FAQ: Why Aren't My Property Listing Pages Indexed?
There has been a lot of misunderstanding lately about how Google decides to index pages, and this has led to some inaccurate concerns about REW's IDX. I want to openly address these concerns and help clarify what is happening from an SEO perspective.
All of REW's sites use the same IDX framework, which essentially means that all the sites are using the same core foundation for listings pages. If there was a problem with the ability for Google to index Real Estate Webmasters' (or REWSites') property listing pages, it would effect every site using that IDX. This has not been the case.
Here are a few recent incognito Google test searches I did, in which I was able to quickly find Real Estate Webmasters sites in the organic search engine results:
- 19 Bel Aire Place SW (Calgary) - CalgaryRealEstate.ca is the second organic result for "19 bel aire place sw"
- 1610 Creek Road (Dripping Springs) - RealtyAustin.com is the #1 organic result for "1610 creek rd dripping springs tx"
- 2710 Fritz Cove Road (Juneau) - PropertiesInJuneau.com is the second organic result for "2710 fritz cove juneau"
(View screenshots by clicking the above links)
In other words, the technology works. If you can find even one REW site anywhere in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for your feed, then it's indisputable that Google is able to properly index those pages. But even Google admits that just because it can, it doesn't mean it will:
"Although we index billions of webpages and are constantly working to increase the number of pages we include, we don't guarantee that we'll crawl all of the pages of a particular site. Google doesn't crawl all the pages on the web, and we don't index all the pages we crawl. It's perfectly normal for not all the pages on a site to be indexed." - Google Webmaster Support
If everything is working, then why aren't all the property pages being indexed?
In order to understand what's happening, we first have to understand the two most primary factors search engines use to determine what results to show: relevance and importance. Google recognizes that users want to find fast answers, and that's why it prioritizes the pages that it thinks are the most relevant and the most important.
When Google finds more than one nearly identical page—like the default versions of property details pages—it has to decide which page to display to users. If all the sites are using the same information, then we can logically conclude they are all equally relevant. What's left to distinguish one page from another? Importance.
That brings us to PageRank. Morgan talks about PageRank in his recent blog post, so I won't reiterate what he's already said, but I highly recommend reading the post in its entirety. The main take-away is that if you want to be the site that gets the most property pages listed, you need to be the site with the most PageRank (a.k.a. importance).
Webmasters who want to increase the visibility of property listing pages need to build relevance or importance (or both). You build relevance by finding ways to make the pages a better match to user queries than your competitors' pages. You build importance (PageRank) by building authority, which is done with:
- Content Development
- Social Networking
- Link Building
Building authority is what SEO is all about, and there are experts whose entire livelihoods are dedicated to perfecting the practice. There's no magic switches or shortcuts. SEO is not an easy task and it doesn't happen overnight but with enough time, effort and dedication, the results are extraordinary.
If anyone has additional questions that relate to the indexing of property details pages, please ask it in the comments below. I will reply to as many unique questions as possible.