Building a New Real Estate Home Page originally posted on May 23, 2007.

Brokers, so how are you going to deal with Google’s Universal Search?

How are people going to find your site? If you didn’t already realize it, you’re already scrapping it out for increasingly limited screen space.

Google has already dropped local search results into its organic search results (see Google Implements Local Search Results). Take a search for “realtor san francisco“, for example. Zephyr Real Estate is the highest ranked naturally occurring search result on the front page, but it’s been squeezed out at the top of the fold by Saxe Real Estate and Herth Real Estate.

google-real-estate-1.png

Individual Realtor’s blogs are already nipping at your heels; Portland Real Estate Blog is now the #3 result returned for search on “portland real estate” – other markets will be similar I presume. It they’re not there now, they should be soon. Now you’ll likely get squeezed out by video in other key search words.

If you’re really going drive search engine traffic to your site, forget about your homepage. Marketing a single destination is going to be an expensive and frustrating process with very little in terms of guaranteed results.

Instead, focus on your listing pages. The listing page is the new landing page.

How should you do this?

Make sure your listing pages fully indexable by search engine spiders. Dump the obscure database calls in your URLs – take a page from the blogs and fill your URLs with keyword rich permalinks.

Work with the search engines, not against them. Whether it be Google or Trulia – ultimately, it doesn’t matter how your listings are found. Your goal should be to keep people there once they’ve arrived. Focusing on avoiding the dreaded “bounce”.

Speak like a human being. I don’t know what sec-lit, inst-hw or bi-rang means. Don’t just spew out every field in the MLS, show me what I want and arrange it such a way it makes sense to the average Joe

Learn from Amazon.com. Build some intelligence into your listing pages and cross sell me some similar properties if the one I’ve arrived at doesn’t meet my expectations.

Give me a rich experience. Listing pages are almost universally boring. Like this one from RE/MAX or this one from Coldwell Banker. Build in new media. Let your Realtors add video or audio descriptions of the property.

Seth Godin says it best. Blow up your home page. Your listings will literally become your new “home” pages.

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