By this point in our lives, it shouldn’t be a surprise that technology is constantly changing. Likewise, we shouldn’t respond begrudgingly, nor should we be apathetic. Constantly changing technology means that there is a platform for your fundamental philosophy to remain true while embracing new avenues for creativity to attract home buyers and sellers, generate new leads and close deals. It also provides ample opportunity to get a jump on your competition. Case in point: Mobile-friendly design.
Google announced that starting April 21 of this year, mobile-friendliness will be used as a ranking signal and will have a significant effect on search results. Why the change? Because 80% of Internet users are using mobile devices. What else is changing and where is opportunity? M-commerce (purchasing via mobile device) is steadily growing faster than some companies, yes, even the top 500 eCommerce retailers in North America, can adapt. Mobify, a mobile shopping platform for retailers, discovered that 36.1% of the country’s top eCommerce retailers don’t pass Google’s mobile-friendliness test for SEO ranking.
The real estate industry is far from the sideline bench when it comes to these changes. There are roughly 133 million housing units for sale in the United States alone, worth over $25.7 trillion. Home sales are rising, prices are increasing, and 92% of home buyers searched online during their buying process. On weekends, 59% of page views for real estate websites were from mobile devices. During a 4 year window real estate related Google searches increased by 253%. Convinced mobile is here to stay?
Here are examples of mobile-friendly websites on various levels and what makes them solid mobile-friendly sites:
Zillow– Zillow’s success since entering the scene almost 10 years ago, especially after partnering with Yahoo! Homes in 2011, is largely due to being ahead of the technology curve when it comes to the real estate industry. Their mobile site provides tools and applications to empower the user in making decisions. A sort of DIY approach to everything from buying a home, rental vacancies and their Zestimate tool for home values. And similar to Houzz, they have a whole section called Zillow Digs about home design, makeovers, and home projects with unique content. Which goes to show that just because you go mobile doesn’t mean you should skimp on content. Zillow has an enormous database of over 110 million homes across the United States.
Eillu – Based on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Eillu is a recently launched company and a great example of how a real estate company with local focus should build a website responsive across all devices. Considering 50% of mobile searches are conducted in the hopes of finding local results, mobile-friendly is important for businesses of any size. Buyers searching for a home on the Outer Banks, for example, should have a seamless experience regardless of the platform and device. Eillu’s mobile site offers this consistency while being easy-to-navigate without sacrificing quality content that helps in the buying and selling process. Their corporate blog is easily accessible and provides industry-related information while an Outer Banks blog focuses on the community and benefits of investing in property on the beach. Big pictures, clean text formatting and consistent feel make Eillu stand out among their competitors. What’s also impressive is their integration of an updated list of available homes, calls-to-actions, and mobile-friendly forms, making searching for a home on the beach a one-stop shop.
Sotheby’s International Realty– For this international company, they offer several languages for searching their site and have broken it into a more lifestyle-driven search experience than a listing experience. What Sotheby uses very well to incorporate this lifestyle interaction and engagement are photographs in place of text. What the large images do is make their site navigable and easily understandable at a glance by showing, not telling visitors what they can expect to find in various sections. Mobile devices are naturally used in transit, so catering to a life of distractions and quick reactions has an advantage. What’s easier, reading text in a hurry or photography that shows the same content?
These are just a few examples to get ideas flowing. Becoming the next game-changer in the real estate industry is not as far off as it may have once been. Staying up to date on the latest trends and technology will help your business remain relevant as you grow. Check out our recent Paveya blog post about how Berkshire Hathaway is rocking online marketing and what you can do, too. And you can always keep up with the latest news and trends by checking out future and past blog posts on Paveya’s Inbound Marketing Blog.