Google rolls out new updates all the time so it’s hard to keep up sometimes. But search engine marketing updates directly impact your organic rankings and AdWords campaigns so it really helps to monitor them. Let’s explore the most significant changes Google introduced this year and what agents can do to keep up.
3 search engine marketing updates agents should know about
1) Organic results and the Knowledge Panel
One of the most important Google updates is the way Google starts treating information. We used to think that in order to rank high, we must optimize the page for a specific search query. The better we do this, the bigger the odds that this page will show up high when someone searches for this query.
However, search engines are getting smarter at figuring out user intent. So rather that showing search results based on the keywords, Google tries to find the page that contains the best answer to that query. That page does not necessarily exactly matches the query and is optimized for that very same keyword.
For a local real estate business, this shift to knowledge rather than just information is best shown in a Knowledge Panel which contains important business information:
Apparently, this panel is very helpful to direct more traffic to your site. But even if you have a verified Google My Business listing, you’re not guaranteed to have a Knowledge Panel. The best way to ensure you have one is to keep your site updated so Google will be able to create a Knowledge Panel for you.
2) Automatic keyword bidding for AdWords campaigns
If you are running an ad campaign with Google, you know how confusing keyword bidding can be. Having a limited ad budget, it’s important to target the right keywords with a competitive bid.
Well, now you don’t have to do this manually (although this option is still available). Google introduced its Smart Bidding strategies which automatically define bids. Here are the four strategies you can use:
- target CPA (cost-per-acquisition);
- target ROAS (return-on-ad-spend;
- maximize conversions;
- enhanced cost-per-click (ECPC);
- maximize clicks.
You can still do manual bidding but these automated bidding strategies can help you optimize your ad budget in a few clicks.
3) Mobile-first index
If you haven’t yet optimized your real estate website for mobile, now is the best time to catch up. Mobile is already huge and it’s supposed to become even more important.
Right now, Google analyzes the desktop version of your site, ranks it and then uses that information to rank the mobile version of your site. But that’s about to change to the opposite once the mobile-first index is fully functional (probably in 2018 but definitely not in 2017). So the mobile version of your site will have a higher priority and the desktop version will be ranked based on your mobile rankings.
Here’s more information on this change: Mobile-first Index: What Agents Should Know
Keep your real estate website updated and mobile-friendly and publish good content on your blog. This will be instrumental to good local rankings whatever search engine marketing updates are being rolled out.