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Alain Pinel Makes the Oldest SEO Mistake in the Book With their Website Redesign

I was scanning my feedreader today, and saw the news that Alain Pinel, a well known brokerage in the Bay Area, launched a redesigned website with Onboard Informatics Lifestyle Content.

Great. A brokerage finally invested in their web presence. Alain Pinel is well known, so I’m guessing they released something decent/good.

I click through to from the article — and find THIS:

APR - Home
Uploaded with Skitch!

Home page title tag of APR – Home

Really? The title tag is literally the very first thing I looked at when evaluating this website from a SEO perspective.

Brokerages have been moaning for 3+ years about how they are getting crushed SEO-wise by Zillow/Trulia. Yet, a WELL KNOWN brokerage undergoing a MAJOR website redesign makes arguably the most fundamental & simple SEO mistake in the books — putting a horrendous TITLE TAG (arguable the most import on-site component of ranking well) on the HOME PAGE (their most powerful page). What should the title tag on their home page be? How about something like “San Francisco Homes for Sale – Alain Pinel Realtors” or “San Francisco Real Estate – Alain Pinel Realtors”. Even “Alain Pinel Realtors” would be better than “APR – Home” since it targets their brand name for people specifically searching for Alain Pinel.

Brokerages wonder why they are getting crushed in the SEO results.

I don’t. It’s crystal clear to me.

About Drew Meyers

Founder of Geek Estate Blog / Geek Estate Labs. Zillow Alum. Travel addict & co-founder of Horizon. Social entrepreneurship & microfinance advocate. Fan of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kiva.

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  • Man, I really hate talking smack on other web designers, but there are some pretty huge, fundamental flaws in design here. I spent a couple of minutes trying out the quick search, and it looks like there are required fields in order to search, but you just get a dead search button, rather than a prompt telling you what you did wrong.

    • I’m with you – I tried to get beyond the home page too, but couldn’t really figure out the search. I stopped after a few minutes of trying.

  • How can a designer not include at least that basic level of SEO? I can (almost) forgive whoever the project manager of some real estate brokerage was for being clueless about the basics but not a web designer. Come on… titles are 5 seconds a page and a weak guess would be better than that. Maybe they just tossed the site up and are planning to do the SEO as a separate contract or something?

    • We can hope, but I doubt it. An SEO audit should be part of every website launch..especially basics like this.

  • So many things wrong in there. Whoever did this truly had no idea what they were doing, or buying for that matter. 

    • I should clarify, as far as SEO goes there are some issues. There are also some very nice features and usability within the pages that are nice. The language changes like Sotheby’s has is a nice touch as well 🙂

  • Matt Carter

    There’s a potentially confounding factor here: What do you do when your firm’s namesake (Alain Pinel) works for a competing brokerage? 

  • Ouch!  That’s kinda funny, Drew.  Job security, my friend.

    • Yea. 

      A foundation is key to any decent seo effort –

  • Hi Drew,


    Thank you for your feedback about our new website. As it had
    been many years since our last major redesign of, we were anxious to
    go live with a beta version. We are in the process of adding more content,
    fixing some minor bugs and completing a more comprehensive SEO review as we
    continually work to enhance and improve our website. Check back soon to see
    some of these improvements. If you have additional comments, we would be happy
    to hear from you –


    Andrew V.

    Social Media Marketing Coordinator

    Alain Pinel Realtors 

  • Wow, that is about as basic as it gets. Someone wasn’t really paying attention there at all.

  • “Brokerages wonder why they are getting crushed in the SEO results.”

    You might be giving too much credit there.  As much as we talk about it, many still don’t even know what SEO is or understand its value. 

    Clearly, whoever let this site go live doesn’t.  I don’t see titles, keywords, description, etc.

  • Hey Andrew-
    Sorry, this comment was stuck in the spam bucket until just now.

    Best of luck with your enhancements. The search and calls to action (conversion) on the home page need major work IMO.

  • I think what happens quite frequently with all new sites (regardless of the industry), is once everyone in the company sees the new site, there’s tremendous pressure to “go live” before it’s actually complete. To those who don’t understand SEO fundamentals, the site may “appear” complete – they don’t realize that launching a site without all the SEO in place can significantly harm their current rankings. (Oh… and let’s not even get into having proper 301’s as part of the conversion.)

    I’ve been in this position more than once, and argued the point till I was blue in the face. They launched anyway, and rankings plummeted. I wasn’t around to say “I told you so.”

  • Carpediem59

    How about calling APR in private and suggesting corrections instead of publicly embarrassing them? This post seems unnecessarily cruel to me. 

    • The brokerage community wouldn’t learn from their mistakes if this was done privately.

  • Interesting post and thanks for

  • Drew, I totally agree… I’m not sure if the brokerages still don’t understand why some brokerages are still operating under the assumption that a pretty site is all they need.  I was just looking at a local real estate site that started a blog recently.  The blog looks fantastic – a lot of thought was given to the subject, the use of photos, etc. and then every post I read has a gazillion link HERE for more information – with here being the anchor and meta tag.  Sad…

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