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The Importance of Your Real Estate Blog

4 minute read

Your agency’s blog or news section plays a significant part in any effective online marketing strategy. If your agency website doesn’t include one then you’ll find it hard to compete with your competitors who actively use one.

In summary the key benefits of including a blog or news section in your website are:

Fresh Content: Most real estate websites include pages with static or dynamic content. Static content are those pages where information is not regularly updated and would include about us, team profiles, how to sell etc. Dynamic content pages are those where the page content is continually updated like the property page or a blog page. By including a blog and publishing an article once a quarter, month or week adds more dynamic content to your website. This is great way to show users you’re keeping your website up-to-date with fresh content. More importantly though, search engines look for fresh content when they’re crawling your site and this will push up your search engine ranking.

Extra Website Pages: When you create a post/news article using a blogging Content Management System (CMS) the title of the blog creates a page in your website (eg. look in the browser url for this page). You then can add tags to the post which are key words used throughout your article. All of these keywords create more pages in your blog and some of the content from the post/news article will be added to the pages created. So for the article you’re reading now you can see the pages created in the blog (or added to) below:

What’s so important about creating pages? All pages are added to the sitemap and sent to search engines. The more pages you have indexed with search engines the higher the possibility key words entered by users are picked up in your pages, resulting in your site appearing higher in natural search results.

Database Building Tool: If your blog includes useful information which users enjoy reading then they will subscribe to the blog. When a user subscribes that is one more user automatically added to your database. When you publish an article/post through your blog an email alert will be sent to subscribed users. They will click through to your website to view the article and hopefully they leave a reply or look at your current listings or service you offer.

Generate Back-links: Back links from highly ranked 3rd party websites are one of the key determinants search engines use to calculate your page rank. It is often said that “content is king”. If you have relevant, useful and informative content throughout your website then users will link back to your site from their own website or from other blogs they comment in. B2 is a perfect example of this. Due to the great discussions across a range of interesting topics many users place links on 3rd party websites back to pages with relevant content on B2. Many 3rd party websites also link back to B2 as a source for online real estate technology news.

Build Rapport – Many agents spend countless hours in the local community building their brand and promoting their name. You can now do this online through social networks and your blog. Through your blog you can target potential vendors by discussing topics which relate to them. It could be to do with the latest sales data in your area, remodelling a home, preparing it for sale, or non real estate topics which relate well with the demographics of vendors/buyers in your community. Just because you’re a real estate company doesn’t mean your blog must only contain real estate topics.

Automatic Updates with Social Networks – One of the biggest issues of social networking is finding the time to manage all of your social accounts. By having a blog and through the wonders of RSS, posting content on your social networks is now a lot easier. All articles/posts which appear in your blog can also automatically appear in your social networking accounts.

These are the major reasons I recommend to clients why they should include a blog. I plan to follow this post up with a real example of a website which was built without a blog (and still currently exists) and how it now has integrated a WordPress blog which drives more and more traffic to the original website.

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53 Comments

  • Kylie Emans
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 9:03 am 0Likes

    Great blog Ryan, we love blogging at Beach & Bay Realty, sometimes we get really busy and don’t do it which is bad, I am actually in the office now fine tuning a blog for tomorrow. We thought no one was reading our blogs when we started doing this on our independent site in Jan 2008 but then our website guru told us that there was a lot more traffic to our site and in particle the blog. It seems like a lot of people read our blog but don’t comment. We don’t mind now if people are shy as long as our blogs interesting to them.

  • Simon Baker
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 3:35 pm 0Likes

    Ryan – good article.

    Classified Ad Ventures has recently launched a business called SoBox (Social Media in a Box) for agents. The objective is to provide agents with a professional presence in the social media world, to ensure that they keep that presence up to date, and where possible, to generate leads from that presence.

    The offering is straight forward:

    We set up a blog, as well as facebook, myspace, linkedin and twitter accounts for the agent. We ensure that there is consistent professional branding across the blog and each account. In addition, we link them all together so that any article / comment that is posted is replicated (where possbile) across the group. The underlying objective is to draw the user to the agent’s blog – the one thing that he/she fully controls.

    We also provide a daily content feed of high quality relevant articles that keep the social media sites up to date.

    Finally, we provide a weekly newsletter of tips and techniques for the agent to get the most from their social media presence.

