4 Things That Can Beat Zillow in Search Engine Rankings

If you are going to try to get real estate leads through search engine rankings you are going to find yourself up against Zillow and Trulia.

They have dominant market shares online in almost all major cities — ranking number one to three on the majority of profitable real estate keywords. They spend millions of dollars in search engine related advertising and marketing. Their traffic and revenues are increasing:

  • Record Quarterly Revenue of $66.2 million, up 70% over first quarter 2013.
  • Record quarterly and all-time traffic, and April 2014 hit another record of nearly 79 million monthly unique users on mobile and Web (up 50% year-over-year).

Your chances of competing successfully against this juggernut will be improved if you understand the reasons for its overwhelming success.

  • They are highly disciplined in using their dominant brand to ranking in search engines through: extending users time at their site through forums, market data, connecting agent to buyer conversations, etc.,
  • They have amazing apps.
  • Genuinely useful tools for the average consumer

I could probably fill this page for all the right things they do. But their Achilles’ heel is their consistency.  They are always predictable. It helps to win battles when you can anticipate the enemy’s strategy.

They can be beaten. But there’s hardly a secret sauce to beating them in the three major search engines. You have to market a better product.

Here’s my basic strategy:

  • Build better, more precise market data.
  • Better way of telling — and showing — stories about your community. Have a first-person, active voice.
  • Better search experience — focus on giving better results of listings.
  • Solid Link building strategies backed by remarkable content in your site.

Here’s some parts of an email I sent one of my potential clients about competing with the likes of Zillow:

  • Create a Distinction: Producing remarkable content and having people find it is perhaps the most important factor in converting online leads to clients.
  • Think long-term, but work consistently towards that goal.Don’t let up for more than a month.
  • Digital marketing should be treated as an investment expense not advertising — like setting a new brokerage at the busiest part of town.
  • Be creative! And take risks. One of the biggest advantages we have is we know our area better than them. They can’t scale to our level.
  • Target long-tail keywords that are usually more profitable.
  • Comprehensive local SEO.
  • Tell a story. And find ways to do it in remarkable ways. Consistently.

This is basically just an introduction. More details, strategies and examples on this topic…in future blog posts