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Influencing Real Estate Online Sales: Making Zillow Magic

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Welcome to the How to Make Zillow Magic Webinar Replay! You are the type of person we love.

You care about growing your real estate business and want to learn everything you can to create online influence, impact and income.

It is my personal objective to educate brokers and real estate company decision makers how to make smarter real estate website choices. Choices are good when you select a web development partner that cares and knows how to work real estate web marketing magic. 

Influencing Real Estate Online Sales: Making Zillow Magic for Company Real Estate Websites

Tip! This webinar is 48 minutes in length and you won’t want to miss a minute. Bookmark this page now in case you get interrupted or want to rewatch.

Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the presentation. It is packed with valuable information and you won’t want to miss a minute of it. 


Special Note: Office phone number update (818) 351-5244!

Did you find the webinar info valuable?

Most brokers or real estate company decision makers have questions after watching the webinar, I provide a lot of information and frankly, we just covered the surface. I am dedicated to helping you create influence, impact and income from your company real estate website. Please feel free to contact me anytime.


Randi Thornton
realWITS Founder

realwits email icon

Ph realWITS 855-732-5948

(818) 351-5244

Influencing Online Real Estate Sales Webinar Transcript

I want to thank everybody for attending today and welcome you to our webinar “Influencing Real estate Sales: Making Zillow Magic for Real Estate Company Websites.

This event is brought to you by realWITS, a company dedicated to producing real estate company websites that cannot be ignored. The goal of this webinar is to learn how your company real estate website can become the Zillow in your local marketplace.

I have a lot of information to cover and will try not to go too fast but I want to make sure we have time to get it all in. It is important to me that you get the most out of this webinar and to help as we go along, you notice a check list after each topic we will be discussing. And I know you probably have some questions and I’m happy to answer all them, but do the time I ask that you write down your questions as we go along and at the end of the webinar, I tell you how to get all of your questions answered.

First let me introduce myself. My name is Randi Thornton and the founder of the realWITS. I want to personally thank you for your time today. For those who may be unfamiliar with me or have not work with me in the past, I’m a proud mother of three grown daughters and have a handsome grandson. I get excited about new technology and I’ve been practicing real estate SEO and website development since 1995.

First, today I want to start by asking you a question. What makes real estate web marketing success? What does success look like to you? We’ll get back to this, but I want you to think about your answer.

Okay, everybody is probably very familiar with this image. The reason this webinar is titled Influencing Real Estate Sales Making Zillow Magic for Real Estate Company Websites is because my experience tells me most brokers and real estate company decision-makers would love to become the Zillow in their local marketplace.

But why Zillow?

According to Experian Marketing Services, Zillow is the number one online real estate destination amongst buyers and sellers and Zillow had 49.9 million visitors in a month of March 2013 alone. Also, Zillow received 21.5 million, almost a quarter of all mobile device real estate website visitor as well.

In summary Zillow has influence.

Zillow’s influence has enable them to impact real estate lead generation amongst agents, brokers and teams that are willing to pay to get found on Zillow by buyers and sellers. Because of this, Zillow has further increased their influence and Zillow has impact.

So how does your company real estate website become the Zillow in your local marketplace?

It’s all about creating a real estate company website that cannot be ignored.

When a website cannot be ignored, it’s all about what I like to refer to as the three “I’s.” Once your website has influence, it will create an impact and once it creates an impact that has influence, it will produce income.

Influence, Impact and Income!

Since buyers and sellers look online for realtors and begin their home searches online having influence, impact and income from the number one resource your website, just makes sense.

So what are some of the greatest benefits of becoming a Zillow like website in your community?

  • First and foremost, you become the most popular go to online resource.
  • You will generate conversations and sales opportunities.
  • You get qualified buyers and sellers that will complete their online contact information and that then will become leads for your sales agents in your office.
  • Closings, more closings and more closings.
  • And of course the number one benefit is that your website will become your most profitable business asset.