    If anyone is interested, send me an email at sbaker@classifiedadventures.com

    Simon Baker
    CEO
    Classified Ad Ventures

  • Mike Andrew
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 8:08 pm 0Likes

    Hi Ryan,

    Very timely article now that Google factors in news articles and updates from blogs within its local search results. Real estate agents have left this very imortant part of online marketing out of their marketing mix for way to long. My company specialises in the design and set up of wordpress blog templates for real estate offices and we’ve been doing this now for over 2 years.

    If any agents out there would like to have a fully integrated web 2.0 web site and blog template set up, fully optimised for search engines email me at info@mikeandrewconsulting.com.

    Again great article

    Mike Andrew

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted May 9, 2010 at 11:46 pm 0Likes

    Ok guys, we have a couple of rules on business2 and one is that you do not blatantly market your products or services through comments. If you have a product or service we may look at it and see if it newsworthy, however I want to continue to keep this site clean from this sort of stuff.

    One only has to look at the many sites out there to see it gets out of control very quickly and provides little benefit to the readers.

    I will let this one ride 🙂

    Hope you are all well and thanks for coming to business2.com.au

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 12:16 am 0Likes

    Great post Ryan, it is all a matter of how far agents can take their online platforms given the results are exceptional for those that pursue this craft.

    One does not need to be a rocket scientist to work out the inherent values to what SEO and intelligent content brings to a business. If I stopped now and took twelve months off our competitors could still not beat us or even match us for that matter. The decision rests with the business which explains why so many struggle to understand the most basic concepts of online positioning and growth.

    Over time many many businesses will become extinct.

  • Rachael Lord
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 3:51 am 0Likes

    Great post Ryan. And despite this I bet a number of agencies will still put it in the “too hard” box. Blogging does take time and effort but its well worth it.

    Glenn Batten introduced our agency to hubspot grader months ago in one of his SEO articles and we have found that our blog has significantly helped in improving our grade.

  • Nick
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 9:36 am 0Likes

    I’d actually argue that ‘Extra Website Pages’ is a bad thing.
    Especially those tag pages, they dont actually offer any new or original content.
    Lots of pages is good, but *only* if they have new material.

    Its a pity the vast majority of agents dont have the time or inclination to blog.
    However it isnt essential to be a real estate agent to blog – Its mainly for those who want a active online presence.
    It can be a difference for someone choosing a agent though.

  • Dubai Blog
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 10:52 am 0Likes

    Well i would only humbly suggest that the different that you describe between static and dynamic pages is not what it is! The main different is that in static pages only the website owner can write the content but can’t interact with the users of the website. On the other hand a site where website has a provision for its visitors to post what they want and get interaction with the web master or owner is a dynamic won. Thanks 🙂

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 11:24 am 0Likes

    Kylie, (if privacy permits) make sure you have added your contacts from your database to your blog database. You need to have a plugin installed which will send out automatic alerts when you post an article (if your’e using WordPress there is a plugin called Subscribe2 you can install). This will drive regular traffic to your site.

    Simon and Mike, interesting services you offer and I can see how some agents would opt in for this. For most agents though, given open-source CMS like WordPress setting up a blog is very easy and something you can learn online in a quick 30 minute tutorial. Glenn explains how here http://www.business2.com.au/2010/01/video-tutorial-how-to-create-a-free-real-estate-blog-in-25-minutes/.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 11:46 am 0Likes

    Nick has picked up on an important point.

    If you are going to include tag pages in your pages sent to or allow search engines to crawl then I suggest that you set those pages only to show an extract of each article. If a tag is showing three articles and on the page each article is only showing an extract it is probably good enough to appear unique and it links back to each article.

    WordPress also allows you to show the full content of each article on the tag pages but as Nick mentions this is generally frowned upon by SEO experts because the page is basically a duplicate of your main article and duplicates are generally a bad thing.

    I would probably recommend in the early days that you dont include tag and category pages in your sitemap files but as you get more articles so that each page would have numerous extracts then it would probably be worthwhile.

    If you use wordpress.com you dont have the same control as a self hosted wordpress.org account so there is no need to be to worried about it because that is handled automatically.

  • Nick
    Posted May 10, 2010 at 10:13 pm 0Likes

    I’d just throw Disallow: /tag into the robots.txt.
    That way search engines wont be distracted at all, yet they can still see all your content.

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 7:52 am 0Likes

    You raise a reasonable point but I don’t believe it plays a part in decreasing your SEO. It is more of a “You could get blacklisted” thereat if you duplicate content.

