Whatever happened to?

We are all too busy looking forward that we sometimes forget to look back.

I needed to find an old article recently in the archives recently and came across some articles that I thought would be worth a revisit. I started around 18 months ago and looked forward about a year and came up with the following little gems:-
Realestate.com.au release REA Labs
This technology sandpit as REA call it is as Peter pointed out at the time, a complete rip off Google Labs and appears to have dont nothing since the day it was launched. Not even a vista sidebar gadget. The lack of action appears to make a mockery of the original “Global Innovator” tag they put on themselves at the time. My browser tells me this page has not been updated for around 9 months or so.
Google to Launch Real Estate Beta in 2007?
2007 looked as though it was going to be Google Real Estate’s year but not only did it not arrive, but we are on the back half of 2008 and there seems no solution in sight. Will it still happen?
Private selling sites – growing up!
Zero Agents produced a private selling site with a bit of style however in hindsight the anti agent rhetoric has proven to be full of hot air, at least in our neck of the woods. I seen my first zeroagents sign the other day. Has anybody seen zeroagents make an impact in their marketplace?


Domain Simply Adorable!
Domain launched Adore to hot discussion. Even Simon Baker joined in on the comments but what’s happened to Adore since then?
The Times they are a Changin!
Fairfax released the online newspaper in Brisbane the www.brisbanetimes.com.au which has consistently held a daily audience of around 40,000 unique visitors per day since launch. The good news is that they have not gone backwards one step… however the bad news is that it is not significantly improved either. So is this a success or failure or a little bit of both??
News Ltd Newspapers Property Sections Rebranded as realestate.com.au
A bunch of real estate sections in bunch of newspapers changed there logo…. so what? I doubt this increased readership or visitor counts to either but it made somebody somewhere feel warm and fuzzy.Β  Can anybody say they actually felt an impact from this?
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water!
Another topic that erupted in the comments, REA in a huge touch of arrogance decided to launch the “Peak Industry Body” – The REAIAC which stands for REA Industry Advisory Council. How anybody could call this an industry body is beyond me, but has anybody heard anything that has come out of this Adivsory Council all was it all hot air as so many claimed?
Google Buys REA
Peter was taken hook line and sinker, if you have never read this, take a minute and put a smile on your dial.
Now this is what you call a Property Video!
Propvid really started caputuring everyone attention and video started to look as though it has promise but even today there are few of the 10,000 or so agents in this country who are using video. Professional photography seems to have gained greater penetration for 2008 however video’s day appears to be a lot closer. We were given the opportunity to experience a propvid recently and was very impressed. We are hoping to do a lot more and have added it as a standard part of our marketing plans. 2009 for video maybe??
First National Conference by Glenn
Andrew Taylor from REA advised that REA felt their biggest threat came from Truelocal. Andrew must have been looking way into the future because Truelocal has lost visitor numbers since that time and hardly looks as though it will light the world on fire. In fact despite all the whizz bang features, it is HotFrog that has set the business directory world on fire their visitor traffic coming from nowhere to twice that of Truelocal. So who is REA’s biggest threat?? Anybody?
Homehound re- launch

and
Whats Dumb? Homehound Google campaign!
Ho hum. Homehound is still a pretender on the scene and only a sneaky and dirty tricks adwords campaign seemed to get them any traffic. Using the registered business names of real estate agents to imitate the agent and steal their traffic was a way to ensure they did not pay the high adwords for the typical “<suburb> real estate” keywords that everyone else competes over.. Is anybody still being targetted by this tactic??

Domain, Fairfax, First National, Google, Homehound, News Ltd, Private Selling, REA

SEO For Real Estate
Listing Leads
Agentpoint Real estate

About Glenn Batten

Glenn Batten is the General Manager at First National Real Estate Nerang and Principal at the First National Real Estate Upper Coomera office and has over 20 years real estate experience and a passion for technology. Glenn has been writing from an agents perspective on industry issues and covering a range of topics on Business2 since 2007.

