How to Improve Your Results on Google Real Estate

One of the big complaints by real estate agents when the Google Real Estate service started up was that the 2nd and 3rd tier real estate portals were actively pushing the agents properties to Google as well. Agents where uploading property portals like Homehound, Myhome and Onthehouse who were then turning around and re-uploading the same properties to Google

When several sources upload the same property to Google they apparently use the Pagerank system to work out who is the default page to display. Whilst all options are available when you press the “more info” option the majority of the traffic would be to the default link and in most cases the default link is not back to the agent, but to one of these portals. Ideally an agent wants this traffic to come back to their own website.

Many agents found the only way to guarantee their own link was seen on Google Real Estate was to stop uploading to these free portals. This was a little bit like cutting your nose off to spite your face. The free portals might not bring you the same enquiry levels as the top 2 subscription portals but as a value proposition it’s hard not to use them. It really became an either/or situation and unfortunately for the Free portals the power of Google’s reputation won out and they were shut off by an increasing number of agents.

We currently use Portplus and it’s as easy as unticking a box to shut off a feed to one of these portals.

There has been enough agents switching them off that Homehound now offers the option not to re-upload your properties to Google if you ask them and Myhome should have the option in place by next week.

If your considering canceling the free portals to improve your own results on Google Real Estate then I would suggest you give them a call first. Now you might be able to have your cake and eat it too!

Google, Google Real Estate, Homehound, MyHome, Portplus

SEO For Real Estate
Listing Leads
Agentpoint Real estate

About Glenn Batten

Glenn Batten is the General Manager at First National Real Estate Nerang and Principal at the First National Real Estate Upper Coomera office and has over 20 years real estate experience and a passion for technology. Glenn has been writing from an agents perspective on industry issues and covering a range of topics on Business2 since 2007.

24 Responses to How to Improve Your Results on Google Real Estate

  1. Michael Fredericks October 14, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    Glenn, as a point of clarification, onthehouse accepts feeds from portplus’ clients but do need feed any of those properties to Google Maps after discussion with PortPlus.

    We are certainly happy to adopt the same position with any agents.

  2. Glenn Batten October 14, 2009 at 12:09 pm #

    Michael,

    Thanks for that. Just to further clarify the issue. You still by default upload to Google as part of your services any properties for agents that are not fed to you by Portplus?

  3. Robert Simeon October 14, 2009 at 12:14 pm #

    Great points made in this post Glenn, at first it happend to us also then we made some changes where we too now upload directly to Google. Another point is that everytime you upload direct it gives you another page on Google which obviously assists with SEO.

  4. Michael Fredericks October 14, 2009 at 12:18 pm #

    Yes at this point.

    We are moving to an opt-in solution.

  5. Adam Bragg October 14, 2009 at 2:36 pm #

    My agencies website provider is Hubonline and I don’t believe offers an upload to Google Real Estate Maps. Is this because they are owned by realestate.com.au

    I really see this as being powerful and I’m thinking that Hubonline are not really acting in my agencies best interest by not sending my listings to this website?

    Has anyone else mentioned this to Hubonline and what has been their response?

  6. Glenn Batten October 14, 2009 at 2:51 pm #

    Robert,

    With homehound being able to provide the option to stop re-uploading your listing to Google and at least two other portals, Homehound and Onthehouse soon to offer the same thing will you start pushing to these portals again ?

  7. Robert Simeon October 14, 2009 at 3:04 pm #

    Glenn,

    Good question as we have never before used Onthehouse (that I am aware of). To answer your question probably not – given we track well on Domain and REA and these days I firmly believe that the majority now key word search on Google which is where we concentrate on now. Our website is in first position (without AdWords) in the majority of our key word selections for our demographic markets.

    Our own SEO is our priority these days and Google is our preferred online platform. Having said that I am constantly reviewing online operations so one can never say never πŸ™‚

  8. Steve October 15, 2009 at 8:26 am #

    Adam,

    I asked that very same question to Hub…….the answer was a firm ‘NO’. Not only that, they also showed no interest or initiative to look into it for the short-term future. Blame it on Google and REA fighting. Disappointing to say the least….

