Need Mortgage Help?
Fast Mortgage Rate Quotes

The BrokerScience Guide to Building and SEO Optimizing Single Property Listing Websites

Comments (3)
Bookmark and Share

(Disclaimer: This article discusses some concepts that require an advanced knowledge of WordPress, PHP, CSS and other web development strategies. If you are not familiar with these topics, it is unlikely we will be able to help you implement them. If you do have questions, please hit the forums to discuss.)

More and more Realtors are realizing the benefits of creating a new website for each listing they have. The goal in creating a website that is dedicated to a specific listing is to create a powerful online marketing tool, increase search engine exposure, obtain top positions in the SERPs (search engine results pages) and provide an online presence for promoting the listing’s benefits through useful and informative content and beautiful images. We are going to discuss how to build and optimize your single property website and are throwing in a new twist on where your content should be located.

Benefits of Using Single Property Listing Websites:

  1. They can be a powerful listing and marketing tool referenced online and offline in marketing materials to help increase listing exposure.
  2. They increase listing owners’ confidence in you.
  3. They can help you gain more listings and are one more selling point / benefit you can offer when trying to obtain listings or convert FSBO’s.

1) Choosing a Domain Name

The first decision to be made is choosing a domain name. The most common route is simply using the listing address as the domain name, for example, 123MainStreet.com. Many agents cite that they use the listing address as the domain because it provides a keyword rich URL which can be beneficial for SEO / ranking purposes. The truth is that having a keyword rich domain name for SEO purposes alone is becoming less and less important as time goes on (some would argue it is a non factor already), is only one SEO factor among many and as we will explain, there are more compelling reasons to use non-address based domain names.

Make It Easy to Remember. The primary reason you may not want to use the address as the domain name is marketability. Buyers are much more likely to remember “TatumRanchHome.com” as opposed to “1934ViaLindaWay.com”. This holds true whether they are glancing through a magazine and see your ad, are trying to remember the domain name from a flyer they have thrown away, or even more importantly, if they are trying to remember your domain name for the listing sign they happened to glance at as they drove by the listing.

Usability Trumps SEO. The bottom line is that you may not want to sacrifice the overall marketability and utility that an easy to remember domain name provides (this is true of any domain name in any vertical) for SEO purposes (keyword rich URL).

Jay Thompson also points out another strategy for choosing domain names, using generic or neighborhood / community based names such as “TatumEstates.com” or “IrvineEsplanade.com”. He points out that these names can be recycled over and over which can save the time and money invovled with registering a new address based domain for each new listing.

2. The Old Way: Placing Your Single Listing Content on a Brand New Domain Name

The Issue With Brand New Domain Names. All of the great content that is created on a new unseasoned domain is working from a position of weakness in competing against more established sites. Since your new domain is not seasoned and has established no history or trust with Google, does it make any sense that your site should perform better than more established sites that already rank well, have high PageRanks, have established incoming link profiles and have already built trust with Google? Of course not.

Even though your newly created single listing site may be more focused for your specific keywords and may rank easily for the listing address, it will not rank as well against seasoned sites for other keywords in your content relating to your topics you will likely discuss relating to features of the listing neighborhood, school district, shopping areas, etc. In short your unseasoned domain and site are at a great disadvantage in performing well for a broad range of keywords even though you may very well rank number one for the actual listing address, a keyword term with little to no competition.

To compound the issue, your single listing website is by nature, temporary, and will likely (hopefully) never be around long enough to achieve the baseline aging with Google (6 to 12 months) necessary to achieve consistent rankings and actively compete with more established sites. It is also very unlike that other sites will ever link to a single listing website and as we all know, inbound links are an important component of ranking well in search engines.

To those that say their brand new domains rank fine: Your brand new domain may rank for some keywords, it will not rank well for more competitive keywords. Just because your domain ranks for the listing address (a very non-competitive keyword) does not mean it is ranking for more competitive keywords. It is worth noting that the concept I am presenting here is not debated in the SEO community and is consistent with Google nomenclature on the subject.