46 Responses to Whatever happened to?

  1. Peter Ricci August 1, 2008 at 12:16 pm #

    Thanks Glenn, just when I thought I was getting some respect in the marketplace.

    As for Google, they released Google Base International, yet Google’s version of ‘International’ is limited to US,UK and Germany.

  2. Glenn Batten August 1, 2008 at 12:22 pm #

    Sorry mate.. πŸ™‚ Just reading that headline when I went browsing made me smile.. I had to go in and read it all again. How can you not share that!

    You deserve a pat on the back.. many people would have deleted that. It shows you don’t take yourself to serious..

  3. Peter Ricci August 1, 2008 at 12:24 pm #

    Nah, its all good, I do double/triple check anything I receive around April 1st though

  4. Glenn Batten August 1, 2008 at 6:09 pm #

    Wasn’t REAIAC going to change the members every 12 months or so? We should be on the second intake for this “Peak Industry” body.

    Is it still alive Dave? Have I just missed their findings and reappointment?

  5. chris August 3, 2008 at 9:07 pm #

    Glenn, I am super glad you are not my real estate agent.

    Your office must use technology so well that you never have to spend time acting as an agent.

  6. Glenn Batten August 3, 2008 at 9:43 pm #

    Christine

    Welcome to the site. I am super glad you are here as everyone’s opinons are welcome.

    You obviously took offense at something I said, but you forgot to mention what exactly it was. It wasn’t you responsible for homehound’s adword campaign was it? πŸ™‚

    As to the issue of technology in our office I am happy to report that we use more than most but not as much as some.

  7. chris August 4, 2008 at 8:27 pm #

    Hi Glenn

    I don’t take offence; that would be madness if one wants to contribute to a blog.

    Perhaps, however, i should be welcoming you. I have contributed on and off for a couple of years to this blog. It can be quite interesting at times, albeit it lately, I have been more off than on. Raising 3 kids takes a lot of my time so its wait until hubby comes home to take over or get them off to bed!

    My subtle hint was to try and make your topics more interesting. You don’t seem to get much of a response to your postings. Peter and Dave tend to post original, thought provoking items.

    Good luck!

  8. Glenn Batten August 5, 2008 at 12:18 am #

    awww shucks! is that all you were trying to say…. your just not a fan? πŸ™‚

    Your message was so subtle even now I still cant see the connection between your original comments and your explanation.

    Each of us write from different perspectives and if you don’t find that interesting thankfully you have the right to just not read it.

    Maybe you could offer a new perspective that somebody might find some interest with? Peter is always looking for new contributors.

  9. chris August 5, 2008 at 8:15 am #

    glenn

    i seemed to have bruised your ego πŸ™‚

    Perhaps subtly is lost on you.

    If you can’t handle comments….don’t post stuff and invite comments. You just don’t seem to get much of a response from anyone on this blog; a quick check back at your posts reveals that.

    My advice is try and be a little more relevant or interesting.

    cheers

  10. Glenn Batten August 5, 2008 at 9:01 am #

    Not at all, in fact you have just given me a good chuckle with your scrambling…

  11. chris August 6, 2008 at 6:32 pm #

    10 comments!

    your post popular post!

    well done!

  12. Glenn Batten August 6, 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    Ahhhh you still trying to get some attention.. πŸ™‚

    Staying at home with the rugrats must be getting you all bitter and twisted because your only posts are having a go at someone. Maybe try and intelligently add to a conversation now and then but I guess that is not your personality type.

    Just for the record, your research skills need a lot of work Christine… but why let the truth get in the way of a bitch!

  13. Tom S August 7, 2008 at 2:04 am #

    To be fair to Chris Glenn, your posts don’t attract that much comment compared to someone like Dave Platter for example, and you tend to get really defensive if someone has an opposing opinion to your own.

  14. Glenn Batten August 7, 2008 at 9:17 am #

    Tom S

    Your not still narky over me pointing out your REA rampings posts whilst your a significant shareholder and in the shares business are you?

