Google Search Algorithm Updates: What Real Estate Agents Need to Know

Google search algorithms play an essential role in the success of real estate agents and realtors. The algorithms are constantly changing, so it’s important to know how they can impact brand awareness and online visibility. Without this, realtors and real estate agents risk losing prospective clients.

It has become increasingly important for real estate agents to understand the nuances of Google’s algorithms and how to optimize their digital marketing strategies to keep up with the competition. This article will discuss what real estate agents need to know about Google search algorithm updates and how they can keep up with them to outrank Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia.

What Is a Google Algorithm Update?

An update to Google’s algorithm aims to improve its search volume, quality, relevancy, and overall user experience. The internet is the home for many brands and influencers. So oversaturation has become the norm. Google’s algorithm updates help sort out the good from the bad.

Some websites may experience increased search visibility when an update happens, while others may experience the opposite. The goal is to ensure that Google remains the hub for relevant search queries. In a sense, Google’s algorithm updates force content creators to master the art of SEO further.

As a real estate agent, understanding the nuances of Google’s algorithm updates is vital to remain competitive and maintain visibility in search results. For example, in the past, real estate agents could depend on word of mouth and face-to-face networking to find new leads.

In today’s digital age, Google search is a powerful tool for agents to reach potential clients all over the country. Knowing how the Google algorithm updates work can help real estate agents reach more prospective clients. Think of the relevance of virtual tours, Google Maps, and other tools agents can use to stay ahead of the curve.

A Google algorithm update adjusts how Google’s search engine processes and ranks web pages. These experience updates have the common goal of improving the quality, relevance, and overall user experience of its searches. Google makes hundreds of small changes to its algorithms every year.

These changes affect how websites are ranked in search engine results pages (SERPs) and can cause a drop in traffic. Without traffic, one will have trouble securing online buyers and readers. Not to mention, there are some major updates that can have a large impact on search engine optimization (SEO) efforts for real estate agents.

Google adjusts its algorithm to better understand and respond to user searches to provide them with more accurate results. As Google adjusts its algorithms, websites need to keep up with the changes and ensure their content gets optimized for these new algorithms.

What About Google Core Algorithm Update?

A core algorithm change is so substantial that Google feels compelled to publicize the upcoming changes. The good thing about receiving an experience update from Google is that it provides web admins adequate notice to prepare for them. Google core algorithm updates usually happen once or twice a year and are often referred to as “major” updates.

A core algorithm update is not a one-time change. In fact, it is a constant process that gets rolled out over a matter of weeks. Subsequent changes further build on its purpose. Google’s core algorithm updates often result in changes to the SERPs and can significantly impact websites, both positively and negatively.

These updates improve the quality of search results for users, so it enhances how the internet gets used by everyone.

Keeping Up With Updates

One massive challenge of Google core updates is that no one knows the full extent of the changes happening behind the scenes. They can only better understand them based on observed rankings, traffic, and performance changes. While Google provides limited documentation on the change, it’s not enough to determine how it will impact one’s website.

It is crucial to stay up-to-date on any core updates to optimize your website effectively. It means making sure your content is relevant and up-to-date, as well as staying on top of any changes to the way Google ranks websites.

Additionally, stay informed by reading official announcements and industry news related to algorithm updates. Once you do this, you can make the necessary changes to your website to ensure its functioning aligns with any core algorithm updates.

Google’s Page Experience Update

For example, the “Page Experience” update of June 2021 provided a new set of metrics known as core web vitals to bring a clear understanding of how users perceive their experience of a specific web page. One of those core web vitals was the largest contentful paint or LCP. It measures the loading performance of a site.

Google believes that a website that takes more than 2.5 seconds to load won’t provide users with the best experience. Therefore, to meet this set of core web vitals, one must reduce the total size of all page video and image components, the number of resources that need to be loaded, and their dependencies.