  • Wayno
    Posted May 11, 2010 at 12:50 pm 0Likes

    I am glad I read this article, looked at Kylie & Rachael’s site. I realise now that your blog should open on the same page in your web site not a new one, I take this as meaning an extra page?. Just starting and trying to figure it out, so would that mean the same as in reverse? from your blog site to your web site in the same window?

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted May 12, 2010 at 12:03 am 0Likes

    Wayno,

    That is correct here is an example how we run our blog within our website.

    http://www.rwm.com.au/2010/05/egos-or-economy-with-other-people%E2%80%99s-money-at-play/

  • Tatiana Mijalica
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 3:28 am 0Likes

    Some of the Barry Plant Group have been blogging since DEC.

    4-5 days a week they rank above REA in their respective suburbs. In some areas, REA pay for a sponsored link to get above them (as per below)

    I have copied the links as today they are ranking above REA again.
    It seems to also depend on the days that the XML feeds – MON and TUE are usually big XML days for REA so it is a bit hard to rank above REA on those days.

    Google search today:

    Search Term – Real Estate Agent Rowville:
    http://www.google.com.au/#hl=en&source=hp&q=real+estate+agent+rowville&aq=f&aqi=g1&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&fp=c77c7f855d7a5a7b

    Search Term – Real Estate Rowville
    http://www.google.com.au/#hl=en&source=hp&q=real+estate+rowville&aq=f&aqi=g3g-m2&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&fp=c77c7f855d7a5a7b

    Blogging rocks!:)

  • Tatiana Mijalica
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 3:29 am 0Likes

    FYI – this is the new format Barry Plant blog:

    http://www.rowville.blog.barryplant.com.au

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 1:15 pm 0Likes

    Tatiana, they look impressive but I’m surprised that they rank so well with all that duplicated content.

    It was good to see that their Anzac Day message wasn’t just a feed (or was it?). I can see a place for feeds but overall I feel that real estate agent blogs will get much better results & build a better online reputation if they have more original content.

    Do any of the Barry Plant network intend to write any blog posts or are they just going to be uploading duplicated content 3 or 4 times a day all the time? If so, it could be very damaging to their reputation in the long run and could be considered as a form of Splogging.

    Tatiana, I’m not 100% sure, but I can’t see that Google will be too kind to the amount of duplicated content that is currently being uploaded onto the Barry Plant blogs. Be very careful with using this duplicated content strategy, it could do more damage than good.

  • Jason Schultz
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 2:24 pm 0Likes

    Hi Tatiana,

    I’m not going to preclaim that I understand the real estate game at all but I certainly understand SEO and Internet Marketing.. Google HATES duplicate content, sure the sites will be ranking well now but it’ll take google 3 – 6 months to see the duplicate content then slap the site and it’ll then be delisted and sandboxed (if your not sure what that means, simply the sites will NEVER rank again).

    Just my personal and professional opinion. I look forward to taking your clients on as my clients to help show them how to really rank.

    Jason

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 10:23 pm 0Likes

    Jason,

    I agree that Google hates duplicate content but to suggest that a site will get delisted and sandboxed is just scare tactics similar of our own Neil Jenman

    Please provide me one definitive link from Google or specifically quoting a Google employee to suggest that will happen. They do provide warnings for other seo strategies such as link farms so if the duplicate content would cause such an effect Google would be open about it either as official policy or by throught there staff.

    The whole issue of Duplicate content being penalised is debated often and Matt Cutts from google has publicly said that duplicate content gives you nothing to differentiate yourself from everyone else, but he does not say you get penalised as such by it. He is the authority at Google on this.

    If everybody has the same content you just have more competition and unless you have the best onpage seo combined with a strong website pr rating you may not win the race. If you insist that everybody else uses noindex then they are just not in the race and you win by default.

    The perfect example of this is the news articles that are released that are then scraped and syndicated by hundreds and thousands of other websites. Those duplicated sites are still around and have not been delisted. In fact every article on this blog is duplicated by at least two other websites yet they still show up in the search engines. Its just that they dont rank as high as Business2 because of a ton of other criteria such as traffic, on page and off page seo.

    The problem in rolling out duplicate content to a large number of websites such as real estate agents is that only one is going to rank well for it and the others will not get much search engine traffic out of it at all. Some sites will not even have the duplicate content indexed at all but it wont delist their site.

    On our agency blog we do the occasional head office press release. Those pages do not generate much search engine traffic but we certainly have not been delisted.

