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Neighborhood Sites: Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

I was recently speaking with an agent in my area that wanted to set up a series of neighborhood-specific websites. He plans on setting up about 3-5 neighborhood sites with the hopes that they will drive qualified traffic back to his main site so he can get more leads. Sounds like a great idea… but my question was: How do you plan on writing all those articles while simultaneously building backlinks to each one? It seems easy, but its not.

Optimizing and building links for a single website can quickly become a full-time job depending on how ambitious you are. I cant imagine a full-time agent trying to launch and manage over 3 blogs at the same time when he/she doesn’t even have one going. Although local search is blowing up, and blogging is the new “thing” for all agents to get into. Sometimes you need to take baby-steps to get off the ground.

This isn’t the only agent I know that quickly made an ambitious plan to start a series of sites all at once. I can understand how, as an internet rookie, you can read an article or hear a seminar about blogging and feel like you have to become the master of your area overnight. You can do it, but not overnight.

Start with one site, and make categories for each subdivision if you want. Try to build your empire under one domain to start with. Every article you write will be just as likely to rank for your chosen neighborhood keywords as a “special URL” you set up… and it will help you FOCUS your SEO efforts on ONE site. Not five.

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Don’t start a junk blog for every subdivision in your town thinking that you will eventually “find” people who want to write for your blog for dirt cheap. And don’t think you can drive traffic or get leads from a keyword-stuffed splog, because it does nothing but waste valuable time you could be using to write a good relevant article on your main site.

Written By

Writer for national real estate opinion column AgentGenius.com, focusing on the improvement of the real estate industry by educating peers about technology, real estate legislation, ethics, practices and brokerage with the end result being that consumers have a better experience.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    November 11, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    Carson, I am so glad you made this point. Many have asked me why we arent doing what you described and I’ve said basically the same thing.

    Also, I would point out that real manage (hoa managment company) here in Austin has already put together neighborhood sites and are marketing it as a service directly to them. It seems more effective to partnership market on these sites and get the same outcome.

  2. Carson Coots

    November 11, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    Exactly.

    As another alternative, I would recommend spending all of that extra effort on using a good mix of social networks to channel the content through… or at least blurbs/feeds that funnel into the main site.

    I think the ability to harness feeds by breaking them up and feeding them to specific sites will make maintaining 10 neighborhood sites with limited resources feasible.

    Or you can go with the multi-author approach, by teaming up with some local professionals who would mutually benefit with a neighborhood site. But wow, that would require some serious coordination.

  3. Chris Johnson

    November 12, 2007 at 3:42 am

    Nice thinking–but isn’t it better to specialize in one specific niche? If we’re going to be a “neighborhood” blog, why not be one fairly specific category? A thought.

    Oh, and as always, NOW IS A GREAT TIME TO BUY REAL ESTATE IN NORTH AMERICA.

  4. Ryan Hukill

    November 15, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    Carson, it’s funny, I had some of these same thoughts about a year ago and decided then that it was far too overwhelming to take on individual sites for specific individual communities. Besides that, most folks looking in one community are also looking in others, so why not have all the info in one place in an easy to navigate format for all to see?

    I think of it like farming. There’s no way I could effectively farm 20 different neighborhoods, so instead I focus on 3-4 I can manage efficiently and grow from there.

    Same concept with neighborhood blogging. Blog hard about 3-4 and add more later if you can handle it.

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