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#415920 - 11/20/12 05:33 PM The State Of SEO For Realtor Sites in 2012
doug Offline

Veteran Member

Registered: 12/31/69
Posts: 1099
Loc: Canada
The other day I wrote a blog article on SEO For Real Estate Websites In 2012 which talks about how Google's Panda and Penguin may or may not have changed the game. I though I would expand on the article a bit here.

The once thing that has not changed is the importance of links. In fact, links are probably more important now than they ever were and probably misunderstood more than ever too. There are some that say links are no longer that important and that is just plain wrong. When you research why real estate sites place in the top 10 for the most important highly trafficked keywords what you find is that the one thing they all have in common is they all have lots of links from many different domains.

People often draw (wrong) conclusions from often repeated misinformation or make blanket judgements on whole classes of links without ever giving it much thought. Doing so means great opportunities are missed and useless or very low quality strategies are pursued with negligible results which then perpetuates the myth that linking is a waste of time.

Overuse of certain strategies is a big problem of course and this is what Google has been targeting in their war on spam. That doesn't mean that the strategy itself doesn't work though. Keep in mind of course, with any type of linking the value is determined by the quality of the page the link resides on.

Let's look at article marketing for example. It seems that the last couple of years every time the subject acquiring links comes up in this forum some vocal respondents claim that the absolute best way to obtain links is article marketing and all other link acquisition strategies are a waste of time. Google doesn't agree. Google frequently mentions article marketing as a spam technique along with blog comment spam and forum spam. The truth lies somewhere in between. If you write an article and syndicate it – it is spam and looked upon badly. That is true even if you make some small changes to each article. As long as it is published in multiple places it is spam – especially if it is published on article sites. If you write a quality unique article and it is published on a quality site (i.e. a site that Google trusts) the link back to your site from that article will benefit you. That is a lot of work however and as a result most choose to write a bunch of articles and try to distribute them as widely as possible which is not helpful and in some cases probably harmful.

The same applies for guest blogging.

What about reciprocal linking? The same applies really. Google of course has been targeting excessive reciprocal linking and link schemes but that does not mean that all reciprocal linking is bad or does not work. In fact, some of the websites that I checked that are ranking well because they have a lot of links from a variety of sources are still using link schemes.

I can guarantee you that if you set up a multi category directory on your real estate agent site and start looking to exchange links with anyone and everyone it will not help you and may get you penalized. If you exchange links with a few dozen other Realtors who do the same and do not place those links in a “Link Directory” you will probably benefit. At worst, at some point in the future some of the value may be lost but it is highly unlikely that you will ever be penalized.

The same applies to being listed in directories. Many directories are bad simply because they are multi-category and not specific to the real estate industry. Others that are specific are bad because the links on then are “no follow” or are written in such a way that the links will not count. It is important to know how to evaluate the directory links to determine if you are wasting your time. Most are a waste of time and this has led again to the blanket declaration that “directories are a waste of time”.

Google on the other hand says otherwise. Niche directories are a great place for small business – and that includes Realtors – to list themselves.

If the link requires a reciprocal link but gives you:

- the benefits of being a directory specific to Real Estate
- is trusted by Google as evidenced by the fact that Google actually includes the specific page your link will reside on in its index or better yet, gives the actual page your link will reside on some (any) Page Rank
- a link that can be followed

Go for it. You will not find very many of these directories and giving up a reciprocal link in such a case is not problematic.

If the directory meets all the criteria I outlined above and will allow you to be listed for a small fee without a reciprocal link why would you not want to do that? The fee may be for a photo or editorial revue and in such a case in that type of directory it is not in danger of being considered a “paid link” by Google.

What is a reasonable cost for such a directory listing? I can tell you that I have often been offered $30 per month to place a link on some of my web pages. That seems to be the going rate for a link residing on a page with Page Rank on a site in the same niche. I don't think you will find too many directories that will charge you that much!

One such directory that has been around for a decade or so, is trusted by Google, and offers a quality link is the Epowerd Professionals Real Estate Directory. You can get listed for free with a reciprocal link or without a reciprocal link by paying for a photo listing at $39.00 per year.

What is important to keep in mind with your link acquisition strategy is that moderation is best. Get links from a variety of sources and don't fall for the “flavour of the month”. Be consistent which means work at it slowly and expect that it will take time to see the benefits. This is something you probably have do do yourself which means acquiring the knowledge of how to identify a good linking opportunity and it will take time. It is important though. The more competitive the keywords you which to rank for the more good links you need.

Regardless of Panda and Penguin it is still all about links.

#416018 - 11/24/12 09:35 AM Re: The State Of SEO For Realtor Sites in 2012 [Re: doug]
breeanne Offline

Registered: 10/03/12
Posts: 56
Loc: US
Thanks again Doug for a very informative article once again;
One question i have here is what do you mean by overuse of certain strategies is a big problem please explain on that?

