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Q&A with Morgan Carey at Real Estate Webmasters

There are many real estate technology vendors that build agent websites, with Real Estate Webmasters (REW) being one of the companies in the mix. If you’ve heard about REW before, chances are you’ve also heard about their superb ability to optimize their websites for search engines. In addition to their core business of building websites for web savvy real estate professionals, I think it’s safe to say REW has the most vibrant real estate tech discussion forum on the web. Since the Geek Estate audience is a bunch of real estate techies, I thought a quick question and answer session with Morgan Carey, the guy that runs the show at Real Estate Webmasters, would be beneficial to better understand both their business and value proposition to re pros. That said, here are my questions and his responses:

Q: In 5 sentences or less, what does Real Estate Webmasters offer its clients?

A:I could never summarize all that Real Estate Webmasters offers our clients in 5 sentences, but in summary form, here are a few of the highlights.

The REW Platform: The heart and soul of all REW projects – the REW Platform is a combined content management system, featured listings module and lead management suite designed to be “Realtor Friendly” – Meaning you can add / remove and edit content and listings without knowing any html or complex programming. Web and email hosting is included in the REW Platform fee and our customers can add as many pages, sub pages and listings as they like, all for a very affordable $40 USD per month.

Real Estate Webmasters websites: We offer low-cost high-impact template websites for realtors on a budget, all the way up to the highest-end custom web design projects and complex programming tasks. (Some of which will be listed below under “projects we are proud of”.) The only limits to a Real Estate Webmasters custom website are the customer’s budget and imagination. If Zillow did not have such an amazing internal development team, we would be the kind of firm that could handle a Zillow type project.

True Custom IDX Solutions: Our IDX solutions are built directly into REW websites, allowing for perfect synergy between the home search and the website in terms of design and functionality. Because of the integration and the way we have built our IDX framework, a realtor’s listings are also spidered by search engines, allowing for much more exposure for their listings, and increased search engine traffic.

REW Blogs: Again, a true integration – our customers are able to make use of our proprietary blogging technology on their own sites, lending the power and social networking benefits of a blog to their real estate website.

Search engine optimization services: Running the gamut of SEO – our process covers consulting, keyword research, custom titles, meta descriptions, creation of unique content mindful of keyword targets, site architecture work, site mapping, analytics research and the creation of diverse linking portfolios.

Q: How does blogging fit into your business plan?

A: Blogging is an excellent way for realtors to develop true online authority by showcasing their knowledge, abilities and perhaps most importantly their personalities to the world. I created REW Blogs as an extension of the Real Estate Webmasters social network so that I could lend my authority and the education available through our real estate forums to any real estate professional willing to put in the time and effort required to earn themselves a place among the elite online marketing professionals in their area.

Q: How long have you been running REW?

A: Real Estate Webmasters went online April 9th, 2004

Q: You have a fairly vibrant discussion board – how do you manage to keep up with everything?

A: I have great staff (35 of them) and great moderators who assist in maintaining the highest level and quality of participation available anywhere online. Our strength and consistency begins with our staff and moderators but ends with our amazing members who are among the most web savvy real estate professionals in the world (and there are just under 13,000 of them).

Q: Particularly with the recent launch of Roost, IDX seems to be a hot topic recently — what do you see happening with the future of IDX integrations?

A: Roost aside (I honestly think there are going to be some serious issues raised with their use of IDX data in the future) – I believe that due to some great competition emerging in the industry, IDX vendors will be forced to continually improve upon not only the usability of IDX search from a consumer standpoint, but also the integration of more rich data sets and the merging of local information and real estate listings. Sites like Zillow have raised the bar in terms of consumer expectations – historical data trends, graphs, valuation tools and the like – if realtors want their customers to maintain loyalty to their on-site property searches, they are going to have to invest in some serious technology.

Q: What are a couple sample sites your company developed that you’re really proud of?

A: I am really proud of all of our custom real estate website projects quite honestly, but of course your readers are going to want some samples, so here are a few – many more can be viewed on our portfolio page. – Features include custom design with a focus on showcasing the San Clemente lifestyle, a tricked out version of our built-in SOCAL IDX framework, REW Blog; the list goes on and on. – Sometimes the most simple custom designs are the most effective – Jim’s new brokerage website performs amazingly in search engines and in conversion – I love the simplicity and ease of use, and customers love how access to inventory is the feature piece – “Just show me the homes”. – This is a relatively new launch for us, but there are so many things I am proud of in this website, it is hard to know where to begin. Some of the cooler features revolve around custom algorithms we created to allow IDX data to interact with flash for our Intown Map Search feature piece, and the Intown market watch (updated daily) is the first of its kind. Working with Joshua Keen and his team was a true pleasure, and although it would be nice to take all the credit, as with any of our amazing websites, we would not have been able to build what we built without the input and direction of the customer. – I love this one because of its embodiment of the Naples area. You land on the site, and you think you could almost be there. It’s not the most complicated in terms of programming or design jobs for us, but there is just something about it that really appeals to me from a design perspective.

