On Tuesday, September 15, industry experts gathered at Google's headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, this week for a day-long summit exploring how real estate professionals can use Google's tools and data to ramp up their operations. The audience was comprised of top agents, brokers and third-party Google partners, and the agenda was stacked with some of the best minds from Google and the real estate industry. Here were my top three takeaways from Google's Ignite Real Estate Event.
1. Revamp your websites now — not at the beginning of the year
According to Ben Tyson, the dynamic head of sales enablement for Google, the largest spike in traffic from real estate searches happens between December and January. During that month, searches related to house hunting increase 39%.
If you've ever revamped your website, you know that it takes more than a few weeks to do it right. Our web developer is putting together a calendar of recommended tasks as you revise your website. We'll be sharing it on Monday!
2. Optimize your site for mobile, or lose customers. (Please don't stop reading here)
According to Tyson, 56% of real estate listing searches are now performed on mobile devices. And they're not just sitting on the couch at the end of a long day. In our increasingly chaotic world, home searches are now performed in line at Starbucks, and on the sidelines of soccer games.
Unsurprisingly, these mobile-savvy users don't have time for your desktop sites. (And frankly, they may not have time to download your fancy apps, either.) When surveyed, past homebuyers said that when they encountered a site that wasn't easy to use on a mobile device, 50% of them started using a competitor site with better user interface (Hi, Redfin!) and 36% of them stopped using the non-optimized site indefinitely.
The bottom line? You are losing new customers, and the loyalty of past customers, if your site doesn't let them search the way they want to. But it's not too late to get in gear for the busiest web time of the year! Head back to #1 to get started on a new and better looking site.
3. Create local content, and boost your site and content via mobile ads
As you prep your new site, focus on a local approach. 50% of real estate searches have local intent, and Google searches with local terms increased 256% last year alone. If you let your "Living in Suffolk County" blog lapse last year, it's time to pick it back up. Localized content continues to be king if you do it right.
Speaking of doing it right, local content can only help you ifhe right people are seeing it. We know you're on a budget when it comes to paid ads, so here's a tip courtesy of our Google overlords: House hunters spend 46% of their time on mobile devices, but only 25% of real estate ad spend is dedicated to mobile ads. That's a whole lot of mobile opportunity. If you promote local content on mobile devices down to the neighborhood level, your cost of ad will drop and you'll be able to convert highly interested visitors via relevant, engaging content.
Note: All stats are taken from the Ignite Real Estate speakers' presentations.
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