Are Zillow and Trulia Destroying Local Real Estate?
As a buyer looking for a home on the internet do you want accurate Real Estate Search Results on Google?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if you happen to land on Zillow or Trulia as a buyer or seller interested in Real Estate info then be prepared to view a bunch of Bullshit. In fact if you see Zillow or Trulia in your Google Search Results then I recommend that you avoid these two businesses like the plague. Their sole mission as a business is to get Realtors to buy leads from them not to display accurate information about homes for sale.
Zillow and Trulia have set up a business model that charges Realtors for leads that have been captured from their web page. To make their business work they had to rank high in the Search Engine Results like Google. They have even gone as far as getting Yahoo Search Engine to buy a large portion of their company. Anyway, to accomplish their goal of placing in top search results they had programmers tap into County Records so they could display the info that was in county records on their web page (Zillow and Trulia). We all know that county records are never updated and they never reflect true home prices. The programmers that work for Zillow and Trulia are aware that the info that they are showing people is not accurate but they do not care. In fact I have had discussions with Zillow Employees who said they don’t want to update their web page with accurate info because they want buyers that are interested in Real Estate to call a local Realtor for updates. If that is the case then why waste your time looking at their web site when you don’t even know if the houses that you are looking at have already sold or if the price has dropped $30,000 and you don’t even know?
The entire purpose of Zillow and Trulia is to charge Realtors $80.00 per month per zip code that they want to advertise in. Since Zillow and Trulia have hijacked the SERP results Realtors feel like the only way they can get peoples attention on the first page of Google is by paying Zillow or Trulia. You see, it used to be that a Realtor could create a custom web page that showed info that updated from the local MLS and they would be able to show up on the first page of Google. However, since Zillow and Trulia have used SEO experts and programmers to take over all of the key Search Terms like “Community Name” Homes for Sale in the United States Realtors are having a hard time showing up in the Search Engine Results.
When you are on a Realtors Real Estate Web Page you are viewing homes for sale with an IDX feed that is programmed from the local MLS. That means if a house sells today then it will be pulled from the Realtors web page tomorrow. This may save your hours of driving around just in case you are the type of person that likes to look at houses for sale then drive out to the house to see if you like the location before you call a Realtor to show you the home.
Displaying inaccurate info on a Real Estate web page can create huge problems for sellers and buyers. I have heard a bunch of nightmare stories about people who have tried to sell their home but the buyer will not pay more than what Zillows estimated home value is on their home. The common buyer does not know that Zillow is just displaying inaccurate values to capture leads. Some people take that information as if though it came from a trusted source and should be able to be used during negations. I am hear to tell you that Zillow and Trulia are not a trusted authority figure in Real Estate. In fact, they can’t even help you buy or sell a home so why is it that they are ranking for your key words that you are typing into Google such as “Community Name Real Estate”????
I have been a Realtor in Richland Washington for a long time and I have worked really hard to build a Real Estate Business that strives for customer service. I have lived in my Community for over 20 years and I understand everything their is to know about home prices and the current economic conditions in my community. I find it offensive that a rookie Real Estate Agent can with no experience can move to my community and be a Zillow Pro in 1 day. All they have to do is call up Zillow and sign an Advertising Agreement with a 6 month contract and they are now a Zillow Pro. Sure, Zillow is a great advertising platform that charges Realtors for links back to their web site similar to a paid directory but that should not be able to confuse the average home buyer who is looking for a knowledgeable professional in Real Estate or accurate Real Estate info on home for sale.
If you are a Realtor and you agree with me then I strongly recommend that you report Zillow and Trulia to Google for providing false content and offering paid links to your Real Estate web page. Zillow and Trulia are like a black hole that wants to try to capture every home for sale from 3rd parties (Scraping). They get most of their content from Realtors who blog thinking Zillow and Trulia will send them more leads.
If you would like to compare the difference between a Realtors web page and Zillow or Trulia then you can click here. I appreicate any feedback that you have about this discussion topic.
I want to take a few minutes to explain why I don’t like the how Zillow and Trulia are creating their backlinks for SEO to their site. Zillow and Trulia are hiding links in widgets that they have created for Realtors to use on their web page. For Example, a Realtor can visit Trulia and they can see a cool badge that they want to put on their web page that says Zillow Pro. So the Realtor will think wow this makes me look smart so I am going to add this widget to my web page. They don’t realize that when they download that badge that they are giving Zillow a backlink that will improve Zillow Rankings. I have spoke to Zillow about this and told them that I thought this was unethical and they said their is nothing wrong with widgets. However, for some reason when I read the Google Rules on this they seem to differ to me?
How does Google Work?