PLRHeadquarters Blog Mitch Claymore's Private Label Rights weblog

25Mar/11Off

Tail Wags Google

This is a tale about a tail, and it’s not a short one.

Last month, when Google’s main Spokesgoogler Matt Cutts reemphasized the search giant’s renewed efforts to help “higher quality sites to surface for long tail queries”, he wasn’t talking about searching for monkeys. The “long tail” in question doesn’t belong on some long-tailed macaque: it’s a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) term,

This kind of “long tail” is what you key in when you google something like “houses for sale in Dubuque, Iowa” instead of just “houses for sale”. The longer a search term is, the longer its tail…and this is the second time in less than a year Google has led us to believe they want to zero in on long tail search results.

This is no monkey business: it’s vitally important to our websites, our industry, and ultimately, sales. You may question exactly how Google is going about adjusting its formulas, but I don’t think this particular 900 pound gorilla is kidding when it puts in print that it’s working overtime “to reduce rankings for low-quality sites – sites which are low-value add for users” or which “copy content from other websites”.[ Official Google Blog.]

In Google’s words, when an online user searches for “houses for sale in Dubuque, Iowa”, they want to come up with “sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on”. And those sites better have more fresh info than just today’s version of the MLS listings, because it has to be “original”.

We might call this Google’s ‘monkey see, monkey do’ penalty.

This is great news for anyone who has time to research, write and post thoughtful analyses and in-depth reports…at least a couple of times a week. Google will be delighted at your effort, but only when you keep it up month after month. Of course, if you also have the notion of running a real estate business at the same time, that might not be such good news (not by coincidence, RealtyPLR can help in this regard, but that’s a shorter tale).

Anyone who has had the delightful experience of hearing “Google has you on top” knows how important paying heed to the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) can be. It means phones ringing and appointments queuing up — especially if the other agents in town are only monkeying around.

18Mar/11Off

Betting the House (on Google)

Nothing against games of chance — I enjoy a hand of blackjack now and then as much as anyone does. I even used to enjoy an occasional tug on a one-armed bandit (but that was before they turned them all into ATMs).

Nonetheless, since I never bet enough to make it feel even slightly dangerous, you wouldn’t call me a true gambler. That puts me in the same category as 95% of the rest of America.

That’s probably why it is so maddening for anyone with their own real estate web site: suddenly they find themselves in what seems to be a high stakes game of Wheel of Fortune. They’ve invested in a quality web site, hung out their shingle, and then they discover that maybe they’ll turn up on the first page of Google or Bing search results…or maybe not. Sometimes YES!, sometimes NO!.

They can pay big bucks to get into the Paid column on the right (but lots of potential clients ignore the paid ads). It’s not Google or Bing’s fault that they come off like the croupiers at Monte Carlo. They’re in the business of bringing people to sites that have the latest info on what they’re searching for, and that means avoiding crooks who are out to cheat the system.

So last month when Google announced major changes to the top secret formula that determines who wins (the ‘big algorithmic improvement’), a lot of folks in the know did the SEO equivalent of rolling their eyes, because when Googlers significantly change their formula, the LAST thing they do is to specify what they are changing to the people who want to trick them.

It would be like Caesar’s Palace taking out a full page in the Times to explains a better way to count cards.

So, what do site proprietors and bloggers do when they’re involuntarily chained to the tables inside the Casino de Internet? Basically, play it straight: keep your site and blog up-to-the-minute with real content that targets potential customers’ search queries, avoid tricky mechanical code maneuvers (the search engines will disregard them anyway), and provide the kind of professional service that makes web word-of-mouth a definite positive.