    Isn’t your interest in this blog purely about you and yours back pocket to counter anything negative about REA I just asked for you to disclose it… but you chose not to. (http://www.business2.com.au/2008/06/20/realestatecomau-email-enquiry-delivery-problems/). I guess you chose then to hide and fight a battle another day. πŸ™‚

    Now, I have never rated a post on the number of comments. To do that would have written off great posts by all the contributors. Posts like Peter’s on TED, which is one of my favourites recently. But you had me thinking so I did some sums.

    Out of the last 20 posts as at now..

    I have done 11 for a total of 112 comments which is an average of 16

    Dave has done 5 for a total of 72 comments which is an average of 14.4

    and Peter has done 8 posts for a total of 78 comments which is an average of 9.75

    I think your measure of a good article is absolute rubbish as the above figures show and the comment count means absolutely nothing other than the subject of the post invokes discussion. If you dont like my posts I am totally fine with that, but lets make no mistake, its not over the comment count.

    As to me having a differing opinion than you or anyone on a subject, grow up. When Peter asked me to be a contributor he never mentioned that I was not allowed to post my comments in any post. In fact, I would like to think that’s one of the reason he did ask me πŸ™‚

    I reckon I know why you are jumping on the bandwagon and that is revenge for me busting open the whole realestate.com.au email stuff up and then outing you for your failure to disclose why you are a pro REA poster. I have no idea about Christine. She just made a nasty comment out of nowhere. When asked to explain she suggests that it was a subtle message that she has found my posts uninteresting. Somehow I just dont think that was the real reason behind it, but if it was, so what. I invited her to consider posting if she found her own opinion would be more interesting to the readers. She didnt take me up on the offer. I wonder why?

    What I take issue with both of you is that you are trying to make out that comments = a good post. Thats unfair on all the contributors who invest a lot of time here and those that are right now considering joining the team. If you don’t like a contributor then just dont read their stuff. Thats not really too hard is it, and you would be doing me a big favour πŸ™‚

    Time to move on I think, at least for me.

  15. adam August 7, 2008 at 11:10 am #

    I would say he gets on the offensive, not defensive.

  16. PaulD August 7, 2008 at 12:23 pm #

    I think the measure of a good post is how factual and precise the information is, and I think Glenns’s posts do not create much criticism, because they seem to me to be just that – factual and precise – which is more than I can say for a lot of other people who swoop in to make uninformed criticism, or at least criticising any business that they work for without contributing anything of any value in return.

  17. Robert Simeon August 7, 2008 at 1:09 pm #

    Well said Paul I am in total agreement with you. Those that you refer to share an identical common denominator which says it all πŸ™‚

  18. Peter Ricci August 7, 2008 at 3:37 pm #

    Glenn, it seems that my average is lowest, and gain thanks for pointing that out.

  19. Glenn Batten August 7, 2008 at 4:04 pm #

    Peter,

    As I said.. this method of ranking an article by its number of comments as described by Christine and Tom S is absolute rubbish and hardly a measure of the quality of a post and those quick stats are the proof. Fear not though.. your posts are at the top of my list and probably most people here. Dave and I are just the hangers on πŸ™‚

    Besides I am sure that neither of them meant to have a go at either of you, it was just the case that the method they chose to support their position was flawed. I am under no allusions, their target was always me πŸ™‚

    I have big shoulders though so I can take it.

    If you go back to the past 30 posts the numbers would no doubt change, go back 50 posts it would probably be radically different… don’t know, don’t care as it means nothing.

    Everybody seems to add a different perspective and hopefully most people appreciate that.

  20. Nick Buick August 11, 2008 at 3:08 am #

    Cut the crap Glen & Christine – we all know what’s really going on here: Only married people can bicker like that….

    Blogging from the office instead of working, and leaving her at home with the kids all day… tsk tsk – no wonder she’s miffed ;).