Google’s May and September 2022 Updates

Two other core algorithm updates took place in May and September of 2022. Each one focuses primarily on quality and relevance. The May broad core algorithm update focused on improving search to keep up with the natural yet growing nature of the web. The September update is focused on increased rank volatility and more closely examines the relevance of content.

Let’s look at both the rank volatility update and broad core algorithm update, and the impact they had on the real estate industry. The broad core algorithm update raised the rank volatility of real estate websites to 5.3 percent, while the September update resulted in a 4.5 increase in rank volatility. It means there was a greater chance of rankings shifting around after the updates.

With over 200 ranking factors, it likely impacts different sites differently. So how does a real estate agency recover from rank volatility?

When you experience increased shifts in rankings, analyze your online marketing efforts over four weeks. Fluctuations are normal, but dropping 12 positions down quickly is not. Pay specific attention to mobile rank fluctuations. The great thing about SEO for real estate agents is that it works on autopilot, generating new leads around the clock.

If you notice a drop in leads, it may be time to adjust your SEO strategy or update your website content. With 44 percent of home buyers searching online for their next purchase, it’s an opportunity one can’t afford. Drastic changes in rank will result in a drop in leads and sales. If you don’t rank on Google, potential clients won’t find you.

Keep Your Website Up To Date

Outside of keeping up with each time Google updates its algorithm, the best way to do this is through effective SEO strategies. Look at other pages on your site that still rank to see what caused the drop in ranking.

Regularly update content with relevant keywords, create content for user intent, and use technical SEO to ensure pages are correctly indexed. Additionally, ensure your website is optimized for mobile search since Google now favors mobile sites in its search engine rankings.

The main thing to do is use your data to your advantage. Let the data provide the answers you need to enhance your relevance and authority. Monitor your core web vitals and make sure you are leveraging the latest trends.

How Often Does Google Update Its Algorithm?

Google updates its algorithm quite frequently. It is impossible to know precisely when a significant update is coming, but it can happen every few weeks or months. Google officially announces these updates on their blog and through its Webmaster Tools.

More minor updates sometimes occur thousands of times per year. Believe it or not, most of these changes go unnoticed. Google is constantly busy improving its algorithms to give users the best and most relevant search results. Just as your website needs to evolve and adapt, so do Google’s algorithms.

Once a change is implemented, new solutions are created to improve user experience. No matter how often Google updates its algorithm, real estate agents must stay vigilant and on top of their game.

Typically, Google makes a public announcement ahead of time when there is a significant change. However, understand that Google won’t go into great detail about their changes.

So it’s essential to pay attention to industry and Google news and trends to know what changes you need to make to stay competitive. If you notice the update impacting others in the industry, chances are it’s affecting you too.

For example, real estate companies who run their business online tend to focus on pictures and virtual tours to appeal to potential buyers. But it takes helpful content, a user-friendly website design with mobile search and usability, and a competitive SEO strategy to get noticed by search engines like Google.

If a consumer is looking to buy a house in another state, your content copy must be engaging, informative, and accurate to appear higher in the search engine results. If your website isn’t optimized and updated often enough, chances are your business will not be found.

Google updates its algorithm to reward companies that provide quality content and engaging user experiences. The goal is to build online rapport and trust with potential clients. You don’t want them to look at your site once and move on to the next. Instead, you want to keep them engaged and on your website as long as possible.

Do this by becoming their most trusted resource for home listings and blog content that educates, informs, and entertains. By understanding the algorithm updates and what Google is looking for in a website, you can create strategies to help you stay on top of the search engine rankings.

Outgoing links pointing to answers to your customer’s questions is a surefire way to increase your authority, relevancy, and trustworthiness. Partner with other websites and companies in the industry to create backlinks that will help you expand your visual stability and drive more traffic to your website.

Why Does Google Update Its Algorithm?

Google performs algorithm updates to better assess web pages’ quality and identify which ones to show when someone searches for something on Google. As mentioned before, these updates improve the user experience and deliver more relevant results for the searcher.