#416022 - 11/24/12 03:55 PM Re: The State Of SEO For Realtor Sites in 2012 [Re: doug]
doug Offline

Veteran Member

Registered: 12/31/69
Posts: 1099
Loc: Canada
Google is targeting overuse of both on and off page SEO. So, for example, where previously using your keywords in navigation links back to your home page was considered a smart thing to do it will now get you penalized. Having just a few links back using your keywords would be fine but doing this sitewide via your navigation menu or footer links is now considered spam.

If a site appears to be what we used think of as "optimized" it now appears to be over optimized by Google and rank is reduced rather than increased.

Variety and moderation is where it is at now.

#416465 - 12/04/12 10:07 AM Re: The State Of SEO For Realtor Sites in 2012 [Re: doug]
Chris@fl Offline

Registered: 11/10/12
Posts: 18
Loc: USA
Doug, You have mentioned all the stuffs so nicely. These days we should get rid of that over optimization process.

#418174 - 01/10/13 10:17 AM Re: The State Of SEO For Realtor Sites in 2012 [Re: doug]
gerrigale Offline

Registered: 03/31/11
Posts: 25
Loc: new jersey
Great article, I find link building extremely challenging and time consuming. I also think google is sandbagging new real estate sites and all the back links in the world do not mean too much in your first year on the web. Thanks Doug this post was very helpful.

#418186 - 01/10/13 01:47 PM Re: The State Of SEO For Realtor Sites in 2012 [Re: gerrigale]
Bigtoe Offline
Major Contributor

Registered: 10/14/07
Posts: 2364
Loc: Outer Banks
Originally Posted By: gerrigale
I also think google is sandbagging new real estate sites and all the back links in the world do not mean too much in your first year on the web.

I have seen no proof of sandbagging. Last year I took a brand new site to #1 for multiple competitive real estate key word phrases in a matter of months.
Your Outer Banks real estate agent. Helping people buy and sell OBX real estate since 1989.

#418200 - 01/11/13 12:10 AM Re: The State Of SEO For Realtor Sites in 2012 [Re: doug]
cartert Offline

Registered: 04/14/12
Posts: 157
Loc: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canad...
I think the sandbox has been massively toned down from when it was originally introduced. Authoritative links and consistent social media links will keep you out though, from what I can tell, if it still does exist to some degree.

#418388 - 01/15/13 02:05 PM Re: The State Of SEO For Realtor Sites in 2012 [Re: doug]
Cata Offline

Registered: 01/18/12
Posts: 33
Loc: Here & there
Very good observations here which I think are true. I think that if anything, the importance of links has increased, as Doug mentioned. It's just that you have to be more careful and more organic in how you go about acquiring those links.
Try our property search service. Use our property value estimate tools. Find homes for sale in the USA, Canada and over 60 other countries.

#420845 - 02/28/13 02:25 AM Re: The State Of SEO For Realtor Sites in 2012 [Re: Cata]
Home Sale Indy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/22/13
Posts: 3
Loc: Indianapolis, IN
Thanks for all the advice. SEO is so overwhelming when starting out. It's great to have these resources to help us navigate it all.

#420869 - 02/28/13 09:36 AM Re: The State Of SEO For Realtor Sites in 2012 [Re: doug]
Musa Opondo Offline

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 210
Loc: USA
Great article.I am of the view that moderation of link velocity is key in link building.There should be no major spike in back links or drop but consistency and it also takes time to see results.

#421211 - 03/06/13 10:23 PM Re: The State Of SEO For Realtor Sites in 2012 [Re: Home Sale Indy]
fsna.heidi Offline

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 41
Loc: USA
[quote=Home Sale Indy]Thanks for all the advice. SEO is so overwhelming when starting out. It's great to have these resources to help us navigate it all. [/quote]

I agree. I've been doing SEO for a while now and it's still overwhelming for me.

Thanks doug for a great article. Owner should really be careful in promoting their site. I'm actually doing a good reply on some forums and blog but then I'm often tagged or banned because of spamming when my reply is really on the topic. That's just sad and time consuming.

#439045 - 09/12/14 06:35 AM Re: The State Of SEO For Realtor Sites in 2012 [Re: doug]
Vinod Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/16/14
Posts: 6
Loc: India
You are right Doug. Panda & penguin can not reduce the importance of links at any cost because links is a very strong point to understand the quality of the website on the internet. After the unique content links are on the first priority of the search engine or google.

#439101 - 09/16/14 02:37 AM Re: The State Of SEO For Realtor Sites in 2012 [Re: doug]
mikeslough5 Offline

Registered: 08/27/14
Posts: 13
Loc: Canada
SEO for real estate site is quite tough time now but you write very nicely to cover every thing.
Specially submission of link can't be reduce as Google stated 60% of robots are working on the back end just for checking sites links if we stop link spreading then how they measure.


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