What Google giveth…..


I’ve been busy, so I missed all the talk about the new Google Street View Maps and the uses they may have in real estate search. That, combined with Google Base, and I suppose they’re poised to make big inroads as the portal to local real estate search.

Now, all they have to do is eliminate all the competing real estate websites, like Yahoo has done, and they’ll corner the market.

All your base are belong to us….

Yahoo, which has penalized agent websites in the past year, has basically banned many if not all real estate website providers. Oh, they’ve left one good one here and there to throw you off the scent, but mostly what’s left are crappy template sites, a few 15-year old Web 1.0 sites, and bigger national pay portals that are not necessarily locally relevant.

It’s been discussed that Yahoo did this to penalize those sites that engage in link-farm spam, but it’s much larger than that. It’s company wide, in some cases, as 100’s of sites from the same website developer, have been eliminated or banned.

Says Terry Light on Search Engine Idiot:

In the smackdown against linkspam, Yahoo acted first, directly penalizing members of linkspam networks coordinated by a few choice real estate website developers. They took action in late 2004, October 2005, and April 2006. Real estate agent websites disappeared wholesale from the top tier of Yahoo Search.

Yet while Yahoo is the second largest search engine on the web, they aren’t Google. Agents who had optimized their sites well generated most of their traffic from Google. Sure, Yahoo’s penalty was annoying, but it wasn’t a major disaster.

Then, in April and May of 2007, Google acted against agent-to-agent network linkspam for the first time. Some experts estimate that between 70 to 200 top-ranked web sites from at least two real estate website developers were penalized. Others believe the number was higher.

It was an IP wide/network wide penalty by domain manually on Yahoo towards Advanced Access, now owned by Dominion.

Says Sandy Teller of SizzlingStudios:

Looks like Google has joined Yahoo in the war against real estate link farms (the Google real estate shakedown), as Yahoo blacklisted a ton of real estate web sites about a year ago including most of advancedaccess.com sites. And there’s no way to get back into Yahoo organic. I actually spoke with someone from Yahoo on Friday and he confirmed that the only way back in is Sponsored Listings (pay-per-click).

Most of us have blog rolls in the sidebar of our blogs, and many of us happily “exchange links” with other real estate bloggers. We even make “wikis” and separate pages full of local, regional information and links. Some of the link love begets itself and we get a link in return.

Will this soon be considered a “link farm” by Yahoo and Google?

Search Engine Disclaimer: “We reserve the right to screw with results and ensure that our high dollar advertisers appear in top placements in organic searches.”

Condemned to Google Hell from Forbes

Google removes credit for reciprocal link accumulation on real estate websites from Real Estate Webmasters

Hand Coding from Matt Cutts

Why does Google lie to SEO’s?

A guide to penalites

How to file a reinclusion request by Matt Cutts

Tattle on your competition: How to report paid links

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  1. Jonathan Dalton

    Well, that explains it. Clearly I’ve not spent enough time in the SEO forums.

    One day my site was near the top on Yahoo! Not a template site, incidentally – designed by a private designer, with link pages run through Links Manager.

    Next day, it’s gone. I assumed it was an issue with me bringing my blog onto my server since it all happened at the first of the year.

    Not that I’m not still pissed, but at least now I know what happened!

  2. Marlow Harris

    Yes, you may have been penalized. In Google, when you search for “Jonathan Dalton”, your site http://www.daltonsazhomes.com comes up #2. In Yahoo, I found your site buried on page 3 at #22. Your website should come up fairly high in organic search, when searching for your own name. When searching “Phoenix Real Estate For Sale”, I gave up after searching through the first 100 sites on each portal, though your blog did come up on Google.

    However, I’m sure Yahoo would be happy to SELL you higher placement for your own name.

  3. ekday

    I don’t see Google going as far as Yahoo. Lets hope Google learned something from Yahoo.

  4. Louisville Real Estate

    Great article. I agree with the other commenters that Google will most likely not take the same path as yahoo. They have had too much success taking their own direction.

  5. B.R.

    some of you have to much faith in google- diversify your marketing now if you haven’t already. Google will not only go as far as yahoo, they will step right over them and set a new bar- I believe it will be this year. They have already begun adjusting and you can see it in searches already.

  6. Marlow Harris

    I’m still receiving requests to exchange links with other real estate agents and I’m so totally done with that. I’ve removed all my reciprocal links on my website and have added no-follow tags on my other link pages and the few pages that have duplicate content. I was penalized for 30-days and totally disappeared off Google. I filed a reinclusion request and am slowly crawling back up in page rank, but I realize now that my position is not “guaranteed” and my site could disappear again at Google’s whim. I’ve read about “black hat” SEO tactics but never believed my actions could fall under that category! So it’s nothing but white hat for me from now on, and I’m working on other options to prepare for the other shoe to drop, just in case.

  7. B.R.

    I will do some recip links, however, I do not link with sites that use ads, or sites that use directories. Linking to those can make you guilty by association. Amen on keeping them honest.

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