So what are the traits of a realty website that has influence, impact and produces income? How do you take your real estate website from where it is today to the Zillow in your local marketplace?

I have outlined, seven strategic qualities necessary to make that happen and let’s take a look at these.

Real Estate Company Websites Zillow Magical Formula

  1. It begins with on-site SEO. Before visitors can visit your site, it has to be found online and without proper implementation of on-site SEO, you won’t get those website visitors.
  2. Next you need to have a high impact well -designed website. One that impacts your visitors and keeps them interested engaged and quite frankly keeps them on your website so they don’t leave and go elsewhere.
  3. Next stop is technologies. Your website must use the latest and greatest website technologies.
  4. Followed by the IDX. Making sure the right vendor is chosen and using the right IDX vendor does make any difference as we’ll learn in a few minutes.
  5. Your website becomes the lead generator.
  6. Your website is imaged focused.
  7. And certainly last but not the least, you must have control over your website so you can control your destiny.

Now let’s take a look at each one of these individually, but before we begin, I do want to mention to you that it is important that everything you do begins with your website. Your company, real estate website is your online foundation and without a solid foundation companies will struggle to achieve traits similar to Zillow.

Alright, with that out of the way let’s begin with the first topic real estate SEO and this refers to on-site real estate SEO. As you’re probably aware, SEO strengthens your ability to get found online and a real estate website must be SEO friendly.

Real Estate SEO

I am going to show you some real examples of what I’m talking about. We’re gonna go through a checklist but before I do I wanna mention two quick things.

First, I have gotten calls by my realtor SEO clients in the past, and they told me that they just attended in SEO class or heard on from an agent or somebody else, a brand-new way to increase their search rankings. You need to know that one class or implementing one idea is not usually going to be effective. It’s a full-time job to stay on top of this aggressive topic because nothing stays the same. SEO is constantly changing and what worked five years ago, or even six months ago as changed.

Second, I do not consider a website that has an SEO dashboard to be a SEO friendly. If you don’t know SEO, how do you know what to enter into the dashboard? If you enter the wrong content, it could actually produce more harm than good.

On-Site Real Estate SEO Best Practices

So now let’s get going and let’s look at some on-site real estate SEO tactics. I will actually touch base on four topics that are very basic real estate SEO 101 topics and as we go through this, take note so that you can go back after the webinar and check your own website to make sure that these basic for a SEO tactics are being used correctly on your website.

So right now, I’m going to jump to This is actually our real estate company demo.

I want you to be aware of first of all, when you or I or your web visitors come to a website, this is what they see, but you may be surprised to see what Google sees. This is the exact same website and this is what Google sees when Google’s spiders and crawls the web and finds websites. So it’s really important that the coding behind each page on your real estate company website is SEO optimized. You don’t need to know what all the coding means, but you do need to understand that this is how Google sees websites.

Now let’s go back to the homepage. The first thing I want to talk about is the fact that when Google does visit your website and sees all that coding is imperative that Google can understand what your website is about and more importantly that Google actually indexes and can crawl and find all your property pages. This is a common SEO best practice feature for real estate website I often see that struggling.

Next, let’s take a look at how you can determine if the property pages on your website are actually being indexed by Google. This is something that I have ran across that can be quite problematic. Property detail pages on a real estate company website must be searchable by Google and indexed to appear in the search engine’s results.

What you need to do is go to Google. Once in Google, type in S-I-T-E-colon followed by your domain name, type it in with no spaces. Google, then is going display a number right below. This is the number of results of pages that Google has indexed on your website.

So how can you use this information?

You want to make sure that the number Google has listed here is similar to the number of web pages on your site.

So how do you figure that out?

It is pretty simple. Think about the static pages you will have on your website, such as your about us page, why buy with us, maybe each agent has their own page etc. Add these numbers up and include the number of blog posts that you’ve written and then add to that the number all properties that are listed on your MLS. Another words, the number of property pages you would have on your website, add those numbers together and it should be fairly similar to the number shown by Google. If you feel the numbers are way off you may have a problem.

