Over the weekend and into this week, it has become evident that Google has returned 7 Pack local results to most real estate and Realtor search terms.
From: Dave Keys Real Estate SEO Expert. Real Estate Marketing online. Today we’re looking at some of the biggest Google online visibility news for real estate agents in well over a year. Google has apparently shifted back to previous levels of visibility for real estate agents in local search business and map listings.
Now, wherever you may search, you’re most likely to find local results for “real estate agents” searches
and realtor searches and very often for “real estate” searches too.
Searches for “homes for sale” tend to deliver standard organic results with Zillow and Trulia leading the organic lineup in most markets.
Beginning in early May and especially over the weekend results began appearing and by now, if things remain in place, after well over a year, the ability to benefit from local results is once again available to the local real estate business online.
If you want to see where you stand for a local search and you’re not on the 7 or 3 pack, click the “Map results for link”
and see where you show up in the map listings. That gives you an indication of the work and competition ahead to get that top of the page visibility for your real estate business.
The signals for this visibility are straightforward. Generally, to rank well in local results, you need a healthy ranking in organic search. You also need sufficient data and citations for your business in appropriate Google local channels.
Contact me for details on this regained advantage for real estate agents.
Here’s how the Panda US Patent extract says it works. There’s not a lot left to the imagination about the intent of this patent. It becomes clear that Google has sophisticated scoring system and their wish is to apply that algorithmically to derive the best possible search results. Built into this patent if you look for it, is the entire concept of Google’s preference for brands that they have expressed at least since 2008 when Eric Schmidt declared that the Internet is a cesspool and brands clean up the cesspool. Although not covered in-depth in this video, google’s modification factors begin with the question of whether the query matches the resource– In other words do users tend to choose the Apple website when they type the word Apple into the search engine?
Any position on page 1 by a bona-fide local real estate agent instead of a branded national website is met by perfectly prepared leads and prospects who are now specifically looking for the right real estate agent to connect with.
As the search engine receives queries that move further away from of these brands, modification factors begin to be applied. To keep clear of modification factors, websites need authority and trusted associations to validate their qualification for higher preference in search results.
When it comes to SEO, there are a number of feared algorithms associated with Google search results ranking penalties. The Panda algorithm is considered by many to be among the most impactful if not the most. But, is that an accurate assessment? The capability of the algorithm to rank search results is the featured topic of the actual abstract of the Panda algorithm filed in 2012 with the US Patent office. Dave Keys of http://solutionsbydave.com covers this topic briefly here. Google is looking for a plurality of signals that authenticate the trust of any given web page or website. Looking for an SEO expert? Get help from Dave Keys for success in your real-estate SEO.
In the case of real estate SEO, the brands have become obvious and are given highly preferential treatment by Google. Nonetheless many people are dissatisfied with the experience that the big brands offer them–lots of houses and inventory to look at but no real personal connection. On the contrary, there is about as much trust felt in these syndicated introductions of the highest paying agent on the leaderboard as there is in a courtroom testimony by cigarette company executives.
The opportunity for local real estate agents to fill in the gap where the syndicates fall short is still enormous- so much that I’ve seen extremely high percentages of search volume in position #5 after Zillow, Trulia, Realtor, Homes take the top 4 spots, compared to standard estimates of search volume for page one positions. So many people find themselves dissatisfied with the syndicate experience that a whopping 25% of them make their way to position 5. Any position on page 1 by a bona-fide local real estate agent instead of a branded national website is met by perfectly prepared leads and prospects who are now specifically looking for the right real estate agent to connect with. Is it you?
2014 was a year when Google started really taking things away from the local agent in droves. What’s to be done about it? I’ll talk more about what they took away, but first the solution. What can the local agent do to take back some of the territory they enjoyed in 2013 and had slapped from their hands in 2014?
Fighting head to head with the syndicates and brands for page one visibility. In essence, this is the best, although not always affordable, answer. Hire an SEO like me or a better one than me. In other words, if you expect to follow this course, don’t expect to get away with cheap because you will get away with your clothes and skin burned right off. The damage from cheap, offshore SEO can be un-repairable or so arduous as to not be worth it. The gaze of Google on you will be unrelenting even if they release you from specific penalties. Like the Eye of Sauron, they will always be looking for the ring of unapproved link building and the withering effect of that gaze may be too much to ever recover the former glory of your ranking.
Google loves Zillow and all the rest, but there’s not enough Zillow-class stuff to put all over page one so there is room for you and believe me, the people who are still looking around the Internet after the Zillow experience are available in plenty of numbers to provide you with a robust flow of leads and prospects for your business.
Local real estate agents had to try even harder in 2014 for search visibility.
Google Taketh Away and Google Giveth
Here’s a quick list of what Google took away from the local agent in 2014: Authorship (that gave you the photo by your site listing in search results), HTML5 video thumbs (gave you an image for self-hosted videos), Google Local Business results (the 7 Pack went away for most RE queries), overall continued favor to big syndication brands like Zillow, taking away increased visibility on page one for primary search terms.
What’s the big search engine advantage to the local real estate agent now? Free inclusion in the big boys club. It’s not automatic but it is indeed free.