Alright, that’s enough – if you want to see more, like I said head on over to our portfolio.

Q: I’ve heard websites designed by REW are great at SEO – what’s your trick?

A: There are no tricks in search engine optimization. To rank highly in search engines you must start with a search engine friendly platform / website. Everything we do is created with search engines in mind, from our backend, to our custom programming to the way we design our websites. It’s SEO 101 that before you embark on your journey of content implementation, reputation / authority development, and awareness you must first ensure that all of your efforts are able to be recognized by search engines. Once again, we use ultra lean properly formed external CSS to ensure no extraneous or broken on page code will interfere with a search engine spider’s ability to navigate our websites and access the information. We implement custom URL handling and mod_rewrite to ensure filenames / URL’s can be followed. All of our navigation systems are able to be followed by search engines. We do not employ the use of framesets in any way for serving content – basically our websites are constructed to ensure that our customers are rewarded for their efforts and that their content is accessible to search engines.

A search engine friendly platform is not enough – even with an REW website (arguably the most search engine friendly in the industry) no website will rank without the implementation of a well thought-out and executed content strategy involving keyword research, the application of unique titles, meta data and compelling unique content that is mindful of your keyword objectives. Once you have your on-page search engine optimization in order, you must also create a unique and diverse link portfolio, as much of what the major search engines (Google being the most important) rank websites based upon is inbound link factors.

Our customers work very hard on their content and their link building, as does our team, if we are providing search engine optimization services for our customers. Make no mistake – those rankings you see our customers enjoying in search engines are the result of literally hundreds of hours of work in many cases and it did not happen overnight. Even with the most robust, properly planned and executed search engine optimization campaign, it is not uncommon to wait a year or more before you earn the recognition required to rank highly in search engines. It is a marathon, not a sprint and there are no corners to cut and no tricks – what it boils down to is this – search engines are interested in offering up the highest quality unique content that is useful to the largest amount of their users – if you focus on providing a search engine’s users a positive user experience you will be rewarded in kind.

Thanks for your time Morgan, and keep up the good work at REW!

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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  • Great interview.

    As one of those moderators on REW, I can tell you that it is one heck of a community and a GREAT resource in learning how to market real estate online.

    Kudos, Drew, for having Morgan on…


    Eric Blackwell

  • As a client of REW, I can speak to the very helpful nature of the forums which have educated me a great deal. The actual websites speak for themselves from a quality perspective and I would recommend them to everyone except for those in my market. 🙂

  • It’s good to see Morgan get some good PR. His real estate forum is a great source of real estate and SEO information. I personally have benifited greatly from sharing ideas and information at the REW forum.

  • Morgan and his crew are top notch and the best in the real estate industry when it comes to Realtor sites. I am on my second REW site and look to continue to make it better.

    The REW forum is a great place to learn and participate while keeping up with all the advances in technology.

  • I have been a REW client and a member of the forums for a little while now and have nothing but great things to say about Morgan, his crew, his products, and the fantastic forums and blogs he has created.

  • Technology and results.. those two words sums up what REW is all about for us. Lead generation is the end result. Having the flexibility to have REW program anything we want diferentiates us in the market place. As the #1 transaction team in our office for the past two years, we would not enjoy the success we do without the on-going assistance of Morgan, his staff and creative programmers.

    Many agents look short term at initial cost instead of the long term ROI. IMO, REW is about assisting agents so they get results.

  • Good show guys!

    Morgan and his crew are aces in my book, but of course I’m prejudiced.

    Seriously though, for any agents out there looking to learn the ropes about the internet and what it can do for your business, the REW forum is the best place to be on the web. Spend a little time there and you can’t help but become more successful.

  • I made the switch from Advanced Access to REW and could not be happier! Not only are the sites great to look at, but most importantly they perform well in the search engines. Combine that with the best customer support in the business and you could not ask for anything better!

  • As a long time user of the Real Estate Webmasters Forums, and now a client, I have to say that REW is one of the best companies out there. Very helpful is a understatement. I would recommend them to anyone needing real estate web technology and support. They are truly great.

  • I’ve gotten to know Morgan really well over the last year & half, and what impresses me the most about him (and REW) is their willingness to help, and just GIVE information away. The REW forums are, IMHO, the best place for brokers/agents to go online & learn how to build their business. Glad to see you get the kudos, you deserve it!

  • As the proud owner of a REW website, there’s no doubt REW is a great poduct; but one of the best parts of the REW community, is regardless of whether your a REW customer or not, you won’t find a more open or informative community.

