Posted by: housingdabble | June 17, 2010

Google Property will change everything

Make a note of his date – 16th June 2010

Like the day in Feb 2000 when a new website called Rightmove was launched and many dismissed it, here we have a pivotal date from which consumer property search will significantly change.

Of course it depends on a number of factors as to how this pans out, but regardless of how it develops I am convinced that this will have a massive impact on our industry and we will look back on this day in 5 years time and point to it as the day things started to change.

There are a number of ways this could unfold, but one thing is for sure – agents need to start to better understand consumers searching habits to ensure that their properties are being found.

So what about the impact of Google property search now?

Well, the consumer experience is currently much better on the portals for a variety or reasons, and this will continue to be their strength and one they will work to cement. There are also more features on portals such as shopping carts for favorite properties and the ability to save your preferences. The portals also have a much better quality of data than Google has in terms of duplicates and outdated listings.

The portals will be working hard to build on these strengths and also to be the place where home movers go for other info such as valuations and advice.

But this alone will not be enough to stop the search landscape from changing and that is why I think agents need to react to this change now and begin to understand how consumers will find their properties in places other than the portals.

In terms of how they get involved with Google, there are a number of ways for agents to list their properties on Google

  1. Manually upload your properties
  2. Set up your own direct feed
  3. Rely on your software provider to feed
  4. Rely on your portal to provide your feed

Having your own feed to Google Base has to be the preferred option but is probably not within most agencies in-house ability. What it does though is decreases the number of clicks a potential buyer needs to get to your web site.

What will also change over time is that the playing field will become more level. Whereas Private Sellers cannot currently list on the ‘BIG THREE’ portals, Google has no such restrictions. Providing a user has a site to link to they can list their property on Google base. No doubt ‘For Sale By Owner’ sites will be strengthened by this and will help to promote the Google property search.

My advice to agents is this:

  • Keep working with the portals but be more aware of where your quality leads are coming from
  • Start to really understand your customers online search habits
  • Assign part of your marketing budget to pay per click leads
  • Feed directly to Google base if you are able to

Now more than ever is a time to take your online marketing activity seriously.


Responses

  1. Thank you for this blog very interesting reading and I agree this will change property searching for the future.

    • Thanks Sharon, glad you like the post. How do you think it will impact on your area of the profession?

  2. Hey Ben,

    Good post as always and I know that you and I have both written about this in the past predicting great things. I agree on every level. Google has the “potential” to change the industry.

    Portals have to change and change quickly while Agents have to learn to utilise the technology has – otherwise they will appear dated and it will happen very, very quickly.

    I recently wrote about my thoughts regarding the overseas property markets and whether Google could have the same impact – I am not so sure, the market is so very different.

    Have a look if you want at http://www.jamesdearsley.wordpress.com

    Best wishes.

    James

    • Thanks James, yes I agree it will happen very quickly

      I enjoyed reading your article about overseas and how it will effect the two markets in Spain


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