As countless Realtors discover the benefits of search engine optimization for their websites and coupled with the rise of the nationwide sites like Zillow and Trulia, Realtor.com and the franchise companies, the competitive abilities of the individual agent become diminished.
I’ve seen quite a few conversations lately in the real estate specific Facebook groups about whether agents should even try to compete with these guys. Do they even have a chance? There are some convinced they do not. (If the Facebook link doesn’t work, let me know in the comments below and I’ll invite you to the Facebook Group.)
Agents: You can compete with Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com
It all starts with the basics of SEO. Working regularly on these items alone will be a huge jump in what you are able to achieve since so few agents even know where to start. The first steps are to setup sitemaps, regularly monitor your analytics, carefully figure out the keywords you want to concentrate on, set a strategy for you titles and descriptions, and then execute. It’s about setting a calendar to write at least once a week, or hiring a team to write your real estate blog posts for you (PS: Make sure they are 100% custom and not “spun,” or pushed to hundreds of other sites.)
Great website vendors will handle most of this for you.
However, your vendor or your personally can only do so much on your website. The next part of the strategy is the most important. You need to build inbound links to your site. This involves finding other sites that you can get link to you. If you’re writing stories about the local Kiwanis club events ask them to link out to you. More importantly, if you’re writing articles about the real estate market, get your local newspaper or other news sites (like Patch) to link back to you. These inbound links are some of the most important signals that tell Google you have domain authority for the topic you’re discussing.
Alternatively, you can research sites on your own that allow you to place your content on their site with a link back to you. As an example: your Trulia profile provides a follow’d backlink to your site -use it.
Be Local, Be Knowledgeable
What do you have that the big sites don’t? Local knowledge. There is no way that an automated valuation model (AVM) can ever compete with what you know about the area. There is no way in the near future that these sites will begin to write about your local market. But rolling over and saying that the big guys win, is not healthy to the market. We need healthy competition from agents, brokers, franchisors, and nationwide sites to help us all up our game. For now, that means you can show what you know by being that local knowledgeable resource. Demonstrate what makes you different from some automated model.