    Spend just a ten or fifteen minutes a day on their forum and a year from now you’ll have the equivalent of a masters degree in real estate SEO.

  • Great Post Guys!

    When I fist began my search for a website provider, I literally looked at 100s of sites. Most of the sites had a so-so design and had terrible rankings or the sites ranked well, but the design/layout was lacking.

    REW has enabled Realtors with the ability to have the best of both worlds.

  • Great Interview!

    I have been visiting the REW forums from their infancy, reading and learning. After watching one particular REW site move to the top in a very competitive market I decided it was time to invest. Since then I have had the pleasure to become friends with not only Morgan but many of his staff and other great agents. All friends that I truly value.

    In addition I went from a business that I rarely had a website lead to a business that is based on web leads. Morgan would tell you that I have often told him that I consider him to be my secret weapon. 🙂

  • Nice interview. For my experience with REW, I’d really like to share the experience of breaking out and not being held hostage by a big name brokerage and being able to provide a far superior service from the learning experience of REW when it comes to online advertising.

  • Morgan has always been very persistent and it pays off.
    Great choice for an interviewee!

  • Well Morgan — I think the quality and quantity of comments here speak volumes for both your product and your customer service. Keep up the good work.

  • I hired Morgan and his posse when my limited knowledge of programming was no longer enough to implement my real estate website dreams. The result was a web site that consistently ranks in the top 5 and often the #1 slot on Google for my keywords. One of these days I’m going to drive up there and drop in on his team to thank them in person! Thanks to his forums I’ve made some very good friends and learned a good deal about how to improve not just my website rank but my overall business practices.

  • Carl Keefe

    If REW is the best out there, then at leat I can take solace in the fact that I was disappointed by the best.

    Not posting my website, because if the product is this bad when I am a paying customer, I don’t want to see what happens when I complain.

  • Carl,
    Unfortunately one of the negatives of the anonymity unmoderated comments on blogs provide, is less than ethical would be competitors often times take the opportunity to damage others reputations by posting derogatory comments regarding others.

    I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt here, and assure you – that if you are truly a real estate webmasters customer as you claim and have been disappointed by some facet of our services by all means report it to me directly and I will do my best to ensure you a positive future experience at REW. Complaints are a reality in any business, especially one that services the volume of customers that Real Estate Webmasters does – they are welcome, and we take them as constructive and an opportunity to improve our services – you would never be treated differently as an REW customer for complaining, nor would it effect your current service or ability to utilize future services – that is just not how we operate, if you would email me directly morgan @ I would be happy to personally address any issues you may have.

  • I can’t say enough about RealEstateWebMasters – they truly are leader in their field and the great thing is they care about the success of their customers. I’ve been with REW now for 2 years and recently launched the custom website ( he mentioned in the interview. It’s literally the cornerstone of my business – a virtual storefront that not only showcases my listing and my team’s services – but is also an amazing lead generation source in my business. I expect my team of 5 will close 150+ transactions in this tough market due in part to the use of our custom REW website as the frontline of our business.

  • I started out with an iHouse website, but switched to an REW template site in late 2004 or early 2005. It is the best move I ever made. Due to the “framed” nature of my old iHouse site, I could never get any traction with the search engines.

    I got an REW site and did the SEO work myself and was amazed at how quickly I was first page for my key phrases. Now, for over 2 years I have been #1 ranked by Google for nine common key phrases and in the top five for another six key phrases.

    I recently upgraded my template site with REW and have been very happy with the results. Morgans team is first rate and always quick to respond. I highly recommend his sites [As long as the Reator is not in my vicinity ;)]

    The REW forum is one of the most comprehensive collections of information on the real estate business, and SEO, that you will find anywhere.

    It is good to see Morgan getting some recognition.


  • I’m not a client of REW, but a long time member of their forum and because of the knowledge I’ve learned from all participating members and especially from Morgan, by website now ranks on the first page for more than 2 dozen of my most important keyphrases.

    Once I save up enough money to go the custom route, I’m only going with REW.

    Good job REW and Morgan.

  • I just had the pleasure of working with Morgan and REW on my new custom Sarasota real estate website. The entire process was top notch and I am extremely pleased with the final product. In my opinion, Real Estate Webmasters is the best in the business.

  • Lee Atwater

    Does it disturb anyone else that all the posts are Morgan’s customers and forum participants raving about how wonderful he and his company is? Seems almost cult-ish, doesn’t it? What I find even more bizarre about this is I happen to know a number of these REW customers and heard a lot of their complaints about what they had to go through with REW.

    But then Morgan is motivated purely and entirely by his need for ego-gratification. Stop sucking up, and he’ll turn on you. Everyone’s afraid to anger him or post a challenge on his forum because he’ll cancel their site or ban them.