3) The Solution: Host Your Single Listing Website on Your Primary Corporate Website and Forward Your New Domain Name To It

We are going to present a very simple and common sense concept that will improve your single property website search engine rankings, listing exposure and traffic. Traditionally, agents will place their new website content on their newly purchased single listing specific domain name. Why place each of your new listing websites and content on new unseasoned, untrusted domains when you can simply leverage your existing corporate website or blog that is seasoned (aged), has established rankings, has incoming links, has existing traffic and has already established trust with Google?

That’s right, we are proposing that you build out your single listing websites on your existing corporate website or blog domains and then use domain forwarding to forward your new listing specific domain name to the new content on your established corporate website or blog. Domain forwarding is handled by your domain name registrar and enables you to forward visitors to your domain name to any other domain name you choose.

When visitors navigate to “TatumEstatesHome.com”, they will arrive at your single listing website, hosted on your corporate site that looks and acts identically as if it were hosted as a standalone site at “TatumEstatesHome.com” except it is hosted on your trusted and seasoned corporate domain (example: ExampleRealty.com/1989-Via-Linda/). Domain forwarding even gives you the ability to make it so the URL users see in their browser does not change from “TatumEstatesHome.com” when they are actually on “ExapleRealty.com”, no matter where they navigate to, they will see TatumEstatesHome.com; using this features is simply a matter of preference.

4) How to Implement Using WordPress

    1. You can use your existing corporate WordPress page theme by doing nothing and creating a new page and naming it your property address (ExampleRealty.com/1989-Via-Linda/), or you can use a different page layout and or look and feel by creating all new single listing centric pages using the WordPress “Page Themes” / “Page Template” feature. This feature allows you to create new WordPress pages using “Page Themes” that you create and import into WordPress with their own look and feel.
    2. When you have created your Page Theme page layout it should include a new header, footer and sidebar it it uses them. You will want to make sure that these items have unique names so they do not conflict with the WordPress “header.php”, “footer.php” and “sidebar.php. Also be sure to change the calls for these items in your new page template itself. This will prevent the new page template from calling “header.php” (the header for your corporate / default site) when you really want to call “header_new.php” or whatever you have named it. If you using a new stylesheet, so be sure to change the call for this in your new page theme / header, otherwise you can simply add new CSS to your existing stylesheet. . You can hard code the entire page to taste with layout, content and links, but be sure to add the loop so that you can add content via the WordPress write page as well.
    3. Unless you want to hard code links into your header, footer and sidebar, it is a good idea to install the NAVT Plugin (update: plugin deprecated for new WordPress menu system in WordPress 3.0). This plugin will enable you to add a link to any exsiting page, post, category or manually inserted link by simply dragging and dropping via the WordPress dashboard.
    4. Finally, you will upload all items (don’t forget images and CSS) via FTP to your root WordPress theme folder. To designate the new Page Theme as a theme, add the following to the very top of the page before uploading:

<?php
/*
Template Name: New Listing Theme
*/
?>

  1. Now that your new theme has been uploaded, you can create any new pages you want for your single listing website. Via WordPress Page write, create your new page for your listing and edit the URL to something like ExampleRealty.com/1989-Via-Linda/. Before saving navigate to the “Page Theme” option drop down and choose “New Listing Theme” or whatever you have called the new theme. Unless you have incorporated the WordPress loop into your page theme, you will not actually type any content into the “write” box.
  2. Forward your new, easy to remember single listing domain name to the URL you have created as the home page for your new single listing site. When a visitor types in “TatumEstatesHome.com”, they will now be automatically taken to “ExampleRealty.com/1989-Via-Linda/”. Your new single listing site acts as an indepent site with its own look and feel, but leverages your existing corporate site’s age, links and authority.
  3. Finally Link to your newly created single listing site, “CorporateSite.com/1989-Via-Linda/”, from your home page to expedite search engine spider crawling. You may also want to consider creating a category specific to this listing and adding the listing to it. This could be based on the neighborhood or another related theme.

