I often compare Zillow to Derek Jeter.  Even if you dislike the Yankees (which I do), you have to respect the player. And, that doesn’t mean that you can’t compete against them.

There’s no doubt that over the past 15 years, Zillow has entirely redefined the way real estate is searched. At the T3 summit in May 2018, Zillow’s market cap was greater than an amalgamation of the largest brands (and Realogy’s market cap is now one-third of what it was at the time).  They have put themselves between the real estate broker and the consumer when it comes to the search experience: The word “Zillow” has replaced “real estate“ as the most likely additional phrase for people looking to find a home for sale.

Zillow's Worth Compared to Other Proptech Companies

To quote one broker friend of mine who said years ago “Brokers give Zillow our leads (by providing listing data) so they can sell them back to us.” Of the greatest concern to the real estate industry, I think, is their move into iBuying. No longer is Zillow an advertising mechanism for brokers. They are a competitor. Looked at cynically, the revenue Zillow is using to power its iBuying business is being funded by the real estate brokerage community that continues to advertise on their platform.

One of the great fallacies of real estate digital marketing is that Zillow cannot be beat. In the aggregate, there is merit to that argument. However, what real estate brokerage cares about the aggregate search experience nationwide? None of them.  What brokerages care about is the same thing that their clients care about: “Location. Location. Location.”  When it comes to the last mile of real estate search, such as specific property addresses and long-tail search queries pertinent to buyers further down the purchase funnel, Zillow can be beat.  I know this as fact because we do it every day.

I would be happy to “geek out” on the technical SEO strategies we have deployed that have lead us to this outcome. However, since I’m sure most of you have little to no interest in reading technical SEO jargon, I thought I’d share a much more visual tactic we have used to slay the beast: using the combination of our websites and digital marketing strategies to rank #1 for specific property addresses with our listing video tool.

Here’s an example this combination in action


As you can see from the video, much like Jeter, we don’t beat them every time and, like the 2004 Red Sox, we beat them when it counts!

Ranking number one for a specific property address is the ultimate “local” of digital marketing.  Appearing number one for your own listings is a highly valuable result which could lead to any of the following:

• A happy listing client who sees your site ranking first when they search for their own home.

• A great listing presentation asset that you can show a potential seller to demonstrate how you will market their property effectively.

• A potential buyer that is interested in that specific property might contact you as you are the first search result, which could lead to you working both sides of the transaction.

There’s a lot more to the story here and I certainly do not want to simplify what we do on a day-in and day-out basis to achieve this outcome. If this is something that could be of help to your business in 2020, let’s talk about it!