The Panda Misinformation Campaign
Ask anyone familiar with SEO what the Panda algorithm is and they’ll probably express it in terms of how it will penalize your website. Dr. Pete said as much in his Fat Pandas and Thin Content article way back in 2011 and I reflected that sentiment for the next three years with everyone else but no more. Matt Cutts appeared regularly on Q & A videos and forums to talk about Panda penalties and the chase was on to avoid yet another awful bird released by Google that might come and kill your website while you were sleeping or just having lunch.
What happened to change my mind and how do I see it now?
What Is The Panda Algorithm Exactly? In 2014 Google published what was already a public record- its patent filed with the US Patent office for the Panda Algorithm. You can read it in all its glory at http://www.google.com/patents/US8682892 but below is the Abstract that describes just what Google regarded as important enough for patent protection. The funny thing about a US Patent filing is that you can’t mislead the US Patent office because if you do, someone with a more accurate filing can come along and patent your idea by being accurate in describing it when you weren’t. In other words, there’s no lying or misdirection with the patent office because you might jeopardize your proprietary invention.
Check out the abstract with my highlighting:
Let’s just look at the words that are repeated and understand those but first, let’s look at the opening statement. It tells you in explicit terms just what Panda is. It is a method for ranking search results.
I’ll repeat that for emphasis.
IT IS A METHOD FOR RANKING SEARCH RESULTS.
Now, how it does that involves, as stated four times, a plurality of groups of resources. You can read the abstract and go on and read the patent and associated illustrations all you like and I’m not going to argue too long on the merits of my explanation because the actions I’ve taken on that understanding have transformed my own search results. I’ve used this method to rank pages instantly upon indexing with zero links. Zero.
Let’s look at what the plurality of groups of resources means and doesn’t mean by way of illustration:
Be part of the Plurality
The important thing is that Panda is not page rank. Panda is Google’s new, preferred method to rank websites and pages. In the absence of good strong plural resources from authority groups, Google will step down and use more traditional signals like single inbound links and other signals. Given the chance, Google will go with the group consensus.
Become a member site. The memberships are out there for the joining- mostly free. Engage, create content and make your website a member of that plurality and you’re on your way to aligning with the latest shiny positive ranking Algorithm in Google’s toolbox.
As always, if you need a robust, effective real estate SEO campaign to put your website into overdrive in 2015, contact me. Fill in the form to the right or call 714-924-4422.
Real Estate SEO
Real Estate Marketing Expert
2301 West Lincoln Avenue #248, Anaheim, CA 92801
In Like A Lamb… Penguin 3.0? If so, it seems fairly gentle for a Penguin update. Lots of changes in search results for some. Lots of chatter about Penguin 3.0 or Penguin 6 etc. The obvious is that something event-class happened early Saturday Oct 18, 2014. Anyone’s guess what it could be if not a Penguin refresh. That’s my vote but Google hasn’t confirmed. I have seen a few things improved where I knew someone had a Penguin penalty. Waiting for confirmation from Google if it ever comes.
Here’s what it’s not:
These are my observations only. Any of them could end up being off center of what is really happening but one thing is clear, the update seems to have extremely little or no impact on higher quality links.
The weekend has been abuzz with an obvious update in the algorithm. Recovery of websites, including some that I have managed, disappearance of other websites (none of which I have managed) seem to fit within the definition of a Penguin algorithm refresh or update. There are a lot of things this update is NOT (yet) which should be paid attention to until more information can be verified. Here is my short list:
• Not confirmed by Google (Now it’s confirmed)
• Not necessarily Penguin as we know it – far weaker right now than previous updates
• Not necessarily completed. Anything could follow this. It could roll back, stay the same or get more intensive.
• May not be too strong because of the reported difficulty in distinguishing between negative SEO and intent-to-rank SEO.
• May not be permanent. Could be just another test. Previous reports show penguin like recovery followed by repositioning to penalized rankings.
• Seems to more clearly target lowest quality automated link building such as GSA, Magic submitter, SENuke etc. This would certainly be the easiest footprint to separate from the rest and this update has done just that by my observations. This is also the more likely source of negative SEO as well so it’s hard to say what will happen next if a lot of complaints about negative SEO flood Google in the morning.
Finally a Google Penguin Update? Happy Now?
Google, according to one Gary Illyes might maybe be launching a Penguin Algorith refresh next week. We’ve heard a few cries of wolf before but maybe if testing goes well this might be the big one.
According to the article on SearchEngineLand.com, most people will find the new Penguin algorithm “a delight.”
Thinking of a quick rush to disavow links? Forget it. Too late. That index has been built as of a few weeks ago.
Search Engine Land says the good guys at Google are “working hard on making both webmasters and users happy. Last time someone said everyone would be happy was when the writers of the Lost series finale created a flopper that made exactly .0053% of the viewing audience happy.
This comes down to the truth vs. the PR campaign that, just like the fun at Googoe, never stops. It also comes down to attempts by Google to put everyone’s focus on driving organic search profiteers away while sequestering to themselves an army of non-commercial content providers and paying Adwords advertisers. This is a model that the TV and movie industry could never quite achieve. Let any would-be popular star try their hand at being content producers on the web and see how they fare. Google is shoring up dollars and ad revenue with every algorithmic update and penalty.