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    Questions on feasibility and structure for multiple markets/locations in Real Estate


    First questions is by far the most important as it could render the remaining questions unnecessary:

    1. Is it a fool's errand for an individual real estate agent, like myself, to worry about SEO when competing against giants in the industry? In other words, do I have any chance at a long lasting stay on page 1 when Zillow, Trulia, Yahoo and Realtor.com exist not to mention the national companies like Coldwell Banker, CENTURY 21, Redfin, Remax, etc?

    Background
    I work in Northern Illinois about an hour west of Chicago with the largest market I work in being Rockford but I live in the DeKalb/Sycamore area. I have identified these three markets (Rockford, DeKalb, Sycamore) as my main service areas.

    I work in both residential real estate and commercial real estate. I am concentrating more on the commercial end because I do not think it is out of line to think that residential agents will cease to exist in the next 10-20 years due to the giants listed above.

    Anyways, in my opinion, this leaves me with 6 distinct markets DeKalb residential, DeKalb Commercial, Sycamore residential, Sycamore commercial and so on. Most people that want to buy a house do not also want to buy a commercial building and those looking in Rockford are probably not interested DeKalb/Sycamore.

    My current site structure is one domain, marksouthwood.com, that tries to attract keywords in relation to the three cities. I have identified homes for sale, Realtor, sell your home, property for sale, space for lease and (commercial/residential) real estate as the most commonly used. I am working on optimizing my pages for these but have a lingering fear that I am structuring this the wrong way.

    When checking these keywords the other day, I ran into an issue when I searched "sycamore il homes for sale" and my page (finally) showed up on google but it was displaying a landing page I created for sycamore commercial properties. This is likely due to the potentially conflicting keywords in my site title "Mark Southwood Realtor - Homes and properties for sale"

    On to the questions!
    2. Would I be better off splitting off into multiple websites one for residential and one for commercial?
    3. Is the best case scenario a site for each distinct market? ie rockford homes for sale, rockford properties for sale, sycamore....etc
    4. If I were to break up into multiple sites, is it ever permissible to duplicate content? For instance the same text about one of the cities, on multiple sites.

    I already have a number of domains that would work for this and have all of my listings database driven, so it wouldn't take terribly long to do. I have the time now that the market is slowing down for the holidays/cold weather. Thanks in advance for any help with this.
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    Hey Mark,

    I don’t think you need to split the site off into multiple domains. You can optimize landing pages for the specific quires you are looking to target, creating unique content to go along with those targeted keywords.

    Is it a fool’s errand to create an individual real estate site given page one is filled with Zillow, Trulia and Realtor?

    No, I don’t believe it is lost cause to create a localized realtor site for an area that you are looking to focus on. Your brand is your name so your additional focus would be to associate your local agency to that name. The bigger companies cover the entire US and you are looking to target a specific area, so the main focus here would be to make sure you are doing just that by focusing on your local market, brand and optimizing not only the website, but the local listings and directories across the plains.

    I see some confusion as to whether you are an independent agency or you work as a real estate broker under Coldwell banker. A quick check for your name reveals some conflicting information. This can create confusion and competition across the local plains when users search and when Google associates a name with an agency. This is where I can see a struggle as information is crossed. It is almost like you are a double agent

    For example, when searching your name the Coldwell Banker site returns with missing information.
    https://www.coldwellbanker.com/agent...OUTHWOOD-60178

    Additionally you are listed on cbhonig-bell which would create competition against your website.
    Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell - Mark Southwood, 1957 DeKalb, Sycamore, IL - Sycamore Real Estate Agent
    About Mark Southwood

    Were you looking to start your own individual realtor agency or still continue under Coldwell?
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    Don't think of your online marketing efforts as just being Google page 1. Flip the logic and start with "where will my clients be looking for my services". Very often the answer to this is not Google search. They might use:

    - Online directories such as YP, Yelp (evil but there you go), etc.
    - Google/Bing Local
    - Review sites

    So having a professional website is important even if it will never show on Google Page One.

