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Can having a community calendar have negative effects on SEO?

     
2:32 pm on Nov 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I'm working on a site that has a 'Community' calendar. It is a local realtor with a very robust community calendar of all kinds of events, but not related to real estate per se -- just to the area's arts, festivals, etc

I have a feeling that it's affecting our SEO efforts, as most (vast majority) of organic traffic to the site is for those events and that traffic isn't flowing into the primary service pages.

Anybody have experience with using community calendars on a site have insight as to the benefits or detriments to SEO?

Thanks.
8:34 pm on Nov 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator phranque is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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Have you crawled your site?
Some calendar applications generate URLs that cause canonicalization problems.

Does googlebot crawl calendar URLs that have no event information?
i.e. thin content...
9:45 pm on Nov 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Yes, there are issues, and we've been working on them, from the duplicate and expired events.

But my question is really more from the point of view of the 'not relevant' content being created on the site. For example, there's a ton of these events, but they're not related to real estate. I'm just wondering how Google views that. Does it now see the site as a community calendar rather than a realtor? Or, is that done on a page-by-page basis?
9:48 pm on Nov 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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As you might appreciate, there is a lot of "it depends" in the question. As a blanket statement, I'd say, "it won't matter if your SEO traffic was strong before the calendar and has not diminished." I work in a large enterprise for a leading brand and we have lots of off-topic content for branding purposes. Sometimes a recipe for hot cross buns might get more traffic for a little while than primary content. Makes me nervous but it has not mattered in the long run.

You shouldn't expect such traffic to flow into your primary pages, as people weren't looking to buy/rent when they clicked a link to an event. The key measure is whether organic leads have decreased.

Another brand has a calendar with lots of events - it has not affected traffic to the primary pages.

[edited by: anallawalla at 9:54 pm (utc) on Nov 16, 2017]

9:50 pm on Nov 16, 2017 (gmt 0)

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I think sites are evaluated on a page by page basis leading to an overall theme for the site.
10:46 am on Nov 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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Any fringe element of a site is not likely to make a difference to the overall performance. If the calendar element leads to hundreds of "dead" links it might have a negative impact, but as long as most of those links work it should be fine. Real estate is very competitive, and Google favors the established larger sites. Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com are well established and trusted sites. After those it likes the major brokerages, then comes the individual operators. For an individual broker, or agent, to succeed now they need a 15+ year old site that is highly regarded.

I got out of real estate in 2007, at that time Google had already become aware of the tricks we could play to influence results. Today I wouldn't go anywhere near real estate web sites for the purpose of SEO, you have no chance of making a difference.
2:44 pm on Nov 23, 2017 (gmt 0)

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@percentages very interesting perspective. I fully agree about the fringe elements. I would just add, that one needs to be sure that a "fringe" element doesn't inadvertently grow to become more than a fringe.

you have no chance of making a difference

This is likely true. But this has more to do with framing your goal. As an individual you may not be able to compete against the big players, but as an agent one still needs a website. But the site should really be focused on the agent, the agents offering and qualifications more than trying to use the site to sell properties. Local search must be of utmost importance.

So back to the topic, the events calender is a great idea, and it should not have any negative impact if implemented correctly. I think Anallawalla comments are spot on:

You shouldn't expect such traffic to flow into your primary pages, as people weren't looking to buy/rent when they clicked a link to an event. The key measure is whether organic leads have decreased.