Builders who rely on the Internet for leads might not regard the recent update of the Google search engine as an improvement, says Barry Lynn, founder and president of American Home Guides Inc. Many builder Web sites likely appear lower on results lists or get filtered out altogether, he says.
In a December 2003 survey of builders, 69% of respondents told American Home Guides that their Web site traffic had “sharply decreased” or “decreased” since the November 2003 update.
“Google’s change has really hurt small to midsize builders and real estate agents, many of whom depended on Google results to direct potential new home buyer traffic to their Web sites,” Lynn says. “However, some major builders and developers who actively advertise on referral sites and portals have had increased traffic as a result of this change.”
What can you do to ensure your share of the Web pie? First, Lynn says, put your Web address on everything from ads, billboards and collateral material to forms, business cards and even giveaways such as coffee mugs. Second, consider using a referral site such as HomeBuilder.com, NewHomeSource.com or AmericanHomeGuides.com. “The top 100 builders should really be on all three sites,” Lynn advises.