Although many real estate agents do not realize it, having a website is essential for the success of their business and brand.
That being said, it is tempting to consider having more than one website. After all, the more websites you have, the more opportunities there are to grow your brand…right?
The answer is – it depends.
There are certain scenarios in which it is okay to have multiple websites, such as when you need to fill in a gap created by your main website or when you have a personal realtor website and dozens of individual property websites.
Yet there are also scenarios where having multiple websites hurts your brand, such as when you have a website for your personal brand and a website for your corporate brand or when you market your brand across multiple different websites.
But what does this look like? How is it sometimes okay to have multiple websites, and sometimes not? And what exactly are the damaging factors?
When Having Multiple Websites Hurts Your Brand
When you have more than one website, there is a multitude of factors that can negatively affect your brand. These factors include:
• Duplicate content
• Brand confusion
• Poorer-performing sites take a hit from better-performing site
Having multiple websites can do damage in other ways, too. Some examples are:
• Backlinking opportunities are spread thin
• Excessive costs and stress for you and/or your team
• You will ultimately be competing with yourself
The issue of duplicate content is a great one in the world of SEO, namely because search engines find it so confusing.
When there are multiple pages with the same (or very similar) content, search engines:
• Are not sure which version to index
• Do not know which page they should trust
• Question which page they should consider authoritative
• Are not sure which page to build link equity from
• Do not know which page they should rank in the SERPs
Website owners also suffer the consequences when duplicate content is present. Their website’s rankings typically plummet, and they undergo a loss in traffic.
This is why it is so important to write unique content for each webpage and avoid having multiple websites – especially if each website hosts the same content.
As a real estate agent, many of your clients and potential clients come to know you by your name (or your brand name). Oftentimes, clientele is familiar with who you are but have no need to contact you or visit your website until they are ready to begin their home buying or selling journey.
When they are ready for their property adventure, they will search for your name specifically. However, when multiple websites have your name marketed across each of them, clients may get confused with which one they should choose. Their confusion will likely multiply if the content is different across each website, and they may wonder if your websites are for the same realtor. This confusion may cause clientele to turn away and find a different agent.
Eating the Poorer-Performing Website(s)
It is a well-known rule in the Internet world: websites that rank the highest get the most traffic. For real estate agents, your clientele usually knows you by name. When they type your name in the search bar, they expect your name to be at the top of the SERPs.
When you have multiple websites with your name on each, the highest-ranking website will always overpower the lower-ranking website(s). This causes your other websites (that you have undoubtedly worked hard on) to lose out on the rankings. It also causes you to be in direct competition with yourself!
Spread-thin Backlinking Opportunities
Quality backlinks that lead to your website are a form of Internet gold. When multiple websites link back to yours, search engines realize that your website is authoritative and trustworthy. In turn, your website ranks higher in the SERPs.
When other websites are linking back to several of your websites instead of just one, your backlinking opportunities are spread thin. Now, rather than holding a value equal to gold, links leading back to your websites are worth something similar to cheap silver or brass.
Excessive Costs and Unnecessary Stress
Running more than one website is costly, time-consuming, and stressful. There is simply too much content to publish, maintenance to keep up with, and data to collect, track, and analyze.
When Having Multiple Websites Helps Your Brand
If you are determined to have multiple websites running at once, there are some helpful tips you can keep in mind to ensure your success.
Create a Multiple Domain Strategy
Multiple domain strategies are an excellent way to carefully bolster your SEO goals. Rather than focusing on one website’s performance, multiple domain strategies cause you to focus on several. However, it is crucial that you are thoughtful and methodical in your creation and implementation of a strategy such as this.
When Multiple Domain Strategies Work
These strategies work especially well when you have multiple brands. This could be the case if you have a commercial and residential brand or if you serve both buyers and sellers.
Multiple domain strategies also work well when there is a specific keyword that you are determined to rank number one for. Maybe you want to own a monopoly on the term “San Francisco real estate” or “best luxury real estate agent.”
The Power of Microsites
As we mentioned earlier, multiple websites help your brand when secondary sites fill a gap created by a primary site. For example, your primary website may cover a certain real estate market in Southern California. While your primary website goes over the basics, such as who you are as a real estate agent, which areas of real estate you specialize in, and a page that holds your listings – you may find that your audience could benefit from having more knowledge.
In this scenario, a microsite that is built around educational resources would wonderfully supplement your primary website. You could create a blog that answers all of your audience’s most pressing questions and provide helpful resource pages to help them along their home buying or selling journey. A helpful website such as this could also bolster you as an authority in the area and strengthen trust with your clientele.
All in all, there is no black or white answer as to whether having multiple websites hurts your brand. If you have several websites and publish the same content across all of them or market your name across each of them, you may run into problems and find that your brand is suffering.
However, if you carefully create and follow a well-thought-out plan, such as a multiple domain strategy, you may find that having multiple websites actually helps your brand.
In the end, it all depends on what your goal is, whether you are following best practices, and whether you are overextending yourself, your staff, and your budget.