  21. SSSR August 11, 2008 at 11:04 am #

    I did wonder how Glen knew her name was Christine, when she posts anom with Chris… πŸ˜‰

  22. Glenn Batten August 11, 2008 at 11:28 am #

    As the writer of the post we are emailed all comments as they are submitted. That email provides other information such as the email and ip of the poster. I must have responded knowing her name form that combined with the fact she posted herself that she was a mother of three kids.

    I didn’t think she was trying trying to be anonymous, but if she was I apologise.

  23. chris August 11, 2008 at 9:03 pm #

    Hello Nick

    Very funny πŸ™‚ certainly made me chuckle…and then cringe!

    It’s disappointing that a little feedback for Glenn resulted in a barrage of personal comments.

    In response to a little feedback, Glenn has suggested i was responsible for homehound’s adword campaign, am “bitter and twisted”, that my personality type prevents intelligent comment, questioned my research skills, accused me of “bitching” and making “nasty” comments and rambled on endlessly to boot!

    Offensive? defensive?

    Relax Glenn, its a blog not the National Parliament!

    Good evening gentlemen

  24. Sal Espro August 12, 2008 at 5:01 pm #

    Glenn, REA’s biggest threat is the agency websites themselves – if only agents were aware of it!

    With a little programming ‘flick of the wrist’, your listings (and those of every agency website) could be found by Google.

    (This is one of my soapbox issues), try a Google search for a particular house you know exists on your website listings e.g. 20 The Zenith Nerang Qld. It doesn’t display, does it. Why not? Apart from most agents not knowing about Googlebase, their websites (and obviously yours too), aren’t optimised for search engines.

    Instead, agencies have been led by the nose by groups such as the REA owned Hubonline and Portplus who have fallen into copying REA’s Google search spamming. i.e. REA Google results don’t take users to a particular listing even if they have it as they want users to be as inefficient as possible in searching so there is more advertising displayed. So too, agency website Google searches take users to home pages etc instead of actual listings.

    If agencies simply requested their tech providers tp solve this simple task, a Google search for 20 The Zenith Nerang Qld would result in a direct ‘hit’ on your listing WITHOUT THE USER HAVING THE PAIN OF BEING FORCED TO USE TEDIOUS REA!

    The beauty long-term is your agency gains better value from the 74% of FREE real estate searches Google claims it gets compared to around 36% market share for REA (costing $650-$1100 pmth!!)

    Phew! It’s a long slog for an old timer! – Ps Try to keep your painful titchiness to yourself, if you would thanx Glenn. Some of us have been around a fair while and experienced a fair bit from which you might glean some value some time.

  25. Nick Buick August 12, 2008 at 7:39 pm #

    Perhaps we should add domain to the ‘whatever happened to…’ list. I just tried to lodge an enquiry on DomainPrestige.com.au on 2 different properties and got the following message:

    “An Unexpected Error Has Occurred

    An error occurred on the server while attempting to service this request. The error has been recorded, and our support team will investigate the error as soon as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience caused. ”

    That’s unimaginably lame. God knows what agents are paying for this wanky advertising service, but I would be unbelievably pissed if I found that my prestige enquiries were getting bounced. For a supposedly exclusive portal its an utter joke.

  26. Glenn Batten August 13, 2008 at 6:17 pm #

    Sal Espro,

    You are right, nobody fills Google up with their individual properties, but I think you will find its not because they can’t its because webmasters don’t want them to. I have been there and done that.

    Back in the late 90’s many early adopters of the web actually had all of their properties indexed just as you suggest but that rapidly changed.

    I remember one property of ours in particular … listing 1090. For some reason that stuck on one search engine for years after the property had sold and the page had been replaced. In fact a quick check of Google Analytics shows we got traffic to that old address as late as last year, nearly 9 years after it sold. Probably a great reason why that search engine lost all of its marketshare in the days before Google!!!

    This flick of the wrist you suggest would involve changing one line in our robots.txt file and Google would index every property. 30 seconds work. In fact because there would be no other websites promoting “20 The Zenith, Nerang” you would not even need decent SEO. There is nobody to compete with. But that would bring about more problems than whats its worth which is why I believe nobody actually does it en masse. I reckon that Google and the others would have built into their algorithim to ignore such pages in bulk like that anyway.

