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RISMEDIA, June 25, 2007 For week four in the 10-part series on improving your site’s search engine placement, we review another one of the basics of why most real estate sites fail to reach audiences and not rank in the search engines: the intro page. Our goal is to show you how to avoid throwing valuable marketing dollars into online solutions that fail to produce a return on investment:

REASON #3: You have an intro page, and haven’t realized how badly it hurts you online. The past 10 years of online marketing has created millions of flashy, sometimes eye-catching intro pages designed to illicit a visitor to click through to a Web site. QUESTION: If you have a visitor to your site, why present them with an intro page? In the eyes of the search engines, an intro page creates temporary, static, and often unrelated information that doesn’t correspond to the core material of a site.

Unfortunately there was a trend in certain online marketing niches (gambling, adult entertainment, etc.) to abuse intro pages on a massive level. This abuse quickly stereo-typed the tactic for many search engines and it became easier to ignore and avoid the potential for misuse by looking down on the entire process. In some worse case scenarios, search engines will view the intro page as nothing but a SPAM entry page created in an attempt to score higher on specific keywords or disguise the content of the main site.

In the eyes of human visitors, intro pages are typically advertisements. Ask yourself how you feel when you are browsing the Web and get a pop-up or are forced to look at an advertisement. 99% of you think I hate this stuff! We live in a society of user-generated content and on-demand information. Sites that give users an option to interact and control the way information is received have far more impact than sites that force marketing fluff in front of them.

The demand driving the social media craze found in the fastest growing sites today is for platforms that provide friendly, user controlled experiences where they can interact with information, contribute if they desire, and participate if needed. The key idea is to understand that both search engines and people appreciate relevant choices. Intro pages simply take away choice. Think about how much you value your own personal freedom of choice and then think about how intro pages make your visitors feel.

About the author:

Barry Hurd is president of Social Media Systems, an online marketing and advertising consultant group working with search engine marketing and leveraging social media communities. He has over 15 years of entrepreneurial Internet and online marketing experience. As an author and prolific blogger, he has reached online audiences around the world. Since the mid nineties, Barry has been involved in numerous efforts to bring forth technical innovation through online business models. Past projects have included NIKE, REI, TMP Worldwide,, Verizon Superpages, Intuit, and RIS Media.

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