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Online Real Estate Agent Ranking Systems. Good or Bad?

My answer? Very good. In fact online rankings can be great for Realtors but you have to know which ones to participate in.

As a Realtor you are always seeking written testimonials from your happy home buyers and sellers. You live for testimonials that you will place in your listing book and your website. Setting your listing book aside, who is reading the testimonials that are on your website? Next to nobody. Your first time site visitors just want to search for a house and since home sellers are not looking for listing agents on the internet, your prospects will only be reading your testimonials after they have made initial contact with you. Even then, the viewer is just scanning them if they have even that mush attention. In my opinion, website testimonials are only content for the search engines.

Before anybody looks for your testimonials they are Googling your name or your brokerage name, what are they finding online in the first 10 seconds of their search results?

Are they finding ONLY your online presence with your website, social media accounts, broker page and your various Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com accounts? (BTW, if you have no online presence we need to talk). And even if you have a great online presence, what does your online reputation look like?

Your online reputation is made up of various consumer ratings systems like Yelp, YellowPages, Zillow and Google Reviews. In other words, do you see gold stars all over the search results that scream you have an awesome reputation? Can the prospect see these gold stars above the fold? I place home search starting points above the fold on the home page of my client websites for a reason. Most of your site visitors just want to search for a house. Same goes with online reviews. You have to choose the right vehicle for your reviews.

I will do another blog post soon to discuss the HUGE advantages of focusing on Google reviews but first some opinions about a couple of reviews I don’t care for.

I hear from agents who tell me they have Zillow Reviews. OK, it’s a way to show some online reputation. But in order to get your Zillow online review, unless you have fudged the review, you have to get your new client to register with Zillow in order to leave the review. Do you not realize you just added your client to the Zillow marketing database? And so what if you have a pile of reviews, at the very top of your review page, there is a button that says, “Find A Pro”. Great, you just gave your prospect your Zillow page with a button at the top so your prospects can meet all of your competitors with higher ratings.

Lastly, I wanted to comment on Realtor.com’s new agent rating platform, AgentMatch, which uses sold data from multiple listing services and other statistics to rank agents by city, ZIP code and neighborhood. I read on Inman News that Keller Williams was “strongly urging their agents to oppose the new AgentMatch rating system. And today, Brad Inman came out with a statement in support of AgentMatch. I am in between.

I think it is great to have agent stats available for consumers. However just because an agent has had a lot of transactions in no indicator of that agents professionalism or integrity that would come from consumer reviews.I have a friend of mine who is a high-end luxury Realtor in Las Vegas. If you look at her official stats as provided by AgentMatch, she has only had a few deals this year. However she happens to be the queen of pocket listings and these stats are not publicly available through AgentMatch. As a consumer, do I base my decision to hire her on pure stats?

I would say, if this technology sticks and rolls out beyond the Las Vegas and Boulder, CO test markets, the consumer could use this to verify the agent’s claims. I could also see this a tool to allow brokerages and franchises to have access to the numbers for recruiting purposes.

Lastly I have to look at who is in bed with whom. We have the big home search engine aggregates, real estate publications, real estate marketing gurus, nationwide brokerages, MLS’s, IDX’s, RE Marketing companies and then we have the front-line Realtors and independent brokers. There are alliances out there, but I digress as this post is about online reputations which are everything.

More later

 

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