    Surely you have to agree that if such a tactic would work, somebody somewhere in one of the portals, or major real estate groups with all their investment on SEO would have figured this out about now.

    What is done by plenty of agents including us is a specific website on a indiviudal property as part of a dedicated marketing strategy.

    Properties are listed, change price, go under contract, fall over and settle a lot faster than Google updates their index. Prospective purchasers would not be happy if Google’s index only showed properties after they had gone under contract, withdrawn or settled.

    I agree with you that REA factor has to be reduced, and more will be coming out about that very subject in coming days and weeks…

    You may be on this earth longer than I. You may have been in this industry longer than I. I cant argue about any of that but as far as the Internet and the web goes, I think we are all pretty even as far as length of tenure and I reckon we can all learn from each other. Because somebody disagrees with your opinion, does not mean that they are wrong, in fact it does not mean either of you are right.

  27. SSSR August 13, 2008 at 9:47 pm #

    You can set up a website to have dynamic keyword assignment. Each respective listing’s keywords would show in search results when someone entered in those particular keywords. The dynamic assignment would search and omit frequently occurring keywords in each listing (house, car, bedroom) focusing in on the keywords specific to the listing description (Zenith, Gold Coast Esplanade etc). This is no different to how wordpress operates with blogs. The dynamic assignment of keywords from the content drives out links all over Google. The algorithm that Google uses is no different to the keyword assignment strategy, its primary aim is to remove duplication for best results. True however is the challenge to have rapidly changing content, like portal content on REA, indexed and relevant. By the time a particular listing is indexed it could already be under-contract or withdrawn. No doubt the amount of properties upload and removed from the site on an hourly basis would be staggering. The URL redirects for indexed pages would be a nightmare and messy, not to mention have an impact on the users perspective on the site they found via Google if it didnt deliver what they had hoped.

  28. Glenn Batten August 13, 2008 at 11:41 pm #

    SSSR

    With regards to your dynamic keyword assignment stuff in your last post, are you referring dynamically creating meta keywords on the fly for dynamic property pages?? Because I have not found Google paying any attention to meta keywords for quite some time although it still works fine for some other search engines. That seems to be the consensus with the more popular SEO sites as well. Title, description, header tags, body content with keyword saturation, images, alt descriptions, outgoing and incoming links and link text seem to be king with Google.

    Something as simple has h1, h2 and h3 tags have been forgotten by virtually all templated sites with the major real estate groups and is why REA and domain eat most templated sites alive in search engine placement. And one of the biggest groups has 8 h1 tags on one page, but no h2 or h3 or other heading tags.

    I strongly agree with Sal’s statement, that “REA

  29. Greg Vincent August 14, 2008 at 1:01 am #

    Glenn,
    ‘What is done by plenty of agents including us is a specific website on a indiviudal property as part of a dedicated marketing strategy.’

    Are you getting much response from using this strategy? I’m developing a couple of different concepts & wanted to get an idea of stats you’ve received or expect.

    As a guide, one of our Sydney agents had 127 visits (89 unique) in the past 8 days on one of their individual property websites. (Apologies, I can’t provide the URL as it would effect their vendor reporting stats.)

  30. SSSR August 14, 2008 at 9:27 am #

    Glenn, I agree with what you are saying. I have seen dynamic meta assignment work, but with the volume of listings that REA has, this strategy would likely be drowned out.

    Your knowledge of SEO and associated IT around design and development is impressive… you may have missed your calling in the IT field Glenn πŸ™‚

  31. Glenn Batten August 14, 2008 at 9:39 am #

    It has been a little while since we have done it because of the work involved but the results were always good. Thats why I was interested so much in your solution. In addition to search engine traffic we used the web address in signs, magazines and even on REA although they strip out html in the comments now so you could not have a clickable link.

    From memory the search engine traffic is never that high because people know the address from one of the other sources but it all adds up.

