Recently there was an e-book claiming that websites are a less effective means of promoting a real estate business than are landing pages (also known as squeeze pages). As anyone who knows their SEO methodologies can tell you, it ain’t necessarily so.
There are a number of reasons why an actual website is a more effective tool to gather leads and generate business if real estate is your field. While a landing page can be properly optimized for the search engines, the long and short of it is that doing so means one thing – more work for the webmaster.
There are a number of reasons why real estate investors should choose to maintain a traditional web page rather than building a series of landing pages. For starters, real estate is a business where your image matters. Having a professional appearance is incredibly important; landing pages are something which are largely the province of fly-by-night internet marketers (though not always, we’re not trying to give landing pages a bad name altogether here). You can think of it in this way: if you were looking to purchase a property, whether as an investment or as a new home, who would you rather do business with? The realtor with a polished, professional looking site, or one whose web presence is more akin to the virtual take on a used car lot?
In many cases, this appearance corresponds with the behavior of the realtor; basically, landing pages tend to look cheap. Hardly the impression you want to give a prospective buyer or seller, is it? Of course it isn’t, so let’s move on. One of the chief problems with using landing pages is that a single business will tend to maintain a great deal of these pages which are targeted towards slightly different keywords, especially when using PPC advertising to promote your business.
The proponents of landing pages often characterize this as a ‘money funneling system’, something which is not entirely accurate. A better analogy might be a sky full of very dim stars viewed from a brightly lit city center. Those stars aren’t all that visible now, are they? The point here is that landing pages are rarely terribly visible in terms of search results. Since the content of these multiple landing pages is generally very similar, one page often differing from another only in the main keyword used, search engines view them as duplicate content.
What does this mean? It means that search engines largely ignore these pages – so they have little if any traffic or lead generation potential beyond the relatively small number of people who pay attention to contextual advertising. Is this inherently problematic? Actually yes – all of the work which goes into building these landing pages which don’t tend to generate that much traffic, relatively speaking could have gone into promoting your main website and gaining natural traffic. This traffic of course increases your website’s search engine ranking which means even more traffic and a higher profile.
If real estate is a numbers game, it stands to reason that you’d want to actually work the numbers and maximize your traffic to a single source. Landing page proponents will tell you that a traditional website can’t target all of the various keywords that a landing page can. This, of course is nonsense. It’s every bit as easy (if not easier) to add a page to your own website which is optimized for the same keywords – and it actually builds the page ranking of your website, rather than detracting from this important task. I’ll leave you with one other advantage that a traditional website has over landing pages when it comes to search engine optimization and generating leads. Landing pages don’t tend to be re-index by search engines if indeed they are ever indexed in the first place!
A website, by contrast has one possible application which makes it superior to landing pages in every way – it’s easy to deploy a blog as part of your website. Why a blog? Because it’s an incredibly easy way to add new content to your site and keep search engines coming back. This can help build your page ranking and your traffic faster and more sustainably than any number of landing pages ever will.
In the time it takes to put together a single web page, you could add a page to your main site, put work towards other traffic driving strategies or get your site re-indexed by adding a new post to your blog; and you’d still have time to get yourself a cup of coffee, sit back for a moment and congratulate yourself on your business acumen while the people who favor landing pages are still uploading their page. It’s an easy call to make – websites win out over landing pages hands down.