Most Realtor Link Exchanges Are No Benefit

THE LEADERS POST - Issue #70 - April 29, 2003

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

You may pass this newsletter on to others, as long as it is
sent in it's entirety.


- UPDATED! - Most Link Trades Are Of No Benefit. Here Is How To Tell If It
Is Worth It!
- New Inclusion Criteria At
- New Web Site In Seattle WA
- New Forum Moderators At
- Find And Eliminate The Spyware On Your Computer
- Tired Of Email Spam? Here Is A Free Solution!
- Hate Popups? Get Rid Of Them with Netscape 7.0
- Tip Of The Day

Net Success

It has been a while between newsletters and as a result this issue
is full of great information and ideas for you.

The first item that needs addressing is the idea of reciprocal
links. How many of you think that the emails requesting reciprocal
links has gotten out of hand? The word has been spreading that
reciprocal links boost your search engine positions and as a result
agents are inundated with requests for links - compounded by the fact
that many of these requests are generated automatically by link
building programs.

If you have been ignoring most of these requests I have good news
for you - you do not have to feel guilty. Did you know that the vast
majority of these "reciprocal" link requests are a big waste of time
for all involved and that by agreeing to a link trade you may be
benefiting other agent and getting absolutely nothing in return?

Link exchanges are done primarily to boost rankings in Google - the
900 pound gorilla of search engines. If the page on which your link
will reside is not listed in Google's database you are receiving no
benefit from that link.

The majority of agents today have template web sites and the links
pages on such sites are generally not listed in Google or if they are
the links are written with a scripting language that can't be followed
by search engine spiders - which means any link they place to your site
is of absolutely no value to you.

If you have a non-template web site a link from you to them however
does have great value to them because your links page usually IS
listed in Google and on top of that has good Page Rank which is
passed on to their web sites and raises their search engine positions.

From my experience it is pointless to trade links with any agent
with a template web site - the exception being a very small
percentage of sites where the links page actually is part of the
domain and not hosted off-site, actually is included in Google, and
the links themselves are actually written using scripting that can be followed
by search engine spiders. The vast majority of Links pages on template
sites do not meet this criteria and in my experience those that have met
the criteria in the past eventually are changed by the template providers
so that they do not meet the criteria.

By filling up your links page with agents who are really not
reciprocating the value of your links is diminished for those agents
who truly are reciprocating and are creating value for you.
Ultimately you are also diminishing the value of your own web site.
Aside from that, your time is wasted and the time of all agents on
the internet is wasted because the myth that exchanging links works
is being perpetuated.

Exchanging links does work - but not when you are exchanging them
with the vast majority of template web sites. And unfortunately that
encompasses the majority of agents with web sites. You would be doing
everybody a favor by refusing all link exchanges unless the agents'
actual links page is included in Google's index.

You can check if an agent's links page is listed in Google by
placing your mouse over the links page, right-clicking, and choosing
"Properties" from the resulting menu. This brings up a box with the
actual page url. Now that you know the page's real url, first check
and make sure it is from the same domain as the site you think you
are exchanging links with - it may be from an off-site links management
program. If that is the case you are definitely wasting your time
exchanging links.

If it is not from an off-site links management program copy the actual
page name, go to Google and
type in the search box "" where
"" is the page name of the site you are checking out.

This command will show whether Google has cached a copy of the page
which it does for all pages included in it's index. If there is no cached copy,
do not bother exchanging links with them - it is a waste of time.
*UPDATED INFO* As of mid December 2004 Google's cache: command often does
not work. It will show no cached page even though there actually is a cached page
and even though the page is actually indexed. So, I recommend also pasting the
actual url into Google's search box without using the cache: command and searching
for the page.

One other thing to check is the actual links themselves on the links page where
your link would reside. When you place your mouse over one of the links to a
Realtor listed on the page, you will see the actual url the link points at in the
status bar of the browser window. The status bar is the bottom of the window.

Look at this url - it should be written in standard html. If the url has any
non-text characters in it like question marks '?' or equal signs '=' then the links
are written using scripting that can't be followed to the web site. There is no
benefit from such a link. Again, do not bother exchanging links as it is a waste of time.
*UPDATED INFO* Google will list pages with session IDs (? or = in the url) in its
index but will not follow any of the links contained on the page. It does this to
prevent its spider from getting confused and trapped. So, even if you see one of
these pages is listed in Google - there is no benefit to having your link on the page.

*NEW DEVELOPMENT* A new link attribute is now being almost universally accepted
whereby if - 'rel="nofollow" - is included in the link code search engine spiders will
not follow the link which renders the link of no value in a link trade. It may be wise
to actually view the source code of pages that would contain your link (or pages that
already do) to ensure that the webmaster is not trading links that are worthless.

Other search engines also use link popularity and if the links page
does not meet the above criteria and can't be found in Google then it
likely isn't in other search engines either.


A couple of weeks ago an email was sent to all agents listed in the
Real Estate Directory
advising them that the inclusion criteria had changed and now a
reciprocal link was required if one desired to remain in the
directory. If an email "bounced back" the agent was removed from the
index and the process of removing agents that do not meet the new
criteria has now begun. This is greatly increasing the value of a
directory listing for those who are meeting the new criteria!

This directory places very highly in most major search engines for
real estate agent related keywords and will send prospects to your
web site. In addition, the directory has excellent Page Rank in
Google and because of that significantly enhances your own web site's
link popularity and your own search engine rankings.

If you would like to be included (FREE!) instructions for inclusion
can be found at


What works for you? Your suggestions and submissions are gratefully
accepted, and if used you will receive credit along with a link to
your web site or (e mail address if you don't have a web site yet).
Send submissions to

Of course, that link to your web site will also help your search
engine positions because this newsletter is archived on the web at and will contribute to your link
popularity and raise your Page Rank!


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 2700 other members and
sharing your insights is great FREE advertising!

Welcome to Susan Vanderburgh and Beth Kimber, two new moderators at
the forums who are doing an excellent job. There are still
moderators needed for some forums - if you are interested send an
email to

This And That

Do you know that your computer may be infected with Spyware -
programs that deliver target pop-up ads and other forms of
advertising to you? These programs self-install without your
knowledge and arrive on your computer through infected emails, web
sites, and also "piggy back" with legitimate downloads.

A good free program to rid your computer of Spyware and guard
against future infections is called "SpyBot Search and Destroy

I have used both this program and a competing program called Ad-
aware and find that SpyBot catches more Spyware.


If you are tired of those annoying popup windows that make an
appearance when you enter and leave some web sites you owe it to
yourself to get the Netscape 7.0 browser which kills all of those
popups for you so you will never see them! It is available for free

By the way, if you are using popups on your web site take a hint
from the "big boys". Most search engines and other high traffic sites
have stopped using them because they found what we all suspected -
everyone hates them and can't wait to leave a site and never return
to a site that uses them!

Tip Of The Day

To get something done, a committee should consist of no more than
three men, two of them absent. - Unknown

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