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Google Real Estate Part 1: The Power of Local

by Houston Agent

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When it comes to Google searches on real estate-related matters, it's a local, local, local business.

By Peter Ricci

Last week, we reported on a rather startling statistic – that real estate-related searches on Google had increased by 253 percent from 2008 to the present day.

No doubt that’s an important stat, one that plainly demonstrates the overwhelming growth that e-commerce has undergone the last four years; yet, we couldn’t help but feel that the stat sold short the report it was featured in, which was titled The Digital House Hunt: Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate and featured dozens of fascinating findings from a collaborative study by Google and the National Association of Realtors. So, over the next couple weeks, we’ll be spotlighting the many findings of that study, all with the intent of showing you how real estate and tech – what we’re calling Google real estate – can benefit your business.

Google Real Estate: The Power of Local

It’s no mystery that the Internet is an extremely popular tool for home shoppers, and NAR’s study with Google only confirmed that relationship. Nine out of 10 of today’s homebuyers rely on the Web as their primary research source, and 52 percent use the Internet as their first step in the homebuying process. Furthermore, real estate-related searches on Google were up 22 percent from 2011 to 2012, and such searches on mobile devices were up 120 percent in the same period.

But what do these searches inspire? And what is their content? Here’s what Google and NAR found:

  • Internet shoppers perform an average of 11 searches before taking action on what the study called a “real estate brand website,” or a site for an agent and/or brokerage.
  • Interestingly, the process of searching on the Internet made a prospective homebuyer more keen to take action – the study found that shoppers who use search engines are 9 percent more likely to take action on a real estate website than those that don’t.
  • Here’s where it gets really interesting, though – 69 percent of those Internet shoppers who took action on a real estate website did so after conducting a local real estate search; so, they searched “Houston real estate,” or “Inner Loop real estate,” or “Spring real estate,” not merely “homes for sale.”
  • And finally, 52 percent of the actions monitored on real estate sites came directly from a local real estate search.

In the end, it all comes back to what we wrote about before regarding Google searches: if you want to be seen on Google, it all comes down to content that is local, more local and the most local.

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