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November 4th, 2011

Realtors: Here’s how to improve your Google rank



Fran Images--SoldThe current reality is, all of us who work in the online space depend tremendously on search engines, especially Google–it’s one of the main ways consumers find the information they’re looking for.

Whenever I need directions, my first stop is Google maps. When I needed a chicken cacciatore recipe last weekend, I searched the term on Google (thank you, Giada De Laurentiis–it was delicious). Whenever I’m debating the answer to a question with friends, we usually settle our score by saying, “Google it!”

For homebuyers, the online process is very much the same. According to the National Association of Realtors, more than one third of homebuyers began their home search online, and nine out of 10 buyers researched online at some point during the homebuying process.

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So whenever Google decides to change its search algorithm (a techy way of saying changing the way search results are displayed), any professional who relies on the search engine to be seen takes notice.

“Given Google’s dominance in search, any change to its algorithm will be closely watched,” wrote Todd Wasserman of Mashable.com.

Steve Pacinelli, co-founder of TechSavvyAgent.com, said Google can make upwards of 600 smaller, incremental, changes each year, but it’s the big ones that make online businesses stop and listen.

In a recent video on TechSavvyAgent, Pacinelli explains how Google’s latest change is bound to shake up the real estate market, and it just might make or break the success of certain real estate agents.

The change, as described by Google’s Amit Singhal, is “a significant improvement to our ranking algorithm that impacts roughly 35 percent of searches and better determines when to give you more up-to-date relevant results for these varying degrees of freshness.”

How will it impact real estate and housing?

Since Google is placing greater value and higher rankings to the most recent content, mortgage and real estate websites that continue to produce a daily stream of quality content (such as HSH.com) will have a better chance ranking closer to the top.

For real estate agents, that means keeping your websites updated with new blog posts, mortgage calculators, fresh listings and the latest market commentary. For the most part, real estate is a localized business, and there’s a lot of competition for that business.

Let’s say a homebuyer searches “Philadelphia Real Estate” on Google. As Pacinelli explains, given the recent changes, the agent who creates the most content and the most recent content about the Philadelphia real estate market has the best chance at appearing higher up in the Google rankings for that exact phrase.

But remember, new content and more pieces of content don’t equal quality content. Back in February, Google’s Panda changes made it clear that high-quality content is still king. 

The reality is, fewer and fewer of us are pulling out an atlas to get from point A to point B. Why limit yourself to one or two cookbooks when the Internet is full of recipes from every corner of the world. And it’s truly unbelievable to know that you have the answers to a million questions given a few keystrokes and the click of a mouse.

Our search expectations are changing

Why does Google’s search algorithm need to change? Because, as the saying goes, “adapt or die.” (“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change”–Charles Darwin.)

As consumers, our expectations for online searches have grown. We want the latest and most relevant search results faster and easier. Likewise, online publishers expect their content to available the moment it goes live.

So whether it’s a recipe or the latest data and information on your local real estate market, the most current, consistent and quality content will prevail.

2 Responses to “Realtors: Here’s how to improve your Google rank”

  1. Tim O'Keefe Says: November 4th, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Yes quality content does matter. But if you provide quality content and no one comes then does it matter? Quality inbound links to your sites page will create the reputation so that your juicy page is found and syndicated.

  2. Grady Says: November 16th, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    This is a well-written, interesting post and one that real-estate professionals will surely appreciate. You make an excellent point about high-quality content, too.

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About the HSH Blog

HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

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Tim Manni

Tim Manni is the Managing Editor of HSH.com and the author of their daily blog, which concentrates on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets.

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