    I created one site for another First National member for a commercial site which had pdf copies of all the reports on the property etc.. That was marketed through signs, ads etc but also through direct mail to a mailing list they purchased. They were very happy with that result. I reckon plenty of people checked out the opportunity in a few clicks because it was so easy on the website to rather than phone calls and getting copies of reports the traditional way. Commercial listings are not so large in number and often last longer on the market too which means much of the issues we discussed are not as important.

    Have you got more commercial orientated templates yet? Maybe with the ability of visitors to register to get access to pdf reports on the system… that sort of stuff.

  32. Glenn Batten August 14, 2008 at 11:02 am #

    SSSR
    What too many people forget is that its the visitors that count. I know one company (outside real estate) that spent $20k on a site and got 500 visitors for the year and virtually all of them came from the address on his business card. Damn good looking site… but!!!

    An ugly site attracting visitors outperforms the flashiest site with none. I whipped up a few sites many years ago targeting real estate keywords for a group and still manage them to this day and now years on I cringe every time I see them. Butt ugly… but the people in ultimate control of them dont want to fiddle with them too much for fear of ruining about 150,000 to 200,000 visitors year after year, and how can you blame them. Imagine if you had to pay adwords for that same quantity of traffic??

    Of course the best of both worlds is a fantastic looking sticky site, with good SEO attracting lots of traffic and repeat visitors looking at lots of pageview with long session times. The holy grail! Sounds easy you reckon ??

  33. Greg Vincent August 14, 2008 at 12:01 pm #

    Glenn, You can create a library within the site. Unlimited documents can be uploaded and make them immediately accessible or password protect them.

    This is great for capturing data – when they request the password you don’t give it out over the phone – you make sure you email it to them. ( Tell them its ready for them when they are next on the computer ).

    Yes, we have a number of Commercial sites as well as the Residential sites.

    BTW Glenn, We are very close to releasing a world first – Area Monopoly strategy – I’ve done a lot of research about real estate marketing both here & over in the US.

    I believe some strategies work really well, but others are more of a gimmick strategy. Out of the ones that work really well, I’ve picked some of the best & basically injected them with steroids. I can’t wait to show you. πŸ™‚

    I’m still in the on-the-ground testing stages & so far so good. One agent generated 87 visits to the site in 3 days from a 250 DL leaflet letterbox drop & another type of leaflet generated over 120 visits in 3 days.

    Agents are already doing lots of offline stuff (signs, brochures, print media) – we are tweaking both the offline & online marketing to help agents convert more with less. πŸ™‚

    PS. Its great for the agents because the traffic is generated directly to them & by-passes the major portals.

  34. SSSR August 14, 2008 at 12:43 pm #

    “Of course the best of both worlds is a fantastic looking sticky site, with good SEO attracting lots of traffic and repeat visitors looking at lots of pageview with long session times. The holy grail! Sounds easy you reckon ??”

    Easy if you have $$$!!! πŸ˜‰ That said, the repeat visitor + lots of page views + long session times are only a reality for sites where the content is good and appeals to a wide audience. You can get a designer to build you a really nice looking site, then an SEO professional to optimise the hell out of it, but if the content is crap, all that money spent on design and SEO doesent matter a bit. By the sounds of it, the functional sites you have built have good content, the user is overlooking the design to get the content.

    I have often found that simple is best. Some people think that bells and whistle sites full of flash are what the user wants, but time and time again Google proves that functional can be appealing.

  35. Glenn Batten August 14, 2008 at 1:01 pm #

    SSSR

    “By the sounds of it, the functional sites you have built have good content, the user is overlooking the design to get the content.”

    Actually no… it has bad design as discussed, but also very little content.. but let me explain… Their job is only to substitute for websites that have average or poor SEO… to collect search engine traffic and to send it to the right agent websites that have the content. What you raise is still totally valid though, and the visitors will not stick around on those sites if they don’t have the content, it is just outside the scope of these sites.

  36. totally August 19, 2008 at 3:19 pm #

    ahhh…Google.. here we go again. “google (one of the worlds largest media companies) will save us from the bad guys”

    Never been able to get my head arounf the irony of that.

