By now most real estate agents have at least one website, many have more than one; that coupled with all the other social networking tools and blogs we use, we are all pretty plugged into the cyber world.
Oddly enough I still see agents out there who are still relying on a sign in the yard and an add in the local paper.
But what about individual sites for your listings, some service providers offer that as a feature for you if you use their services. Loopnet.com is one that for an additional fee you can use their site to build your own "site" for each listing. Is all that really necessary and does it really work?
Well here's how I break it down, Internet presence is all about content, links and traffic, the more traffic the more likely your site is to be found; the more sites linking to yours, the more likely you are to have a higher ranking giving you more traffic.
But the sites linking in must have relevance to be helpful to your Google Juice, having a porn site in Europe link to your real estate site in the Midwest is probably more harmful than good.
The pros and cons of individual listing sites.
- The client is impressed at the level of service you provide.
- The site may attract buyers looking for a specific type or location of property.
- Having another site out there pointing to yours is never a bad idea.
- Your main site may have limitations that you can overcome by having property specific sites.
- One site focusing on a single property provides targeted information without distractions.
- You can better target keywords for search engines to gain property specific traffic.
- Your main site may focus on one area or specialty, but each additional site can give you depth and a broader audiance.
- A lot of work, with all the other marketing you do, do you really have time to build another website!
- Invisible, a new site is invisible to the search engines if it doesn't get the proper marketing to gain the traffic.
- Money, if you're not technically capable of building web sites you may have to hire it done.
- Web sites provided by others may not give you the control and features you need.
- Building a property specific website may take away from marketing the property on your main site, ultimately decreasing your traffic at your home site.
- Liabilities, Most of you have corporate provided sites that include all the disclaimers and releases to protect you.
- After you do your job and sell the property, what do you do with the site?
I like individual listing sites, provided I have the time to market them properly; by using the attributes of a single property I can create a site that will not only impress my client but actually attract a lot of attention from buyers. I don't build one for every listing, but if I have the opportunity to put one together for a very unique listing it can be a great asset.
For instance I list dozens of small, inner city investment properties. While each listing may help attract more visitors to my site and ultimately increase my Google juice and traffic, they are mostly not unique enough to drive much traffic to a specific site.
I have listed and sold several car wash properties in Kansas City, I did not build property specific sites for each one, I just put them on my main site and then promorted that page. By doing so, I have gained a lot of Google juice for anyone looking for a car wash for sale in Kansas City.
I also work with a lot of equestrian properties, real estate designed and built with horse lovers in mind. By listing those properties on my main site and promoting them I now corner most of the market in the Kansas City area for horse property. One horse farm in particular on my site has its own Google page rank of 3, that took a Herculean effort on my part and that page gets a lot of traffic.
My latest listing is a very unique property; because of its location, features and unique makeup it is ideal for a property specific website. Because it is located on Clinton Lake, located next to a popular equine park and riding trails (Rockhaven Park), and built specifically with the equestrian lifestyle it has many attributes that make it perfect to get traffic.
So logically I named the site ClintonLakeHorseFarm.com, but I went further than just the domain name I named the site and the meta tags after the nearby equestrian park. When you pull it up in your browser it pops up as Rockhaven Horse Farm. Because Clinton lake is a popular search term, and Rockhaven Park is well known to the horseback riding crowd the combination of the terms means that it will gain Google juice quickly for any related search.
How to get the traffic? Traffic is key, you need traffic to gain ranking and ranking to gain traffic; I've figured out many tricks to gain both. Links are essential, you need as many links pointing to your site as you can get search engines see this and they think it is important. you also need to get the traffic, just having the links is pretty much worthless if nobody clicks on them.
Social networking is important, posting you new link to your Twitter accounts and Facebook Pages will help you get a start, your friends family and colleagues will most likely want to see what you are working on and if you ask them for input they get even more interested.
Content is of huge importance, content helps the search engines know what your site is about and that you have useful information for Internet surfers. Content is best if it is original, using other people content can get you in trouble not only for copyright violations but because duplicate content is a big No-no for SEO ranking.
Because Clinton Lake is maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers the content on their site is in the public domain, you can use, reprint and copy whatever you want there. Using content from those type of sites is easy but you will be far better off if you alter it however slightly into your own words to make it unique.
Con number 7 is important; after I sell RockHaven Horse Farm, what good will the site be! Easy, although I named the site Rockhaven Horse Farm, I purchased the domain Clinton Lake Horse Farm. After I sell the property I can leave the site up and make it more about information and other properties in the area. The site will still contain all of the local information I added, and it will also point to my main real estate web site. I will likely get more traffic from it in the future from both buyers and sellers in the area looking for an awesome real estate professional who just happens to have a site they found.
My main site Turn-Key Properties LLC is hugely successful, with great Google ranking and plenty of traffic, but by building a property specific site I can capture a larger audience that may otherwise not have found the listing they were looking for.
There is much more to making that site pop, but I don't want to give away all my secrets. Thanks for reading and I hope you visit my new site. I'm still working on it, but the property will not go on the market until Spring so I have plenty of time to develop that Google juice!