This article will provide answers to common questions about SEO on the Placester platform.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of getting site traffic from the "free," "organic," or "natural" search results on search engines.
All major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. Payment isn't involved, as it is with paid search ads (such as Google AdWords).
Placester's Real Estate Marketing Academy has a large collection of articles that will help you learn how to optimize your site for increased traffic.
Common SEO Questions
How are pages indexed on Placester sites?
Your pages are indexable by default. Our technology puts you in a great position from this perspective. Each listing within your MLS has a unique property page (as do cities and neighborhoods). This means you have thousands of indexable property pages right away. A portion of these pages is automatically indexed. We submit all of the data but cannot control which ones Google automatically indexes.
The rate at which your pages are indexed is based on several variables, and one of the main variables is time.
Other variables include content creation and sharing. For example, if you're sharing your content on sites like Facebook and Google +, Google's crawling algorithm is likely to crawl that content in more places and thus recognize your content faster. As a result, this could lead to faster indexing.
How can I help my site get indexed more effectively?
To help search engines index your site, you might also benefit from submitting your sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools accounts. Your sitemap is essentially an index of your site. As such, submitting it helps the search engines better understand your site's structure as it crawls your site's pages.
Google crawling your site will not automatically index your pages but it's the action a search engine takes to identify if there is content worth indexing. Here is an article that will tell you more about submitting your sitemap.
Robots.txt files on Placester sites
Placester allows "robots" from the big three search engines - Google, Bing and Yahoo - to crawl sites on our platform to help index your sites. We disallow all other robots, which prevents any spam robots from crawling your site and slowing it down. The following image is an example of Placester's robots.txt files, and shows which robots are allowed (googlebot = Google; bingbot = Bing; slurp = Yahoo), and which aren't (all others).
404 indexing errors
404 and 410 "not found" and "gone" errors are a normal part of the way websites work, especially so when it comes to real estate websites. Your website is updated daily with listings from your MLS system, and that includes when listings are sold, expired, or taken off the market. When these listings are no longer available, they are removed from your website; sometimes it can take search engines, like Google, a few weeks to "catch up" and remove these listings from their search indexes.
404 and 410 errors that relate to sold or expired listings do not negatively impact your search ranking according to Google. These 404 and 410 errors are important to search engines because they tell them what to STOP including in their search results, and make sure search engines don’t waste valuable indexing time on these inactive listings.
Which tools are best for checking my site's performance?
In general, it's best to go to the source; for example, if you want to know how your site is performing on Google, Google Webmaster Tools should be your first port of call. Google's own tools have the most up-to-date information in regards to their own search algorithms, so will be most reliable (the same applies to Bing and Yahoo for their tools).
A large portion of SEO testing sites exist to create business for themselves; they may tell you that there are errors on your site, or follow up with proposals about how they can "make your site the number 1 result on search engine pages". It's best to trust the search engine's own products for analyzing your site, rather than a third party, who may be looking for money over your interests.
Need more help?
If you have more questions about SEO and site indexing, let our support team know at firstname.lastname@example.org.