Another way to check if Google is indexing your property detail pages is to scroll all the way down and just keep going through all pages that Google has displays and see if a property page and property displayed pages actually show up. This is a good way to tell if Google is indexing your property pages. Of course this is real important if somebody searches for a property on Google that you have listed for sale or drives by a property and looks it up by address, your site is not gonna be found. Somebody else’s is that has property pages that are being indexed, that’s our first SEO tactic.

The second on-site real estate SEO factor I want to talk to you about is image optimizations. Let’s go back to As we previously saw Google can’t see images. Google sees a bunch of code so it’s important that you tell Google what the images on your website are about and especially because a real estate website should be image centric, you’re gonna have a lot of images.

The way to find out if your images are SEO optimize is by simply hovering over your images. When I hover over this image, there some text that pops-up. This is called alt-text. Alt text are like titles and descriptions for your images. Google can see alt text that is behind each image although Google cannot see the images.

Hover over each one of your property listings, hover over icons, and hover over any image you may have on your website. Make sure that all images have a description attached to it so that when Google sees a page that has a lot of images, Google understands what that page is about.

The third SEO test I want to talk about is your blog. Your blog should reside on your website. It should not be a separate website. If you a company real estate website and you have a different site that hosts your blog, in essence you are going to be competing against yourself. Those are considered two different websites and you don’t want to be in competition with yourself. Also you are diluting your efforts. You want to make sure that all of the content and everything that you are producing resides on one website.

So how can you tell if your blog is hosted on your company real estate website? Look at the URL in the top search field and it should be your, or something very similar. If you go to your blog, your blog homepage and you see your blog is actually sitting on what is called and referred to as a subdomain and that technically is a different website.

The last on-site real estate SEO tactic and test that we want to review is your website speed. Google puts a lot of emphasis on website speed, it’s very important for SEO as well as your users and your real estate company website visitor’s experience.

There is a tool that is free located at Once you’re there, you are going to see a field to enter in your website address. Then hit test now. Once you run this test, you’re gonna be given a waterfall view all of the different things that happen on your website when somebody views a web page.

You do not have to understand what everything on this page means. What you do have to know is what the load time is for your website is. So in this particular instance, the homepage of this website takes 3.32 seconds to load, I think that’s great. Anything above 3 to 5 seconds, I would start to get a little concerned about.

Also come back and put in a property detail page URL or your property search page or any other important pages that reside on your company real estate website and rerun the speed test. Google goes to every page in your website and site speed on every page is important, not just your home page. Make sure that each and every page on your website that loads quickly. You don’t want to be penalized for a slow loading website. This can be problematic for real estate SEO and your web visitor’s experience.

On-site real estate SEO is very important. It is the way your website communicates with Google and other major search engines. Make sure these real estate SEO tactics are correctly implemented so when someone does a real estate search on Google in your local marketplace, your website appears in the results.

A SEO friendly real estate website is the building blocks to a solid online marketing foundation. Without it, your website just won’t be found and in some instances for your own company property listings.

It is often what you don’t see that matters on a company real estate website that matters most. The coding.

We just reviewed real estate SEO 101. Let’s take a look at your real estate SEO checklist.

  1. Take a look at your website and make sure that the property pages are all being indexed in Google using the site: search we used above.
  2. Hover over all images in your website. Make sure that you see alt text and you see text upon hovering.
  3.  Go to and enter your website homepage as well as other important pages on your website too check your web pages load time.
  4. Check the URL for your blog, make sure that your blog actually does reside on your website.

Real Estate Web Design

Next we are going to take a look at real estate web design and how web design can sway your influence impact and income.

Did you know when a website visitor lands on a company real estate website, you have less than five seconds to make a great first impression? Your website design has a big impact on this decision.

Besides the obvious such as brand awareness and a professional look and feel what other important web design traits should brokers pay close attention to?