By understanding why Google updates its algorithm, you can create strategies to ensure you stay ahead of the game and not get penalized.

Google wants to show users relevant content that provides value and meets their needs. Google just wants to give users a pleasant experience that brings them the appropriate solutions they’re looking for.

Staying focused on the customer’s needs and keeping up with industry trends is key to staying competitive in the ever-changing digital landscape. Besides, without customers, there would be no business at all.

Keep in mind that Google algorithm updates reward companies that create useful and engaging content for their customers. Whenever Google announces its updates, take it as an opportunity to grow and improve your website even further.

The changes intend to improve the overall assessment of content quality. However, knowing the specifics can make it easier to prepare your website for Google changes as they occur.

Having a good understanding of SEO and content optimization strategies is vital to staying ahead of the game. The key takeaway here is that you should always be prepared for algorithm updates and use them to your advantage.

What Is the Most Significant Google Algorithm Update so Far?

While many of Google’s algorithm updates have significantly impacted search engine results, the most significant update was the helpful content update.

Helpful Content Update

The Helpful content update aimed to reward content creators who created copy that was truly helpful to their readers. Businesses doing their best to create quality content and provide value for their readers ranked higher.

The purpose of the algorithm update was to combat low-quality, duplicate or spun content, and keyword stuffing. Low-quality content has lots of fluff and lacks a natural solution for the reader. Some site owners purchase it from content farms.

Duplicate or spun content is copied from another site and passed off as original. The update pushes businesses to create high-quality solution-focused content. Remember the goal, connect consumers with useful information.

On August 18th, 2022, Google revealed details about its new helpful content update. One can accomplish this by creating long-form content, such as guides and tutorials, which provide readers with valuable and informative content.

The key to the update is to ensure that all of your content has an objective and that you are creating content that speaks to your target audience. Businesses should focus on creating excellent content that is helpful to their customers rather than SEO tactics.

The helpful content launched on August 25 and continued through September 9. Believe it or not, this is typical for Google’s Core Updates, as they want to give content creators a chance to make adjustments before the full rollout takes effect.

To ensure that your website stays aligned with this update, continually monitor the subsequent changes and update your content accordingly. Keeping your content relevant, fresh, solution-based, and up-to-date with the latest industry trends and algorithm updates is critical to staying ahead of your competitors.

Google made a list of 15 questions to review your content, ensuring that your content is human-first. They provide a superb guideline to help businesses create helpful, relevant content that Google will reward.

The questions aim to help you identify your audience and ensure that your content gets tailored to their needs. Once you know what kind of information people are looking for, you can create content that provides the answers and meets their expectations. The questions help you clearly demonstrate your expertise and ensure your website focuses on your primary purpose.

One question asks if you are producing a lot of content on various topics hoping that some of it might perform well on Google. Since Google wants you to provide content relevant to the user’s search, this approach often produces low-quality results. Can you see the opportunity in algorithm updates now?

Instead, focus on producing targeted content related to your website’s purpose and use keywords effectively to rank higher in Google searches. Even if it takes longer to create well-crafted pieces, the rewards are worth the effort.

Google algorithm updates are just one element of the ever-changing digital world. Businesses must keep up with the changes and continuously update their content to provide customers with the most helpful and relevant information. The good thing is that they provide some guidance for major changes they execute, such as core updates and quality product reviews.

In a nutshell, it’s all about understanding what your audience needs and providing them with helpful and informative content that helps solve their problems or answer their questions.

The algorithm rewards content written for humans that answers a search query, not search engine bots. So if your content focuses on providing value to the reader through honest, thoughtful, and solution-based content, you will be rewarded by Google.

Google now devalues content written primarily for SEO. It is disturbing news for those who have spent lots of time optimizing their content for SEO. Keyword research, paid keyword tools, and the editing process has become commonplace now in digital marketing. Content creators used keywords and phrases for years to rank higher in search engine results.

