Did your real estate site used to rank top 20 in Google and now it ranks 120 or worse?
- Numerous sites on the same server (shared IP)
- All the sites are built in template fashion
- All the sites have unique content and domain names
- All the sites are real estate lead generation
- All the sites had participated in reciprocal link building
Where they used to rank
- 4-6 months after launch the sites ranked top 20 for their most competitive term "city real estate"
- Around the end of April 2007, all their sites disappeared from the top 20 and re-appeared in the hundreds (usually 110-150)
- Many of the sites lost pages to the supplemental index
At SMX in Seattle I heard both Matt Cutts (Google) and Tim Mayer (Yahoo) openly discussed real estate websites and over optimization techniques (reciprocal linking). Both said they were taking a more proactive look at this industry and we're bothered by excessive linking.
Solutions we tested – using individual sites we tried a number of tests to see what would work
- Deep linking
- Using the robots.txt to block similar pages or folders
- New design
- Breaking the site out of the template
- New hosting
- Buying a unique IP for the site
- New titles and descriptions
- New file structure
- Removing all link pages
- Cleaning the link pages (limiting the number of links)
- Deleting the link pages all together
- Changing the nature of the links (locally based)
- Removing duplicate links
The winning strategy
- Change the nature of your links
- Put links into the content
- Make your links locally based
- Remove excessive linking from your reciprocal pages
- Remove duplicate links
- Offer links to reputable local businesses and top competitors
- Place links to your site on local boards – links with value
- Tweak your copy to make sure it is locally based
- Make sure that your site is properly themed to your city
Note: don't panic, your problems can be fixed, it may take some time, but your site still has value. Change the way you optimize, take a much more local approach.
The results 60-90 days later – the sites started to reappear in the top 1-20 of Google again.