custom home building case study below to see how we market differently for better results, and then get in touch if you’d like to see how we can tailor our strategy for you!

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Real Estate Developers: Boosting your Facebook Following

Real Estate Developers: Boosting your Facebook Following

Real Estate Developers: Boosting your Facebook Following

With shows like Property Brothers, Fixer Upper, Love it or List it, and pretty much anything on HGTV, it’s obvious that today’s consumer is very interested in homebuilding. Even when it’s not their own home, people love to look to at before and after photos, and imagine their own home looking that spectacular. The innate human interest in home building gives real estate developers like you a real leg up when you’re working on marketing your development. Even luckier is our society’s current fascination with social media, which makes marketing your development a breeze, if you just know how to engage that key buyer who loves home building projects, and is interested in buying in your area.

If you’ve been doing any digital marketing at all, you know that Facebook is a remarkably successful outlet for marketing your real estate development. The question is though, how do you build on the existing following you have? Well, it’s a lot easier than you might think. You’re selling something that a lot of Facebook users already want. Here are a few ways you can tailor your content for super engaging Facebook posts that are sure to boost your following:

Post photos

There’s nothing people love more than looking at before and after photos. From infomercials on the newest ab machine to finished houses, it’s one of the easiest ways to get people engaged in any product. If you’ve finished a development, or are completing the interior design of your model homes, have a professional photographer come over, and post those new home photos in an album. By labeling the album, your followers will be able to figure out which development the home is in, and where it’s located, which gives them a better chance of picturing themselves in the home itself. What’s more, good before and after progress photos typically generate a lot of engagement. If you have a really outstanding album, it’s likely to be shared by some of your followers, which ensures it gets more new eyes, expanding your Facebook following.

Share community news

As a real estate developer, you’re selling more than just houses. You’re selling a community. So whether you’re marketing a sustainable living community, or a housing development that’s set up for retirees, be sure to share community news that will get your target buyers excited about the community. Whether you’ve got a block party going on for Labor Day weekend, or you’re opening the community greenhouse, the more you can share with people about the goings on of your housing development, the better they’ll be able to see themselves fitting in that fun, happening community.

Video Tours

If you thought photos got a lot of engagement from your followers, wait until you post a quality video tour. People are inherently curious, and everyone wants to know what the house down the street looks like on the inside. Video tours are a cool, updated way to show off your handiwork, and they get people interested in both the projects you’ve completed, and the floorplan you’re showcasing. In addition to drawing in quality leads, video tours are highly shareable, and when yours start circulating Facebook, they’re sure to start drawing in more followers.

Ask questions

The best way to boost your following is to get people involved with your company’s Facebook page. If you’re putting out quality content that they like to look at, that’s awesome, but your page will do even better if your followers are engaged. Ask your followers questions! You’d be surprised at how controversial home design can be. Consider throwing out a photo with a uniquely designed aspect of one of your recent projects, and ask your followers what they think. You might just spark a lively online discussion. Open vs. closed floorplan? Master bedroom on the first or second level? These sorts of questions are sure to get people involved, and the more people who get involved, the bigger your following will get.

Contests

Facebook contests are very low risk, and they do a lot to boost your Facebook following. For example, say you want to do a giveaway for the holidays. Post a photo of the prize you’re offering to the winner, whether it’s a Kitchen-Aid, a mini-fridge, or just a set of pots and pans. Then, tell people what they have to do to enter in your contest: like your page, share the giveaway post, tag one or two friends, or even post their favorite holiday cookie recipe! Then, you can choose a winner at random.

When the contest is over, someone goes home happy with the prize, and you end up with all of those additional followers and shares. Over the course of the contest, you’ll have gotten a ton more likes, more followers to show your amazing content to, and a lot of shares that connect your housing development to a new crop of potential buyers. Not only have you boosted your Facebook following, you’ve increased your chances for more qualified leads.

Share company birthdays and important events

These days, consumers want to work with businesses they trust and feel invested in. If you regularly post employee birthdays, anniversaries of your company’s founding day, or breaking ground days for new projects, you’re reminding your followers that your company is made up of a bunch of people just like them. When your business is personal, people feel like they know you better and can trust you, which makes them more likely to work with you. The more people who want to work with you, the bigger your Facebook following.

Get active!

The more active you are on Facebook, the more followers you’re going to get. Be sure to comment and reply back to followers who ask questions or comment on your posts. What’s more, try to actively repost and share interesting content from other accounts that are relevant to your current followers. By sharing content you didn’t write, you expand your Facebook base to the followers of whoever you reposted. The more active your account, the more legitimate you look to ranking bots, which means your Facebook page will pop up higher in search engine results pages. So like and share when you can, and you’ll be sure to see that Facebook following expand.

Facebook is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools out there for real estate developers. If you’re active on your page, and combine those organic marketing efforts with a solid Facebook Ad Campaign, you’ll grow your following and see the high number of qualified leads you want. But if you’re still not sure how to optimize your real estate development’s digital marketing strategy, don’t hesitate to give Evenbound a shout. We’ve cracked the code to real estate development marketing, and can deliver the qualified leads and high conversion rates you need to fill your developments in no time at all.

To see just how the Evenbound strategy delivers real results and fills housing developments, check out the case study below:

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Optimizing your Home Building PPC Strategy for Local Leads

Optimizing your Home Building PPC Strategy for Local Leads

Optimizing your Home Building PPC Strategy for Local Leads

Pay-per-click ad campaigns are one of the best ways to generate immediate, qualified traffic and leads for home builders. They’re a top outbound marketing method because they’re amazing at getting your name out there, especially for keywords you know your target buyer is searching for. The only problem is, PPC isn’t inherently geared for local sales.

