Grow with Google: Evolve your strategy to stay #1 on search

Changing algorithms can sink your site. Here's how to stay relevant.

We’ve got good news and bad news.

The good news: Google has spent the last few years quietly optimizing its search algorithm. Small tweaks have made the search engine more and more predictive, so users have to do less digging and less thinking to find the answers they want.

The data confirms they’ve been successful: Jumpshot reported that in June 2019, more than 50% of all browser-based searches on Google didn’t result in a single click. And since 2016, the number of people who are searching and not clicking has grown by 13%.

Google results for real estate

An example of Google’s new “Q&A” feature, which gives searchers immediate feedback so they don’t need to click to another website.

It’s entirely intentional, and it points to a clear shift in Google’s strategy: Put the relevant content right in front of users as quickly as possible, so they get everything they need without leaving Google (or, ideally, ever even scrolling).

That brings us to the bad news: Your digital strategy is likely hinging on the opposite. Most real estate agents have poured money into websites with the assumption that prospects will land there through Google. That’s going to become less and less likely, especially since consumers can find everything they need to know in a Google business profile, so agents need to embrace a strategy shift to stay ahead of the curve.

Google isn’t trying to optimize for clicks, so you shouldn’t either. Here are three important ways to improve your Google strategy:

Invest less in your website and more in your Google business profile

Remember the old adage, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?” There’s a parallel for Google: “If you have a business but it isn’t in the top spot on Google, will anyone ever find it?”

Google used to be focused on driving website traffic, but now it’s giving users immediate insights so they don’t need to click into search result pages. Think about the search changes that Google introduced last year: FAQs, how-tos, and Q&As now get top billing so most searchers never have to click a website link to get answers.

The top of the page is where you need to be — that’s where Google’s investing its time, energy and algorithmic brainpower. The easiest way to get there is verifying and maintaining your Google business profile. You don’t need to scrap your website entirely but remember: If you’re not at the top of Google search results, users won’t even get to your website. That means your Google business profile needs to take top priority.

Embrace the power of “views” and “searches”

For decades, “clicks” have been the default measure of success for digital marketing campaigns across industries. Advanced tech means foolproof tracking, right?

Not exactly. As it turns out, the digital space still has some of the tracking flaws that plague TV or radio or print advertisements. Many prospects still need multiple touchpoints before they convert into full-fledged leads, so you don’t always know if that “click” happened because they saw you one time online or 12 times.

Clicks are still great measures of high intent, but remember that Google is trying to steer users away from clicking. That means views and searches for your Google business profile are key metrics because they’ll tell you how many times your profile ranked in search results and reached a prospect.

Google view count
Sure, you want that direct phone call from a lead — but don’t sleep on how much views and searches will help boost your brand.

Get reviews, reviews, and more reviews

Google results showing a real estate agent

Why did people previously click into your website? They wanted to learn more about you: Do you have a professional presence? What services do you offer? How can they contact you?

The decline in clicks speaks to how users are adapting their search habits, and that means your Google business profile could be the first and only opportunity to impress a potential lead. The best way to make a strong first impression is getting positive, five-star Google reviews.

You can’t rely on a prospect landing on your website. The decision-making is happening right on Google. We’ve crunched the numbers — when you have a Google review, you could see 71% more profile views and get 122% more calls and texts. That’s the first impression that matters most — and it doesn’t take someone a single click to get there.

Visit Homesnap Pro+ to learn more and make sure your Google strategy is optimized.