Cardinal Path’s response to COVID-19 Cardinal Path is sharing all we know to help marketers during COVID-19.  Learn more.

Did your real estate site used to rank top 20 in Google and now it ranks 120 or worse?

The client

  • 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"

The Problem

  • 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
  • De-optimizing
  • 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.


State of Digital Marketing Analytics

The 2020 State of Digital Marketing Analytics examines the marketing technology that supports the world's most successful enterprises and highlights the challenges and strategies for navigating the new normal..