How Google PPC Ad Changes Affect Real Estate

How to Compete With Elimination of Right Side PPC Ads on Google

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Google Adwords and PPC can help you to build a nice real estate business with focused marketing and at a reasonable cost. However, Google has been making some changes, and things are getting tougher, and probably more expensive. It's easy to see how Google's changes will cause more competition in bidding for paid position, and so will cost you more money for PPC ads.

In articles around the SEO world, Google's studies have shown that the vast majority of paid ad clicks only come from the top of the search results page anyway, not from those on the right of the screen.

Though it seems that more paid results will continue to be shown at the bottom also, I don't see any way they will be productive for the advertiser.

The SEO and PPC Squeeze Has Been Tightening

It's been a while since broad keyword use resulted in any real SEO advantage. Using phrases with just a city name and "real estate" have the free results at the top dominated by the big players, Zillow,, etc. You can do a bit better with "long tail" key phrases like "Dallas partridge subdivision homes" as an example. However, you can wake up one morning and find your listing moving down or up for no apparent reason.

Google made a dramatic change in 2016 that is on every desktop computer in the world. No more ads are showing on the right side of the screen. The main reason given is to make desktop search look more like mobile. However, I can tell you that Google is going to make more ad money from this change.

First, now there are around ten fewer paid results displayed. Also, the more competitive searches will now display four paid ads at the top instead of three.

Advertisers will have to bid up for the fewer display results spots. Real estate searches are competitive, so Google is adding one result for four ads on top.

Less competitive search phrases will only show three at the top. One thing this does to put the squeeze on is that adding the fourth paid listing cuts the "above the fold" space before the searcher has to scroll down to see more results. So, even fewer free ads will get in front of searchers' eyes.

This change is an example of how your tactics must change as Google makes changes. You must keep on top of how ads are displayed.

What's in Store for SEO, PPC, and the Real Estate Website?

Let's just say that the Internet search world, dominated by Google, is making it more challenging every day for the small real estate agent or brokerage website to use ad type marketing to get their website high on SERPs, Search Engine Results Pages. The budgets required will keep the top players on the larger side of company or brokerage size. So, what can we do to promote and get traffic to our sites, because it is still crucial to getting our message out and building our businesses?

  1. Keep doing PPC if you can afford it, because it does work.
  2. Use longer tail key phrases for your PPC. Your ad will not get shown as often, but the longer phrases will have little or no competition, so the price goes down. Also, if they're not too long, a little competition is good, as Google will want to show more than one ad at the top.
  1. Create better landing pages with short URLs to advertise your site in print and other media ads. Example: or Then run these in ads related to your new home or buyer agency services. It is still promoting your main URL, but giving the ad viewer an easy to remember and type destination.
  2. Shoot for the analytical and the researcher customers. Put a lot of highly informative content on the site that actually gives them lots of useful information. Use longer tail phrases dedicated to pages based on content. Example: an article about title insurance binder common entries in your market, and use the key phrase "​Dallas residential zoning rules" or similar. No, thousands of people aren't searching that precise phrase, but dozens are every year. I'm sure you'd love a dozen new prospects for free.

    We're all just going to have to get more inventive to keep our websites viable as marketing tools, and not get squeezed out of Google's SEO and PPC results.