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Understanding Google's new searches - Will you be penalized?



As many of you know, Google has made some changes just recently in the way things are searched and what can show up in your searches. At first when reviewing some of these changes, one might panic. I'll explain that in a few minutes. The bottom line is that on one side, you will need to be more social online. The other change won't hurt you as long as you keep blogging relative and quality content that pertains to your strengths of your business.


What are these specific changes to Google?

One of the changes is that of Social Search. Stephen Garner gave this easy to understand breakdown of how this will work. Google's Updated Social Search and It's Benefit To You   In my opinion, it basically comes down to how you engage and interact with others online, through such avenues as Facebook and Twitter. When someone searches a topic, if you are in that person's social group, you may appear with your name in their search. Go to Stephen's post and he shows you an example.

People always ask why I ask so many questions on my Facebook page during the week. It's one way I engage others. They get to know me, my name, and sometimes my brand. Keeping in mind that Google doesn't index your personal Facebook page, but Google will index your Facebook fan page. Another reason why you should have a fan page. So the end result is that it seems that networking on such sites as Facebook and Twitter will start to pay off. My only suggestion, be natural about it and don't spam others.


The other change is how you can search on Google, regarding 'time' searchs. You know when you would put in some search terms and hit search, it would search for anything that ranked the highest, no matter how old the article was, it would still rank. That's if it was indexed well with quality information. Well now you can search :

  • anytime
  • past 24 hours
  • past 2 days
  • past week
  • past month
  • past year
  • custom range (you can even put in the dates from and to)


Now, one might panic and say, gee, I have to write my same article over and over? I not only talked to a few people that do social media for a living, but I used common sense. In the typical sense of mortgages and real estate, this should not hurt what is being searched, when searching for specific terms. Maybe if one is searching for a specific area or neighborhood, might one define their searches for the last week or month. The other part of common sense is, will many even see this and or know how to use it? Or even care? I guess time will tell. Keeping in mind that Google isn't the only search engine player in town. But I will admit, it ranks the highest amongst the other search engines when reviewing my analytics.

Below, I wanted to search a term that I have written about over the years and how this could work.


Google all searches

If you search non occupant co borrower will as 'anytime', this is what appears. An article that I wrote in July 2007 still ranks #1, followed by an article that I wrote in October 2010 is second overall. (by the way, my second article about a month ago was on page 2, so that one has gained ground on my new site, The FHA Expert, which was just launched in October of 2010)



Google one year searches

Here is an example if I now search for anything within the last year. My number 2 post now becomes number 1.




Google 24 hour searches

And lastly, if I search within the last 24 hours, it will have dropped off the radar per se.



Summary : I first truly found out about these changes from Ben Rosales who wrote, You wondered why you should blog as a realtor, Google is answering - Ben offers some insight and his opinion in this article.

In my opinion, one should panic not panic when it comes down to how a consumer can search regarding the relevance of time. As I mentioned, maybe if that consumer is searching a specific area in which they would like to purchase real estate. For those of you that put up listings or write about neighborhoods. But I think something like the 'past 24 hours' will be used for news or breaking news and that it won't affect us as much.

In regards to the social search feature, I think the size of your sphere will play a little larger role. But again, I think the important part will be how you engage others in a natural manner. Question : What are your opinions about these new changes?

I will leave you with this thought... "Keep writing valuable content with a personal perspective and people will call you."


Off topic and worthy information : Did you know that Google is finally clamping down on those that try and cheat the system. Jeremy Blanton wrote this article, Google says goodbye to content farms - And those that use to many black hat SEO techniques could be penalized. I find all of this to be great news, because maybe the little guy that is real, authentic, and plays by the rules will be awarded for their hard work and efforts.


Keep in mind : This is all based on my opinion and how I percieve things for the near future.





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Copyright © 2011 by Jeff Belonger of Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc

Comment balloon 25 commentsJeff Belonger • February 26 2011 09:28AM


Thanks Jeff, Super info.  I've heard about the changes, now I have to go and study them.  You've given me a good start.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 7 years ago

Jeff, some good information and food for thought on Google's new searches. Suggested this one.

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Perry Wellington Realty, Adam Conrad, Broker) over 7 years ago

Great job presenting some of the details of this Google game. You have obviously spent a lot of time studying this, and I hope it pays off for you.  I posted a much different blog on this subject, but I definitely respect the work you have put in here.

I'll have to go look for that "Time" search feature.

