HELP! We Switched Brokerages and Can't Use the Same Domain Anymore! ~ Email Challenge

Services for Real Estate Pros with Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing

stress at the computerHELP! We Switched Brokerages and Can't Use the Same Domain Anymore! ~ Email Challenge

This is a tough one. As an SEO professional I have spent a couple years building up a reputation for a certain real estate site.  Their domain was their brokerage name and area. I have spent hundreds of hours over the past few years linking to the site, tagging the site, creating pages, articles and everything else for the site. Not to mention the hundreds of back links spread literally all over timbucktoo pointing back to this specific URL.

Then comes the email. We are no longer affiliated with said brokerage and here is our new domain name, please optimize accordingly. Sccreeeccchhhh...... go the brakes. We were going along almost on auto-pilot with the site keeping up with blogs, articles and links at a wonderfully consistent pace when this puts the entire system at a halt.

So we tried the 301 redirect attempt only to learn that the previous brokerage will not allow any further use of the domain including any redirects. The domain literally is to be shut off, no longer to use, wiped from existence. Trust me, I tried every which way to save that domain and direct it to the new site. NOPE.... finito!

So where do you go from here?

"Client ~

If we can not redirect the old domain then unfortunately yes we will have to start all over.

We will have to go through all of the sites that are linking to the old domain and change them to the new which is 100's of sites and we only control a certain amount.

A link counts as a vote for your site so you are going from a lot of votes to none at all and this will have an effect. A 301 redirect will "redirect" all of your old votes to your new site" (this is as simple as I can explain it) Google only likes "trusted" sites and your new site will be un-trusted for a while and this will set back all rankings.

I will work extra hard on your site to get it trusted again by adding new content and pages but there still is a penalty that you should be aware of. Since we also need to redo the title and description of the site. I will research new and up to date keywords for the meta tags and go through as many links as we have to reset and email logo

Thank you for your patience during this transition."

So there it is. Not something any broker, agent or website owner wants to hear.

My advice for the future? Don't limit your domain to something that MAY change. Although domains with cities in them are great for the search engines, if you move to another area, you will have to start all over - as in Don Reinhard's case moving from the Chelan WA area to Lake Havasu City.

Your name probably won't change. Finding the right domain can be trickier than you think. It helps to consider future moves, name changes or brokerage changes. It's an uphill battle for sure but the good news is with this site, in two months we are already up to the 2nd page of Google with almost 1000 visitors a month. Not bad for a complete reset of the system, eh?


Consider the dedicated agents with Premier Properties Enterprise. As experts in Enterprise real estate they help buyers, sellers and investings get in or out of any Enterprise or Dothan AL real estate.

Posted by

Personal SEO Tim and Tammy Emineth

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Tim and Tammy Emineth have owned Personal SEO since 2004. We focus on SEO first whether it's blogging, images, website design, IDX solutions and calls to action. We operate with a Storybrand philosophy to encourage more traffic to your site, more eyes on your content and more leads to your business. Call us or email us for a free website audit.

Tim: 425-443-8372  Tammy: 425-344-0677

Comments (7)

Stacey Smith
Keller Williams Realty - Aliso Viejo, CA
Your Orange County Beach Cities Realtor

Great blog and great response.. There are some companies that offer templates that you can use to build your website with but you have to connect to their server and if you ever leave that company are forever locked out of that domain.. You pretty much just GAVE to them though they where charging you $10.00 a month to have access to that website. What I found best to do is pay godaddy 7.00 a month to host your own server, and just bite the bullet and pay someone to build your site, so as your business changes, even if it is another office YOU can adjust your website accordingly and by hosting your own site all information that passes through the site goes to your server and no one elses.

Jan 04, 2011 06:13 AM
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Frenchtown, MT
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

Stacey, that is an excellent point! We say that all time! I don't agree with website companies that hold onto your domain. Many times you can ask for it be released and then transfer to (which I suggest from the beginning anyway) but the transfer can be such a hassle and for those that don't quite understand the process it can be very confusing.

Jan 04, 2011 06:16 AM
Debra Davis
Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners - Snellville, GA
Realtor - Atlanta, Decatur, Snellville, Loganville

I learned a long time ago that you may not stay at a brokerage. It is much better to develeop your own domain name and create your own business from it.

Jan 04, 2011 10:16 AM
Dawn A Fabiszak
Private Label Realty ( Denver metro area, Colorado - Aurora, CO
The Dawn of a New Real Estate Experience!

Tammy ~ I got my domain name from GoDaddy.  It's mine and I can use it wherever I go.  It's silly to have your company's name in your domain name....or your email address for that same reason.  I want my sphere to be able to email me regardless of where I work.

Jan 04, 2011 02:14 PM
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Frenchtown, MT
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

The toughy was this was the whole company brokerage that was my customer.. so imagine going to to .... not so easy... it was a whole brokerage not an individual. But I agree with both of you, as an individual, create your own business, your own entity, one that can go with you anywhere. Thanks Ladies! :)

Jan 04, 2011 02:25 PM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Tammy:  How on earth can anyone expect to be able to drag their domain name with them when they leave a brokerage office... IF that domain name is somehow connected to that brokerage ?

I am not enough of a "techie" here to be using the correct words for this... but if the domain name was in any way connected to the past broker... it is pretty much "theirs."  And... it really does not matter how much work you put into it... it was "theirs" then, and it's still theirs, or is still "connected" to them... after you leave.

Getting your OWN free-standing, only-connected-to-you domain name... is critical.

Jan 05, 2011 05:15 PM
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Frenchtown, MT
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

Yes Karen it is. The really big negative here was that we couldn't even use it to redirect people to the new domain. They got a new domain obviously when they split from the brokerage but that brokerage wouldn't let them redirect the old domain. No one else was using it and it would have faded into the sunset anyway eventually but it was tough to just turn it off. BOOM!

You are right though.. don't expect to use that name after you're gone. Thanks :)

Jan 06, 2011 02:07 AM