Realtor Template Sites Penalized

THE LEADERS POST - Issue #71 - October 21, 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 at

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


- Don't Let Your Domain Name Go "Poof"!
- Is Your Template Site Penalized For Spam?
- Beware Advertising Services And Directories Tracking Hits
- Four New Participants In The Program
- New Forum Moderators At
- Available Web Sites With Pre-Existing Search Engine Positions
- Major Search Engine Changes You Need To Know About
- 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.

If you have invested a great deal of time and money developing and
promoting your presence on the web you need to ensure that you will
not wake up one morning and find that your investment has gone "poof!"

And that is exactly what can happen if you do things that search
engines consider spam. That domain you have worked so hard in
promoting as is an integral part of your branding may end up being
permanently penalized - never to be found again for keyword searches
in the major search engines!

At that point the only thing you can do is trash the domain, throw
away your investment, and start over again. The important thing is to
never let the situation happen in the first place. You have control
over that. However, most agents are not aware that they are courting
disaster. If you read on you will be one of the lucky ones who has
the information needed to make informed decisions on whether to spam
and chance permanent purgatory for what may be a short term gain.

Some spam techniques will result in penalties that are not permanent
and are lifted several months after the spam is removed. Penalties
for other techniques have proven to be permanent and that is what
this article deals with today.

One of the major reasons domains are sent to the permanent "sin bin"
is because of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques that
attempt to fool search engines using links and text that are
invisible to web site viewers but readable by search engines.

If you are using web positioning services that produce dozens of
doorway pages (they may call them something different - like
"attraction pages") and place these pages within your domain you had
better sit up and take note!

These pages usually target specific keywords and phrases and place
well in search engines and usually seemlessly redirect to the main
page of your web site. That in itself is considered spam but there
are other techniques used with these systems that pose even greater

The main page of your web site and all of these hidden doorway pages
are often interlinked with the sites of other clients of the web
positioning services using hidden links and this technique is the one
that actually can cause you to have good search positions for a while
but leads to instant "domain death" once discovered or reported by

Search engines hate hidden links to other web sites more than
anything so if you are using SEO services inquire as to whether they
have placed any unseen links to other web sites within your domain.
You may save yourself a lot of future grief!


Agents who do not use SEO services are not immune from spam
penalties either.

Do you have a template site and can't seem to get decent search
positions no matter what you do? Many popular template site providers
use similar spam techniques(or have used in the past and the
penalties still apply) that may not lead to your domain being
permanently penalized but cause all clients of the web page provider
to have their web sites' search engine rankings suppressed.

You may want to ask your provider whether they use any hidden pages
or links - although the "support" person you talk with may have no
idea that these techniques are actually being used.


Another "service" you may want to avoid is advertising services that
produce doorway pages for the purpose of tracking hits they generate
to your web site. These pages can supplant your real entry page to
your web site in search engines and cause you to pay the advertising
service for hits you would have otherwise received for free. They are
seen as duplicate sites and once listed by search engines your real
site is dropped.

Agents are usually not aware such a system is being used to track
hits. The providers will swear up and down that they are doing
nothing that can cause you problems - whether they are ignorant or
deceptive is unclear.

Some directories track hits on links to your site as well and this
also can cause problems for you.

To be safe, it is probably prudent to avoid any directory or
advertising service that counts clicks on a link to your web site or
purports to count hits to your web site.


The EPowered Professionals Real Estate 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.


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!

This And That

WANTED! Realtors wanted to participate in our program and take over
web sites with existing top 10 search positions - start receiving
leads without having to wait the 3 or 4 months a new web site usually
takes to rank in major search engines!

Areas available with pre-existing search engine positions are:
Albuquerque, NM
Durham Region, ON (Dominates the search engines!)
El Paso, TX (Dominates the search engines!)
Kansas City, MO
Kelowna, BC
Kitchener / Waterloo, ON
Lincoln, NE
San Jose, CA

All web sites will be customized for you and your business! For more
information visit

Search Engine News

Things have really changed over the summer! There has been a flurry
of acquisitions which resulted in some well known names like
AltaVista, Fast (AllTheWeb), Overture, and Inktomi all now being
owned by Yahoo!

The changes are still underway but the end result will see a
lessening in the importance of Google. Right now, Google is
unchallenged as THE major search engine. Google currently supplies
the search results to Yahoo, AOL Search,, and Netscape so if
you have trouble ranking in Google you are really hurting.

With Yahoo's acquisitions they will be dumping Google and using
results from Inktomi instead. They have been testing this
occasionally already at

Yahoo is still a large part of the reason for Google's success so
the fact that there will now be more competition is great news for
webmasters and the searching public and bad news for Google.

Currently, the biggest competition to Google is MSN Search and they
are planning on getting even better. MSN Search gets their primary
results from Inktomi. Right now for many keyword searches on MSN
Search, the results at the top - after the few Overture results- are
"web directory" results which come from Looksmart - and those cost
you a fee every time someone clicks on them.

MSN Search has announced that in the interest of relevancy they are
dumping the relationship with Looksmart in January. This is great
news for most of us that rank well in Inktomi but did not want to pay
Looksmart and therefore ended up ranking on page 2 or 3 of search
results. The bulk of those Looksmart listings are made up of lead
generation companies trying to scoop leads and sell them to Realtors
so I am sure no one is shedding a tear for them! In January, suddenly
there will be a big boost in MSN's relevancy and the ranking of many
Realtor's web sites will jump dramatically.

MSN Search has long range plans on eventually dumping Inktomi and
introducing their own system - they do not want to be putting money
into rival Yahoo's pockets.

This will only increase MSN Search's popularity which gives us 3
major search engines, Yahoo, MSN Search, and Google - each of which
will deliver a lot of traffic. Hooray!

Tip Of The Day

Ducharm's Axiom: If you view your problem closely enough you will
recognize yourself as part of the problem. - Unknown

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