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Why real estate agents rarely rank highly in search engine results

As the listing syndication debate remains contentious, brokers are battling for consumer eyeballs. A new study reveals that it is a major challenge for real estate agents to be found in search engine results.

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listing syndication

listing syndication

Realtors and search engine results

The long running real estate listing syndication debate has been heated and resulted in brokers across America evaluating the final destination(s) for their company’s listings. It has been contentious for many reasons, but the underlying reason the industry remains in upheaval is search engine rankings, leaving real estate professionals to analyze whether syndicators are helpful or hurtful when it comes to connecting with consumers.

After reviewing results, brokers are coming to different conclusions to this same question, which is why Real Geeks IDX Provider studied the current state of real estate SERPS (search engine result pages) to examine how a real estate professional’s listing is showing up in search engines and why so that brokers can make more informed decisions.

In the first part of Real Geeks’ series on the topic, they point out that when consumers search for terms like “Tampa Real Estate,” it is no longer likely that an individual agent or even brokerage is at the top of the search engine results in the first, second, or third page, rather the results are dominated by large syndicators or national brands.

This is the very reason that some brokers have opted out of syndicating, as they don’t seek to help syndicators to outrank them individually, while others continue to syndicate as they continue to garner most of their business through the large sites.

Current state of real estate SERPS

When Real Geeks did a search with “[city] real estate” (while logged out of Google, of course) with the top 50 metro areas by population, they logged the first three pages of Google results. Of the 1691 individuals collected from the first three pages of the top 50 metros, 30 percent of page one listings were local sites, 8.0 percent of which were Google Plus pages.

Fully 58 percent of page one listings were traditional organic pages rather than paid listings or ads, 47 percent of which were root pages (homepages), and 53 percent of which were interior pages (not homepages). Further, 5.0 percent of all page one results were for news organizations.

Real Geeks offers that this is a challenge for individual real estate professionals, because when you consider the number of independent agents in a given city, of the three local listings on page one (results that are not syndicators, big brands, or news), the odds are stacked against a single agent making the cut to be one of those three on page one.

Graphic depicting full study results:
real estate SERPs

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Joe Loomer

    December 6, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Looking forward to more in this series.  Our own success has been more closely linked to focusing on the long tail than attacking the #1 keywards.
     
    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    • 904living

      December 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      @Joe Loomer I need some tips from you…  I do okay in the city/area level searches but would like to be generating more organic traffic from neighborhood and street address searches…

      • Joe Loomer

        December 10, 2012 at 10:36 am

        @904living  @Joe Loomer drop me a line at jloomer@kw.com and I’ll send you some info!  Thanks! 
         
        Navy Chief, Navy Pride

        • thejorygroup

          December 12, 2012 at 12:39 pm

          @Joe Loomer  Joe, would you mind sharing your info ,re: organic traffic?  
          Thanks in advance…..Jory Blake, jory@joryblake.com

  2. MattThomson

    December 6, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Will you be continuing their series or should we be following their page from here out?

  3. MTrewe

    December 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    We’ll be continuing the series @MattThomson . As for visiting them, go for it 🙂

  4. AgentGenius

    December 6, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Real Geeks did a great job 🙂

  5. drewmeyers

    December 6, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I really don’t believe syndication has much at all to do with brokers/agents getting outranked.

    • bobwilson

      December 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      @drewmeyers I dont think anyone said that.

    • maloney75

      December 7, 2012 at 10:27 am

      @drewmeyers Maybe not for the City real estate terms but it DEFINITELY does for all the long tail search results.

    • bdmanson

      December 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      @drewmeyers One of the ranking factors is content. The big portals are using the brokers/agents listings as a big part of their content. The brokers/agents have empowered them by letting them use their (content) listings plus are unknowingly building their authority to help them outrank for their own content.. The brokers that are pulling out are probably sick of empowering the portals so they can sell them traffic back to their sites… That’s something to think about..
       
      The next series will cover in more detail how the brokers/agents are helping the portals like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com outrank them… Stay tuned 🙂

  6. maloney75

    December 7, 2012 at 10:30 am

    @drewmeyers  Syndication may not affect brokers/agents being outranked for the [city] real estate terms but it definitely affects the serps for all the long tail stuff.

