Are Third Party Real Estate Aggregator Sites Using Black Hat SEO Tactics to Block Real Estate Brokers?

Anyone who pays attention to internet marketing and specifically SEO (search engine optimization) strategies knows that black hat tactics are frowned upon in the business.  The big battle in real estate right now has to do with the web.  Over the past 5-6 years, the rise of third party real estate aggregators has been the cause of concern for real estate brokers.  The risk has been that the third party aggregators would disintermediate the brokers and real estate agents by being the first point of contact for real estate consumers on the web.

Real estate brokers lost control of their listings many years ago.  I think they were fooled by the allure of the web and getting additional exposure for their listings. They gave the listing information away for free in hopes of more eyeballs seeing their listings.  Many did not realize they were giving away the store when they did that.  More recently, real estate brokerages are fighting back and no longer allowing their listings to go to many of these third party aggregators such as Zillow, Trulia, and REALTOR.com.

Now these third party aggregators are being accused of using black hat SEO tactics to cut off links that go back to the original brokers site.  If this is true, that’s quite a stunt these sites have pulled off.  Let me get this straight, real estate brokers send their information to these third party sites for free, the third party sites use the listing data to generate tens of millions of dollars in advertising revenue, banner sponsorship sales, and then possibly lead referrals, and they are inserting “no follow” on the links back to the original brokers?  If that is true, why are we doing business with these firms?

Check out the story from AGBeat on what the CEO of VHT is accusing the third party aggregators of when it comes to black hat SEO for real estate.

If you are a real estate agent or broker reading this, I recommend that you share this post with others in the business so that they can understand the ongoing challenges the real estate industry faces with these third party aggregators.  In case you missed my last post, you’ll want to read about ARG Abbott Realty in San Diego pulling their listings.

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