June 13, 2011

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Is Google Personalized Search A Threat To Property Sites

propertyadguru.com welcomes a guest post from Nicholas Marr on how Google’s new search could spell bad news for online agents.

Nicholas Marr is CEO and founder of Marr International, the company behind UK based overseas property website homesgofast.com, which has been running since 2003. Nicholas is also a lifetime property investor who has a passion for international real estate, and appears on Television show ‘Ask the Property Expert’ on Overseas Property TV.

There is a quite revolution going on and its right here at your computer and it may well affect your real estate business online. Google is changing the way search engines present their results. No longer is it one size fits all, now you will be served a more personalized search result. The results you receive when searching for say “property in united states” are very likely to be different to the ones that I receive conducting the same search query.

You will be put in a group
You and I will be grouped into different populations, and will be presented with a lists of results for a query in an order based upon past user behaviour of other members of that population.

The good news is that spammers who falsely achieve better rankings via unethical means will no longer benefit and that you may be presented with more accurate search results.

The existing Google algorithm which worked out how it would rank a certain website was based on a limited set of variables. Linking is an example, websites that had good one way links ranked better than others. The new system has increased the variables and consequently ranking is now likely to be less important as it is only one of a many new variables

The Bad News
The bad news that makes me nervous is the unknowns, how will this effect real estate website that lists property in more than one US state or with property abroad. How will the search results react to a person in the New York seeking property in Florida. Will the New York based property websites take precedence over the Florida or overseas websites?

Google has the power
Some may say that this change has come at a time when online businesses are suffering with the global slowdown and now real estate professional are set with another hurdle to get over. I am sure the debate about Google having too much power and the ability to make or break at the change of its tactics will continue.

Ranking not important anymore
For those that have worked hard to rank their property related websites the fear is that ranking may be dead! What is the point of being No.1 for your cherished search term when each user is presented with different search results?

What the experts say
Bruce Clay of Bruce Clay, Inc. “Ranking is dead,” says Bruce, recalling his words from his presentation. Going forward, he says you’re going to have to look at analytics, measure traffic, bounce rates, action, etc. SEOs will have to ask themselves questions like: Did I get the conversion I was after? Did I really deliver on the promise of SEO?

Bruce thinks that in the first six months of 2009, we’re going to see a lot more implementation of behaviour and intent-based search leading to a mindset of “ranking is dead, and traffic is all that matters.”

Matt Cutts of Google Cutts said, “I’m not sure I would say ranking is dead but it’s not as important as it used to be. The fact is the smart SEOs are not just necessarily looking at the rankings. They are looking at conversion, they are looking at their server log. It’s great if you’re ranking for a phrase but unless that leads to sales that doesn’t help you very much.”

“The challenge is not to pay so much attention to ranking, pay attention to traffic, pay attention to conversions and keep building good content and don’t worry about ‘can I show people that I rank number one for my trophy phrase.’”

Bill Slawski of www.seobythesea.com says “What this might mean for searchers is that Google might show you results in an order based upon what it thinks might interest you the most, based upon whatever information it can collect about you, and based upon what people whom it believes share population information with you found interesting enough to look at in the past.

What this might mean for site owners is that the search engine might rank your pages higher for some populations of searchers and lower for other populations of searchers based upon a wider range of information than just whether your site is relevant for specific query terms”.

A conclusion
What ever the outcome its certainly change that may make the search experience more accurate for users. Real estate professionals will need to monitor how this will change their business online it may prove the best thing Google ever did

Interesting reading on this matter
How Google Might Personalize Search Results Outside of Personalize Search
Will Personal Search Turn SEO On Its Ear?
Google Ramps Up Personalized Search

By Nicholas Marr
CEO of Marr International the company behind overseas property website homesgofast.com


Related posts:

  1. Google’s Latest Releases Part 1: Real-time Search
  2. As Google Changes, it Pays to Check Your Rankings
  3. Rev Up Your Website
  4. Previously on Property Ad Guru: SEO
  5. Google’s Latest Releases Part 2: Personalised Results
  6. Google Instant: What Does It Mean for Marketers?
  7. Common SEO Mistakes on Real Estate Sites
  8. Using Google Keywords for More Traffic
  9. Google Gives SEO Tips
  10. Google AdWords, SEO & Blogging: A UK Perspective – Part One



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