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Separate Websites Or Not?


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7 replies to this topic

#1 KSA

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 05:54 PM

Hi,

 

I've got a question about a real estate website and I'm really looking forward to some opinions on the issue.  The agent works in a city, let's say Anywhere Idaho.  She specializes in various neighborhoods.  I'd like to keep everything on one website.  But, she wants to have different domain names for different advertising efforts.  So, for example, she wants to be able to post a call to action to:

 

XYZNeighborhood.com

 

Not   AnywhereIdahoRealEstate.com/XYZNeighborhoodHomes

 

If I do a 301 redirect of these "satellite" domains to internal landing pages on the main AnywhereIdahoRealEstate.com website, will that get me into SEO trouble?  If there were 5-10 neighborhood landing pages, I'd have 5-10 domains redirected to various internal pages.  Would the engines see this as an attempt to spam, or as going against any other "rule" I'm not thinking of?

 

Would the page called AnywhereIdahoRealEstate.com/XYZNeighborhoodHomes have as much of a chance to rank with the satellite domain redirected to it as without?

 

Can anyone think of a reason why it would be better to create 5-10 separate websites, each with just one domain directed to the home page?

 

I'd be really excited to get any information about this issue!

 

Thanks,

Kathleen


Edited by KSA, 11 January 2013 - 05:56 PM.


#2 qwerty

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 06:16 PM

From an SEO perspective, I don't think the client has anything to gain by promoting separate sites. I think she'd be better off promoting the one site and branding it rather than associating domains with neighborhoods. For what it's worth, redirecting the neighborhood domains is a better idea than actually creating separate sites on those domains, but I still don't think it's a good idea.

 

Now, I'm certainly no expert in real estate, and even if I were, maybe your client's market is somehow different, but I don't think I'd be interested in checking out a site that, based on the way it's promoted, is just about a particular neighborhood. If I want to buy a place in Anywhere, ID, I'm going to look for a realtor who sells properties in Anywhere, ID, even if I have a particular neighborhood in mind, I'd want to see what's available in other parts of town. So it would probably please me, upon being redirected, to find out that I've ended up on a site where I can look at properties all over town, but if I had a choice between a site about the whole town and another that was just about a particular neighborhood, I'd click through to the town-wide site, so I'd never find out that the neighborhood site redirected.

 

I go to zillow a few times a month, just to see what's out there (I hope to buy a new place in another year or two), and I start on a particular neighborhood in a particular city, but I invariably end up looking at various neighborhoods in three different cities that border each other. Even if I was pretty certain I wanted to look at properties in the Porter Square neighborhood of Cambridge, I wouldn't go to a site that would (as far as I could tell based on how it was promoted) ONLY show me properties there.



#3 KSA

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 11:38 PM

Thanks for the response, qwerty.   Just to be sure I understand, when you said "redirecting the neighborhood domains is a better idea than actually creating separate sites on those domains"

 

Does that mean that you think that

  1. redirecting the domains to interior pages won't be penalized by the engines, and
  2. the pages on the consolidated site that have domains pointed at them will still be able to rank?

Thanks again.



#4 Alan Perkins

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 07:17 AM

> If I do a 301 redirect of these "satellite" domains to internal landing pages on the main AnywhereIdahoRealEstate.com website, will that get me into SEO trouble?

 

No

 

> If there were 5-10 neighborhood landing pages, I'd have 5-10 domains redirected to various internal pages.  Would the engines see this as an attempt to spam, or as going against any other "rule" I'm not thinking of?

 

No.

 

> Would the page called AnywhereIdahoRealEstate.com/XYZNeighborhoodHomes have as much of a chance to rank with the satellite domain redirected to it as without?

 

Yes

 

> Can anyone think of a reason why it would be better to create 5-10 separate websites, each with just one domain directed to the home page?

 

No - that is NOT the way to do it.


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#5 qwerty

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 08:41 AM

What I'm saying is that you don't have to worry about penalties, but you still shouldn't do it. I don't think it's a worthwhile strategy.



#6 Jill

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:32 PM

But, she wants to have different domain names for different advertising efforts.

 

Qwerty, it's not any sort of SEO strategy, but she's using the domains in ads. 



#7 qwerty

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 01:59 PM

Yes, I get that, and like I said, she knows more about her market and her business than I possibly could, but in my opinion, it's not good branding. I think she'd be better served by ads that talk about particular neighborhoods, but don't imply that the site is about just that neighborhood. And I get that, because of the redirects, people who request those specific sites will actually find themselves on a site that covers the whole city, but they won't know that unless and until they request the site, and I think that may make users less likely to request those sites. It would certainly have that effect on me.

 

Think of it this way: someone feels like shopping for some music, and the first thing that comes to mind is John Coltrane. They do a search, and one of the results is a domain called buycoltranealbums.com. Some people might think to themselves, "Wow, I've found a site that specializes in Coltrane and nothing but Coltrane. Cool." My reaction would be more like, "OK, but if I think of some other artist while I'm browsing, I guess I'd have to run another search, since this site only sells Coltrane. I think I'll pass." Maybe this Coltrane site is going to redirect me to one that sells everything, but I'll probably never find out, because I'm not going to click through from the ad.


Edited by qwerty, 12 January 2013 - 02:00 PM.


#8 KSA

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 03:36 PM

Allen - Thanks!  That is a very clear response to my question and I appreciate it.  An SEO "expert" was trying to sell this person on creating different websites, and I think he just wanted the work  :-)

 

Jill - you're absolutely right.  It was a question as to whether the marketing goal was going to hurt the SEO goal.

 

Qwerty - I appreciate your input.  And, you're absolutely right.  When people are first looking for homes, they would want a general site.  That's why there's the AnywhereIdahoRealEstate.com website.

 

However, as people get farther into their research, they often narrow down their search.  We want to catch the folks searching for XYZ Neighborhood Homes on pages that are specific to that neighborhood.

 

And, in an ad, we don't want to position the agent as a generalist.  People looking in XYZ want to know they're working with someone who knows all the ins and outs of that specific community.  They want a local expert.  Therefore, the strategy of using the neighborhood URL in advertising.

 

While the neighborhood terms get much less traffic, the visitors from that type of a search are much more likely to be ready to talk to a profiessional and buy something because they've already decided where they want to live.

 

The advantage of doing both things on one site is that if a visitor comes for XYZ, then changes their mind, they know they can find other things on that site, too.

 

Thus ends online real estate marketing 101.  Hope that makes sense now!

 

Thanks again for everyone's help!!

 

Kathleen


Edited by KSA, 12 January 2013 - 03:40 PM.





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