  9. Nick October 15, 2009 at 8:39 am #

    Hi Adam
    We understand the position you are in. Could you please phone us on 1300 367 358?

  10. Ryan O'Grady October 15, 2009 at 7:55 pm #

    Adam/Steve,

    Ask Hub whether you can send your listings to another real state services provider. If you can then send them to us and we’ll place your listings on Google and any other portals they don’t feed to.

  11. Charlie October 15, 2009 at 11:10 pm #

    Interesting discussion – but back to the original point about how Google chooses which web site it lists in the default search when more than one place uploads the same property…

    We’ve found it varies a great deal and does not only take the larger portal, and may not therefore be because of Google rank; our ranking is higher as we aggregate 150 or so agencies and have 6000 listings, and are well optimised/ranked. However when we upload from our clients URLs too, they get a good crack of the whip – about 50% time it’s our URL, half the time theirs. My research has found that it could be the timing of the updates also makes a difference, as I’ve seen it change during the day – as you can only upload no more than once a day, perhaps they are taking the most recent? or at least this is part of the algorithm maybe.

    Example: enter ‘Nedlands’ (suburb here in Perth) and (at this moment) I”m seeing our site and reiwa predominate (we both feed pretty much the same listings independently), but as you click down a fair few of our clients’ sites also coming up as we also load for them, from their URL: acton, rossen, airey, bellcourt, altus… (even though these same listings are also uploaded by us and also by reiwa).

  12. Craig October 16, 2009 at 7:21 am #

    It says here how duplicate listings are given priority. http://maps.google.com/help/maps/realestate/data_provider_faq.html#q4

  13. Glenn Batten October 16, 2009 at 9:42 am #

    Charlie…

    I have been told by two different people who feed to Google that they were told by Google reps that Pagerank is used in the calculation of who displays first.

    This seems to be the case with a preference to the portals who generally have higher page ranks than agents but as you point out it is probably not the full story. It seems obvious that there would be at least two other criteria involved but I think Pagerank is one of the prime decider if all other things are equal.

    Obviously any updated listings would have to be given a preference of some sort. No use them favoring an old listing with a higher price if a more update listing has more recent information.

    Also, one site has only provided the address, agent and price it seems natural that it would not be given as much value as one that has provided price, address, agent name, salesperson name, full description, open house times etc etc..

    Not relying on any one criteria also reduces spammers from abusing… eg. If it was based on latest update then you would see some updating every hour

    So in typical style they don’t really tell us how it is decided exactly and they just allude to variety of criteria. This of course means they can tweak the algorithm and nobody is any wiser.

  14. Charlie October 16, 2009 at 10:53 am #

    Thanks guys – looks like between us we have the answer; even Google’s own answer (FAQ 4, from Craig’s link) specifically mentions “timeliness and thoroughness, among other factors” being the reason for which URL it takes, and it goes on to emphasise the listing with “the most complete and up-to-date information” will predominate.

    This does not rule out page ranking, but it does not seem to be the only reason therefore; so free portals (and I’m not one so I can say this?!) don’t deserve to be victimised on the grounds of stealing Google real estate rankings…

  15. Glenn Batten October 16, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

    It’s not about being a victim Charlie. Many agents are disconnecting their feeds to these portals as a way of stopping them uploading their property to Google when they don’t have to. They just have to ask.

    Agents have the right to not have their information uploaded and clearly many of the free portals understand and respect that which is fantastic. Personally the last thing I want to see is agents switching of these portals as we need as much competition in the space as we can get for obvious reasons.

  16. Shane Dale October 20, 2009 at 4:22 pm #

    Gentlemen, anyone wishing to load to myhome but not to google can advise me or my team, so they can be added to the list of offices which have a “do not load to google” tag. Its not operational today but is planned for very soon – a week or so depending on other urgent tasks being completed. If anyone wishes to do so, a few days patience will be required.