If you bid on the keyword, “quality custom home builder,” it’s likely that your ad shows up in the search results pages of a searcher in Texas, which doesn’t do you much good if you work in Michigan. Many home builders have started to combat this by bidding on keywords that include their location, like “custom home builder Grand Rapids,” but that’s just the start of a quality PPC campaign that targets local leads. To make sure you’re getting the biggest number of qualified, local leads, here are a few tips to optimize your home building PPC strategy:

Pick the right city

If you’re in home building, you know that for many builders, the city they advertise in isn’t always the city they actually build in. For example, we’re centered in Grand Haven, but many of the builders out here advertise themselves as Grand Rapids builders because Grand Rapids is a bigger city with a bigger pool of potential homebuyers. So before you even start your local PPC strategy, you need to decide which city names you want to bid on. It’s a good idea to do some keyword research first, to figure out what people are actually searching, and what your competitors are bidding the most on.

For example, if you specialize in bigger, urban homes, it probably does make sense for you to target those searching for home builders in GR. But if your niche is smaller family homes out in the country, then it might make more sense to advertise your building company in smaller area cities, like Hudsonville, Coopersville, Spring Lake, and Grand Haven. So, do some testing to see which cities get the most qualified traffic for your company, and go with those.

Choose low competition, high search volume keywords

In the same vein, you want to choose keywords that have low competition, but high search volume, as you’ll have to pay less to run those campaigns. If every builder in the area is bidding on general terms like “Builder in Grand Rapids,” you’ll have to pay a lot of money for leads that might not actually be that qualified. Whereas if you pick a long-tail keyword like, “affordable custom homes Spring Lake” you’ll pay for less clicks, but you’ll get more qualified traffic. Sure, less people are going to search for that long tail keyword, but the people who do are going to fit right into your niche clientele, and they’re going to be closer to making a purchasing decision than someone who clicks on a very general, “builder in GR” search result.

Location-based ad extensions

Google, in its infinite wisdom, continues to improve search results in favor of user experience. In their work to make searches turn up the best results for searchers, they’ve implemented location-based ad extensions, so local businesses with Adwords campaigns can display location information like address, business hours, and even how long it will take the searcher to get to your office. By implementing location-based ad extensions in your Adwords campaign, when someone searches “custom home builders near me” or some other location-related keyword you’ve bid on, your search result will come up similar to the one below, one of our own clients in the GR area:

As you can see, below the desktop ad itself, Google has placed the location of the Whitmore Homes office, as well as their phone number and their hours. This extension works even better on mobile, because each piece of information becomes clickable. So, clicking on the address would take users to a map, clicking on the phone number would dial up Whitmore Homes, and clicking on the information button would give a potential client necessary information about when the company is open, and what it is that they do. This is easily one of the best ways to get your company more local traffic from paid searches. Check Google’s site for more info on how to implement location based ad extensions in your PPC campaign.

Make your landing pages mobile-friendly

An insane amount of all internet traffic these days is conducted on mobile devices. If your PPC ads take visitors to a landing page that isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re going to lose money. By optimizing a landing page for mobile, you make it faster, more user-friendly, and better fitted to a smaller screen. This means that mobile users can navigate to, and around, that page easily, ensuring they’re more likely to convert. If your landing pages aren’t optimized, you’re going to lose leads as soon as that page doesn’t load in 10 seconds on their smartphones.

Have multiple landing pages

In addition to having mobile-friendly landing pages, you should have different landing pages corresponding to different PPC ads. Remember that not all of your visitors are going to come to your site ready to buy, so it’s a good idea to have landing pages that address each step of the buyer’s journey. Obviously, you’re looking to find people in the decision making stage, but some of the long-tail keywords you’re bidding on might target visitors who are just in the awareness or consideration stages. Make sure you have landing pages that address each of these visitors as well, so you can capture their contact information, offer them quality content that pulls them through to the decision making stage, and improve the number of leads you’re generating over time.

Landing pages should match ads

In the same vein as the above point, you want to have multiple landing pages, but they have to match the ad they’re put with. You can’t have an ad that promotes a really awesome coupon for local clients, and then lead them to a landing page where they can download an ebook on how to perfect their ideal floorplan. This will only frustrate the visitors who do follow your PPC ads, and deter them from coming back to your site. So, in addition to having multiple landing pages, make triple-sure that each of those landing pages match the ad they’re attached to. You’d be surprised at how often these sorts of mistakes happen, but double-checking is a key way to make sure you’re not accidentally losing potential clients.

Remarketing

Another very successful way to run paid local ads is to implement a remarketing campaign. If you’ve ever gone online shopping and ditched your cart, remarketing is the reason ads keep popping up on Facebook and Google for the exact things you had in your cart when you ditched. For homebuilders, remarketing can also be successful, especially if you link your remarketing campaigns to your “Contact Us” or “Request a Quote” page. This way, whenever a visitor seems ready to convert to a lead, but leaves the page before filling out your contact form, they’ll be reminded later of that decision when your remarketing ad pops up on their social media page.

It’s a great way to keep your company fresh in clients’ minds, and it’s also a good practice for targeting local leads, because it’s likely to be locals who were researching your website in the first place.

If you’ve got more questions about optimizing your home building company’s PPC strategy to generate more local leads, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We specialize in inbound marketing strategies for custom home builders, and would be happy help answer any questions you’ve got. To see how Evenbound has generated massive results for other companies, check out the case study below:

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