    According to just about every SEO reference I have ever read sandboxing is for new domains not existing ones that have been penalised. Can you share a reference or authority site on this please.

    All in all its not good practice but as Greg highlights it will not help them much at all from an SEO perspective but the sky will not fall in.

  • Tatiana Mijalica
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 11:02 pm 0Likes

    Morning!:)

    – Usually it is only one story per day however the new blog format only went live so I transfered some of the stories previously run onto it in one go (hence more stories on it with the same date). No fear of Splogging:)

    – Content: some from local news sources, some written by Corporate for the group, some written by the individual office, office videos, images and how to tips authentic to the BP Group, some from The Age, news also from local council sources, monthly market update videos – some from BP some from REIV, local shops and their specials, profiling of local services, local sporting events and stars – the list goes on.

    – In my experience, every real estate office has plenty of authentic content (but doesn’t view it as content, so mindsets need to be changed about this)

    – So far consumer feedback on the blogs has been fantastic (in the comments section) with many commenting they read the blog to catch up on local area news

    – There is no RSS feed coming into this blog, apart from the properties on the right nav bar

    Hope this helps 🙂

  • Nick
    Posted May 13, 2010 at 11:59 pm 0Likes

    Tatiana it may help slightly for your suburb searches but only because you plug it in the url and titles of the pages. The articles have nothing to do with your local area.

    The fact that I cannot find any mention of the blog on barryplant.com.au highlights that – you wouldnt want your clients to see your Google trap.

    You will find that posting articles that you write yourself, about your local area will help you far more than just posting random articles on a hidden page.
    Also then you’d actually be proud of the blog and feature it on your front page as well.

  • Tatiana Mijalica
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 12:30 am 0Likes

    Hi Nick,

    What a funny comment – Google trap?

    Please note that each office runs its own blog and website and it is far from hidden. On the contrary, it is discussed and promoted at OFI’s:)

    The BP offices have their own websites within the Corporate site.
    The one mentioned above is located on Rowville website: http://www.barryplant.com.au/rowville
    You will notice that all their social media links are included on their home page.

    The blog is also integrated with their PortPlus CRM system – all emails go to PortPlus and follow up has been automated by Portplus (thank you PortPlus for making this easy!)

    Website, CRM, Social Media, Newsletters/Email Alerts are all incorporated into the same platform and work together, rather than the social media component being separate to the rest of the business.

    Next to come (Stage 2) will be BPTV (thank you Visual Domain for this one!), again broken down per office.

    Using Rowville as an example again – The Rowville office video content (agent profiles, office profile, property videos, market updates) plus How To Videos (ceated by Corporate) will appear within the Rowville website together with the blog, Facebook, Twitter links.

    It is a process and the integration takes time however judging by the preliminary results and consumer feedback – its definetly worth it:)

  • Nick
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 2:02 am 0Likes

    Sorry Tatiana, I did not see http://www.barryplant.com.au/rowville/

    The main site however doesnt mention any blogs. Its a bit tricky to navigate to the rowville mini-site.

  • Jason Schultz
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 3:34 am 0Likes

    Hi Glenn,

    I love that you play down duplicate content and no it’s not scare tactics. I know you guys know real estate but come on man, you don’t no SEO or internet marketing. if you did you would be able to do a simple google search to find the answer to your basic question..

    An exerpt from a Google answer:

    “Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results. If your site suffers from duplicate content issues, and you don’t follow the advice listed above, we do a good job of choosing a version of the content to show in our search results”

    Now if you read into that and look at the sites that she is creating it obvious to the blindest man alive that the sites are being built using duplicate content to manipulate the search results.. Duh! Open your eyes!

    And another expert from Google:

    “if our review indicated that you engaged in deceptive practices and your site has been removed from our search results”

    So don’t tell me that its scare tatics! Google explicitly tells you this!

    But it’s okay I would expect you to be able to find this information out because I know that it can be hard to search google for something like “google duplicate content” and find this out for yourself.

    If you want to read more go to: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66359

    And again I as I said before, I look forward to taking her clients and showing them how to really rank in the SERPs.

    Jason

  • Nick
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 5:37 am 0Likes

    Jason Schultz, yes its there to manipulate the search results, but I havent actually ever seen anything like that being banned completely.

    The proof is in the pudding – the blog linked is not banned at all.

    It can happen, but the tolerance level is extremely high.
    Glenn is on the money with his comment.

