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How Youre Helping Your Competitors Zillow and Trulia Outrank You

Services for Real Estate Pros with Real Geeks / American Dream Realty Hawaii

Last week I shared how it is getting harder to rank well in our respective markets for real estate queries. This week I would like to share one of the strategies your competition is using to beat you, and how we as agents play a part in helping them do this.

In the top 50 metro markets in the US, only 30% of the results are for local sites. That means 70% are national sites. And two of the biggest competitors in almost EVERYONE's markets are Trulia and Zillow. So how do they do this?

They Use Us

Zillow and Trulia are very good at marketing to real estate agents. With Zillow specifically, their core business model is to be integral; to your business model. In a conference call with analysts last February, CEO Spencer Rascoff explained their strategy:

“The strategy here is to have many hundreds of thousands of real estate agents using our suite of — mostly free — productivity tools.”

It sounds great doesnt it? Very generous on Zillow's part to allow us to use their tools. The most widely used of these tools are the widgets they offer. However there is a catch to these widgets. They are optimized to help Zillow beat each of us in our own markets.

How You're Helping Zillow and Trulia to Outrank You
How You're Helping Zillow and Trulia to Outrank You was created by: Real Geeks IDX Solutions

Use the HTML Below to Embed This Graphic

Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Burlington, MA
Metro Boston Homes For Sale

Jeff, in a webinar today, I asked the same question - is Zillow hurting us? Though I'd still say, the ROI on investment with Zillow is good....so may not use the widgets but will use their services for sue.

Dec 20, 2012 02:40 PM
Eric Ireland
Prudential California Realty - Murrieta - Murrieta, CA

Great read, thanks Jeff.

Dec 20, 2012 03:35 PM
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Yes, this is so sad and most agents don't realize this.  I'm in a different category (flooring) and won the Angie's List super service award again this yr.  They allow us to add a badge there.  Last yr, I had them get me one w/ a no follow link.  I need to do the same this year.  (and that Angie's List award is highly relevant for my category.

Dec 20, 2012 07:59 PM
David Pylyp
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., - Toronto, ON

This is an excellent infometric!  I posted it into the Canadian sites as we are discussing " reposting the house data" on different providers.

The advertisers repackage and brand how ever they like then resell those leads back.


I hope teh Canadian MLS does not go they way you have.  The Canadian MLS System ( Realtor.ca ) is currently owned by the membership.


David Pylyp

Etobicoke Real Estate

Dec 20, 2012 09:46 PM
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT

Jeff - I never really understood this until I saw the infographic.  For non-geeks like me, that's very helpful.  I have the Zillow widget on two of my site and will take it down.

Dec 20, 2012 11:00 PM
Jason Sater
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Boulder, CO

Incredibly important for agents to read if they hope to compete with zillow and trulia for page rank. If anyone is using a widget that doesnt create a backlink that is benificial for their site I would love to hear about it.

Dec 20, 2012 11:03 PM
Fred Carver Real Estate Consulant
Retired BC Realtor - Victoria, BC
Accredited Real Estate Consultant

Hi Jeff....Great tip for everyone, I only am registered on their site, no widgets...hopefully I'm gaining instead of them.

Suggestion Here

Love your Graphics


Merry Christmas

Dec 21, 2012 12:12 AM
Chris Marquez
Charleston HOME Properties ~ www.BuySellCHS.com - Sullivans Island, SC

As the old saying goes; "What's good for the goose is good for the gander."
(This idiom means that people should be treated the same way and not be subjected to different standards.)
Apparently when it comes to backs-links Trulia and Zillow feel Agents do not deserve what they themselves demand!

Dec 21, 2012 12:38 AM
Tonya D. Graves
Capital City Realty - Columbia, SC

In the Columbia SC real estate market Zillow and Trulia dominate Google for most of our local real estate keywords. Thanks for sharing this information about how using their widgets helps their site grow. Short term widgets seem nice for our users but In the long run using the widgets costs in many ways. We spend more on PPC and help the big guys dominate Google. Everyone in the real estate industry needs to know this information

Dec 21, 2012 07:20 AM
Wayne Jackson
Lakeshore Realty 208-714-4109 - Hayden, ID
North Idaho Realtor, Serving Coeur dnullAlene and Hayden Lake

The widgets are just a small part of the problem. We need to get our MLS's to stop giving Zillow and Trulia the listing data and then if they steel it the MLS should sue. These leaches need to be put out of business.

Dec 21, 2012 12:44 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Guess it is nice to be behind on this particular technology. No widgets for me.

Dec 22, 2012 06:35 AM

Very good info Jeff....thank you 

Dec 22, 2012 08:47 AM
David Tipton, GRI, ePro, SRES
Grady David Tipton Brokerage - Tampa, FL
Real Estate Broker - Tampa

Zillow is doing very well for themselves on the backs of Realtors. Thanks for the information.

Dec 23, 2012 12:20 AM
Ron Holborn
Short Sales, Foreclosures, Rentals, Income Real Estate - Anaheim, CA
Commercial & SFR, Anaheim CA, Real Estate & Short

Another good post Jeff. I especially like the part about the Terms of Use and glad you've taken the time to read them because like you said, no one else has. Hopefully more people can see this and actually take action! I'll be sharing this with others in my office.

Dec 26, 2012 02:34 AM
Ginger Harper
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage~ Ginger Harper Real Estate Team - Southport, NC
Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County!

Great post Jeff. I like to read what you offer.  It is new to me..  I will bookmark for future reference.

Dec 29, 2012 06:54 AM
Artie & Paulina Stowell
Century 21 New Millennium - Haymarket, VA

Thanks Jeff! I guess advertising on there sites would also help them more than the agent. I have a prepaid ad campaign until April. Not much I can do about that!

Happy New Year!

Jan 02, 2013 01:25 AM
Brian Rayl
Home Value Leads - Highland Park, TX
Active Agent and Co-founder Of Home Value Leads

Jeff, I did not realize you were on Active Rain. I just signed up myself. It is a shame that your article is not getting more popularity than it is... at least your website article is getting a ton of traffic. 

I'm doing my part to spread the word too!

Jan 03, 2013 02:09 PM
Veronica Gonzales
ABQDreamHomes - Keller Williams Realty - Albuquerque, NM
ABQ Dream Homes

I sure hope Google realizes how important and relevant local sites are in the SERPS.

We will help spread the word.


Jan 18, 2013 08:29 AM
Alan Harris
Keller Williams Realty - San Diego, CA
San Diego Real Estate Broker with Keller Williams
This message needs to be read by more agents.. Shout louder Jeff
Jan 31, 2013 03:03 PM
Jay Valento
Fathom Realty Group Coastal Properties - Long Beach, CA
Long Beach Real Estate Agent - Beach Cities

I've searched this exact information with Realtors I know and they have removed widgets from their websites.  One told me that her vendor paid her to have the widget on her site...for a $2 million a hour I might consider that....lol.

Jun 03, 2013 07:29 AM