  7. TobyBarnett

    December 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    I bet many have fallen to the syndicator’s suggestion of “let me help you ad our badge to your website” that conveniently includes a link back to the “city real estate” page of the syndicator. Also, the big money in which large syndicators have over the local broker is largely unrivaled. Individual brokers don’t have an in-house SEO department or the skill level to implement current and emerging SEO techniques. Why? Most brokers are doing what they know; selling homes.

    • drewmeyers

      December 7, 2012 at 3:53 pm

      @TobyBarnett You mean most agents are selling homes. Brokers are recruiting agents 😉

      • TobyBarnett

        December 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm

        @drewmeyers  Nope, in Washington State real estate agents are now referred to as brokers, associate brokers are now managing brokers with every firm still retaining a designated broker. Real estate brokerages recruit brokers. Technicalities 😛

  8. RobertaMurphy

    December 7, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Have wondered if SERP battle is with ZTR, Google–or our own lack of foresight?  Mostly the latter, I would guess. Kudos to RealGeeks for interesting infographic; looking forward to more.

  9. AndyPiper

    December 8, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Big players have gained and small players have lost ground with recent Google algorithm changes.

  10. AnitaKoppens

    December 10, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Top competition keywords are good but long tail still means targeted and more serious buyers. I know lots of consumers will still click on the 1st result for head keywords but the user experience on many of the portals leave something to be desired. I haven’t seen any of our more authoritative sites suffer profoundly despite Penguin and Panda so there is still a lot of opportunity out there.

  11. thejorygroup

    December 12, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Either way, this is great information for local agents hoping to promote their online presence / lead capture abilities. Since efficiency is part of our program, knowing where to focus our efforts helps avoid wasted personnel hours.
     
    Jory Blake
    Riverside,CA Home Sales

  12. bdmanson

    December 17, 2012 at 1:14 am

    The 2nd infographic should be posted here on Monday… Stay tuned and get ready to spread the word. The more agents that become aware of how they are unknowingly helping the competitors (Z,T & R) out rank them the better.

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Business Marketing

A more environmentally sensitive Pantone color of the year

(MARKETING) Why is Pantone’s coral color causing a ruckus? Marketing is just marketing, right? Maybe not…

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pantone unofficial color of 2020

Every year Pantone declares the Color of the Year and for 2019, the institute declared Living Coral to be the “it” shade calling it “an animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.” And it totally is. Imagine bright red orange swimming in a sea of crystal blue water.

Pantone’s Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman even goes so far as saying it that Living Coral was what “consumers craved” and that it incites “human interaction and social connection” which might be a stretch. It is just a color after all.

However, some found this messaging to be anything but convivial and well, off-color.

Jack Railton-Woodcock and Huei Yin Wong, partners at Jack and Huei, a Melbourne-based design agency, took umbrage with this decision and for good reason.

Their native Australia has front-row seats to the dying of the Great Barrier Reef and for them, coral is anything but lively. If anything, it’s on life support.

To call attention to the tone-deaf decision, the duo preemptively christened Bleached Coral as the Color of the Year 2020.

Touche.

The duo furthered their burn, saying, “It’s the responsibility of all of us, creative or otherwise, to find creative solutions to big problems, and right now there aren’t many problems facing humanity that are bigger than climate change.”

Oof, way to pull back the curtain, guys.

As much of a buzzkill as this pair might be, they’re not wrong, and they bring up the larger question of social responsibility in marketing.

But it’s just marketing, right?

Wrong. The very root of marketing is aspirational. We see ads for luxury cars, we imagine ourselves behind the wheel and believe that maybe we can get there. We see beauty products that promise flawless ageless skin and maybe we decide to take better care of our skin. We see Living Coral and we’re blinded to the reality that the coral just might be a thing of the past.

Yes, Pantone’s Color of the Year is one of those fun end-of-year things we in marketing get excited about, but when you’re living in a world where climate change is our reality and we see it in unnatural weather patterns and the dying off of one of our greatest natural treasures, it’s time to take pause. We can do better.

These days it’s hard to please everybody. Try as we might to make everything for everyone, if we’re going to attempt to talk about a unifying the human race through color, we sure as hell shouldn’t choose a color that reminds us all that our environment is in rough shape and it’s largely humanity’s fault. Bleached Coral isn’t the color we need, but right now, it’s the color we deserve.

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Business Marketing

Video marketing is here to stay – 5 ways to change your SEO strategy

(MARKETING) Video marketing now constitutes the majority of all web traffic – is your brand getting lost in the shuffle?