  • Ahh….the anonymous commenter complaining about Morgan. I wondered why someone like this wouldn’t have come out earlier.

    I have an REW website – maybe that makes me a koolaid drinker 🙂

    I’ve learned more from the forum than from everywhere else I’ve been online combined when it comes to making a living from a real estate website. You can’t please everyone I suppose.

  • Lol, well anonymous I have been a long time REW website user and still very happy my site and with all my dealings with them.

    Sounds like sour grapes to me.

  • I rushed through that last post as I was headed out the door, but I just had to respond.

    The REW forum is comprised of a lot of good people sharing ideas and building personal relationships. Anyone can join in and many of us have been friends for years.

    Does it seem unusual for people to speak positively of a person and/or product that they truly believe in? A company that has helped most of us attain page 1 rankings on Google for keywords we want to rank for? Does that sound cult-ish? Mr anonymous do you consider friendship, sucking up?

    Unfortunately in every setting there comes a time that someone simply refuses to follow any rules and only spews hatred and discontent. Even when given a number of chances they just can’t comply with some simple guidelines. The few people that have been banned from REW were not banned because they didn’t suck-up to Morgan.

    Given 3 guesses I’m sure most of us could name your identity on the first guess. Instead of using the name “Lee Atwater” you probably should have used “Banned and can’t get over it”.

    This was a real good interview about an owner of company that produces the best real estate websites available. An anonymous post sure can’t take away from any of the facts. If you are interested in building a great real estate website, the forum should be your starting point.

  • I’ve never done business with Morgan Carey or REW but I’ve nothing but admiration for everything they do. Actually, I got introduced to REW purely by chance as my wife’s eye doctor, Rob Piemontesi, happens to have his office just above REW’s world headquarters in Nanaimo, British Columbia. I’m a bit of an SEO buff myself, and after seeing “Real Estate Webmasters” on the building’s shiny directory, I dropped into REW unannounced and took in whatever I could without attracting anyone’s attention. Later I researched Morgan extensively online and signed up for some of his forums. I like Carey’s style, and as someone who lives just down the street from his brick and mortar premises, I feel he’s okay. That’s all I’ve got to say.

  • As a member of the REW forum, I can attest to the quality of REW in how they keep a very clean and professional forum. I have visited many real estate forums and theirs is the best.

  • I was amazed with the IDX Search capability. I have a live-chat on my REW website that allows me to view where/what people type into when they come to my website. To actually see someone type in the “MLS#12345 Coldwell Banker”, into google and have it land on my website speaks volumes about the SEO friendliness and power of REW. BTW – I am not with coldwell banker!

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  • abhiper

    Morgan has always been very persistent and it pays off.
    Great choice for an interviewee!

    Cash Online Get Easy cash at your door step

  • great post and defiantly great to see an interview with someone who knows whats going on in the real estate marketing world

  • I was banned from the Real Estate Webmasters Forum just 1 month ago for no apparent reason other than that I have a website in the same market as one of Morgan's clients. I had been a contributing member for over 3 years and was simply cut off with no explanation whatsoever. I emailed REW twice in the past month with no response.

    It seems to me that what started as an open and honest place to exchange information has now become yet another evil website development company.

    What disappoints me the most is that I routinely sent fellow real estate agents to their forum and at least 4 bought services as a result. Until I ear otherwise, this simply seems to be an anticompetitive move on Morgan's behalf to directly benefit their Nashville client (who rather be a photographer anyway).

  • Why is Real Estate Webmasters banning moderators from their site? I know one guy who has been posting there for the past 4 years and was just banned for life from the forum. He posted responsibly and actually sent them some business, although another agent in his Nashville market is a Real Estate Webmasters client (Gary Ashton). Emails to Morgan went ignored and unanswered. What gives Morgan?

  • propertyforsalecostabrava

    Nice Interview. Thanks

  • propertyforsalecostabrava

    Nice Interview. Thanks

  • being a webmaster is sometimes very tiring due to the large amount of multitasking involved’:”

  • Great read – it is always nice to be able read interviews with CEO’s of companies and they should be interviewed more often to keep infront of the public eye more often. Thanks for the interview w/ Morgan in regards to his real estate websites/company.

  • u secure heard this a billion times but i would like to no the greatest approach to
    advance 5000 gold in WoW ive tryed the dailes and agribusiness but i pretension find out
    what to be killed and i run outa dailes so if any 1 can lend a hand me content reprove me
    what i should WowGoldFirm as a replacement for 5000g?!

  • Blogging is a great idea to market your business.. especially real estate businesses

  • David

    Great Interview

  • REW builds a great website I have always been impressed with how they look and there user experience. Not to mention they SEO very well.

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