The internet has changed the way we market and advertise. There are very few industries that have not been affected and Real Estate is not one of them. How we share our information online to attract potential buyers to our listings has been a hot topic both in the US and Canada. Recently some of these rules have changed to allow shared access to other brokerages, third party websites and Consumers who demand less services in order to negotiate on their own behalf. Unknowing REALTORS® are allowing tech savvy competitors to gain an edge in the online lead generation business. Companies like ZOLO, Zoocasa, Lily Pad, Rockstar are taking advantage of the information we as REALTORS® provide for free. REALTORS® need to protect their business and there are great ways to accomplish this.
Google spends millions of dollars on algorithms in order to ensure the integrity of their search engines. When someone searches a topic they want to find current useful information, Google will make sure the sites with the most relevant information displays in priority from first page to last page. Websites that have new and exciting information being posted on a consistent basis rank higher. Google sees them as leading sites on that topic. Google also credits the Author that originally posted that information. There are many other factors that make a website rank higher with Google but for the purpose of this blog I am only going to focus on “Original Content”
The way we post our listings the internet needs to be examined. Typically a Listing Agent will fill out the listing forms and write a compelling description to gain the interest of a potential buyer. The Agent then loads their listing onto their respective Real Estate Board’s MLS system. The Board makes it instantly available to any Brokerage or Third Party site that has signed an agreement with the board. Each Board has their own rules to what information is shared and how it is shared. VOW, IDX, DDF and Data Share Agreements are just some of the confusing ways that this occurs either from the Area Board or Canadian Real Estate Association. Try not to get too wrapped up into Why or How this happens, just know that the listing is now available to other sites to promote to the public. A good percentage of the public is often unaware that they are not on the listing agents website and call to get more information to see the house. This is were the lead is created and converted.
Going back to how Google Looks at this information, it is MOST important to know WHO got credit for this CONTENT. Well…… the answer is whom ever was the first inline to grab the content, put it on their site and have Google find out it is there!
SOLUTION – Put the CONTENT of your listing on YOUR WEBSITE first!!
Google will see that you had the original content and give your site credit and hopefully post your site on the first page on Google. All the other sites will only be copying your site and Google will love you even more!!!
There are many other ways to make sure you have the DOMINANCE of that first page on Google through Youtube, your mobile site, virtual tour site, syndications to other third party websites. I am a HUGE fan of a company that looks after 99% of this called Homeania www.homeania.com. They pre-popluate a .com site with your listing, take HDR photos, create a virtual tour, develop a Youtube video with voiceover, create a sign rider, 1-888 service on the sign, QR codes and many more things to ensure you get the calls off your listing and protect your hard earned LEADS!! Not to mention sell the home for close to 2% higher on average. I am in no way affiliated with this company I just like promoting services that work.
Here are some TIPS when Loading your listing.
1. List the home on a website/virtual tour site BEFORE you submit to your Board
2. Use the address of the property in your Title and URL
3. Make sure the description of the home is the SAME on your site and MLS®
4. GOOGLE your description to see if Google knows it’s there!
5. If your site is not coming up on Google, Google may not know it is there, try submitting it to them www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url
6. If you can’t list your home on your site just CREATE A PAGE or do a blog with the description and Photo of the home. Link it to your virtual tour site or even REALTOR.ca
**Note: When someone Google my listing my goal is to have 80% of the first page directed to me as the listing agent.