There was a lot to gain for creators. First, they turn their readers into advocates. Then they get paid through Adsense for traffic and sell products. While indicating relevance is essential, it should not occur at the expense of providing helpful, informative content. It doesn’t mean that your current content is terrible.

It just means it can become better. Readers should have a satisfying experience when reading your content. Write with the reader in mind and not just for SEO purposes. These questions help guide you in creating helpful, informative, and human-centric content.

Outside of the updates goals and the questions to use as a guideline, Google has not released other specifics about what the Google algorithm update included. There were no apparent signs of broad negative impact. This Core Update was more subtle than usual. Typically, these updates cause significantly increased volatility in search engine rankings.

How Does It Affect Real Estate Agents Pursuing Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Real estate agents need to get their sites to rank. Ranking gains the trust of Google and increases the number of potential clients. However, the helpful content update still favors SEO-optimized content as long as it proves relevant and valuable. In other words, write with the reader in mind and not just for SEO purposes. Let’s look at three ways SEO impacts real estate agents.

real estate SEO definition graphic

Published Content has to be Helpful and Original

Write original content that adds value to your readers and helps them solve a problem or answer a question. Make sure your content is useful, informative, and helpful. Avoid keyword stuffing or spinning existing articles, as the algorithm will reward neither.

Content Should not be just Copied from Elsewhere

You can’t offer the same content as the competition and expect to rank. You need to provide something more. Your content needs to be informative, educational, thoughtful, and in-depth. It needs to have relatable insights that remind your readers that you are human and understand the struggles of looking for and securing a new home.

Readers can tell if your content is a replica of something they’ve already seen somewhere else. Also, Google can identify and penalize duplicate content. If this happens, you will get penalized and experience a dramatic decrease in organic traffic and ranking until your content gets updated. The penalty can last for up to six months. That’s why creating original content tailored to your business and industry is so important.

Content has to be Updated Periodically, Which Reflects the Current Situation

Publishing new content regularly is a superb way to keep your website up-to-date and engaged with your audience. Update the content as often as necessary to reflect the changes in the industry, technology, and trends.That doesn’t mean creating 500 short articles on different topics. It means creating long-form content that provides value to the readers. Create content with the intention of helping people find what they are looking for. As we mentioned before, think ultimate guide or tips and tricks.

If you mention other topics within your guide, include inbound links that take your readers to another post on your site. Every post should connect because they are all related to enhancing the reader’s experience in the real estate industry.

The real estate industry is constantly changing. Do your best to create evergreen content. But understand that your content needs to be updated to stay relevant to the current situation. For example, virtual tours allow prospective buyers to look at a home they’re interested in without having to go there physically.

Thus, create content that reflects this new trend in the market and make it user-friendly so those same prospects can look at other homes that pop up and ask you questions in real-time. Always provide valuable content that prospects and clients can use to their advantage. That’s the only way to stay relevant and maintain a competitive edge in this industry.

How to Determine if Your Website Is Affected by the Algorithm Change?

Online business owners will usually experience the aftermath of a Google algorithm update. That change can positively or negatively affect your website ranking. Let’s look at how to determine if a Google algorithm update impacts your website.

Check Other Websites if Their Traffic Is Tanking Too

One of the most telling apparent signs of a Google algorithm update is a sudden drop in the traffic to your website. If other websites in the same industry are experiencing similar changes, then it is likely that they have been affected by a Google algorithm update.

To help you know if your website has taken a hit due to an algorithm change, look for other websites in your industry that the update has affected. Look out for others who mentioned that their search traffic goes down too.

Follow your industry mates on LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media and network with them so that you have an open line of communication. You want to know when they are having problems or experiencing success. By monitoring the core web vitals, traffic, and ranking of your competitors, you can determine if an algorithm change is industry-wide.

Look Through Your Website Analytics

Your website analytics can provide valuable insights into how your website performs after a google major algorithm update. There are various free tracking tools, such as Google Analytics, that can help you keep track of your website traffic.

