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The Problem of Real Estate Domain Clustering

Since Google’s latest algorithm update, there has been a lot of chatter about domain clustering and the diversity of how search results should be displayed. For those unfamiliar with the term, domain clustering is generally referring to multiple search results yielding the same domain, which can often result in poor search quality, especially if that domain is a bad website. In the real estate world, we most often see domain clustering from the heavy hitters in the industry like Trulia, Zillow, and Realtor.com.

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If you have a real estate website and are trying to compete with such powerhouses, there’s a pretty good chance you are all too familiar with just how many search results come from these national real estate sites. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen search result after search result show pages from Zillow or Trulia, regardless of whether or not those links are giving me exactly what I’m looking for. Hopefully with this latest Google update, things will slowly start to improve.

Specifically, the newest changes aim to eliminate results from the same domain if that domain has been already seen three to four times within that same query. So while row after row, page after page of those dreaded, outdated Trulia and Zillow listings may be a thing of the past, multiple search results from the same domain won’t be completely removed. In fact, the change should only dramatically affect results on page 1 rather than throughout an entire search. As Matt Cutts, head of Google’s search spam, explains, the objective for this algorithm update is to find an adequate balance between providing diverse results to users while still returning the best, most authoritative results for each search query.

Because Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and other big-name websites have such a high-level of authority, there’s little doubt their websites will still boasts a large number of results; however if all goes according to plan, a cluster of those results should coming further down the line instead of  on the first page--where the results actually matter.

Joe Heath

Joe Heath is a Digital Marketing Specialist with Real Estate Web Creation — a boutique agency that offers affordable and effective SEO and website development services to real estate agents, brokers, home builders, and developers.

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