There are two different people we have to pay close attention to when we are talking about the design of a company real estate website.

The Visitor

First up, a web design for real estate must make it easy for the web visitor to quickly find what they become for. When designing a website the visitor’s intentions have to be prioritized. After defining these intentions the very best real estate web design will cater to the visitor by making it easy to quickly navigate to the sections or pages on your website that targets their desired information in the shortest moment of time. This holds true for someone visiting on a desktop computer or a smaller device.

The Real estate Company

Of course, you also need to care about you, the company and your agents. Your goal is to capture visitor contact information, enticement them to share your content, have them inquire about a home for sale or request a property market valuation. These are all legitimate real estate company objectives that are impacted by the realty website design. Generating quality leads for your agents is a company’s top priority.

But how do you know what makes the very best real estate web design of your visitors and the company?

Let’s eliminate the guesswork and refer back once again to Zillow. And we going to throw Trulia, the second most popular online real estate destination and Realtor (dot) com into the mix. Let’s look at each one of these home pages using the 5 second rule.

When you view the top three real estate websites, what is the first thing that jumped out to you?

The first thing that jumped out to me is how clean and not cluttered the web design is.

If I’m a homebuyer I can quickly search for property. All three of these websites have property search functionality front and center, and that is not by accident. Most real estate website visitors come to a website to look for property listings.

If a web visitor is not there to search for property, they can quickly find what they are looking for. A clean, non-cluttered real estate web design eliminates frustration and someone can quickly to make a decision and decide where to go.

Lastly, let’s take a look at a property detail page on Zillow. Notice how call –to-actions surround the property details? This makes it easy to capture visitor contact information by providing the ability to save this property search, email it plus more keeping the visitor coming back and enabling quality lead capture. This is a great method to capture leads for your agents.

We just looked at the top three real estate websites online today and found some commonalities amongst them that can be copied. In addition they all have a modern up-to-date real estate web design also establish instant credibility and trust.

In summary, we can all learn from these three online giants. If your targeted buyer and seller audience is gravitating to these popular websites and not yours, learn from what they are doing. After all, they spend big bucks analyzing data to learn what makes their real estate website design profitable.

So let’s take a look at the web design checklist for your website by comparing your web design to these three.

  1. Does it have a clean and uncluttered web design?
  2. Is it easy to navigate so visitors quickly find that they are looking for?
  3. Is it strategically laid out to capture buyer and seller leads?

You don’t need to be Zillow, Trulia or Realtor (dot) com or have their budget to produce a real estate web design that creates influence, impact and income. You do need to ensure your website design is not holding you back from obtaining and reaching your goals.

Real Estate Web Technology

A real estate website is not a set it and forget it business asset.

Think about cell phones; I remember my first cell phone in 1995. It was like something out of Star Trek. The first iPhone launched in 2007, only six years ago and I get excited each year when Apple rolls out its latest version, with amazing technology updates that are going to have a direct impact on my productivity.

Think about how briskly technology changes. Website technologies changes are just as rapidly evolving.

We understand technology is in a constant state of change and utilizing the latest and greatest technologies is definitely going to help you run a more efficient robot website.

  • Everything from widgets and applications to make your site more functional and bring the website to light.
  • Think about online neighborhood exploration, neighborhood features and lifestyle search.
  • What about your blog and blog marketing? It is easy to produce rich content and become an online publisher.
  • Mobile applications. This of course is a must today and mobile technology continues to get better each and every day.
  •  Real estate websites are no longer an online brochure. They should create engagement and allow visitors to interact with us.
  • Property listings. Remember the days when we had to carry around a large publication called the MLS listing book? Buyers demand so much more today.
  • Communication and how we stay in touch with prospective buyers and sellers. We can utilize set and forget it email property alerts so when a new property listing hits the market it can be delivered to prospective buyers. Not only can we send these property alerts automatically, the alert should match specific search criteria and you can do all of that without even lifting a finger.