  37. Sal Espro August 19, 2008 at 5:59 pm #

    ‘Google-Jammers’ should be black-listed!
    I don’t think it’s a matter of Google saving us from the bad guys. I think it’s just that they might be a conduit to a better solution.

    I still think that if REA didn’t have a content agreement with Google, (do they still?), they would/should be black-listed for ‘Google-jamming’ (a new term you can use if you give me some copyright in your credits πŸ™‚ i.e. The REa Google results for 20 Atacama Way, Nerang, Qld, don’t provide results for a anything like 20 Atacama Way, Nerang, Qld! They are ‘jamming’ the highest search results and pissing everyone off – buyers, vendors and agents alike!
    Ps Glenn, agents websites can only gain additional power through aggregation and Google Realestate isn’t the solution. I think we have to try as many options as possible hoping for one to magically ‘stick’ it to the ‘bad guys’ πŸ™‚

  38. Bruce August 20, 2008 at 2:21 pm #

    Hello Glenn,

    RE: “This flick of the wrist you suggest would involve changing one line in our robots.txt file and Google would index every property. 30 seconds work. ”

    What is the code we should insruct our tech people to use please?

    We would like our online listings to have this functionality, despite the challenges you see with it. We would like to use any system if it means all of our properties can be seen by Google at no additional cost! (Especially as we head into ‘uncertain’ times in the market).

    Thankyou in anticipation.

    Bruce

  39. Glenn Batten August 20, 2008 at 4:42 pm #

    Bruce,

    I said how it would work for our site.. but I can’t ensure it will work on everyone’s site. I know how our site is structured etc etc but I have no idea about your site.

    Getting everyone of your properties in Google’s index can be far more complicated but let me explain. I will give you some links to read that will give you the finer details.

    You can block or allow Google or any other search engine from accessing any page or directory on your site through the Robots Exclusion Standard http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robots.txt

    You have not provided your website so I can only talk generally as though you had a site typical to most real estate agents in Australia.

    Most real estate sites by default allow Google to index their properties as yours probably does already. What happens is that Google chooses not to index them for a number of reasons but the main one is because search engines dont like dynamic pages which most companies providing websites to agents use.

    There are ways around it and that includes rewriting any dynamic url to be a static url using things called a url rewriting engine built into many webservers.

    The problem is stuff like this does not make web companies money because it s not something you as a website owner can see and therefore that most of them can appreciate.

    Read more about static url’s versus dyanmic urls here
    http://www.webconfs.com/dynamic-urls-vs-static-urls-article-3.php

    Assuming you have a site that uses dynamic url’s as you will see when you read that article, Google thinks most of your properties are the same page which is why you are not indexed, not because you are being blocked.

    If you change your site to either use static url’s or to use dynamic url’s that are search engine friendly then your properties MAY get indexed….

    That is still up to Google and there are plenty of more criteria you need to follow far beyond a quick comment here..

    Best you read Google’s own guidelines http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35769 as there is probably a good chance that you will need to change quite a few things to get your SEO working properly.

    Using a sitemap (see point 3 under “your site is ready” section) will ensure that they can at least find every one of your pages.

    Even if you follow everything so far and have a perfect site it does not mean you will get your properties indexed.. As I mentioned earlier Google probably does all it can to filter out these sort of listings. Could you imagine if every item on any classified site was indexed individually… property, cars, ebay auctions, etc etc

    LJ Hooker try to get individual properties listed such as including things like http://www.ljhooker.com.au/3N2FDT in their sitemap file but I dont think you will be able to find that in the Google index.

    Have a look at their sitemap file at http://www.ljhooker.com.au/sitemap.xml

    Sorry.. but the 30 seconds work is ontop of a whole lot of other work… You cant just recreate the 30 seconds πŸ™‚

    If you want to get serious about your SEO… maybe speak to the guys at http://www.devnet.com.au .. They are Google Enterprise partners who have a specialist real estate division… The best place to start if you have not already is getting some sort of Analytics program to see what your site is doing right now but they can tell you all that… alternatively you are in for a bit of reading learning it all yourself… πŸ™‚

  40. Glenn Batten August 20, 2008 at 5:17 pm #

    Sal,

    What REA do is far from unique as most of the portals and many of the real estate groups do the same thing. The differences are that REA do it better.

