Realtors Increasing Use Of Pay Per Click Advertising

THE LEADERS POST - Issue #67 - September 25, 2002

By: Doug Towes, Editor

About the Leaders Post

The Leaders Post is the newsletter for professionals committed
to Net Success - from, an online community of
professionals dedicated to providing excellent service to their
clients. If you prefer the online version, the current issue as
well as previous issues can be viewed by clicking
Internet Marketing Tips For Real Estate Agents

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sent in it's entirety.


- The Causes and Effect Of Agents Increasing Use Of Pay Per Click
- Reciprocal Links Exchange Initiative Is Back!
- Links To Your Web Site Do Help Your Search Engine Positions
- Some Search Engine Math
- New Real Estate Web Sites!
- Tip Of The Day

Net Success

We are back after a summer respite!

There have been a couple of developments in the past few months
which will impact a real estate agent's success online and
deserve our attention.

Realtors, often prompted by trainers and "gurus" or
recommendations by their peers, have been flocking in droves to
acquire web sites with online "control panels" which allow them
significant control over personally changing the content of
their web sites. These sites offer several attractions and are
usually moderately priced so it doesn't take much arm twisting
to convince agents of the benefits of such sites.

Once the site has been set up agents discover there are some
tradeoffs to having all the "gizmos" - in particular there is a
real challenge to positioning the sites in search engines. The
reason for this is that in order to offer the ability to make
changes and include features agents are being told are
desirable, the sites are actually created on the fly using
information stored in a database. Search engines' spiders
generally can't access the information on many interior pages
and the entry pages themselves are not optimized for effective
search engine placement.

In an attempt to improve the search engine positions of the
sites they offer, some providers use a technique called a "link
farm" where all of the sites are linked together with identical
pages of links that are hidden from view. In most cases, the
Realtors are not even aware that their site is using this

For all the doubters out there, links pointing to your site DO
improve your rankings which is why this technique is employed.
The problem is in the way it is being used (as a "link farm")
and when search engines discover the technique all sites
involved are penalized or cease to appear in the search engine.

Some of the best known providers of real estate agent web sites
use this technique and most of the thousands of agents using
their services those are already penalized.

So, the only way such sites can realize any traffic from search
engines is to follow another recommendation of many trainers and
"gurus" - and that is to use "pay-per-click" advertising such as
offered by, the leader and originator of this

For a couple of years now agents have been repeatedly told by
many trainers and "gurus" that search engine optimization is not
important - and the best way to drive traffic to their site is
to pay for it at Overture. This was an easy sell when hardly no
one was doing it and it cost pennies per visitor.

Now, however, in many areas the costs per visitor have been
driven up to $3.00 and higher because more and more agents are
participating. What drives up the cost is that really only the
top 3 listings in Overture generate much traffic. This is
because Overture structures deals with its partners so only the
top 2 or 3 listings are displayed (in some cases the top 5 will
appear within the results put the last couple are at the bottom
of the page).

Google also has a Pay-Per-Click program and over the summer it
has been expanded so the ads are now shown in a few other search
engines in addition to Google. My experience has been that the
costs are actually more expensive per click than Overture.

So, suddenly the costs of driving traffic to many agents' web
sites has gone sky high and there is no relief in site. Some
agents use the services of companies that provide multiple
"doorway pages" - each targeting specific keywords - to drive
traffic to their web site. Unfortunately, most search engines
are on to this game too and have now developed algorithms and
filters that render such pages virtually useless. So agents
using such services have increased their use of Pay Per Click as

So, what does all this mean? If you do not have a web site that
places top priority on being designed to place well in search
engines then you are doomed to pay a fortune for every visitor
to your site or, since only 3 sites in any market area will
receive measurable traffic from Pay Per Click, you are doomed to
receive only the traffic you can direct through your own
advertising efforts.

In my mind, the inherent value of a web site that places well
in ANY search engine for competitive keywords is becoming more
valuable as the costs of paying for each visitor rises. A web
site that is designed from the ground up to place well in most
major search engines and is continually modified to adapt to
changes made by the major search engines is especially valuable!


The House and Home Real Estate Page sites have proven
effective, are search engine friendly, and have the design and
content that real estate buyers and sellers are looking for!
Sites are continuously updated to conform to the changing
criteria required by search engines.

So why spend countless hours and thousands of dollars trying to
reinvent the wheel? Why not have the #1 real estate web site
for your market area?!

There is only one House and Home Real Estate Page produced
for each market area, so hurry before someone else beats you to
it! The attractive cost and proven results makes it winner!
Visit Real Estate Web Site Design for more


As mentioned above, having other web sites link to your web site
does improve your search engine positioning. In the Spring we
initiated the Reciprocal Links Exchange Initiative and many
participants have written me to say their positions have risen
as a result of this program.

The Initiative has been closed to new participants over the
summer but we are reopening it and will soon be distributing
links to all participants once more. If you would like to join
the Reciprocal Links Exchange Initiate you can find more
information. If
you are one of the original participants there is no need to
sign up again.

Lately there has been discussion about the effectiveness of
exchanging links and I have been amused to note that some of the
biggest naysayers are actually participating in link exchange
programs (probably without their knowledge) compliments of their
webmaster,web site provider, or the company they use for their
search engine positioning.

For keywords that are not that competitive or if you work in a
small market area exchanging links is not a necessity. It
especially makes a difference for competitive keywords but you
do need at least one quality link pointing at your web site or
Google and other search engines will not display your site at
all for any keywords.

For example, you may be in the top 10 in Google for "my city
real estate" but because your market area is relatively small
you may only be competing with 26,000 pages (as reported by
Google) - 99.9% that are unoptimized - which means that you are
only really competing against 26 other sites. It is not that
hard to compete and only a couple of good links to your web site
are necessary.

If your market area is quite large and competitive you would be
competing for "my city real estate" when there are 350,000 other
pages (as reported by Google)- and even with 99.9% of those
pages being unoptimized you would still be competing against 350
sites - not 26!

It is a little harder to be in the top 10 or 20 when there is
lots of competition and the person with the most quality links
pointing at their website will rank higher.

Happenings At

In our ongoing effort to provide more value to our House and Home
Real Estate Page clients we have just unveiled a new web site -
Real Estate For Sale. All participants in the
House and Home Real Estate Page program are being provided with
their own mini site linked from this main site at no additional
charge to compliment the existing strategies for search engine

Our research has shown that once these sites are spidered by
the major search engines they will be a terrific addition to the
program and result in more traffic and leads for participating

Have a look!

Over the summer we have also rewritten the 3 other existing
gateways to participants' main sites and expect that as the fall
progresses the benefit of this will become evident.


You can promote yourself very well by participating in the
Agents Online Real Estate Discussion Forums,
which are visited by hundreds people who are each viewing
several messages a day now looking for real estate information,
agents, and property listings! All are welcome and
participating in the discussion with over 1300 other members and
sharing your insights is great FREE advertising!

Tip Of The Day

Things don't go wrong, they simply happen. - Jacob Ghitis

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