You may have heard that search-engine gorilla Google is in the midst of an infrastructure change. As a company that generates revenue by serving advertising alongside its search results, Google has an interest in serving up relevant search results in a timely manner.
If it doesn’t, then someone else will do a better job and searchers will go somewhere else. Then no one will see the advertising or click on it, resulting in less revenue for Google. It’s a nice straightforward model.
In a world where more than 75 percent of home searches begin online (and probably a good portion of those online home searchers start at Google), you might be interested to know what an "infrastructure change" at Google means.
Moreover, you might be intrigued to know that Google is actively soliciting feedback on the upcoming change.
Before anyone goes bombarding Google with support tickets and gripes, let’s start with getting clear on what an infrastructure change is and isn’t. According to Matt Cutts, the human face of Google Search, an infrastructure change includes:
- making site indexing faster;
- making search results more accurate;
- making search results more comprehensive.
You’ll notice that these three items are pretty much back-end items. There’s no talk about changing the design or anything like that — which isn’t to say they won’t change the design, but that a design change isn’t the focus of this particular project.
So what does this mean for a real estate professional? Everything looks the same, right?
To start off, if you want to be scared about this, here’s how Matt Cutts described this update to Mike McDonald of Web Pro News: "It’s a pretty fundamentally big change." But let’s not get worried. Let’s just figure out what’s happening.
If site indexing is faster, then your content will begin to rank more quickly. I’ve not noticed too many terribly lengthy index waits of late so I don’t expect this to have a huge impact. In cases where indexing in Google has taken a long time, it’s usually been traceable to below-standard coding practices and someone not doing due diligence in trying to get a site indexed in the first place. …CONTINUED
Regardless, if Google is able to index faster this means that those of you producing content at a fairly fast pace (Twitter much?) might be able to use this to your advantage. Breaking news might become a more useful tactic for reaching new audiences via search if indexing speed improves.
Making search results more accurate is one of those things that can make a search-engine-optimization (SEO) specialist a little nervous. It’s important to note that an infrastructure change is not an algorithm change, which is a type of change that SEO people usually fear the most, as such changes are entirely devoted to changing the order of search results.
Infrastructure changes are more focused on getting their own code in order. Still, some engineer at Google might close up a loophole that has been exploited for SEO — or make some other change that has an impact on the search results.
Increasing comprehensiveness of Google search is probably good news for those developing several Web properties. It could also be good news for those deploying content other than text — like video, audio and images. I think the trend toward blending non-text results into search-engine results is only going to continue to increase.
Overall, this infrastructure update seems to be aimed at increasing the flexibility of Google’s indexing so that Google can do more with it in future updates to search — and the company is asking for feedback.
I’ve done a few tests of real estate-related searches on both the current Google search and on Google’s testing environment, and I have seen some differences. The test environment seems to eliminate some auxiliary deep links from some results, and I have seen some changes in the ranking order, too.
It’s worth taking some time and checking your keywords in Google’s testing environment for any changes: http://www2.sandbox.google.com/
If you notice differences between your normal search and the sandbox, there’s a small text link near the bottom of the search-engine results page that reads "Dissatisfied? Help us improve." Click that and leave your feedback.
Gahlord Dewald is the president and janitor of Thoughtfaucet, a strategic creative services company in Burlington, Vt. He’s a frequent speaker on applying analytics and data to creative marketing endeavors.
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