It is possible for company’ confidential information to become available on Google if that computer is accessible from the Internet. In fact, it happens all the time. Go and type in “internal memo filetype:doc” into Google and you will see a bunch of things people don’t normally want in the public domain.
I have noticed recently that I have been seeing “Inactive” in Domain.com.au entries when doing searches over the past few months. When you click on a few of them and its clear that this represents a closed account.
Whilst these accounts have no property in the directory anymore, nor are they in the agents directory on the portal the pages are still active and therefore are still indexed by Google and continue to appear in the search engine.
In light of my last article relating to agents dropping subscription portals in the UK at a rate of 1900 in just 8 months for the leading portal rightmove.co.uk I decided to investigate a little further last night.
Using google search I can filter the google results to show only certain pages at the website domain domain.com.au that have the words “inactive” and “domain.com.au” in the title and the word “AgentProfile.aspx in the url which ensures the search only returns the actual agent profile pages.
This should ensure that I only get individual agent profiles for agents that are now marked as inactive on the domain system
This returns 3370 individual agent profiles.
The actual url is quite long so I have used the tinyurl.com service and you can do the search yourself by clicking on here: http://tinyurl.com/domaininactive
I am not suggesting that all of these agents have left domain in the past few months, or even a year. Maybe it is for a few years, or it could even represent how many agents have left them since they first started but no matter the time period, that is a lot of lost customers in anyone’s language. In these figures will be a certain amount of natural attrition on their client base as offices close down but you have to wonder how many of these left them because of performance issues.
I cant think of any reason this information should be in the public domain and it is just poor housekeeping by Domain IT staff. If you were an REA salesperson and a new agent was considering one of the two portals this list would help sway them your way quickly.
There are a number of ways Domain can have these pages moved from the index very quickly but to date nobody seems to have bothered. I reckon someone might get on the job pretty quickly now.
Domain really frustrate me because it often seems that they are happy to be second best at a time that the industry would love to see them put pressure on right around Australia.
Realestate.com.au attracts over 30% of their visitors from just one search engine… GOOGLE. If you factor in the other search engines, particularly Yahoo and Live you could probably expect 35 to 45% of their visitors arrive through the search engines.
The vast majority of these visitors would arrive through organic results simply because they appear higher in the rankings. Search any “<<insert suburb>> real estate” combination in Google and REA will nearly always show up higher than domain. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen it the other way but I am sure it does somewhere.
Domain’s SEO needs work. Honestly it should not be that hard and they just need to get off their backsides and do something about it if they want to reverse the SERP positions.
Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind and hopefully someone at Domain sees this as a wakeup call and after fixing these inactive entries they start taking their search engine optimisation seriously. With Google on the scene and a better optimised Domain in fight it could get interesting.