Linking Your Realtor Website For Maximum Exposure


THE LEADERS POST - Issue #25 - September 26, 1999

from Results-net.com
By: Doug Towes, Editor

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About the Leaders Post
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The Leaders Post is the newsletter for real estate
professionals committed to Net Success - from Results-net.com, an
online community of real estate professionals dedicated to
providing excellent service to their clients. If you prefer the
online version, the current issue as well as previous issues can be viewed by clicking
Internet Marketing Tips For Real Estate Agents

You may pass this newsletter on to others, as long as it is sent
in it's entirety.

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Contents
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- How to Link For Maximum Exposure
- The Problem With Edit-It-Yourself Web Sites
- New House and Home Real Estate Page Site in Chilliwack BC
- ADfilter
- Search Engine Notes
- Tip of the day

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Net Success
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I received an email the other day which asked "Please advise me
of your recommendations as to who we should be linked with to
obtain maximum exposure with our home page."

I thought it was worthwhile to revisit this subject because
linkage is what the internet is really all about. Aside from the
obvious benefit of having your web site promoted on other web
sites, the greatest value of "linking" is in many cases not what
you would expect. The great value of linking is that it helps to
raise your ranking in some of the major search engines which
results in more potential clients finding your site.

If you haven't done so already, you should have a page on your
site for the purpose of reciprocal linking of fellow agent's
sites. You may find that visitors will not use those links very
much - they are visiting your site to find an agent in your city-
not an agent in another city, but it will help you with the
"link popularity" that some search engines look for when ranking
web sites.

Both incoming and outgoing links count - and quality of links
is also important to search engines- linking to high quality -
i.e. "popular" or those with listings in the search engine's
directory - real estate related sites will also give your
rankings some brownie points.

Because outgoing links are important, you may want to link to
the Agents Online Real Estate Idea Center - visit
http://www.agentsonline.net/home.html for a nice little graphic
you can use.

Links to and from non-real estate related sites don't count for
much, and having too many may actually water down your site
relevancy in the eyes of the search engines. It is best to keep
your site fairly focused - i.e. don't fill it up with content
and links that are not of specific interest to potential clients.


Many real estate agent directories are stored in database files
and their web pages are created only when viewed. These are used
because they require little maintenance and usually have a built
in search engine. I would not place these types of directories
high on the priority list - especially if they want to charge
you for being listed. Most search engines can't access their
pages because of the characters contained in their url - like
the query character "?" for example. That causes search engines
to stop dead in their tracks and head for the hills! Check some
of their directory listings first - if the url in the address
bar of your browser is not a straight forward url like
"http://www.sitedomain.com/directory/subdirectory/pagename.html"
- it probably can't be accessed by most search engines. If there
is a charge for appearing in such a directory I personally don't
bother.

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Many agent's web sites are actually constructed using the same
type of system where the web pages are created from a database
which means that the system excludes search engine spiders. All
of the popular edit-it-yourself sites with online "control
panels" that I have ever seen are like this, and many other
sites as well. It may not be readily apparent that the site
contains search-engine-stopping characters in the page URLs,
because often the pages are running in a hidden frame which
hides the real URL from the visitor.

The edit-it-yourself sites usually have an online control panel
that allows you to change your content and design whenever you
want, but unfortunately in the best case scenario, only the
index page or "splash" page can ever be accessed by the search
engines!

None of the other pages even exist as far as most search
engines are concerned. Because these sites are often pushed by
real estate technology "experts" who are paid to endorse them,
agents are standing in line to buy them because they see having
the ability to personally make changes and the low cost as being
attractive.

They are unaware that the sites can't be fully indexed by the
search engines, which is a very serious problem as far as I am
concerned! If your site can't be fully indexed, you have a very
limited presence (if any) in the search engines and that means
you have to generate your web site traffic by paid advertising,
which can cost a bundle!

Some of these same experts may realize that the sites are non-
existent in the search engines because they also recommend that
you have several other "feeder sites" to send business to your
main site. In some cases you end up with a dozen or more web
sites - most that have the same type of design that will not
allow the site to be indexed by the search engines - trying to
send traffic to the main site.