All real estate brokers and company decision makers should embrace new web technologies. No better yet, they must demand the latest and greatest web technologies to staying relevant with engaging and rich user experiences very similar to those like Zillow.

Our website technology checklist is an easy one.

  1. When was the last time your company built a website had a technology update or upgrade?

While every website technology update does not need to be major, if it has not had an update in the last six months, or maybe even a year, it certainly has fallen behind trends and Zillow.

Real Estate Web IDX

IDX aka Internet data exchange is how MLS property listings appear and on a website. Most often the real estate website developer, designer or provider is different than the IDX provider. When you chose your real estate website developer you may have not been aware of who your IDX vendor is.

IDX displays MLS listings, but today, consumers’ high expectations about website property search functionality has evolved and must encompass much more.

Brokers have the option to use basic IDX search tools, or to build more advanced IDX solutions and provide solutions beyond the expected.

  • You may not know an IDX also impacts the design of your website.
  • We talked about making sure that your website is visually appealing and how important web images are to real estate web design. Images are used to get buyers interested and wanting more.
  • We also discussed the importance of getting each property detail page indexed by Google.
  • Another element that will vary amongst IDX is how well page URLS are SEO optimized. They should use logical formatting that does not contain odd characters such as question marks. Each page on a real estate website has its own URL and the URL’s must be clean, concise and short.
  • And last but not least, IDX also controls functionality such as custom maps searches and neighborhood map searches, narrowing search by very specific criteria that goes beyond ordinary.

Real Estate Neighborhood Exploration

We have all heard the phrase location, location, location as it pertains to real estate. But how does location impact homebuyers besides the obvious? Location influences market values and housing prices but equally important, location directly refers to the lifestyle associated with a locality.

  • To become the online go-to resource in a local real estate marketplace, a website must become the online neighborhood connoisseur.
  • To achieve Zillow like local results, a real estate company website must provide valuable content that is exactly related to an affinity that goes beyond whatever you real estate website offers online, you must become the accessible authority.

Next up, let’s go to and talk about a neighborhood landing page. This page quickly allows the buyer to visually understand what particular neighborhood might be about and create interest.

Now let’s take a look at this Hollywood neighborhood website page and view elements that make a neighborhood page engaging. First off, you can see that we have a slide show on the top of the page. While the slideshow does have some images that are real estate related, it really should be giving the visitor an idea of what it is like to live in this location. Followed by descriptive and relevant content about the neighborhood.

Surrounding the neighborhood real estate page we have provided the visitor the ability to sign up for free email alert and find out when new properties in Hollywood are in the market.

We incorporated map searches with the locality and added a real time news stream it in my real-time.

This neighborhood real estate website page offers targeted local vicinity information allowing the visitor to determine if they are interested in this area or if it is right community for their lifestyle.

In addition from this page a neighborhood property search can be conducted. The visitor does not have to dig deeper in the website to be able to search for properties in this neighborhood. Elements that make it easy for visitors to quickly navigate are necessary to keep them engaged and becoming a returning visitor.

Neighborhoods sells homes, better than any well-written description ever will. Neighborhoods are the greatest sharing and more natural way for people to talk about an area when having a dialogue about where someone lives. Websites such as Zillow or Facebook strategically incorporate usage of neighborhoods to selectively target an audience.

IDX Web Checklist

We talked a lot about IDX. It is important you know the IDX used on your company real estate website can

  1. masterfully immerse the best web design
  2. takes advantage of real estate SEO best practices
  3. allows custom neighborhood landing pages
  4. uses imagery to engage prospective buyers and make them want more
  5. property pages use SEO friendly URLS, that they do not have odd characters and are short and concise. Google and anyone else should know what a page is about simply by viewing the page URL.

Real Estate Online Leads

I am certain brokers and real estate company decision makers care most about real estate online leads from their real estate company’s website. Similar to Zillow’s real estate online leads it is vital to collect quality leads for your agents. After all, leads produce income.

