Make Google Fall in Love With You (All Over Again)

Call it Love Story 2.0: Here’s what you need to know to attract the attention of Google now that the company has changed the way its search engine works.

September 19, 2012

I love all things Web: social media, blogging, and making my site the best it can be. And I love it when the Internet loves me back. Increasing my online exposure and seeking out the latest and greatest ways to connect with consumers is just something I enjoy.

Some other real estate pros, well, don’t. Typical responses I get from colleagues when discussing their online presence include:

“Internet leads are all garbage. They aren’t serious.”

“I’m not a computer programmer; I’m an agent! I don’t have the time to blog.”

Let’s start with the first statement. Today’s consumer often begins their home search on the Web. Generations X and Y especially grew up in tech-friendly environments, so finding their home and their agent online is natural to them.

As for not being an IT genius, I can definitely relate. But, you don’t have to be one to grow your presence online.

Still, Web technology evolves constantly, and you have to keep up. For example, Google recently changed the way it indexes Web sites, which turned much of the conventional wisdom regarding search on its head.

I talked to some SEO experts to learn about Google’s new search algorithm. The most-mentioned change was in relation to duplicate content. In short, originality counts.

“Google aims to return authoritative relevant results,” says Jesse Leimgruber, certified Google analyst and SEO pro at Rank Executives. “They now remove sites that are not authoritative, post duplicate content, and fail to add value to users. Their recent ‘Panda’ update was designed to improve search experience by demoting low-quality sites that lack useful and original content.”

So while sharing that great article you found on the Web will hold value for, say, your Facebook friends or Twitter followers, it won’t aid in your ranking for Google. Copying content can actually hurt your site’s rankings, so save the sharing for social media. Keep it original when it comes to your blog and content on your Web site.

Another key to attracting Google love is good grammar. “Proper sentence and paragraph construction is important,” says computer programmer John Nelson. “Bad grammar will result in Google ranking you lower than someone writing a similar article with good grammar.”

Getting other authoritative, quality sites to link to your site will improve your relationship with Google as well. In the spirit of collaboration, why not link to another real estate agent’s site in another city or state? You’ll both reap the rewards, and Google will appreciate your sharing.

Frequently updating your blog or site is another great way to boost your rank. It’s free, but there is an investment of time. Google is constantly crawling the Web to find changes, so the more you refresh the content on your site, the better your search rankings will be. Keep target-audiences queries in mind: If no one is searching for what you’re writing about, you probably won’t get traffic to your blog. Do you farm a particular neighborhood? Why not feature a local eatery or event? This way you’ll boost your rank while targeting your preferred audience at the same time — two birds with one stone.

So if you’re looking to make Google swoon for your site, keep the content fresh and new. Write about what your audience wants to know and avoid duplicating content, and you’ll be on your way to a lasting love affair.