    Likewise, anyone not loading to Myhome for this reason can please email me or the team, so they can be alerted once the option is functional. Then we do hope to welcome you back.

    Much as Google is currently the new and friendly player – its always nice to not simply hand them another monopoly like REA has almost become. I dont think google plans to do that but why tempt them by trying to raise a new overly powerful player? Easy money and easy domination is always a red flag to price rises for a bulllish company!

    Having said that – I doubt their interface will suit all tastes – there is increasing splintering of user’s preferences online in how to search content and deliver it in a pleasing format and gather user preference – as much as google is a worthwhile tool, I dont see it as very user friendly or easy to find for most punters at the moment. ( I also dont claim design perfection …yet πŸ˜‰

    In addition, portals do not just provide web search benefits anymore, but thats another topic. We support google, but its not an exclusive thing – you can both! What reason is there to not be on both?

  17. Peter Ricci October 21, 2009 at 8:24 am #

    Brilliant Shane, great to see you guys continually adding things that agents will want.

  18. Robert Simeon October 21, 2009 at 9:23 am #

    Shane,

    I think you may be missing the point on Google – the smarter online agencies are just after the SEO on Google as more and more consumers using Google (like 90 per cent of all online searches) are actually doing keyword searches so page ranking is what is driving agents to Google. If it were not so important than why does REA and Domain spend millions of dollars on PPC page positionings on Google?

  19. Glenn Batten October 21, 2009 at 9:46 am #

    That’s great stuff Shane.

    Can you consider this as our request πŸ™‚

  20. snoop October 21, 2009 at 12:47 pm #

    Hmm
    Mosman property is a good keyword for google,lots of buyers there.
    Note Robert doesnt invest and comes in about number 6 posn.
    Cant stand the map listings totally useless imho,just confusing mumbo jumbo that doesnt deliver much value.
    Do customers really like all those mugshots of agents on the home page seems like a waste of bandwidth to me? I am interested in property.
    I personally dont especialy the ones that brochures in my letterbox where half the card is someones overly plasticked mug.
    Also rental properties with no rental amount….wouldnt come back.

  21. Robert Simeon October 21, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    Snoop,

    If you look closely you will see we come in number one (agency) after the portals – organically grown πŸ™‚ As for agent photos well it is afterall a people industry – however I take your point. Websites are all about online performance so have a look at http://websitegrader.com/ type in http://www.rwm.com.au and you will then observe that our website has the highest rank of any other real estate websites 99/100 πŸ™‚

  22. Shane Dale October 21, 2009 at 4:32 pm #

    Thanks Glenn – I have emailed dev to activate this for you when its working soon.

    Robert – yes I agree the SEO advantages for keywords searches are there from google, just not sure people enjoy using the google interface for finding property. Its a factor which could be utilised by portals.

    As a qualified designer myself, alot of people just prefer a certain vibe, design or interface. I dont expect Myhome will replace REA or Google – although with some luck and our new strategic movements perhaps we might topple domain over time. I hope so.

    One thing is for sure – there is still plenty of change and challenges in this arena yet to come!

  23. Peter Ricci October 22, 2009 at 6:40 am #

    Shane, incremental improvements will surely allow you to gain traction, remember it only takes a few things to go your way over time, if you continue to deliver

    what users want,
    what agents want,
    what advertisers want and
    what you want

    in that order, you will surely get there eventually. It just comes down to patience and time and perhaps money of you are bleeding πŸ™‚

  24. Scott Savage November 11, 2009 at 4:54 am #

    A couple of customers have asked to experiment with Google Base exporting from HubOnline. On the basis of this input we have developed a Google Base export that is currently in limited beta release. We have contacted the customers who requested this functionality and activated the export. I apologise if we missed anyone, but if you are interested please contact HubOnline to discuss joining the beta.

Leave a Reply