WAV Group believes that search engine optimization (SEO) around long-tail address search is a best practice. It is not necessarily the thing that is going to drive massive lead generation and sales, but it is the right thing to do.
Your site must be parcel-centric
For many years, real estate brokerages have ignored a key principle of SEO. Namely, brokers need to build websites on a public record parcel foundation by creating a web page for all properties. You layer MLS records on top of those pages by adding the MLS information when it becomes available.
Portals SEO Listings Before they are Listed
Because brokerages have ignored this strategy, sites like Zillow, Redfin, Realtor.com, Trulia, and Movoto have carved out an advantage. SEO provides free consumer traffic to your website. Compass has joined this fleet of companies who are developing SEO on off-market properties. The biggest benefit is that when the listing comes on the market, you have already invested in SEO for that property.
A big part of SEO success is being “above the fold.” Meaning that your company’s webpage for that property address can be clicked without scrolling. I did a handful of searches on properties in different areas around the country and found that “Compass.com” pages were as high as 3 on the list – above the fold! Their results seem to be better in markets where they operate, i.e better in Silicon Valley than Niagara Falls.
What’s not on the page?
Compass decided not to provide an AVM on the value of the property; but they do display the accessor data. WAV Group believes that this is a mistake. We would advise that they should show three AVMs and show the AVM range, rather than a specific number, and use this as an opportunity to generate a listing lead by creating a call to action to meet with an agent to understand the home value. Even Zillow shows a range on the Zestimate.
What’s on the page?
Having an image is very important. Compass uses Google Street View. They highlight the bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, year built, lot size. They do a nice job of mentioning the county and linking to a county landing page where you can see the county boundary. They also add home facts and school information.
WAV Group is working on multiple projects today to move brokers to a parcel centric platform – meaning that their website and other consumer facing tools (including agent tools) adopt this foundation of records for every property. The reason why products like MLS-Touch from CoreLogic have reached over 1-million users in just a year is because agents and their clients want to see all of the property information. I would love to see MLSs get behind this and become a conduit for the data. These records should be on the same server as the MLS records. If they were combined, that would be even better.
Compass has made great strides in pursuit of this strategy in a short period of time. There is plenty more that they can do on these pages. They can market their mortgage services, allow homeowners to register to monitor their home value and nearby homes for sale, cross market their mobile apps, and more. All of these features are on Redfin – our favorite site for off marketing listings. We will keep an eye on future releases at Compass.