Real Estate Websites Don't Generate Leads.

Services for Real Estate Pros with Agent Reputation

Websites are online containers for your branding, lead capture tools and calls to action (CTA’s). You could have the greatest looking website in the world with the best CTA’s and lead capture tools, but without TRAFFIC, the tools will go unused.

Websites, in of themselves, do not generate leads without traffic. Getting traffic to your site today is totally different than it was “back in the day.” Four years ago, even, if you were doing SEO correctly, you actually had a chance to appear on page one of the search engines organically whether from your own efforts or a professional SEO company. Now that Google has removed the 7-pack and most of the page one search results are filled up with Zillow, Redfin,, Trulia, Movoto and international brokerages, organic traffic has been reduced significantly. Then again, Google has been acquiring real estate technology companies, and who knows what is around the corner.

Organic search results are dying for primary real estate search terms in the larger populations, so you need to pay for real estate leads or traffic. That gives you two options. You can pay for leads from the Zillows of the world, Facebook ads, seller lead systems, display ads, etc., or hire a company that manages pay-per-click campaigns on your behalf. Back in the day, BoomTown was the leader and now there are any number of companies offering PPC lead generation for Realtors.

Generally, there are two methods for PPC management companies to market their products to Realtors. Companies that are strictly lead gen via PPC will loan you a website (container) with lead capture tools and a CRM as a destination for the PPC traffic. The only negative was that you did not own your real estate website. If you used their website as your branded mothership and chose to move away from their marketing company, you were starting all over in the search engines with whatever new site you chose to go with. You are being loaned your container to capture leads from PPC traffic.

The second type of company is marketing themselves as providing “websites that generate leads”. If websites don’t generate leads, how is that possible? You are a Realtor. You see ads that state THEIR websites generate more leads or THEIR websites will generate a specific percentage of leads, leading the Realtor to believe if they switch sites they will have leads coming out their ears. They describe a Mercedes, yet they have left out your need to put gas in the car for it to run. Sure, all of these companies WILL generate leads at different quality levels, but ONLY if you pay to drive traffic to the sites. The dollars you spend on ad buys and PPC is the gas that drives the traffic.

Please don’t think I am against companies in the lead gen business. There are some great companies out there that make enormous profits for my clients each year from the leads they are receiving. The purpose of this post is an attempt to clarify what a website actually is. So when you go shopping for a site, you know the difference between owning your own website outright versus a site being loaned or rented to you as the destination for their marketing campaigns you have to pay for.


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Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I've been fairly fortunate, I suppose, that I have dominated search terms for Sacramento for so long that my keywords still return rich SEO. P.S. I also spotted a typo in your headline.

Jan 20, 2017 10:28 AM #16
David Alan Baker Laveen & South Phoenix Realtor
Keller Williams Realty Phoenix - Laveen, AZ
Your local Expert

Point well taken.  Think we all need to consider before getting one

Jan 20, 2017 10:39 AM #17
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

There are so manyplace to buy leads...I tried it once a long time ago, never again.  I think websites are important to give potenial clients a peak into your personality and past sales, area of expertise.

Jan 20, 2017 11:14 AM #18
Melissa Jackson
Citiwide Alliance Realty - Weatherford, TX
Helping You Make The Right Move

Congratulations on the feature.  Thank you for sharing these great points. 

Jan 20, 2017 11:20 AM #19
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

It's not the website, it's what you put in it; thank you!

Jan 20, 2017 11:31 AM #20
Corinne Guest
Corinne Guest, REALTOR® | Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
Barrington Lifestyles

Organic search results are dying for primary real estate search terms in the larger populations, so you need to pay for real estate leads or traffic. 

Actually with the recent changes this is not true. SEo has moved back to include us little guys and rankings are climbing again. That said to have a site and commit to it for the life of your business is what will make it suceed. The lead generators can be beat with hard work.

Jan 20, 2017 11:39 AM #21
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

GREAT POST!! Without traffic you have nothing.

As you point out SEO has changed and we must keep up.


Jan 20, 2017 01:40 PM #22
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Many excellent points here.  I have just had a few customers (non real estate) that don't seem to have full control over their site.  They are paying "rent" in hosting charges and have to go to them to add pages or do stuff to their site that they should be able to do on their own.

And, yes, just having a site doesn't do much good.  It needs good and unique content.  IMO epic evergreen articles usually do the best. 

Jan 20, 2017 02:40 PM #23
Hella Rothwell

My community websites drive traffic to my real estate websites. Which I do myself and I own my own hosting company. That control works for me. I get quality leads rather than quantity.

Jan 21, 2017 01:06 PM #24
MaryKay Shumway
The Kellstrom Ray Agency, Inc. (Est. 1948) - Sister Bay, WI
Door County Wisconsin's Real Estate Expert

Interesting post, congrats on the feature.

Jan 21, 2017 01:36 PM #25
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

CJ, it seems that the landscape is constantly shifting. Sadly, those of us who are busy don't have time to keep up with it. 

Jan 21, 2017 02:11 PM #26
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Interesting.  I hadn't considered that I might not "own" my site.  Your information is valuable to anyone who has a website !

Jan 21, 2017 06:23 PM #27
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Thanks for this most informative post.  

Jan 21, 2017 09:30 PM #28
John Quincy
Elite Real Estate Content - San Diego, CA

I have seen this happen exactly as you have described over the years. Now many marketing companies are moving to "direct response" which is exactly PPC marketing wit lead generation on FB and adwords.  I was also wondering this idea if it is possible....What if marketing company shared the burden and only operated on percentage model if the lead closes or customer actually signed an agremment with an agent. Is there any legal implication? Any thoughts?

Jan 21, 2017 09:51 PM #29
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Well said CJ Hays.

It is the traffic that is driven to the quality websites with call-to-action generates leads!

Jan 21, 2017 10:37 PM #30
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I get a nice amount of organic traffic.  It helps that I was first and my url turns 20 this year and that I keep adding new and relevant content. 

Jan 22, 2017 12:24 PM #31
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

Totally disagree with you. I'm with Corine above. I'm skeptical of you not of Google.

Jan 22, 2017 12:41 PM #32
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I believe most agents think they can get a lead generation website and it will be the answer to all their problems. I made the decision to use a lead generation site several years ago that offers a website, IDX and CRM. I have absolutely no regrets and I'm in my fourth year with that site. The cost is minimal to me at $200/month. The best $2,400 I spend every year. I have never had PPC or purchased leads. All my traffic is organic and I get a considerable amount of business from this site. However, I have populated the site with lots of rich content. I am constantly adding to the site. Just last week I added 30 new pages. It's a never ending process. It doesn't take a tech-wizard to get results--just lots of hard work. While I think a WP site is the most cost efficient way to get results, there are other sources that provide excellent products.

Jan 22, 2017 04:09 PM #33
Kathy Goldman
REVA Online | SEO Boost For Real Estate, Social Media Marketing for Real Estate and Real Estate Blogging Expert - Waukesha, WI
Social Media & Marketing for Real Estate

Lead generation websites really can be a dime a dozen with lots of template websites that never get updated with fresh content or new generation options. So finding creative ways to do this is best. Also as Tammie White said, Google loves lots of pages (or should I say lots of relevant pages). Continue to stay on top of technology and you will continue to draw traffic. 

Jan 25, 2017 01:35 PM #35
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

Depends on how well you research your search terms and incorporate them for SEO.  Yes, teh paid ads are crowding the first page, but Google knows if they just return paid ads and nothing organic, they're cutting their own throut.  Paid ads don't get near the clicks that organic results do.

PPC is a gamble.

Feb 19, 2017 08:36 AM #36
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