Dive into Google Analytics & Google Search Console

Let’s take a detailed look into how Google Analytics and Google Search Console aid in monitoring your website.

Google Analytics gives you insights into how specific website pages perform. You can analyze the performance of any page on your website and determine if there has been a sudden drop in the traffic to that page. Look for changes in the number of page views, bounce rate, time on the page, and average session duration.

If you notice certain behaviors for a particular blog post or page, that could indicate a google algorithm update. If the behavior is favorable, look at how you can replicate it on other website pages.

Google Search Console helps you see how well your website performs regarding search engine rankings. You can see what keywords your website ranks for, along with the average position for that keyword. It also provides information on how Google serves, indexes, and crawls (crawl analysis) your website.

Together, Google Analytics and Google Search Console can provide valuable insights into the statistics of your website’s performance after a Google algorithm update.

What if Your Website Is Affected by the Algorithm Change?

So it happens. Google sends a tweet on an algorithm change that will roll out on a specific date. The date comes and goes. You start to notice a dip in traffic. Don’t panic. Understand you are not in this alone. Other websites in your industry have experienced the same issue, and there is help out there.

Not to mention, you have all the resources you need to begin troubleshooting the problem. Here’s how to do it.

Identify the Patterns Across the Board

Experiencing a one-day traffic slump isn’t a reason to panic. However, if the issue persists and other websites in your industry are also seeing traffic drops, it could be more serious.

Look through a specific pattern type of content or certain content which has observed significant declines. For example, if you are seeing a decline in blog post traffic, it could be a sign that Google hasn’t found those posts relevant enough.

Once you have identified the pattern, start researching to understand why this could happen. Read up on Google’s most recent algorithm updates and look for any changes affecting your website.

You should also analyze how well your content is written, optimized, and engage users. If you find that your content needs to be updated or better written, then it’s time to start making some changes.

Finally, make sure you are using the right keywords in your content. If the algorithm change has made specific keywords obsolete, you should look at ones that could still drive traffic to your website.

Evaluate Your Competitors & See How They Were Affected

Your competitors are not the enemy. In fact, keeping up with what’s happening with them can benefit you. Analyzing their website and content can help you understand how the algorithm change affected them, which could give you an idea of what you should do for your website.

Look at your competitors’ content and see how well it is performing. They might use different strategies or keywords if they are doing better than you. Evaluating the performance of their content can give you an idea of what to look for when optimizing your content.

Understand that a traffic drop does not mean your website is being penalized. It could simply be the result of an algorithm change. Don’t take it personally. Always look at it as an opportunity to improve your content and ensure it is up to date.

A Google algorithm update doesn’t directly impact the total volume of searches performed and people searching. It means opportunities exist to capitalize on movement and remain competitive within the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). All it takes is some understanding of how Google algorithm updates affect your website.

Never underestimate a good old-fashioned Google search. You can find out what your content lacks by performing a Google search. If you want to know why Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia are on the first page of Google search results, dig deeper. Look at the results on the first page, excluding ads. Open each of the first ten search results to see why they rank higher than you.

Look at their website’s written content, images, videos, and design. Analyze why they rank higher than you and start improving your content based on your findings. Let’s face it. Google algorithm updates are a necessary evil of opportunity.

But if you understand how these changes impact your website and take the time to optimize your content, you can ensure that your website still gets the traffic it deserves.

Diversify Your Traffic Sources

Everyone wants to get more organic traffic from Google, but there are other ways to get visitors to your website. Organic search may be the best source of consistent, scalable traffic, but it shouldn’t be the only source of traffic and revenue for your business.

Start exploring other channels, such as paid search, social media advertising, or even display networks to increase your brand awareness. For instance, Realtors can use Facebook real estate ads to get leads from the platform, especially if they are focusing on a specific area.

