If you work with one of the larger broker affiliates you've seen their Internet website offerings. Their canned and packaged in most cases, like it or not. There are a number of problems with such a system with regards to the Internet Search engines as well as Internet visitors.
Buying into the system
Internet visitors seeking to view homes online make their choice about a real estate web site in about 1 minute. If that site's interface (how intuitive it is) works with their method of searching or their thinking about how searching should be done, you win their business. The packaged systems are all the same. If they miss the mark they miss business for ever realtor on the system. Change in these systems is not quick and lively, it's a slow laborious process of specifications approval and approval of all those currently using the system as their web site (so buy-in).
Locking you in
In many cases we have found that Realtor's and Brokers are scared into using the affiliate systems with statements like, "you're going to become a software company" or "It's much to difficult and involved you cannot possible undertake it, look at our efforts and how much we spend to deliver our product to you". These are just a few we've heard. Please understand, it is true it costs money and it can be involved, but the cost is not outrageous next to the benefit and the complexity is half the fun as a new way of searching hits your market. In every market we are in there are winners (Internet somebodies) we researched before we spent even $1000.00 on the project. We need to know who they are represented by and how successful they are. We look at their unique search tools offered to form and understanding about the amount of thought given or contributed (by the broker or realtor) to the effort. To our trained eye most of this obvious within 30 minutes but we take our time as understanding competition is understanding victory.
Why Google hates your site!
It's funny but so many Realtor's and Brokers never ask this question. There is a free search engine listing world out there. So, if your site is developed properly you will be listed in Google, MSN, Yahoo! and others because you represent a unique resource that people using these search engines find valuable. A packaged or templated web site with a similar look and feel to any one other site on the Internet within the same market is considered duplicate content no matter what they tell you. This means that search engines often times regard your site as an attempt to copy and deliver again the same information. This is duplication of content and could be viewed as a violation of trust by a search engine.
What does a search engine like?
The Internet search engine, by nature, will seek what is novel and special to deliver as a result to a user based on relevance logic by extremely talented software engineers and mathematicians. The search engine logic attempts to deliver sites it feels are most relevant to users making queries. Could you imagine the results if templated pages were all considered with the same weighted value as sites that were original in their design? Now think about this, image an original design with all the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on board. Imagine if that design was developed by a company with over 9 years experience. The message sent by most every SEO related site you visit is "be yourself, create and develop your specialized content and keep doing it". The Internet and it's indexes (search engines) feed on and promote those sites that deliver something new and different.
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