Local Real Estate Sites No Longer Dominate The First Page of Search Engines
In the vast updates and algorithm changes of the top search engine,s most of the local real estate agents and companies are suffering from a lack of online lead generation and top ranking keywords. Despite their previous SEO efforts, their websites and local results are no longer appearing on the first pages of the SERPs for area specific keywords; Example: “San Francisco Real Estate”. The top positions on search engines for these types of keywords are now occupied by nationwide real estate websites. In this process local buyers and sellers are pushed into a non-local real estate portals websites. Many in the real estate community struggle to generate new buyers and sellers online while also adjusting to the new rules.
The Rationale for the Update
This change has affected a lot of businesses especially those in the real estate industry. According to Jim Yu at Search Engine Watch, local real estate websites have suffered a 63% decline in the Google Places results.
Now nationwide real estate websites are dominating the first page. These national sites have also partnered with many of the top search engines.
Some experts are also wondering if this change is an acknowledgement, people who are searching to buy or sell homes want to use nationwide websites instead of local real estate firms. This however, is just speculation as there is no proof at all that it’s true.
Local real estate agents can help sellers boost the value of a property and find the most suitable buyers through advertising. They help buyers because they understand what they want and need in a home and they can easily find what buyers are looking for due to their local knowledge. These agents help buyers by personally showing them properties not through a computer monitor but with their own eyes.
This move has only caused some experts to wonder about the motive. Is it really to “focus on the user”, as search engines have always maintained? Are the people who want to sell or buy a home really being helped by emphasizing nationwide listing companies?
Or is it about boosting ad revenue? With the new update, paid advertising now remains the easiest but expensive way to appear on the first page. It’s now extremely difficult with organic rankings. Now these nationwide sites are using our own listing feeds to dominate the first (and even the second pages), and our local websites and companies are now being lost in the search engines. Buried so far back in the results nobody can find them.
This can only have dire consequences for local real estate agents/companies. These are the people who take the risk and do the leg work. These are the ones who get a property listed, advertised, and sold.
But now because of the influence that these nationwide firms have held over the search engine search results, real estate companies must have a relationship with them and pay top dollar for buyers and seller traffic that once was generated by their own or company site.
Now nationwide sites can ask for large amounts of advertising money from real estate agents and firms that are hoping that this will replace their lost traffic and potential clients. How much of the commission will ultimately go to them? Whatever it is, the rates will continue to go up unless something can be done about it. These real estate agents and company communities are basically paying for advertising that was once generated by local real estate companies.
What Does This All Mean?
So what does this mean for every local real estate company trying to generate business online? Ultimately, Search Engines are still one of the most influential factors for the real estate industry. Its impact is undeniable, since a simple algorithm change can have a significant impact on sales.
It doesn’t mean that local real estate companies can no longer compete in the present situation. It just means that the rules have changed, and local real estate companies simply need to adapt to the new rules or hire a professional that has internet marketing & Real Estate experience.
Author: Matt Geri
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