Real estate is local. We all know that. So, why, when I enter the name of a real estate market. . .say, “real estate in Napa,” does Google give me, in the top entries of the page, the results from NATIONAL websites that tell me zilch about Napa real estate?
Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia and Yahoo real estate are the top choices. If they give any local information, which is highly unlikely, it’s a regurgitation of census numbers. And, sadly, a lot of it is from the 2k census and not the 2010.
Now, I’m just a writer and I do these searches to research articles I write for my real estate clients. What if I were truly looking for a home — and a real estate agent — in Henderson, Nevada or Anderson, Indiana? My choices, were I to stick to the first page of Google results — as most searchers do — would be incredibly useless to me as a buyer with a specific area I’m interested in.
Woe to the real estate agent that is attempting to get to page one of Google for search terms for his or her local area. I don’t really know if that’s possible. Honestly, I hate to be the harbinger of bad news, but it seems as if the national sites have page one locked up.
It’s interesting that Google’s algorithm update — Panda — was supposed to have made web searching easier for us by returning what they consider “valuable links.”
Honestly, what they were going after was the content farms. Admirable, but ineffective. What they did is leave the little guys — independent real estate agents with truly valuable information — in the back of the bus while the aggregators take center stage.
What is really disgusting is that the information they are aggregating comes from the very people they are pushing down in the Google rankings.
I’m sorry, but when I want information on moving to Springfield, Oregon, the garbage that Google is giving me doesn’t cut it. I want information from the feet-on-the-ground, not some national site that doesn’t know San Francisco’s Mission from North Beach.
So, it seems the best a real estate agent can hope for in this post-teddy bear age is the last two or three spots on page one.
You better make darned sure your seo and content is good enough to get you there, and keep you there.