    Next ask "Should I be trying to get the market to come to me or should I go to the market?". The answer is probably the latter so set up your feeds to the major listings services.

    Finally optimise your pages (why not) with each page focusing on one to two keywords. So for example when I go to your page about Residential real Estate there are no locations in the page title, the h1 tag or within the page text. Why are your homes a slide show and not a list by the way? In a list the locations would then be clearly text within the content of the page.

    Don't start breaking your website up into smaller sites. It will create two issues:
    1) clients may have less confidence in you because they think you are smaller than you are
    2) if you link the sites together Google may think you are attempting a black hat link wheel
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    Thanks for the responses and sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Glad to hear I do not need to spend the holiday season creating multiple sites.


    Originally Posted by Jason.T
    Were you looking to start your own individual realtor agency or still continue under Coldwell?

    I work for Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell (no looking to change) which is a franchise of Coldwell Banker. Because of this I get a profile on both of their sites where I can edit certain content. I followed the link to the ColdwellBanker.com and not sure what info is missing.


    To complicate matters further, I also get a "website" within CBHB's (Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell's) site. They changed the way they handled agent websites to have all agents sites on their domain so as to not be competing over traffic. I felt this was not in my best interest (correct me if I am wrong) and stayed with my standalone site instead of forwarding the domain like most other agents did who are not tech savvy. This site is Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell - Real Estate, which redirects to Coldwell Banker Honig-Bell - Real Estate with a cookie saved to show my contact info for a certain number of days if they return.


    I do use the above site for one important feature, property search. IDX or MLS driven data is something that is high on my to-do list but can be quite expensive depending on how I go about it. For now I use my site with CBHB to allow for visitors to get a full property search, which is pretty good thanks to my company. It covers both the Rockford and Chicagoland MLS systems, I am a member of both, but the separate systems make this even more fun...

    Originally Posted by Doodled
    Finally optimise your pages (why not) with each page focusing on one to two keywords. So for example when I go to your page about Residential real Estate there are no locations in the page title, the h1 tag or within the page text. Why are your homes a slide show and not a list by the way? In a list the locations would then be clearly text within the content of the page.

    Don't start breaking your website up into smaller sites. It will create two issues:
    1) clients may have less confidence in you because they think you are smaller than you are
    2) if you link the sites together Google may think you are attempting a black hat link wheel.
    Thanks for all of the ideas, especially the list instead of slider....makes much more sense. I also use single websites to market individual listings, for instance www.122harrison.com. I make these simple sites and put the domain name on the sign (hoping to catch those driving by). These sites are linked to my main site and after the property is sold or expired I forward the url to my main site. Do I need to worry about this, thought it would help but #2 above has me worried now.
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    1) No, don't worry about the major sites like Trulia. You can compete on a local level by doing a better job in your niche. Like indie hotels competing vs a hilton .com etc.
    2) No, use a single site. Otherwise you need to market multiple sites, and expend more effort and money. Regarding individual houses' domains, that's no issue. The content for each site will not be duplicated from the one to the other, since the homes are different. Different pics, flooring, maintenance quality etc. What you can do is create that content on your main site, and just have 122harrison .com etc redirect to the relevant page on your site (maybe to marksouthwood. com/122harrison.html?utm_source=localdomain&utm_conten t=122harrison .com . This isn't blackhat and you don't need to worry.
    3 & 4 - again, don't split the sites up.

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    • Doodled agrees
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    Originally Posted by GabrielG
    1)What you can do is create that content on your main site, and just have 122harrison .com etc redirect to the relevant page on your site (maybe to marksouthwood. com/122harrison.html?utm_source=localdomain&utm_conten t=122harrison .com . This isn't blackhat and you don't need to worry.
    I'll '+1' that!

    Comments on this post

    • GabrielG agrees : Thanks bud!

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