Appearing on the First Page of Google Search

My real estate website,, has been a popular destination for buyers and sellers of Sarasota real estate for over 10 years.  Unfortunately, because of this I get frequent calls from SEO sales people telling me I could be doing better with Google search results.  They say my site should appear in organic search (the unpaid links) more frequently on the first page of results.

One of these recent calls, combined with an equally recent Google consultation, really distilled the issues facing individual real estate agents trying to promote their websites.

Devoting resources to SEO is a mistake, in my humble opinion.  Google has recently implemented a lot of changes on how it ranks sites (search for "Google Panda update"), and a lot of SEO tactics are no longer effective.  Google's changes favor sites with original content (like that provide the information being searched for.

The first page results on Google for real estate in any local market usually consist of national advertiser sites, such as Trulia, Zillow,, RealtyTrac, and Frontdoor/HGTV.

I believe that because of this, buyers and sellers are now trained to go to page 2, 3, or 4 of Google search results to find local real estate agent websites.  I told this to the Google representative who contacted me for a consultation, and they agreed.  And if you spent a lot of money on SEO to get on the first page, you are lumped in with national advertisers who buyers and sellers are probably skipping over.

My philosophy on CPC (cost per click advertising) on Google follows this same philosophy.  People are skipping the first page results, so paid Adwords links on the first page of Google are also being skipped.

If you are selling a home in the Sarasota area, it's not necessarily important that your agent's website appear on the first page of real estate search results.  If your agent is cross promoting your property for sale using all the available tools, you will get the search traffic and qualified buyers that will result in a quicker sale at a higher price.


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