Posted by Fritz Barnes (BizProMedia) over 7 years ago

Jeff, a good interpretation.  I guess the short answer is just keep blogging good quality content.

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) over 7 years ago


GABE.. .  It isn't really about studying them, but just understanding them. But most off all, that good quality content should always rule. thanks

REBECCA... . as I have stated, I love reading other people's interpretations.. and at first, I didn't like the change of the 'time' searches. But if you think about this, will it be used much? And for what reasons? thanks

FRITZ... . Could you come back and share a link to that post? I always love reading different view points. thanks and thanks for the compliment.

PAMELA... . thanks.. and yes, that would be the best short answer.. just keep writing good quality content.

Posted by Jeff Belonger, The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans ( Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc) over 7 years ago

Sure, Jeff my post is here:

I do think it is possible, and valuable, to get some deeper understanding of Google than the basics I referenced. I just think for a lot of people it can be a black hole into which time and effort goes that could be better invested elsewhere, and I was trying to validate a simpler approach which is probably appropriate for most Rainers. 

Posted by Fritz Barnes (BizProMedia) over 7 years ago


FRITZ... I have re-read your first comment, your post that you referenced to, and your second comment. First off, I guess I am semi last regarding your first comment. Your comment makes it sound like we don't fully agree and have talked about two different things. But what I found to be the main theme in your post was that good quality content will rule. Well, I mentioned that a few times in my post and mentioned this at the very end of my summary.

On another note.. you said this... "I just think for a lot of people it can be a black hole into which time and effort goes that could be better invested elsewhere"  

In my opinion, if you don't take some time to try and understand these changes, go with them or against them, then I think it's bad time not vested. Again, the basic concept should be that you just write good quality content. There is nothing magical about that... and it seems to work the best, no matter what google does. But I truly believe that people need to invest some time in this, trying to understand some things about google. If you don't, you might miss the boat that could cost you money. Just my .02.


Posted by Jeff Belonger, The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans ( Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc) over 7 years ago

Good morning, Jeff. This is some great info… with nice examples. And I agree that Google’s’ new “date” feature will likely be used for breaking news stories.

Posted by Bill Burchard, Broker, Realtor, Representing Buyers and Sellers (3B Realty: 951-347-3818, CA) over 7 years ago

An excellent tutorial and helps me understand all of this so much better.  Thank you for taking the time to put this together.  This should be featured and I will suggest.

Posted by Paula McDonald, Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury, TX 936-203-0279 (Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury) over 7 years ago

Jeff: Thanks and I bookmarked this for reference.   I sure hope that I don't have to worry.  I just keep blogging and hope it makes google happy to find me.   I just can't spend hours and hours trying to see where I turn up (or if I turn up).   If these changes help the organics and penalize the frauds...that is a good thing.

Posted by Christine Bohn, The Bohn Team, Gainesville FL (RE/MAX Professionals) over 7 years ago

Thanks for the mention Jeff.  I am glad to see Google putting more focus on the real content and not just the scrapers anymore.

Posted by Jeremy Blanton, Myrtle Beach REALTOR®- (Myrtle Beach Homes Blog) over 7 years ago

Jeff, I'm sorry for the lack of clarity. I do think we are largely in agreement. The only divergence was about the duplicate content penalty. 

And I think I overstated my position re: the black hole...I don't disagree with you at all, that for those who have the inclination to put in the effort into SEO, it can pay off. I guess I just woke up in a more back-to-basics mood and that was reflected in my post and comments.  On a different day I might have written essentially what you wrote here, although I wouldn't have done such a good job of it.  :-)


Posted by Fritz Barnes (BizProMedia) over 7 years ago

Great info Jeff.  Thx for sharing. I'm going to read that article on social search as I've heard a bunch abt that lately but don't fully understand how it works/how to best leverage.  Thx.  Oh, and hopefully I'll see you in Atlantic City.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 7 years ago


BILL... . in my opinion, the new date feature would be mostly used for new news or news breaks... and thanks for the compliment.

PAULA... . my pleasure.. glad it could help some and thanks for the polite compliments.

CHRISTINE... . well, I do really think you should take some time on where and how you show up. Using analytics or google analytics should be part of your blogging and marketing campaigns... just my opinion. But overall, what should be common sense and a good part of your business is if you write good quality content.

JEREMY... . so am I.. when I first learned about the tricks and trades of black hat,,, about 3 yrs ago, it use to piss me off... especially when I would work my hardest in putting the best material out there, that was authentic. And my pleasure regarding mentioning your post.. good post.