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video marketing SEO

Video marketing has grown as a content strategy over the past several years, as the explosion in mobile devices and fast mobile internet has made it more feasible to stream videos on the fly. And considering more than three-quarters of all business using video marketing are seeing results, it’s unlikely that video marketing is a trend going away anytime soon.

If you’re a search marketer, video content isn’t a trend you can ignore. You need to adapt your SEO strategy if you’re going to thrive in this new market and capitalize on the new opportunities that video provides.

Videos as Part of SEO

How exactly do videos impact your campaign?

  • Platform-specific optimization. Google gets all the attention in SEO, but it isn’t the only search engine you can optimize for. Video-centric platforms, like YouTube, function as independent algorithms with dedicated audiences. That represents an additional ranking opportunity, and the chance to get your content in front of new audiences.
  • Onsite value. Videos are also powerful ways to improve the authority and value of your onsite pages. Integrating a video into your how-to guide, for example, can make visitors spend more time on your pages and engage with your content in more meaningful ways. Accordingly, high-quality videos could increase your onsite authority.
  • Brand reputation and links. Good videos have the potential to quickly improve your reputation as a content creator, making you visible to more people and making people appreciate your content more. That means you’ll have opportunities with more external publishers, and you could potentially attract more links to your domain.

How to Adapt Your Strategy

So what steps should the average search marketer take to adapt their SEO strategy for the future of video marketing?

  1. Create more videos. For starters, you can spend more time creating and publishing video content as part of your overall content marketing strategy. Including them onsite, as part of your articles and guides, can bolster your onsite strategy, while including them offsite can help you optimize your offsite presence. Learning to create high-quality videos isn’t as hard as it seems; you don’t need expensive equipment, nor do you need much experience (though it does help). As long as you’re focused on creating content that your viewers want to see and are converting your videos to the appropriate file formats, you should stand to gain from the efforts.
  2. Leverage multiple mediums of content. Your videos don’t have to exist exclusively in video form. In fact, if you transform your videos into multiple different formats, you can benefit from it in multiple contexts. For example, publishing your video content, then including a written transcript and a downloadable audio file can expose you to multiple audiences simultaneously, while giving Google more content to crawl.
  3. Learn to title and tag your videos appropriately. Depending on where you publish your videos, you’ll likely have the opportunity to label them with a title, a brief description, and possibly categories and tags. These are incredibly valuable for helping algorithms “understand” what your video is about, and an opportunity to captivate your audience at the same time. For example, a catchy or compelling video title will attract more clicks when you’re featured in search results, and including the right tags can ensure you come up for more searches.
  4. Take advantage of YouTube’s algorithm. Don’t optimize for YouTube the same way you’d optimize for Google (though there are some similarities to consider). Instead, learn how YouTube’s algorithm works and use strategies to capitalize on its functionality. For example, you can tweak your content to get more likes and comments or optimize your channel to get more subscribers. You can also look at how your competitors are tagging and categorizing their similar videos, and either mimic or complement those strategies.
  5. Foster a video-centric community. Finally, take the time to build and nurture a video-centric community. Engage with the people who are commenting on your videos, and reach out to people on social media to see what they think of your video content. Doing this motivates people to continue following your channel, and will attract more people to your brand at the same time. Best of all, earning more regular subscribers and viewers will increase your authority as it’s perceived by algorithms like those from Google and YouTube search.

You don’t have to include videos as part of your content creation strategy to be successful in SEO, but it certainly has the potential to improve your performance. At the very least, you should be aware of your competitors making use of videos in their strategies, and adjust your tactics to reflect the nature of this new era.

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Business Marketing

How right and left brain thinkers market differently

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There is a long held belief supported by neurological data that personality traits and how a person analyzes information depends highly on whether they are right- or left-brained thinkers. The right brain is creative and the left side is logical and people are typically wired to lean more strongly toward one or the other. Using data from the Daily Telegraph and Razorfish, Marketo created an infographic dissecting how marketing campaigns differ depending on the marketer.

“In marketing, there is a similar divide between emotion-based, artistic marketing and value-based, practical marketing. The marketers who design these ads can be considered lef-or right-brain thinkers,” Marketo notes.

If you are a marketer, the type of thinker you are guides the campaigns you design, or as a business owner, the following will help you to understand where your marketers are coming from. Which type of marketing are you more in line with – left brain inspired marketing or right brain inspired marketing?

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