  • Jason Schultz
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 7:23 am 0Likes

    Nick – as I said in my first post it’s not going to get hit right away. BUT it will.

    These guys are wanting to build a lasting business and blogging with duplicate content isn’t going to do that. It’s going to build something that will work for 1 – 6 months but after that they are up sh*t creek without a paddle.

  • Tatiana Mijalica
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 7:59 am 0Likes

    Hi again, as mentioned previously:

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 8:30 am 0Likes

    Jason,

    in short… rubbish!!

    with a bit more length….

    You selectively quoted out of context from that page and even what you quoted does not support your claims. Your own quote said “we do a good job of choosing a version of the content to show in our search results

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 8:54 am 0Likes

    A website owner came to me around 18 months ago requesting two new websites. What was interesting was that both sites were identical in relation to structure/layout and content. Google had just blacklisted both of their domain names and removed them from appearing in their search results. When we rebuilt both sites, although the structure of each was exactly the same we made sure the content was different. Google then removed them from their blacklist and both sites are now active and ranking again and have been for the past 15 months.

    So it does happen, however it will only happen if it is an absolute deliberate effort to duplicate sites and content.

    I’m currently helping a large franchise put together a solution for their offices, whereby when the head office publishes a post through their blog it will filter down and appear in the blogs of all office sites. This means the same article will be on 100+ websites and the structure/layout of the sites will be the same.

    Google won’t penalise these sites for duplicate content because each office site can add their own posts which will only populate their site. Also, each office have their own listings which will populate only their website (apart from the head office site).

    Yes, there are SEO reasons for doing this but another important reason is to make sure ALL network office blogs are updated regularly with content.

  • Jason Schultz
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 10:42 am 0Likes

    Glenn,

    Why would you use a site that’s sole purpose is ranking in the SERPs using duplicate content? Google say that they will rank the original article higher. So really you always playing to become second best at the most. What the hell is the use of that? I know you may have heard when you were in school that winning isn’t everything. But come on mate we all know that if you want best results you need that number 1 spot.

    Duplicate content isnt going to get you there. YOU ARE ALWAYS GOING TO BE F**KING BEHIND SOMEONE.

    As a business more what a waste of time. Serious you are only planning to be a second rate player.

    I understand that IM is new for alot of agents but come on even my own mother knows that in business if you do something half arsed you will only get sh*t results.

    Agents need business that work for the long run, not something that is going to decease over time like these duplicate content blogs will.

    It comes down to “you get out what you put in”.. With these blogs you put nothing in, so you can’t expect to get anything out..

    Jason.

    P.S – You seem to quote Matt Cutts alot which is great.. But do you really think he tell’s the world EVERYTING behind how google works? Of course not, first the guy doesn’t know how everything works, he’s the head web spam, not localized or global search. Agents what to have localized rankings, Matt doesn’t talk about that…..

  • Tatiana Mijalica
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 10:45 am 0Likes

    Hi Ryan – thank you for this post – lots of good information has come from it.
    I am using exactly the same principle for the Barry Plant campaign.
    Great minds think alike:)
    Love WPMU – it’s the best platform ever!
    Blogging is definetly the way to go, especially when you do give control to Corporate to participate and create content.
    I am extremely lucky to be working with the Barry Plant Group on this – they are extremely proactive and are open to incorporating social media into their everyday practices and creating unique content to benefit the Group as a whole in the long run.
    From creating articles to “How To” videos, nothing is too much trouble.
    We’ve just incorporate RSS into the Barry Plant website so we can move properties and content around easily to where we need it to go, whilst pushing the traffic back to the Barry Plant website. As far as I know, they are the only Group to have this on their site at this point.
    Interesting times ahead. Paying for SEO? May just be a thing of the past:)

  • Jason Schultz
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 11:35 am 0Likes

    WPMU is one of the better platforms to use. The new version of wordpress (v3) is sounding to be better the WPMU so it will interesting to see how many continue to use MU when it comes out.

  • Craig
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 2:07 am 0Likes

    Glenn, you are right. Duplicate content will do you no favours SEO wise and may hurt you if you go overboard, but to suggest it will get you banned or PR0 penalty or some such is rubbish. The only way I think that could possibly happen is if you are blatantly stealing content from other sites or using black hat SEO practices such as showing different content to search engines than browsers.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted May 14, 2010 at 11:27 pm 0Likes

    Jason,

    You have not seen me champion duplicate content in anyway and you never will. The only part where I have disagreed with you so far is your claim that duplicate content will get you delisted and sandboxed. Thats irresponsible and sensationalising the issues. Sandboxing itself had absolutley no relevance to the discussion (and you have never raised it again) and delisting is not a penalty for duplicate content on the same domain. You also claimed that “the sites will NEVER rank again” which is also rubbish. You can apply for reinstatement after a penalty.

