Real Estate Site Guide

Fixing Real Estate Sites, One Mess at a Time

Site Review-Template Based Site Run Amok

with 2 comments

To select the first site for review I Googled the “keyword” term [redlands real estate] , and in case you’re wondering it’s geek protocol to add the [] brackets around the query I put into Google. On page 10, at result #94 I saw this site by Betsy Sochor who is a Southern California Realtor working under the Lois Lauer brokerage.

Neat! An Online Generic Business Card!

When you first open the site you’re greeted with a flash slideshow of really fancy homes, and her picture and contact information filling up 5/6 of the page. Now I do have a bias here, because I have been to Redlands, and there are no buildings that have that type of appearance, so it stands to reason that these are just the generic home photos that came stock with the website template. She lost an opportunity here to tie into her community by utilizing local photos of iconic buildings or at least the same type of homes I might find in that community. However, I do give her credit for actually using a decent photograph of herself and choosing a template that put her contact information front and center.

Auto Generated Content is not interesting

If you do actually realize that there is more than just this page dominating slideshow and scroll down, you will most likely just keep scrolling to the bottom, see the massively bloated footer list of site links, then come back to the the top. This is because the text used on the page is obviously auto-generated based off a set of “keyword areas”. Lets see if we can spot what those are…

…With expertise in real estate for both purchasing and listing properties in Loma Linda, Redlands, East Highland, Yucaipa, Grand Terrace, Colton and surrounding areas, you have found the resource for all of your real estate needs. Whether you are looking for a new home or land, or you are in the preliminary stages of a real estate search, you have found the best in professional service. Through this real estate web site, you have the ability to search virtually every home for sale in Loma Linda, Redlands, East Highland, Yucaipa, Grand Terrace and Colton and surrounding areas…

We can obviously see the laundry list of communities littered in each paragraph, and while we can appreciate the illustration of the areas she services…laundry listing them again and again is not a successful tactic. It simply shows that you plugged your areas into a single field that then generated the text all over the site.

Obvious Error Code

The moment you scroll down you see an error on the page,

<marquee>Specializing in the Loma Linda area and the San Bernardino County real estate market,</marquee>

The site obviously intended for that text to glide across the screen in late 1990’s geocities glory for us, but they forgot to place the code in the source of the page, instead pasting it as text into the page content.

Much Ado About the About Page

The About Page…This is where you present your personal history, successes and positively promote yourself *without bragging*….Unfortunately, this page has not been touched, and it really shows in how the autogenerated content reads on the page, it’s truly cringe worthy.

I am a member of the National Association of Realtors and act according to a specific code of Loma Linda, Redlands, East Highland, Yucaipa, Grand Terrace, Colton Realtor ethics which guarantees the optimum level of service…

I think to continue would just be beating a dead horse. I don’t blame the site provider, but I blame the site owner for not taking ownership of her site and actually adding anything unique or useful to the site. To turn things around she should: rewrite the content on the homepage, about page and any other page that creates more than a paragraph of generic text. Next she should use actual photos of her community, and include them in her text to make it more interesting. This will start her down a path that will take her site from being ranked #94, and actually be useful to it’s visitors!

This Chain is Missing a Link…

This section is a critique of her online presence, or lack of one. Hyperlinks on other websites play a valuable role in determining the online value and relevance of a page. The anchor text of a link gives the search engines a clue to the page’s relevance. Let’s look at how her site is seen by Google and Yahoo…

Taking a look at the Google site operator, which is adding links: to your query, will display a small sample of links to a site, and her site shows that her name is mentioned in a pdf document, but there are no recognized actual links to her website. According to the Yahoo Site Explorer she has just 1 recognized inbound link in Yahoo, and that one is from her broker’s site, on her profile page. Along with a couple of dozen other agents in her office.

With this minimal amount of links into her site, it shows very low relevance, importance and trust so it is not likely to start ranking on it’s own, even if she does start adding new content and photos she needs to tell the search engines that other sites see her as relevant. The best way to start is to get added to basic directories like yellowpages.com, superpages.com, yelp.com, etc.

Summary

This site is the classic example of a real estate agent being sold a website over the phone, and then just footing a monthly bill while “somebody else” takes care of it. Unless you’re paying a couple of hundred dollars a month you’re not going to get the full service you need to leave it totally in other hands…even then you’re losing the opportunity for your own creativity to be presented through your online presence. Take an interest in your site…freshen up default content, add area specific content and put your self out there on directories to get at least minimal recognition.

1 site review down… many many to go!

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Written by realestatesiteguide

June 11, 2009 at 5:50 am

2 Responses

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  1. I subscribed to your blog via RSS the other day after reading your Real Estate Agent Look Alike post.

    This morning I caught this post and thought I’d read it. Was pleasantly surprised to see such detail and positive criticism you provided for this persons website.

    One thing I noticed myself while following a long is that at first I couldn’t find Betsy’s link to return to home. I found it after scrolling to the bottom and then back to the top but only after about 10 or so seconds. Not easily found for someone that visits her about page or other pages.

    Keep up the posts; how often are you planning on contributing?

    John

    June 11, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    • Thanks John for the appreciation-

      Betsy’s weird template has a home button next to her picture..it’s disorienting because there’s the layers of navigation tied into her top heavy template.

      My goal is to post a lookalike, review or post 2 times a week, but to I want to keep up my tempo right now and get out a post a day (crosses fingers).

      I will also be opening up to guest posts, so if anyone’s interested just twitter me. @resiteguide

      realestatesiteguide

      June 11, 2009 at 3:14 pm


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