3 Tips for Real Estate Sites to Win with Google Core Updates

3 Tips for Real Estate Sites to Win with Google Core Updates

The recent Google global core update, which ended on June 9th, has caused many websites to lose a big chunk of their traffic. Very few sites have recovered from this major update, even after several small (unconfirmed) updates in the interim.

Meanwhile, at HOMEiA.com our web traffic has increased moderately across the board. This is the same type of increase we also saw after the previous few Google core updates. (Just run an Ahref and SEMrush statistic reports of HOMEiA.com and you will see)

Given our success, I want to point out a few key things we did differently. I will share my preferred approach to content marketing and link building — an approach that (I believe) will improve your resilience to future updates. Let’s get started.

1. Better, More Attractive Content

Better, More Attractive Content

At HOMEiA we have taken content production and presentation to the next level. That includes both our in-house content and the small number of incoming guest posts we allow on our website.

Here are three key things we know our audiences expect from a great website:

  1. A. Insightful content that is well-researched, easy to understand, and links thoughtfully to related content both on-page and off-page.
  2. B. Attractive presentation, with complimentary videos and graphics. And no flashing banner ads!
  3. C. Fast loading and user-friendly design, especially on mobile devices.

While we produce most of our high-quality long-form content in-house, we also allow a small number of incoming articles contributed by external authors. However, we screen all authors carefully to make sure they are knowledgeable about their topic and that the topic fits well with the other content on our site.

In short, quality control and great presentation are among the key contributors to our ongoing success.

Is it okay to monetize your website via banner ads or affiliate links? I believe so, but I recommend keeping it to a bare minimum and increasing your banner ads’ price(s). Instead, try to increase the quality and presentation of your content as much as possible. This approach might reduce your revenue a little in the short term, but it will benefit you tremendously in the long run if you have the patience for it.

Why? Because nowadays people are getting good at avoiding web pages with flashing banner ads or boring presentations.

If you position your content the way HOMEiA.com does, you will wow your audience every time. That great impression will make them remember your website and brand, and they’ll even share your content with others. That’s free advertising!

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2. Up-to-date, Targeted Linking

Up-to-date, Targeted Linking

In addition to creating new internal links each time we publish a new article, we also do an overhaul of our internal linking campaign every five to six months, just to make sure our internal links reach deep and wide with more helpful content for our audience.

We are also extra careful with which web pages we link out to. We place a monthly limit on backlinks to our collaborators’ sites.

As for incoming links, we count on our high-quality content to attract organic backlinks to our site. We put very little time and money into manual link-building. We would rather put our resources toward even better content so we can attract even more organic backlinks.

We believe in the 80/20 rule: We are willing to invest to acquire backlinks from the top 20% of websites in our niche, but we won’t waste much of our effort on the other 80%. I think this is much less risky than buying a bunch of backlinks on the cheap from sites that are average (or worse).

If you are not able to improve on your content — if it’s already top-notch — you can allocate your funds toward acquiring backlinks from the top 20% of websites in your category for long-term benefits.

I personally think Google will continue to rely more and more on its AI to run its algorithm going forward. Its current AI might not be strong yet, since we see lots of mismatches in rankings since the core updates on June 9th, but since AI is a self-taught program, its sophistication will grow exponentially over a short time.

Soon, I think its algorithm will be able to accurately determine which sites are selling many backlinks and which sites have the most apparently paid incoming links from PBN sites. At that point, we will see the rewards of our restrained and organic approach.

I highly recommend that you follow our lead right now. Don’t wait for the AI to get more sophisticated, because gaining many organic backlinks takes time (and efforts). It’s not something money can buy easily or quickly for your site. Thus, the sooner you start, the better off your site will be.

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3. Mobile-Friendly UI

Mobile-Friendly UI

We test our website’s UX/UI often on mobile devices to make sure our web pages are user-friendly. Many site owners and admins get too busy with other tasks and forget to access their website from the user’s standpoint to see how it actually performs.

Nowadays, the majority of your web traffic is coming from mobile devices — especially smartphones. If you don’t monitor your mobile site performance from your audience’s point of view — and adjust accordingly — you won’t be able to retain most of your web traffic, even if your content is great.

These are three key things HOMEiA.com has done consistently over the years, and so far our organic backlinks and web traffic often increased at each Google core update.

I hope these tips will help you pivot your content marketing and link-building approach to make your site more resilient to Google’s future updates (both core and “unconfirmed”), especially as AI gains more power over the search algorithm.

If you find this advice helpful, please share it with others who may benefit from it as well. Thanks!

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Phong Nguyen is the founder of HOMEiA.com, a city living guide site where visitors can find detailed information about communities of interest. HOMEiA’s City Living Guides, created in partnership with local writers, are curated lists of the best, safest, and most affordable places to live. The guides feature the HOMEiA Score, a proprietary index that rates communities on such factors as housing costs, education and employment. HOMEiA.com aims to be the premier site for people planning to relocate, providing them… Read more >>