    Your comments IMHO was absolute rubbish and scare tactics often used by so claimed SEO “professionals” as you refer to yourself to drum up business. Your motives were very transparent ” I look forward to taking your clients on as my clients to help show them how to really rank.” and ” I look forward to taking her clients and showing them how to really rank in the SERPs”

    The reason I quoted Matt Cutts is that he is the head of Web Spam and that is what duplicate content is as you rightly know which is of course why you are not disputing what he said and can only offer things like he doesnt comment on localised searches and thats important to agents. Yes it is… but you are just trying to change the subject.

    Matt Cutts is the Google Head of the Department on the very subject. Is there somebody with any more relevance or clout on the matter we are discussing that you suggest I quote? He is the authority is he not?

    Duplicate content is bad for your seo but when its on the same domain like Barry Plant is doing then they will probably not even index the duplicate content at all and it will reduce your “crawl bank”.

    If you have duplicate content on your domain that is also on somebody elses domain that you have no control over then you will not be considered as conducting in manipulative practices. Wholesale duplicating somebody elses website would problably get you into trouble but having similar content because of templating and common news releases etc will not get you into trouble.

    Where the RARE issues occur is when you own or control multiple domains and you run duplicate content on those websites which Google then determine that you are doing this for the purpose of manipulating the search engines. If there is a valid reason why you would want to do run duplicate content across multiple domains you control then you should either use noindex or canonical tags on the links to protect yourself.

    Blatant self promotion on here is never appreciated on here but when you combine it with scare tactics like you have then expect to be challenged and if its me I will provide you with links and quote to support my challenge.

  • Nick
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 2:49 am 0Likes

    Ryan I’d be using canonical urls for your blog example.

    Jason, duplicate content will not get you higher in the search results for anything to do with the content. It does help with some other factors however.
    Overall its not worth it however – time is much better spent creating original content than ripping off other people’s content like Tatiana is doing. It helps you significantly more.
    Duplicate content is just lazy.

    I’m not a big fan of WordPress. Mind you I’m a coder so I can very precisely get *exactly* what I or the client wants. If your not a coder then WP is great, but its the little things like page load time and interesting features where custom code pulls ahead.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 3:23 am 0Likes

    Copy & Paste might make life easier on a computer but it doesn’t work well in the online world.

    If agents want to build trust online it’s far better to share your experiences & knowledge and express how you feel about things happening within the industry and your local area.

    Grab an excerpt from the article & then refer back to the source.

    You’ll get a much better response if you show what you know, rather than providing people with duplicate content that they can easily find elsewhere.

    Rather than subscribing to the source of the duplicated content, if you share your thoughts, knowledge & experience you’ll find that more people will subscribe and keep coming back to your site to read your articles, comments, etc and they will feel more connection to you and your company.

  • Mike McCarthy - CEO Barry Plant
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 5:56 am 0Likes

    Interesting conversation. The only comment I will add is that if you are looking to attract/poach new clients it might be wise to remember that those clients may read some of your comments and not view them favourably!

  • Jack
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 9:58 am 0Likes

    Wow man this is amazing ! i think this is very informative for creating real estate blogs

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 2:31 pm 0Likes

    Hi Mike and thanks for your comment. I understand your point of view (as a CEO) However I think with the right mix of moderation and freedom of expression it can be a very effective tool.

    The idea that sanitizing articles or restricting comments (worse still having no strategy) leads to any loss of business only has to be weighed against the benefits.

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 10:27 pm 0Likes

    Nick, you can build what ever features you like for a site in WP. We build plugins all the time which replica the functionality for a client’s existing site. The development is usually extremely fast because of the thousands of existing plugins available to use, modify or borrow code from. Here are 9619 free plugins http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/.

    Jason, WordPress 3 should be great. Here is an interesting article about it http://mashable.com/2010/05/10/new-features-wordpress-3/.

