Ten years has made an enormous difference in the real estate business. With the growing accessibility and portability of the Internet, real estate companies have thrived by turning popular search engines into a medium by which they can share their business and listings with a much larger market than was ever possible before laptop and smartphone ownership became the norm. Large real estate media websites clutter Google search results for homes, condos, land, and, in general, any real estate for sale. They clutter searches using BING, Yahoo, and other search engines, as well. You can’t perform a search for property for sale and not see the same names: Trulia, Zillow, Realtor.com, Condo.com, Homes.com, and the list is always growing with more of these mega-sites.
When you dig further in to the “why”, you begin to understand the “how” relating to cluttered search results. The “how” can best be understood by counting back links. It can’t be the page content, as these large sites, quite literally, only display listings and offer different search capabilities, but so does every other real estate website. Why do these websites repeatedly rank higher than other sites with far more content and local information?
As mentioned in our article discussing back links, they play a huge role in how well any website ranks in search engine results. Within these back links is relevant anchor text using key words like real estate, homes, houses, condos, land, and other similar terms. When you factor the size of these websites with their membership numbers, you can better understand how they maintain such high rankings. While a respectable number of back links for the average Realtors website may hover around 30,000 or so, these mega sites have hundreds of thousands of keyword-rich back links. This begs the question of how can we, as smaller websites, compete with these mega-sites?
One of the best ways to compete against these huge websites is to do what they can’t. Most of the time, these sites are based in other areas, sometimes across the country. The large conglomerates can’t possibly understand other markets and the people who live in them the way locals can. They cannot provide local information that residents would be interested in with the same kind of ease as someone who actually lives there. For example, with our websites based in South Alabama and Northwest Florida, we’ve included various types of local info that would be difficult, at best, for these large sites to attempt to cover. They simply do not have the time or the resources. Getting hyper-local is our best chance to rank well enough to compete for new clients.
We’ve included aerial imagery, restaurant and local business info, coverage of local events, and anything else that’s going on in our service area. The more opportunities we provide for the public to find helpful information on our websites, the more views or traffic we receive. Google and other engines pay attention to everything, so if someone were to search for information on an event in the area that you have written about and published, there’s a good chance that they will find your site in their search. Other positive factors include things like CTR (click through rate), time spent on pages, average number of pages viewed, etc. Search engines use these metrics to assess the value of a website. Page rank and link authority factor in and reinforce the idea that the more value included on a website, the usefulness of its information, and the time spent on a particular site all add up to determine where a page or website rank in relation to other competitive websites. Whether you own a website targeting those looking for a vacation rental, a home to buy, commercial property, or an investment property, spending some time researching and providing useful local information can and will pay off in the end as it draws in readers who may not have found your site otherwise.
We’ll be discussing these aforementioned metrics in another blog post, so check back for additional info on some of the more popular means of measuring a websites value and rank.