Capturing contact information from prospective online buyers and sellers using personal accounts with company branding, allows them to save and share favorite property listings. This is a proven method to produce quality real estate leads for your agents and one that is used by Zillow and the other top three online destinations.

Nurturing Real Estate Online Leads

Once a lead is captured having a system in place that auto generates e-mail alerts when a new listing becomes available that matches the buyer’s criteria is a brilliant real estate online lead nurturing must. This keeps them engaged with your company real estate website and allows you to retain the visitor.

It also is great for brand awareness, keeping your company and brand in front of the buyer.

Did you know when a broker, agent or team purchases leads from Zillow or similar, you are actually growing the business of your biggest online competitor?

I believe it’s more important to grow the value of your own brokerage by investing in your company real estate website.

Here is your real estate online lead checklist.

  1. Does your company or agents buy real estate leads or…
  2. Does your company real estate website produce quality real estate online leads?

We are getting close to the end of the seven qualities associated with a website that allows you to become the Zillow in your local marketplace.

Real Estate Website Imagery. More Pictures. Less Noise.

 We have already touched upon imagery, but it’s just too important in today’s online world so I want to make sure we deliberate it just a little bit further. No matter how well a property description is written, it will never grab the attention of a buyer better than an image will. The main emphasis of any real estate website should be on imagery. Pictures that tell a story. Pictures that get buyers to say, I want to see more.

Think about today’s most active apps and websites. Think about Instagram, Amazon, Flickr, or even Facebook’s number one used feature. What do they’ll have in common? They are image centric. These popular platforms help is learn what engages and attractive people today. Less noise. More images.

Onto our image checklist. Go to your website.

  1. Are images prominently displayed and used to tell story and sell more homes? I’m not referring to those tiny little thumbnail images. I am talking about slideshows and interesting grid layouts on property detail pages.

Company Real Estate Website Control

Last, I strongly believe a broker or real estate company decision-maker must have control over the website.

A company real estate website is a living breathing thing. It should be easy for you to make minor tweaks such as adding a video, changing content or uploading a picture. The company, not the website developer should be able to make these type of updates or changes. You should have control over your company real estate website without having to contact someone.

And it should not take days not weeks to get these minor tweaks done. To stay current and become like Zillow, your website must be kept up to date.

In summary, your company website is just too important for someone else to have control over.

Here is your website control checklist.

  1. How quickly are update request made?
  2. Do you hear no more often than yes when requesting website updates?
  3. Can minor tweaks and changes easily be done without relying upon someone else?

We highlighted seven strategic high impact factors and qualities associated with a company real estate website necessary to become the Zillow in a local market place.

How to become the Zillow in Your Local Real Estate Marketplace

Your company real estate website must….

  • First and foremost, a website must be built using SEO friendly best practices.
  • Have a high impact web design, one that engages as well as establishes instant credibility.
  • Use the latest technologies. The latest and greatest, and these must be updated regularly.
  • Incorporate advanced IDX.
  • Be a lead generator.
  • Be image centric.
  • You must be in control of it.

All brokers want free traffic from Google, to increase your brand awareness, recruit and retain top agents, reduce marketing dollars and outrank your online competitors including Zillow.

All brokers want to become the online resource, just like Zillow in their local market. At the end of the day, it is all about closings and converting online real estate company website visitors into closings. We want to convert them into buyers and sellers.

We have covered a lot of information today and we’ve only touched the surface, there’s just no doubt about that. But it is really important for you to understand that to become the next local Zillow in your marketplace, you must take action and I strongly suggest that you go back and take time to look at the seven different strategically elements we discussed.

What’s at Stake

It is really about turning your website into you are number one business tool by obtaining online visitors and converting them into quality buyers and sellers.

Free to contact me regarding any questions that you may have, I am happy to help you and hope you learned a lot today.

Bye-bye for now.

Randi Thornton

realWITS founder | (855) real-WIT