Why You Should Think Twice About Using Zillow

    For most agents these days, a large part of their leads come from the Internet.  Scrapping and clawing there way to get noticed, real estate agents want Internet surfers to find their site and conduct searches through their website, in hopes of capturing a lead.  There are many tools that you can use to generate traffic to your website.  Things like Google Ad- Words, social media, and other in-bound marketing strategies can help drive traffic and increase domain authority.  All this work you put into your website is what most people refer to as SEO.  Working diligently to hopefully be found on Google or one of the other major search engines.

    A story recently published by IMANN.com says that the top 10 real estate websites get close to half of all the real estate traffic.  Zillow is currently ranking first with a close to 10% visit share and over 44 million visits.  Here are the rest of the rankings.

    So how has Zillow, Truilia and the others dominated search engine ranking in your town? Without diving too deep into SEO, the general consensus around SEO and the best ways to increase your SERPS (search engine results) are centered around just a few major strategies.  One of the most dominate ways to earn credibilty in the eyes Google is to build a collection of backlinks.  

    According to backlinkwatch.org Zillow has 2,530,038 backlinks and many of those are from people just like you and I.  So how do the likes of Zillow and Trulia get you to help them out rank you in your own city?  The most common way is by providing you with “FREE” widgets.  These little badges you place on your site that show your visitors things like “average listing price”  or “home search” in fact Zillow offers over 36 free widgets you can add to your website for “FREE”.  Here’s where the problem exists, real estate agents across the country have put these companies ahead of their own, and instead of paying $40 a month for their own IDX search/ listing service from companies like IDX Broker, they install a Zillow badge that not only gives them a backlink, but also helps them leave your website for Zillow or Trulia. 

    It’s highly unlikely at this point we will be able to stop these companies from gaining higher SERP’s than us, but you as an agent should take the extra step to provide your visitors and clients the same information that Zillow and others do.  Also, by not inserting the “FREE” widgets on your site you are helping keep internet surfers attention on your site and not sending them to Zillow and the others.