  • Wayno
    Posted May 15, 2010 at 11:44 pm 0Likes

    Hi Guys
    Just set up a blog on wp.com and I find I am very restricted in advertising my website, listings etc. wp.org seems to be the go BUT as glenn said you have to crawl before you walk, it seems you really need to know what your doing to set up a blog there. I am tempted to give it a go, what do you all suggest?
    Wayno

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 1:06 am 0Likes

    Wayno,

    What exactly are you trying to do?

    You cannot run third party ads on WordPress.com blogs but you should be able to pomote your own listings. The main restricitions to wordpress.com blogs is that you are limited to the plugins and themes you can use. If you have only ever seen what wordpress.com has you will be blown away by the range of plugins available to wordpress.org users.

    Just so its clear, wordpress.org is a self hosted solution. WordPress.com is a blogging service that is build on the wordpress platform. If you want to have your own wordpress installation then there are two options

    Install your own server with the software and manage the installation itself. Obviously this is not for the unskilled

    The second option is to use one of the hosting packages to host your blogs on. You can host in the US on something like GoDaddy which will let you host up to 25 blogs on one hosting account for about $7 per month. Or you can host here in Australia for substantially more. I have not found any multi hosting accounts like godaddy but one wordpress specialist host is wordpresshosting.com.au for $19 per month for one blog although WordPress 3 has multi hosting capabilities in the one install so that might open possibiliites when it becomes available.. WordPress itself is still free but you have to pay for the hosting.

    Because you are going from a wordpress (wordpress.com) to a wordpress (wordpress.org self hosting) the transition is very easy and there are tutorials already out there to follow.

    WordPress.org self hosting gives you more power, greater choice and the ability to host third party ads. Generally third party ads are not really relevant but there is certainly a push out there for agents to start charging business to advertise on their website. There is one particular case I am thinking of that absolutley staggers me with the dollars involved and just goes to prove that there is an untapped resource out there.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 1:31 am 0Likes

    Mike McCarthy,

    Who exactly were your comments directed at? It’s just not real clear. Are you referring to Jason who campaigned for your business or this blog for allowing Jason and everyone else to voice their opinions.

    If its Jason then I agree with you but I think that is already on record 🙂

    If your referring to this blog I am not sure where you are heading. I take it from Peter’s response he thought you were referring to this blog. As a group about to embark on a blogging platform you are going to receive comments to your articles that you either dont agree with or are just plain negative or wrong.

    Obviously the type of stories that are posted will depend upon the comments you receive. Have a look at the Fumble and Crumble series at Robert’s http://www.rwm.com.au. He operates in an area where it is the local “sport” to take shots at the labour governments in power and he has a massive following. If you were to run these types of articles in a more working class area you could expect much more negative feedback in the comments section.

    You will have to create a censorship policy for those blogs and decide what is in and what is not. Generally blogs are fairly open and the expression of views and opinions are encouraged. They form part of the very reason why people come back to the blog. If you only allow the “nice” comments through then it is going to be very obvious.

    If you use this blog as an example for everyone that comments there is about 500 or so readers who dont comment. I recommend when someone posts something you don’t like then respect their opinion and take the opportunity to educate them and the other readers on your position.

    As an example an article on the Launceston real estate market on the Bushby First National Blog attracted a negative comment. Rather than approving it for publication they could have just hit delete which was probably there first thought. Instead they chose to respond professionally and respectfully on the matter and provide a little education in the process.

    http://bushbyblog.com.au/2010/02/19/2010-rural-property-update-launceston-tasmania/#comments

    On this blog all opinions are encouraged. What is not is self promotion of your own business.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 1:37 am 0Likes

    Nick,

    I dont think Tatiana’s intention is to only have duplicate content on these blogs. I was of the understanding that it was a new initiative and they posted some corporate stuff to get some content up there. Nothing worse than a blog with no content at all.

    Only a small percentage of the articles on our blog are corporate releases but we do use them if we thinks it’s relevant. Obviously the mission is for each office to generate a large percentage of unique and local content and the generic corporate articles are for padding only.

    The most popular articles on our blog are all the local stuff. The generic articles get read by the readers that are already visiting the blog but they dont attract much search engine traffic because it is duplicate content and is probably on a stack of members sites.

    Funnily though we have never been delisted or sandboxed because of it 🙂

  • Jason Schultz
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 2:29 am 0Likes

    Mike,

    If I was campaign for you to employee me don’t you think I would have contacted you or your team? OR at least put my contact details in one of the comments so you or anyone else could have contacted me?

