June 11, 2009
A couple of years ago Google devaluated (and in some instances penalized for) reciprocal link exchanges by Real Estate sites and God Bless them for doing so. If we are all going to be honest the whole idea of exchanging a link with a REALTOR in another city or state was nothing less than a blatant attempt to manipulate the SERPs. And it worked for years.
I personally spent endless hours soliciting reciprocal link exchanges and then constantly auditing them to make sure the site owner was living up to their part of the exchange. This time could have and should have been used to update existing content and writing new content for my website. In other words adhering to the Google Webmaster Guidelines…. Da! So when the word came down from on high that the link scam was over and everyone had to take down their spammy 50 page “State Directories” while others were wringing their hands I was celebrating and quickly went back to writing fresh content.
I still have serious heart burn with real estate sites that have reciprocal link exchanges on their Home Pages. I’ve read all the excuses in the forums and on blog posts that these are “Referral Partners” and they share clients. I guess we are also supposed to believe in the Easter Bunny too. While Matt Cutts and Google are aware of the practice and it is a clear violation of their Webmaster Guidelines they have yet to act on this link scam. My guess is that eventually they will and I urge all beginning real estate webmasters to avoid this practice.
There are other ways to get quality back links and adhere to the Webmaster Guidelines. Good, relevant, fresh content is the best way. We you write articles that are authoritative and have useful information website owners will link to the article without even being asked. This gives you a premium one-way link.
Another favorite is Blog Comments on blogs that use the DoFollow tag. Like anything else, spammers hit the blogs hard using comments to perpetuate their spam and most blog software is NoFollow by default. You now must use a DoFollow plugin or hard code your blog to follow external links. Personally I feel the DoFollow movement is the right approach to encourage visitors to contribute to your blog by posting comments that are relevant to the post and contribute to the conversation. I personally use the DoFollow plugin on all of my blogs. I do however moderate my comments and will use the “Delete” button in a heart beat on any and all spammers.
By using the DoFollow tag I have increased visitor participation on my blogs and have made some new acquaintances. Without comments from my visitors my blogs seem to be a one sided conversation and while I may not agree with all of my comment poster’s opinions I do like the fresh perspectives they add. So for me Comments are a win-win scenario.
There are a lot of DoFollow Blog lists out there. If using any of them I strongly suggest you verify that the blogs you posts to truly do use the DoFollow plugin. What I would like to do here is create a list of DoFollow Blogs that are specifically related to “Real Estate”. If you have a DoFollow Real Estate Blog please post it in our comments and it will be added to the list. This will give REALTORS the opportunity to communicate with likeminded individuals in an industry that we are all involved with.
It creates fresh content for your website and gives your readers different points of view.
This list will be monitored and audited on a regular basis. If the DoFollow plugin is removed or if the blog is found to perpetuate spam you link will be removed. All Blogs must comply with the Google Webmaster Guidelines at all times.
Caution: For website owners that are considering using the DoFollow Plugin I strongly urge you to moderate ALL of your comments. I also suggest you only accept quality comments that contribute to the conversation.
About the author: SEOWolf
K.M “Mack” McMillan comes from a family of REALTORS® and was a Broker himself for 14+ years. Mack built one of the 1st real estate websites in 1994 which helped his family run Agency become the most successful Brokerage in south central Missouri. As the original founder of the UltimateIDX in 2000, Mack continues to serve the real estate community and maintains an advisory role in UltimateIDX.
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