FRITZ... . divergence? or divergence..  Have you been hanging out with Dennis Miller? lol  Seriously... I do appreciate that you have been coming back and adding to the conversation. And don't mind my dry humor.. in all fun. And thanks for the kind words.

DEBBIE.. . the social search is interesting and makes some sense. But overall.. none of these new changes bother me.. especially since I use Facebook and Twitter, and that I write good quality mortgage posts.  And thanks for the compliment and still not sure about AC.. when is it? I am working on a few projects and have more work ahead of me. thanks


Posted by Jeff Belonger, The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans ( Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc) over 7 years ago

Jeff - Lots of good information, even if it IS your opinion!

Posted by Margaret Woda, Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 7 years ago


I agee; this sounds like good news to small Internet businesses. I think it's a good idea for Google to strive to reward original website content.


Posted by Steve, Joel & Steve A. Chain (Chain Real Estate Investments & Mortgage, Steve & Joel Chain) over 7 years ago

Jeff, Good post and thanks for all the information. I read Jeremy's post a couple of days ago so I've been watching this subject quite a bit since then. It seems the bottom line is get involved and interactive in social media and write good quality posts consistently. Google or any other search engine will continually evolve and change but logically all they are trying to do is provide good quality results that the searcher is looking for.

Very few Realtors in my area blog or use social media. I've never understood why, the rewards are too great not do it.


Posted by Jody Keating, Broker/MM/Realtor, Bryan / College Station, TX (Jody Keating Connective Realty,LLC, Bryan/College Station,TX) over 7 years ago


MARGARET... . ha ha ha.. yes, my opinion, even if I was an expert in this... because one could put all the data together, but it still comes down to an experts opinion.. and not always a fact... anyhoo.. lol  thanks for the compliment.

STEVE... . I think many of us are happy that google will reward those with good content and go after those that try and game the system.

JODY... . it's now a combination, as you stated... social networking with good written quality. Yes, there will always be changes, but the main ingredient should never change.. quality content. And that is actually great that many in your area do either and or both. That should be good news for you... and thanks for the compliment.


Posted by Jeff Belonger, The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans ( Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc) over 7 years ago

Jeff - We're all put a disadvantage when anything we depend keeps changing the rules be it Google, the banks, the government or our spouse.

Posted by Bill Pohl (Tetra Homes, Inc.) over 7 years ago
Great post Jeff, Thank you for the link and The mention. Mire to come about social search and content or Link farms soon I'm sure. Cheers.
Posted by Stephen Garner, Hub Media Company (Hub Media Company) over 7 years ago

@Jeff, Google changing its algorythm to combat the content and link farms is a good thing for prople like us here on AR. I dont know about you, but my GoogleAlerts shows me that my posts are going to real estate marketing, video marketing or title wesbites that leverage my content to drive traffic to theirs.  I know that some companies are saying their traffic is down 30-40%, I say that is awesome, serves you right.  Don't try and game the system, "Duplicate Content" hurts the original author the most.  And yes, I am talking to you,, and JC Penney.

Posted by Stephen Garner, Hub Media Company (Hub Media Company) over 7 years ago

Love reading your blogs they are always filled useful information.

Posted by Lorinda Ward, Serving, Hampton Roads Virginia. Norfolk, Chesapeake, Va Beach (Keffer Realty) over 7 years ago

I am new to online marketing. I have been paying and SEO company (Boostability) 600 a month to handle my Google Image. This is my first month but we are in a contract and I hope to see results. It seems obvious that if you can learn SEO you can save yourself a lot of money. I am split between online marketing or print marketing that give info to your web page? I like to start working with all my buyers when they are handed to me through my lead generation within my web page! Those seem like the best buyers!

My Web Page

Posted by Brandon Patton, Desiganted Broker/Owner (Real Estate Market Leaders) over 7 years ago

Hey I found that my fan page got indexed yesterday - WOO HOO!!  I was excited about that one even though it was a dirty search (I was logged in and my cache wasn't cleaned out!)

Posted by Renée Donohue, Las Vegas Real Estate Broker - (Savvy Home Strategies Realty, LLC-REALTOR®-Estate-Probate) over 7 years ago

Thanks for the links. Good information. Always new things coming our way. Hard to keep on top of all of it. Blogs like yours help.

Posted by Donna Malone, Homes and Property for Sale Nova Scotia (Waterfront, Luxury, Family, Affordable, Cottage, Deals) over 7 years ago