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Google Evolves, Are You Ready?

As Google continues to evolve its algorithms in order to provide the most relevant search results (and maintain its dominance of the web), real estate professionals must adapt if they are to contend in the highly competitive world. Up until recently, for many SEO’s the mantra was ‘links, links, links’. Although there were many different factors that would make measurable differences (i.e. anchor text, linking domain diversity), the underlying concept remained simple:  The more incoming links, the better. Many of us know numerous examples of low-quality sites ranking for competitive terms with the only merit being the amount of high-PR links, even if those links were questionable in nature (possibly paid) and from irrelevant sites. But now, there seems to be a very marked shift in Google/Bing/Yahoo’s algorithms, putting more emphasis on links from user-generated sites and social media interaction.

The last update from Google was anything but subtle, having a far-reaching effect that was meant to reduce ranking of low-quality, generic sites. The metrics used by the search engines will always be open to speculation by the SEO world, but what is clear is that the search engines are intent in rewarding credible sites with original, unique content. It could be further theorized that links from user-generated review sites (i.e. Yelp) will gain importance, as (up to an extent) it could be presumed that sites reviewed well contain high quality content that provide a good user experience. This aspect of SEO will prove to be more difficult to manipulate than straight backlinking, as there is a level of involvement from end-users and will give more credibility to recipients of positive feedback. Also, it had long been suspected in the SEO community that some algo metrics derived from social media; these could include number of retweets, the quality of followers, number of FB friends and ‘likes’, LinkedIn engagement and so on. This was further confirmed by Danny Sullivan’s interview, which went more in-depth as to what social signals are being weighted in the algos of the Google and Bing. Involvement in social media can have a two-fold effect: Better engage in contact with potential clients (which agents are able to do on  a more personal level than big brokerages) and have a marked effect on SERP’s.

By placing more weight on metrics that measure heavy involvement with consumers, the new changes are meant to reward high-quality sites (well reviewed sites with original content, linked to a strong SM presence) at the expense of  low-quality sites (generic in nature, with mostly duplicate content). Real estate professionals who want to maintain/establish a competitive advantage on the SERPs will face a choice: embrace the new shifts or perish into oblivion.

About Alex Cortez

Maui Realtor specializing in Honua Kai Condos For Sale, Wailea Real Estate and Wailea Condos for sale.

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  • This seems to mean that an active social media presence is going to be paramount to real estate pros succeeding with gaining traffic from the search engines. I think Google and the other SE’s want to reward the sites/people that are active online. And rightfully so (IMO); fresh content is more valuable then static, stale content that hasn’t changed in a year or two.

  • I admit it – I read every blog post on geekestate. Keep up the great work.

    But lets talk about the realities of SEO. What does the sales funnel really look like

    1 Million page views
    500 leads
    3-5 deals

    How many agents can fill the top of the funnel with SEO? Seriously.

    If you can provide me with a list of 5 agents who use SEO and convert more then 5 deals a year, I will volunteer to write a paper about it and broadcast their success. All of the deals need to come from SEO – not listing syndication, not social media marketing, not direct traffic, etc. SEO. Search Engine to Website to Lead Generation to Sale.

    • Victor,

      3 – 5 deals a year generated from a website would definitely be on the very low side.
      We have already generated 23 closings so far from my site and currently have 43 in escrow due to close within the next 40 days.

      All generated from the websites organic traffic. You need three things to make it all work.

      1. Quality Traffic to the site. (real Buyers & Sellers)
      2. Great site set up for converting leads into sales. That would include an easy to use search, great lead capture and backend lead manager.
      3. Agents that actually follow up and the leads and know how to sell.

      It is really that easy 🙂

      If any one knows someone moving to Hawaii you can send them to my site at


    • Anonymous

      Aloha Victor,

      I would say that 5 deals a year from organic search engine traffic is rather low, particularly for websites that dominate their respective markets. If you would really like a list of 5, I can easily provide that for you. One of my colleagues in Calgary just closed on a $3M sale from an internet lead to her site. And as we forward and technology becomes even more prevalent in generating leads, top producers in markets across the board will rely heavily on SEO. Best of luck.

    • Victor – Just wondering if you’ve received your list of 5 agents yet that close more than 5 deals a year from SEO?

      I’d be happy to throw our site in for an interview if you’re going to write about it.

      SEO – Site – Lead Gen – Sale… I’d love to hear how it breaks down for others. –

  • Ben Fisher

    I’ve only had about 4000 page views on my very basic WP blog site and still closed 2 deals from it in the first 6 months with very little effort and not a great design… SEO work has paid of for me on my very minimal investment.

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