    Glenn – same as the above 😛

    The whole thing with Duplicate content is that you CAN get blacklisted or sandboxed. It may be rare BUT it can happen. Google are constantly changing how they regulate, so don’t you think that it’s possible that it become not so rare?

    The Barry Plant guys are building an online business that is one that has a great potential to fail. If these guys know what they are talking about how hard is it for them to write a 500 word article that provides the same info but written by themself.

    Duplicate content is lazy and building a business based on a strategy that has the ability to be crippled easily.

    Jason

  • Nick
    Posted May 16, 2010 at 7:38 am 0Likes

    Ryan, I agree WP is a good platform, but you can definitely do certain things better by using custom code.
    I personally use a platform I wrote from scratch based on CodeIgniter for the underlying structure. It allows me to create very fast, flexible sites with minimal code.

    Quick example: The B2 blog front page makes a lot of requests (~87 although some are for bit.ly) primarily because it is WP and can be sped up significantly in load time. You could optimise WP to get the same result, but writing it from scratch is far easier and faster.
    Thats just one example.

    Glenn I’ll echo your comments about censorship on a blog. If a blog says anything even remotely controversial, I’ve found that its essential to allow comments which disagree. Otherwise your blog becomes very dreary and one sided. The alternative is to post completely neutral content, but you wont interest as many people.
    Opinions drive blogs – all of them.

  • Mike McCarthy - CEO Barry Plant
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 3:44 am 0Likes

    Hi Peter & Glenn,

    I didn’t realise that my comments were that subtle! (although I can see the ambiguity).

    Just to clarify, my comments certainly weren’t directed at this blog or any other blog for that matter. I think blogs and twitter are a great way to get some VERY direct feedback – that’s why I have set up alerts for both that mention our company. With over 10,000 sales a year and 19,000 rental properties it provides a great opportunity to hear things that otherwise might not make it across my desk . . . and address them where appropriate. It’s also one of the reasons we are embarking on this process with our 76 Franchisees.

    I agree with your comments about not using a blog for self-promotion, or scare tactics! I simply found it interesting that Jason stated “”I look forward to taking your clients on as my clients to help show them how to really rank.

  • Ben Stockdale
    Posted May 18, 2010 at 4:50 am 0Likes

    Just thought I’d chip in.

    Visibility, recency, relationships and curation/context are all topics that come to mind.

    Visibility – Many real estate sites don’t do a great job of letting their content be indexed but these blogs are set up by default to allow full access to content. The engines can then get a greater understanding that the listings originate from them rather than the real estate portals.

    Recency – Again many real estate agents don’t make it easy for the search engines to see that there’s change happening and blogging/social platforms excel in this.

    Relationships/Community – The fact that these messages go out to the social networks and then the fans/followers gives the search engines another relevance factor that’s hard to beat. It’s hard to get followers to stay on if you don’t provide useful and relevant content. The engines can also determine relevance from the fans other activity to weed out spammers.

    Curation/Context – Although much of what’s being said isn’t new as such it’s being collected and aggregated (curated) in such a was as to find a new context as part of a local real estate blog. It should also be noted that the articles are referring to the originating source and therefore telling the search engines it’s not original.

    All up all this talk of duplicate content isn’t very helpful unless all the blogs and social activity, followers and fans are the same. Duplicate content in other contexts is a very big problem, mostly because it makes it difficult to work out what should be in search results when there is more than 1 page saying almost exactly the same thing.

  • m3 real
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 4:36 am 0Likes

    Mostly people likes to prefer investment in real estate so that they can invest their money safely and they can earn more profit. So according to me we should make blogs and articles for our property so that more people can see it and like to invest or buy it.

  • Dave
    Posted June 11, 2010 at 3:06 am 0Likes

    who does the seo for barry plants website?

  • Wayno
    Posted June 26, 2010 at 12:43 pm 0Likes

    Hi guys just got back from the UK & Europe, was checking this site all the time over there.
    Ryan when will the follow up article be posted, the one where you are going to give a real example of a website that has integrated a wordpress blog. I can’t wait as I’m guessing it will be the article that I have been looking for.

    Wayno

  • Vic
    Posted July 10, 2010 at 12:11 am 0Likes

    Ryan, Glen and Nick,

    Great post and following comments. We are starting to build our blog and the tips and comments throughout this commentary will be invaluable.
    We will now review, in the light of this post, what we are doing, what we need to do and how to go about it.

    Thanks Guys

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