Google recently announced that they’ve redesigned how they index content on the web under the name Caffeine. What, if anything, will this mean for real estate?
As Google explained on their blog, the first major benefit should be faster indexing of new content on the web. Google’s robots are continuously scanning the web for new content. This change should allow them to get more fresh content into their search results faster. For real estate, this may mean faster indexing of new listings or blog posts.
Former Google employee, Vanessa Fox, writing at Search Engine World, explains that Google will be able to associate more information with the content they index:
The Caffeine infrastructure provides more flexibility in the type of details that can be stored with a document. As the web changes and new valuable data about web content emerges, Google won’t have to build new code to take advantage of it. This means that while Caffeine itself is not a ranking algorithm change, it could impact ranking in the future (as new signals are associated with pages).
So, what does that mean? Here are a few possibilities. This doesn’t mean that Google is or will do any of these, but they seem possible.
1. Better tracking of country of origin (mentioned in Fox’s piece) in order to help people find content from their own country.
2. Geocoding of content. If an address or lat/long are included with a page, Google could use that to improve “what’s nearby” type searches.
3. Industry specific content. If Google could detect and classify content as real estate related, they could use that to improve results for terms that have proven to be real estate related.
In practice, Google may be able to do provide better results than they do today for terms like “3 bedroom 2 bath home for sale”. Today, that term appears to be too broad to deliver quality results. However, if Google detects where you are (they can do to varying degrees based on what you allow them to do), determines that this is a real estate related search, checks their index for relevant real estate related content, then serves it up in a relevant manner, they’ll provide a better experience to searchers.
What do real estate sites need to do to take advantage of this? The same sort of things they should be doing today:
A. Make sure Google can see your website’s content. If they can’t, you simply will not show up in search results.
B. Make sure you’re creating original content for your site. If you have the exact same content as every other site competing in your market, you’re not giving Google a particularly good reason to bother indexing your site. Blog posts are one of the easiest ways to publish original content.
C. Make sure your site has high authority. Google’s measure for this is called PageRank. If two page have identical or nearly identical content, which one will Google rank higher in their results, or bother indexing at all? The one that they’ve determined has higher authority. This comes down to link popularity. The quantity and quality of websites that link to your website help Google determine whether your site is an authority site. Fly by night sites have a hard time gaining links. If you’re a credible business, people will link to you. And people will link to you more often and faster if you’re creating the type of content that they want to talk about, such as definitive blog posts on why certain neighborhoods are family friendly.
In conclusion, Google’s goals haven’t changed. They want to provide high quality results to searchers in order to keep them coming back and occasionally clicking on an ad. If you’re creating quality content on your website, you should be rewarded for this if you’ve done your A-B-C’s.