Vital SEO Tips for Portals (Part 1)

Editor

September 27, 2011

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The process of optimising a website to improve its ability to “rank” higher on organic listings is a significant source of most portals’ traffic.

In one study it showed more than 40% of users who search, click on the first link with a subsequent drop to 12% for the second link and 8.5% for the third highlighting the importance of maximising your ranking to increase traffic.

Rankings in search engines run off extremely complex algorithms that change regularly to ensure the consistent quality of their results. This means that there isn’t an easy way to ‘cheat the system’, instead successful SEO campaigns require consistent and carefully thought out strategies implemented across the whole website to ensure that the optimised website ranks correctly.

The general rule of thumb is to create a website that will provide insightful information to users and a good user experience.

At their core, a search engine tries to provide the most relevant order of results. To do this they try to determine which sites are considered an “authority” on the keyword entered.

A site’s authority is determined by a range of factors which can loosely be grouped into “on page” and “off page”.

With SEO so important, we invited SEO expert Joe Hanna, CEO of Mitula.com Asia Pacific, to outline a broad set of tips created specifically for property portals:

On Page:

On page factors refer to the portal site itself and include things like HTML structure and design, content and index-ability.

Tip 1: Content is still king

Almost all SEO guidelines will tell you that content is critical. This is true for portals as well.

Keeping content fresh and constantly changing encourages search engine crawlers to come back to the site often.

  • Portals have the benefit of user drive content through the supplied listings.
    – Get more listings and promote fresh listings
  • Above and beyond user content, consider developing unique content like:
    – Suburb reviews
    – Blogs/articles such as tips / news stories.
  • Leverage a number of formats like images and video.
  • Localising content is increasingly important in ensuring relevance and engagement of your user base.

Tip 2: Ensure the portal site is fully exposed to search engines

This is where the techs come in. Ensure that the site adheres to well documented guidelines for design, HTML structure and coding.

There is little point in having a great website if search engines cannot crawl and index them.

So do the basics, such as:

  • Avoid flash for core features.
  • Ensure HTML structure is valid and adheres to best pratices
  • All images should have alt tags
  • Headings should be relevant
  • Every page should be accessible via a link (through a sitemap for example)
  • Ensure search engines in all your markets know your site exists by telling them
  • You can submit your site to google via http://www.google.com/addurl/ (note: Submit to each Google country specific index individually eg. To submit to Australia go to http://www.google.com.au/addurl/ ). MS bing has the same feature http://www.bing.com/webmaster/SubmitSitePage.aspx
  • Most importantly ensure that the site adheres to the guidelines: Google Guidelines

Tip 3: Keyword research and onsite representation

Real Estate is a competitive space globally. So it is important that portals not only research the best generic keywords, but also research mid and long tail keywords. It is important to track keyword trends to gain a sense of how the user community utilises search engines to find what they are looking for.

For instance: how many monthly searches are performed for “Real Estate” vs “property” vs “homes”

Ensure that content on the portal adequately reflects the keywords you have chosen to target.

Tip 4: Understand duplicate data and prevent it on your site

Search engines consider that two pages that are over 80% the same are duplicates. Search engines don’t like duplicates as they must make a judgement call over which page to show in their search results.

Property portals will often have a number of different pages with the exact same content. Particularly in search results and listing details pages, where different URLs return the same data.

Portals often introduce clean or search engine friendly URLs (like “Real Estate {City” links off the homepage

It is important to either prevent or hide duplicate pages from search engines index.

Part 2 of this post will look at “off page” elements of SEO.

Joe Hanna is a consultant for Classified Ad Ventures and the CEO of Mitula.com, Asia Pacific a classifieds vertical search engine

Please feel free to ask questions of the PPW team and Joe through comments or email [email protected]

Editor

September 27, 2011

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Acerca de Lucas Vargas:

  • Empezó en Grupo ZAP como el VP de Sales y en 2016 cuando la empresa tenía 60 empleados. Fue nombrado COO de VivaReal tomando el mando de Brian Requarth el Co-Fundador. VivaReal lanzó en Colombia y se trasladó a Brasil. En 2017 se hizo CEO del Grupo ZAP.
  • Ha trabajado en Mexico en PWC y en el Banco Santander
  • Tiene un Master de Business Administration de Harvard
  • En noviembre este año después de la fusión de OLX Brasil y Grupo ZAP fue nombrado el CEO del OLX Business Unit. Lidera la empresa junto con Andries Oudshoorn y Marcos Leite
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Simon Baker is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Online Marketplaces and Property Portal Watch. Involved with property portals for 15 years, he’s a well-recognized expert and industry consultant.
As former CEO/MD of the REA Group for 8 years, Simon led the group to its current market-leading position. When he joined REA Group in 2001, it had $4m in revenues, $6m in losses and an $8m market cap.
By 2008, the company presided over $155m in revenues, $35m in EBITDA and enjoyed a peak market cap of $1b. Simon is currently Chairman of the Mitula Group and Real Estate Investar and a serial portal founder and, investor.