SEO Growth Hack on PropertyGuru

PropertyGuru is the biggest property search engine in Singapore. With Singapore taking the crown for Most Expensive City in the World recently, this is a pretty damn good time to be a property search engine. 

One of the features of a paid account with PropertyGuru is that Agents get a website for free. Here are a few examples:

They all have the same boiler plate layout with data extracted from their PropertyGuru account.

That’s a pretty cool feature, double dipping the data twice and charging the agents for it. But that’s not the growth hack. Each deployment of this custom website comes with a bunch of static pages which are actually removable by the agent.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 2.34.59 pm

Each of the static pages are targeting a set of keywords. For example, in buying guide, the keywords targeted are: residential property, HDB, private residential property and executive condominium. Links with those anchor text leads back to their website whereas links leading to other websites have anchor text labelled as ‘here’.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 2.35.33 pm

While this is great for PropertyGuru, it’s not so great for the individual agent and the reason for this is duplicate content. When Googlebot sees 10,000 different pages all with the same content, it’s going to place lesser value on each of these pages. To a certain extent, it will also affect the link juice following back to PropertyGuru. However, the benefits seem to outweigh the negatives for now as PropertyGuru is absolutely killing it at the moment.

If I were PropertyGuru, I would start randomizing the content generated by these static pages and inject ‘unseen’ HTML to make each page seem more authentic. Another thing that puzzles me is that PropertyGuru seems to be leaving link juice on the table. Given that they have full control over the content, a listing page like this: http://www.81238888.com/13971572 ought to have a link back to the original listing on PropertyGuru as well. Perhaps they are just being cautious.

If I were a Property Agent, I would definitely host my site on my own domain and set up a Real Estate Themed WordPress implementation. Over reliance on one marketing channel is a very risky long term strategy. Content marketing and promoting your own brand is definitely the only sustainable long term online marketing strategy.

If you’re wondering what Growth Hacking is, check out my previous blog post: Growth Hacking. What is it?.

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2 thoughts on “SEO Growth Hack on PropertyGuru

  1. I like this post! For the sake of discussion, I don’t think that there’s any downside to duplicate content on their agents’ sites for Property Guru. I think the party penalized for duplicate content (if at all) should be the agents’ sites. The only real risk that Property Guru runs is that their generated sites are so spammy that Google penalizes them for it, and this problem can be solved anyway with the use of the disavow links tool (https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/disavow-links-main‎).

    • Thanks for the comment. Didn’t know about the disavow tool. It’s not a sure thing right? As in Google may/may not oblige to do it.

      Yeah the agent pages will get penalized on some level too. I figured if Property Guru had backlinks from 1000 sites and each of these 1000 sites are being penalized, then Property Guru should get affected too. Both good and bad SEO juice should follow? You might like another case study I did about Polyvore here: http://pragmaticstartup.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/growth-hacking-what-is-it/

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