    Beating REA begins with an appreciation of how much SEO can bring an agency both in additional enquiries from buyers and listers, and a perception of prestige by the public being higher than Google. That may sound funny but we have got listings because people said everytime we search for property in the area you guys come up.

    I was thinking for a future article of shortlisting 10 or 15 individual agents who have outstanding traffic going to their websites and hitting them all with some questions…

    If agents better understood what an increased web presence can do to their traffic which in turn can help their bottom line it might make a difference. No principal is going to spend a few thousand dollars on SEO if he does not even know what it means and how it could benefit them.

    The easiest way is content… content is key… Create more content for your site.

    Just one example out of many is the words “making an offer on a house”. We get over 15 visits per day every day (some as high as 35) on this keyword because we have a page on how to make an offer on a house. That is more than many real estate offices get to their whole site from all sources. The good news is that out of all of those visitors well over 40% of them went on to view more stuff on our site including property for sale. In fact the average pageviews for this keyword was still 5+ pages which is high considering that 50+% only viewed the single page and left.

    Our content has got that big in some cases we are actually pulling whole sections out and putting them under their own domain name which in turn drives traffic back to the main site…

    Some of the examples are http://www.nerangproperty.com and http://www.nerangcommunity.com

    Sal, this is IMHO how we as agents claw back the market reach for real estate on the web. Better SEO on more content pages. Things like suburb directories, guides, property statistics etc etc. Google ranks on authority value… if your site is perceived to be an authority on a subject, you rank better.

    But things may not be going all REA’s way with news about to break soon that should put a smile on a few dials.

  41. Robert Simeon August 20, 2008 at 5:54 pm #

    “But things may not be going all REA

  42. Glenn Batten August 20, 2008 at 6:14 pm #

    I heard you headhunted him and he was coming to work for you πŸ™‚

  43. Dave Beck August 21, 2008 at 8:48 pm #

    The real estate industry really does make me laugh.

    Without doubt your industry has benefited much more than most since the general public has embraced the Internet, but when it comes to investing in the vehicle that is essentially your new shopfront you are mostly a bunch of tight arses!

    I just can’t believe that you all sit back and pay hundreds of dollars per month to a large portal, essentially paying them to take a stronger stranglehold and then not be prepared to adequately invest in your own Web site and its follow-up marketing.

    Getting your listings in and out of Google is easy if you invest in quality software, backed up by a company that knows what they’re doing (there are plenty of them around). I’m also wondering what’s the big deal about having expired or under contract listings still in the search index? With a little bit of forward thinking and you could explain that the listing is no longer available but here are some alternative properties that you may be interested in, or low and behold subscribe to our property alert newsletter to be first to know of new properties.

    Perhaps if you do want listings to be removed from Google you might want to add this particular Meta tag:

  44. Glenn Batten August 22, 2008 at 10:39 am #

    “I

  45. Dave Beck August 24, 2008 at 10:32 pm #

    When it comes to software I don’t think you can go past Peter’s solution of integrating Agentlog with WordPress. It pretty much ticks all boxes, enabling an agent to control their listings and at the same time easily provide great content for the search engines.

    I had a feeling that the tight arse comment might get a reaction from somebody πŸ™‚ It was a little bit tongue in cheek however it does become somewhat frustrating when have seen the long-term benefits obtained from investing in your own Web site only to have business owners (not just real estate agents) not proceed due to pricing.

    Glenn you are very much a rarity as a business owner with a good grasp on the optimisation process.

  46. Glenn Batten August 25, 2008 at 1:32 pm #

    Peter has some pretty exciting stuff to come out soon as well which should help agents wanting to get serious about SEO even more.

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