How Google Search Works for Real Estate: Malaysian Beginners Guide – Part 1

How Google works for real estate


How google works for real estate

How do Malaysians find things? In the past people use to look for information in newspapers, cardboard signs, and recommendations from friends. Now everyone says “just Google it”. This is the same when people are trying to find out about property they want to buy or sell.

Malaysians have now fully embraced the digital age with most of the population fully depended on smart phones, the internet, and computers. Even the way Malaysians search for information have totally changed. Everyone is using Google to find information about things they are interested in rather than using traditional methods, and with searching real estate online it’s pretty much the same. People will search online for properties they are interested to buy or sell, and evaluate the agents who are selling them.

This means getting visual exposure from search engines like Google is essential for you as a real estate agent in Malaysia for getting high quality leads. But in order for you to be able to harness the benefits of Google, you first have to understand how it works for realtors, and how being on Google helps potential clients find real estate properties online, and evaluate capable real estate negotiators who can help them. This is the power of real estate digital marketing.

In this article we will touch on how Google ranks websites based on keyword searches, and in general how their search algorithm functions. There are also two different types of Google search results, organic and paid results. In order to understand Google search results, you must first understand the difference between organic, and paid search results. We will be discussing the differences between both.

We are also going to break down the structure of the Google’s search results page so you can understand the formats and rankings that you normally see.

Ok, let’s start


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How does Google Work?


Google Malaysia real estate

So how does Google work? and how does it decide which websites are listed on the Google search engine results page?

Well when someone is looking for information online; for example, a property for sale in Bangsar, they start by entering keywords into the Google search bar. Like below


google search bangsar

Once the search button is clicked, Google returns with a list of results on the search engine results page (SERP) with results based on the keyword terms.

There are actually many different types of results on the search results page depending on the actual search term, but we will only be going over the organic and paid results in this article. In the next instalments of this article series we will go over the rest of the Google search result types.


So let’s talk about paid and unpaid search engine results, starting with organic results.

property google

Organic results (non paid) are sometime referred to as SEO, even though SEO actually means search engine optimisation, which is the actual process of optimising a website so it will rank well on Google. Organic results listings are websites that Google decides are the best match for the keyword phrases you have searched for.

Google has a secret algorithm that it uses to rank websites based on keyword search terms. It’s a secret so only Google knows how it actually works, but SEO experts are continually working to figure out how the algorithm works, and have strategies to help your website out rank others. Unfortunately Google changes the algorithms regularly so SEO experts have to continuously experiment in order to understand how to continuously optimise a website.

You cannot pay Google to make your website rank higher for organic listings, and there are only 10 organic listings per page. So its important that your website is fully SEO optimised, so you have a better chance of ranking for searches from people looking for property or real estate information in Malaysia.


Example of Google search results page

google organic search results real estate


Now let’s talk about paid listings on the Google search results page (SERP).

google re


Paid search results are referred to as either SEM or PPC, which stands for search engine marketing & pay per click. Paid search or SEM is basically advertising on Googles search results page. The Google advertising product is called Adwords.

With AdWords you can pay to have your website listed as an ad, appear on the 1st page of Google search results, for specific search terms. But it isnt as easy as just paying top dollar to be on the number one spot. Google AdWords also have an algorithm that ranks ad listings based a various factors including:  keyword bid, quality score, targeting, & performance.

So how it works is, advertisers will set a bid price of how much they are willing to spend on their ad listing, for each time it is clicked. When your ad appears on the SERP, and gets clicked by a user, you pay a fee per click, this cost per click varies dependent on many factors including the keyword search, competitor bids, target audience and past performance. Google are more likely to rank the ad listings with the highest possibility of resulting into a click (because that is how they get paid). We also have another series published on how much Google advertising cost.


Example of paid search results


google paid listings real estate

Why it is important to get on the first page of the search results

advertising analytics
advertising analytics

Everyone’s aim should be to get on the first page of the Google search results, while aiming to have the top ranking on the search result page.

Independent research shows that over 70% of Google searches result in clicks on the first page of the search results, while pages after the first page get significantly less clicks the further away the result is from the first page.

Research also states that with organic results, being in first position or top rank, receives over 30% of the clicks on that results page. And the click rate decreases more than half for position two rankings, and keeps dropping as the results get lower down the page.

Users also spend only 7-10 seconds in search results, so if your ad listing is not in a prominent position, there is a high chance that the users might miss it.


So what can you take home from this informative article.

How much does Google Search Advertising Cost for Real Estate Agents?

Basically the better you are positioned on the Google search results page, the more traffic your website will get. But to be visible on google, you must have an SEO optimised website, with great content. And if you have budget to spent on marketing, then paid listings will get you directly on the first page of google search results instantly. So if you aren’t on Google already, now might be the time to start.

As mentioned at the start of this article, there are many type of search results, that may appear on the search results page. But we will only be covering the other types of results in our next instalment of this series. So stay tuned to the 2nd part of this series where we will cover the other types of search engine results on Google.


Stay tuned with the for more up-to-date tips and guides for real estate marketing professionals.

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Ben Liau

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