Concerned about "losing" SEO benefits?
As most people now know, REW just this week has undergone the
most major change in it's history. With this change has come
several major positive enhancements which you can read about and
provide feedback on at the new site forum, setup specifically for Q
& A on this new platform.
This post however is to address those people who are concerned about "loosing" backlinks or SEO benefits from their participation at Real Estate Webmasters and hopefully by the end of it, our readers will realize that our goal (as it always has been) is to "enhance" the benefits (including SEO benefits) generated for our beloved core membership.
Unfortunately, due to the size and traffic at Real Estate Webmasters we also have a lot of spammers trying to spew garbage content and jam in as many links as possible. So in this new site, there are also measures to protect REW (the website / platform) from becoming like Active Rain and many other websites that have little to no quality guidelines or moderation. Some of these measures are not always understood, or agreed with, but trust me when I tell you, it is for the good of RealEstateWebmasters.com AND for the good of those interested in producing "high quality" content, and being good participants willing to learn and adhere to the highest quality guidelines. You'll get your SEO juice, AND have your posts here rank IF you listen and follow the instructions provided.
The upgrade is still in process: I am still tweaking things and planning how to best channel link popularity, some things (because they have not been properly evaluated etc) have be "nofollowed" to ensure our launch does not inadvertently flag our domain as a link spam haven. I will be releasing some of these features (listed below) in the coming weeks.
Here are a few things that "hopefully" will set many folks minds at ease:
Forum signatures: These will still be allowed here at Real Estate Webmasters. We are keeping our limit of 3 links so as to not clog up forum threads with huge sigs or drain all of our juice. We are also keeping our "nospam" sig filter in place. It used to be you had to have 300 posts (so that we could evaluate your participation and learn that you were trustworthy) - this limit will NOT increase, and I "may" consider decreasing it slightly. So if you got link juice from the sigs before, it will be as good or better, no worries.
Forum to blog post links: This is more of an internal link popularity thing. We had a feature on the old forum that allowed you to sync your blog and forum and it would then show your most recent blog post in every forum post you made - thus helping your blog posts get indexed and rank. This will be brought back, and I am considering expanding, improving it. So the more you post on the forums, the more internal links you can build to your recent blog posts.
Glossary to main REWsite links: Again an internal linking improvement that allows you to benefit for contributing. When you are logged in, if you contribute a definition to our glossary located here: http://www.realestatewebmasters.com/glossary/ and that definition is accepted, you get an internal backlink to your REW site - thus channeling even more of REW's considerable authority directly to your REWsite which will help it rank, but also will allow you to channel that authority to your outside sites (your main Realtor site, outside blog or whatever.
Adding listings: Now when you add listings (just like glossary terms) every listing details page you add will link back to your REWsite - common theme here? Channeling pagerank and authority to your REWsite for you to subsequently direct to external sites you control.
The bottom line - I have tried to create a solution for members that rewards them for participating and contributing their time and quality content. You will notice that (unlike Active Rain who gives you "points" for doing things) we reward you with internal backlinks and channeled authority for you to leverage for your REWsite AND external sites.
So let's talk "external sites" for a second - this seems to be the major crux of the issue for most poeple. An external site by my definition is not "any" site on the internet that you could possibly link to. It's any site "controlled by the member".
So for those of you wanting to build links to "your sites" I am going to be implementing an authentication system (just like Google and many others use) that will allow you to verify your control over the account. Some simply membership code will be made available that you add to the homepage of the site in question, we occasionally spider it (so you need to leave it there) and this allows us to verify your stake in the domain you are promotion, and ensures a measure of trust between us. Spammers and the like are far less likely to be willing (or able) to follow these steps and thus it decreases the likelihood of them getting "valid links" from Real Estate Webmasters which in turn decreases our likelihood of getting hit negatively from a reputation standpoint in the eyes of Google.
So let's say for arguments sake, I am promoting http://www.realestatewebmasters.com (which is obviously my domain). After I take a few steps and add some code to my homepage to verify that this is in fact my domain, I will be able to add "dofollow" links (one per page) to all of the following areas (and likely more)
Forum signature: Sends dofollow links every time you post
REWsite content pages: You can activate a link (with whatever anchor text you wish) site-wide on all your content pages, so any time you write a page of content, you send yourself a backlink at the same time.
REW Blogs: Every category you create, every blog entry you post, basically "anywhere" you can create content via your blog account, you get a backlink to your verified site(s)
REW Listings: Add a listing, get a link, it's that simple. Just like blogs, forum posts and content pages, if you add a listing, you will get dofollow links because your verified site(s) will be listed on the listing details pages.
These are just a few ways in which you will get links sent to your verified site(s) << Yes there can be more than one. And if you read above you will realize that with the new features we are implementing (and will continue to develop over time) our goal is to make these links count for far more than they have previously by ensuring that internal pagerank / authority is channeled to your REWsite, blogs, forums, glossary items, listings, and comments.
Please listen and learn! - Some people are going to be annoyed that they can no longer spam a BUNCH of links in a single post to various internal pages of their approved sites. #1 - this is NOT good SEO, so when I say listen, I mean listen and follow best practices taught on the forums because you will save yourself time and frustration (and you won't get flagged as a spammer). #2 - it's a violation of REW terms of service. It IS link spam (Google calls it "excessive linking") and it is not tolerated. So yes we "nofollow" links in the body area and comment sections of blogs and content BECAUSE we are trying to discourage spam and maintain quality. Having 1 really good link from that blog post is far more beneficial to your external site, than having a pack of 20 spammy ones all to the same site (they don't all count anyways). What you instead want to do is channel the PR / authority to your domain and then use your own internal architecture to distribute pagerank and create anchor text. This is the kind of thing I want you to "listen and learn" about. My team (and thousands of other members) are happy to teach you about proper SEO techniques, and you need to trust that when we create something in code at REW, or a rule / best practice to follow, it is to "protect you" (and us) from bad SEO and "teach you' good SEO.
It's like our stance on duplicate content. A lot of noobs try to go out and copy / paste content and post it to REW (with a bunch of embedded link spam to boot) - not only does this potentially harm our standing with the search engines (so puts the benefits we all enjoy at risk) it in many cases is intellectual property theft and is against the law. So for those of you that have a problem with this policy WE DON'T want you! Because you refuse to "listen" or "learn". Sometimes though, it's just being "new" and an honest mistake. We have always been tolerant "the first time" someone does this, and they will certainly have the ability to have their blog "unflagged" if they take the necessary steps. We want to teach you, so that you can do better and be better, but you need to be willing to listen and learn. As for those repeat offenders, we're happy to hit the delete button to protect ourselves (and all the other hard working, best practice following members) from your lazy, disrespectful and "ineffective" spam tactics.
Please be patient - this was a really big launch, and it has not even been live a week. We are still working out the bugs, and implementing parts of this strategy. Please be patient - and if you want to report anything that is not functioning, or ask any questions - please visit the forum I created specifically for this - it is located here: http://www.realestatewebmasters.com/forum/forums/100-New-REW-Website-Discussion
If you have specific questions or comments about this 10:30 Saturday night unorganized rant about SEO benefits of REW, please post them below :)