If you are considering the merits of such a system, be aware of
this serious flaw. On the internet your traffic comes from the
search engines and search engines can't index the interior of
these sites.

Also be aware of the doublespeak where the proponents claim
their sites can be indexed because their system uses "Meta
Tags". These tags are only on the initial or the "splash" page
and only allow that one page to be indexed by 2 or 3 search
engines - the rest of the search engines do not use Meta Tags
for ranking and the rest of the pages still can't be accessed.

The previous article discussed the benefits of linking. If you
have an edit-it-yourself type of web site, don't worry about
linking, as the search engines can't access the pages in your
site anyway.

Don't worry about adding content for the purposes
of increasing your site's relevancy for the purpose of
increasing your search engine ranking - search engines will not
see your content.

And don't waste your time fretting over your lack of search
engine presence - there is not much you can do about it. Accept it
and start spending bags of money to promote your web site or get a
web site that resides on real web pages and not in a database.

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With the search engines getting a lot bigger, and more web
sites to compete with, it is more important than ever to set
yourself apart from the competition. Is your web site an "ego
site" like most of the other agent sites in your area? You
know the type - agent photo on most pages and "this is who I am
and what I do". Why would anyone choose you over the hundreds
of other sites that begin to look identical to someone browsing
the web?

You need a unique and informative web site - one where it is
immediately apparent to a visitor that it is different from all
the others. The House and Home Real Estate Page is a good
example of a unique web site that has proven effective. Just one
is produced for each market area, and it is totally different
from any other agent web site. The site comes as a turnkey
package and are continuously updated to conform to the changing
criteria required by search engines - so you can sleep nights
and concentrate on selling real estate! The House and Home Page
Real Estate Sites also rank well within all of the major search
engines! Check it out at Realtor Websites

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What works for you? Your suggestions and submissions are
gratefully accepted, and if used you will receive credit along
with a link to your web site or (e mail address if you don't have
a web site yet.) Send submissions to admin@rncinternet.com -
suggestions may also be left at the Agents Online Real Estate Webmaster Forums
in the Newsletter Suggestions Forum.

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Happenings At Results-net.com
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You can promote yourself very well by participating in
the Agents Online Real Estate Discussion Forums,
which are visited by an average of 1000 people a week now who
are looking for real estate information, agents, and property
listings! Participating in the discussion and sharing your
insights is great FREE advertising!

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Members of the High Performance Home Page program are reminded to
check their private forum for information, search engine
strategies, and add-ons to their site. The forum is located
within the Agents Online Real Estate Idea Center at
http://www.agentsonline.net and can be found at the bottom of the
list of public forums. Once registered at the Idea Center, send
me an email and I will "authorize" you so you can access the
private forum.

--------------- Search Engine Notes

There is a new "twist" at AltaVista!

In previous newsletters , we wrote that AltaVista has a time
penalty for submitted pages in popular keyword categories - "my
city real estate" included. If you submit a page targeting
those keywords, it will go near the end of the list and will
rise in rank over a period of months to eventually place in
the top 10 or 20. It will then begin a decline and start the
cycle over again. AltaVista will spider pages on it's own and
rank those pages higher than pages that are submitted through
it's "ADD URL" feature.

Now, AltaVista has gone wild as well! Type in a search and when
the results are presented to you, hit your browser's "refresh"
button a few times and watch the results change to something
completely different. Just for fun, type in "url:www.mysite.com"
(use your domain) and see what happens when you "refresh".
AltaVista will report varying number of pages for your site -
from no pages listed to all of your pages listed.

From AltaVista support..."The search engine returns an
approximation of results, which may change when you go from page
to page. The time of day you perform the search can affect these
results, as doing a search when the engine is in heavy use
will cause it to hit a brief timeout period due to the number
of queries and workload. This prevents the machine from
overloading and also produces inconsistent results. The best
time to get results is between about 3am and 1pm GMT."


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Tip Of The Day
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"It is not always what we achieve in life; it's what we
overcome."

Johnny Miller in a note to Paul Azinger when Paul was diagnosed
with Hodgkin's Disease. Paul overcame and is back playing on the
PGA Tour.

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professionals dedicated to providing excellent service to
their clients.

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