5) WordPress – Create a Silo to Increase Keyword Focus and Improve Keyword Theming

  1. To use this method, your WordPress site needs to use the following permalink structure: /%category%/%postname%/. If your site does not use this structure or you are starting a new site, I STRONGLY suggest you use this permalink structure.
  2. Download and install the Page Category Plus plugin from by buddy Andy here. This plugin enables you to assign a newly created page to categories, the same way you do blog posts. Check out his other  WordPress plugins, they are excellent.
  3. Follow steps 1 – 7 above and create a new category that is only going to be used for this specific listing and assign this page and any pages you create for this listing to this specific category. You might give it the name of the neighborhood, for example, “madison-meadows”.
    This would result in a home page of your single listing website of ExampleRealty.com/madison-meadows/1989-via-linda/. All content created as a page under this category will be in its own silo.

To create a true silo, you will want to link to this content from your home page and category pages, but will not interlink to this content from any pages in other categories and vice-versa. This helps

6) How to Implement on a Non WordPress Site

  1. Create a sub-directory to hold your content / pages that are specific to the new listing. You might call this folder the name of the neighborhood, for example: madison-meadows. You now have a subdirectory of ExampleRealty.com/madison-meadows/.
  2. Add the your new single listing home page to the previously created sub-directory. You can name it the listing address if you choose, resulting in a home page for your new single listing of ExampleRealty.com/madison-meadows/1989-Via-Linda.html. Alternatively, you can simply leave this home page titled as index.html if you choose and your home page URL for the listing will be ExampleRealty.com/madison-meadows/. My suggestion would be to use the listing address as the page name.
  3. Link to your newly created page from your home page.

7) Rank Well for Local Neighborhood, Schools and Shopping

Are you using single listing websites to try and rank for the neighborhood, schools, shopping or other related amenities of a specific listing? Do most of your listings fall within the same neighborhoods? If so, a better approach to listing for specific listing centric amenities would be to list these as general categories and topics covered on your main corporate blog or site than list single listings you have on these pages.

Link from Local Amenities in WordPress.

  1. If a neighborhood you would like to feature is Madison Meadows, you will create a category called Madison Meadows and create a new page that will be the home page for his neighborhood. Than add any new single listing centric sites that are in this neighborhood to this category.
  2. Than create a “Listings in this Neighborhood” section and add the following code to the neighborhood home page. This code lists any other pages / posts in this category. You will add any new listing to this category and thus new listings will automatically show up in your “Listings in This Neighbood” section automatically! In this case, any new listings will automatically show up in your Madison Meadows neighborhood home page. The following code will be inserted at the end of your loop:

<?php
/* Check if there are posts */
if ( have_posts() ) {
/* Post index for semantic classes */
$post_index = 1;
?>

<div id=”category_more_resources”> Related Information:</div>

<?php // tr – the following 3 lines list only category posts and exclude sub-category posts

$cat = intval( get_query_var(‘cat’) ); ?>

<?php while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>
<?php if ( in_category($cat) ) { ?>

There you have it! We will likely be refining these ideas and will certainly be adding more in the future.

Tags: , ,

Related Information:
  1. BrokerScience Homework: Setting Goals
  2. BrokerScience is Looking For Title, Escrow & Appraisal Bloggers
  3. LeadPress Has Launched!
  4. Lower My Bills Hall of Fame
  5. Target Publishers Continues to Scam Mortgage Companies

Trace Richardson has written 385 articles on BankChirp.com

I'm Trace Richardson and am the founder of LeadPress. I’m a licensed California Real Estate broker and a former equities trader previously holding the Series 7, 63, 55 and 24 securities licenses.

Contact the author

3 Responses to “The BrokerScience Guide to Building and SEO Optimizing Single Property Listing Websites”


  • It is really use full information in one paper. Good job.

  • Here’s the conundrum: After the property sells, do you keep renewing the property address domain name in perpetuity? I know some agents say “Yes.”

    But I decided to let several expire last year because it just seemed kinda “creepy” to hold the domain name for a property I did not personally own, and probably would not be selling again anytime soon.

    Your “easy-to-remember” names would not present that problem.

  • I still think that buying single property sites is sill technology, but leveraging blogging, photos you’ve already taken of a listing, low cost domain names which grow richer the more you use them and increasing the SEM of your static web site by attaching multiple blogs to it – Now That’s an Idea! (Or set of ideas) Like our friend @GotBob says in his comment on my earlier post, if its free its for me! (Ok, I’ll go for inexpensive also!) Great Post ;-)

Comments are currently closed.
Mortgage Rates