YouTube ads can also be effective for real estate agents who want to show off their properties as well as their personalities. A prospect may choose their realtor or real estate agent based on their friendliness alone. Then there is Craigslist. Agents use Craigslist to promote their services and listings, but also as an alternative to paid search.

Wrapping Up Understanding How the Google Algorithm Update Impacts Realtors

Ninety-nine percent of real estate agents are 1099 contractors in the United States. Unfortunately, most fail because they depend on their broker or need help understanding modern marketing techniques. To help realtors and agents grow their businesses, it is important to keep up with Google’s most recent algorithm changes.

Evaluate your competitors, look at the content on webpages produced and see how well it performs. Diversifying your traffic sources may also be beneficial by exploring other channels such as paid search, social media advertising, or even display networks. Real estate agents can stay ahead of the competition and grow their businesses with the right strategies.

Long story short, be proactive in understanding Google’s algorithm updates and make sure your website is well-optimized for the changes. After all, staying ahead of the competition and consistently ranking high in Google’s search results can be a game changer for real estate agents and Realtors. Agents have enough work to communicate with clients, manage listings, and arrange showings. Digital marketing has paved the way to make their job easier.


Below are frequent inquiries on Google algorithm updates.

What is an algorithm update?

An algorithm update is when Google updates its algorithms for the purpose of improving the quality, relevancy, and overall user experiences of its searches. It ensures that the search results are up-to-date and relevant to the user’s search query.

How many Google algorithms are there?

The number of Google algorithms is unknown. However, Google uses more than 200 ranking signals, such as domain authority and history, backlink factors, brand signals, and user interaction, to determine what changes need to commence to create an enhanced user experience.

How often is the Google search algorithm updated?

Google updates its search algorithm almost every day. Keep in mind that all of the updates don’t get announced. However, stay on top of the changes whenever possible to keep your website relevant and updated.

When was Google’s latest major update?

The last major Google algorithm update was the link spam update in December 2022. The update aimed to get rid of credit passed to unnatural links. The goal of the link spam update was to prevent websites from using manipulative link-building strategies.

How many times does Google perform algorithm updates in a year?

Google updates its search algorithm several hundred times a year. They usually announce major algorithm updates that affect the overall search engine landscape. But most of their daily updates are minor and don’t get public attention or announcements. It is essential to stay connected with the industry and be aware of any changes Google makes to its algorithm.

How can you tell if a site dropped in rankings due to a Google algorithm update or changes on your site?

If you experience a sudden drop in rankings, it is crucial to evaluate the site and determine if the decrease happened as a result of changes on your end or if it was due to a Google algorithm update. To figure this out, compare your website’s core web vitals before and after the algorithm update to see any correlation. You can also look at your competitors to see if they experienced the same drop in rankings.

Where to get updates about Google algorithm news/updates

Stay connected to Google Search Central, Google Webmasters, and other resources in the industry to stay up to date on any released changes or updates. Google Search Central explicitly lists all of the updates in order with links that explain them further. Connect to their Twitter to ensure you stay updated on algorithm changes or updates.

Where can I find a website developer or SEO to help me with my website?

Showcase IDX is a certified agency and service provider that can help you find the right website developer or SEO to optimize your site for the changes in Google’s algorithm update. They offer a variety of services to help build and boost your website, as well as provide SEO consulting and training. They also have a team of experts to help you with any website-related questions or issues you may have.

Where can I find examples of great real estate websites?

Showcase IDX provides fantastic examples of real estate websites to give you an idea of how yours should look and function. You can use their models for inspiration to create a starting point for your own website. Their library includes several customized real estate websites to showcase listings and help agents stand out from the competition.

Author Details
Entrepreneurial marketing leader that’s built and run organizations from start-up to over $500M annual revenue. He brings a unique combination of storytelling and innovation to the team, having led marketing for many brands. Kurt’s a regular conference speaker and workshop leader around modern marketing tactics that actually drive sales. In addition, he has been asked to coach and advise thousands of leaders, from startup founders to the President of the United States.

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