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Zillow dominated the real estate industry through 1 primary strategy. Ranking high in Google and controlling the conversation online.
In this post, we’ll walk through real case studies that show you how to beat Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com in Google in your local market and scoop up traffic and leads for FREE away from the tech giants.
(Dive into the video snippet from a recent AskCarrot episode below!)
The video above was a short snippet from a live show we recently did, so we’ve typed out a high-level summary of the steps below and are providing the full video transcription below along with enhanced graphics and action items as well.
Each well-done Location Page will likely take you between 30-60 mins. But it’s well worth the time investment for the long-term momentum building results you can get.
The basic steps to beat Zillow in Google are:
1. Do things Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com can’t or won’t do. They can’t replicate you, they likely won’t build out as much valuable content as you could on the niches you’re an expert on, and they won’t try to be the authority on that niche like you can be. Build value, be an authority, and stand out.
2. Determine your niches that you want to dive deep into and become an authority in. I get pushback all the time from agents who say “But I don’t want to niche down. It’ll limit me!”.
But that’s exactly the opposite of what will happen.
When you choose to focus on becoming an expert and authority on a specific topic or niches, it’ll attract more people your way because you stand out as a clear expert. If you don’t niche, you’ll just be a part of the crowd.
3. CRITICAL DETAILS: Build out Location Pages in your Carrot site with our “Beat Zillow” framework (infographic below).
We deconstructed Zillows strategy, tested it and tested it until we’ve repeatedly been able to outrank Zillow in Google.
Start with your primary cities (those will be hard to outrank Zillow for since they’re so competitive) but then focus on the niches within the markets.
Example… your primary market may be “Brentwood California homes for sale”… that will be hard to outrank Zillow for.
Create a location page for that since it’s your primary city… but then focus your ranking efforts on the niches within Brentwood. Like neighborhoods, types of houses, etc.
Here are some great examples of real local searches in Google that could make great niche location pages you could create in your Carrot account, then aim to outrank Zillow with.
4. Track the SEO ranking of your new location pages. As a Carrot member, you can use our Ranking Tracker tool to track where your pages rank in Google and get smart feedback on how to improve the ranking.
Content marketing and SEO is a long-term momentum building strategy and patience is key. The page mentioned in that video took about 2-3 months to get the #1 ranking after we made the right optimization changes.
But this site has been around for years and was already starting to pop up in other rankings as well. If your website is brand new it may take a bit longer.
The more location pages you create, the more momentum you’ll build over time. This is the exact same way Zillow took over the market. It wasn’t overnight, but a strategic long-term strategy.
5. Rinse and repeat. I’d focus on creating Location Pages on your real estate agent website (we hope you use Carrot :-) every quarter.
Each quarter, target the cities or niches you want to focus on, then build out the pages or have our Carrot Services Team help you do it.
As you add more high content pages to your site, over time it’ll get easier and easier to get great Google rankings more quickly. Remember, it’s all about momentum.
Carrot Features You’ll Use During This Process:
- Location Page builder
- SEO Ranking Tracker
- High Performing Tech Stack (faster load times, higher conversions)
- Landing Page Builder
Not a Carrot member yet?
Our clients control more top 5 Google rankings for motivated house sellers than any other website system in the nation and it was recently rated as faster than any other website builder in a recent study.
If you want to separate yourself from other agents, stop paying Zillow for leads that you can get for FREE in Google, and add consistency and predictability to your online leads, take a Demo of AgentCarrot and learn more about how top agents all around the country are becoming their local authority by controlling the conversation online with our content marketing tools.
Either way, dive into the full details from my video below and we can’t wait to hear from you as you put this “beat Zillow” strategy to work!
How to Outrank Zillow [Infographic]
Full Video Transcript And More Details
So, a lot of people say, hey, how do you beat Zillow, or how do you beat the big guys? How do you beat Express Homebuyers? How do you beat We Buy Houses? How do you beat those companies at SEO?
What I did about a month and a half ago, I had people telling me that they can’t beat Zillow on SEO. Yeah, it’s gonna be really hard to beat them for some phrases, I get it.
But I’m pretty confident they can beat in SEO for phrases that matter.
A local real estate agent here in Roseburg, the G Team, one of their niches, what we always tell people to do, especially in this market environment, is you need to pick something to specialize in. It could be multiple somethings.
If you’re a real estate agent, can you specialize in a part of town? Can you specialize in a type of a seller or a buyer? First-time homebuyer? Someone’s looking at downsizing? Small families? Families that are looking to create a family home?
Whatever it is, specialize in something so you can speak to people in the language that’s gonna match them.
And so, then, their niches are North Umpqua River Homes, that’s an amazing river in town. They’ve sold probably more homes to people on the river than anyone else.
Another niche of theirs is high-level, upscale homes. It’s the same client, right? That client wants to live on the mountain, this other one wants to live by the river.
Another one is rental property owners. Again, the same client. We said, okay, let’s create a page and let’s see if we can’t go after one of the niches to get it right.
So you can see right here…Zillow’s number two, number three, number four. Realtor.com, Trulia, all these other national sites. Then you see this little old gteamgoahead.com website at number one.
How did it get this page to number one? I will deconstruct how to do it, and why I made it that way. Exactly how we were able to beat Zillow at their own game.
Basically, this website’s probably been up for five or six years. The URL has been, they switched over to Carrot about a year ago, and we said, okay, what are people looking for if they make that search, “North Umpqua River homes for sale.”
Finding Search Phrases
First of all, we went to Google and started typing up phrases to see what would actually pop up, right? So “North Umpqua River homes for sale,” that ended up being a Google-suggested search.
Then I scroll to the bottom to find other phrases that people are typing in.
“Waterfront home for sale Douglas County.”
“Umpqua River property for sale.”
“Riverfront property Southern Oregon.”
“Homes for sale.”
So Google is telling us that these are related to the phrases I searched. Google’s telling us that these phrases are related to the phrase, “North Umpqua River homes for sale.”
So what that means, is that we want to find ways to work those phrases into our content. Google’s telling us the roadmap. Google’s telling us exactly what to put on the page.
*This particular Carrot member went through our concierge program. It’s our high-level program, where we dial the content in for you.
Reach out to us if you’re a high-level agent, a high-level investor, with a budget, that doesn’t want to do as much of the setup work, we can do the setup work and dial in your website for you.
Then we created content. When I was going through looking at these rankings, the first thing I like to do if I’m trying to get a ranking, is I click every single page on page one to see what they have on them. ‘I want to deconstruct how they’re winning so we can beat them at their own game.
So I click at the Zillow one to see what’s on this page. Number one, of course, Zillow is a massive website, it’s got a huge, huge, huge domain authority.
That’s not something we can compete with. We can’t compete against the domain authority here. So we can do as good as we can possibly do, and then have some backlinks and other pieces of the SEO strategy.
Then we ask ourselves, can we compete with site structure and content, and make the content better?
So out of the gates, they have a bunch of property listings. Scroll down the pages and we find, “Zillow helps find the newest Roseburg “real estate listings.”
That paragraph has a bunch of links to specific pages set up just in Roseburg. This is Roseburg apartments. There is bank-owned properties in Roseburg. Also Roseburg facts and some information about the Roseburg market.
This is how Zillow is winning the SEO game.
Number one, their title text is North Umpqua River. Then it says Roseburg real estate homes for sale. They also have a bunch of pages that are also in Roseburg.
Niche down pages that they’re linking to from the main page. They have some information about the market. So what I did, is I found all the written content and studied how many words are in them.
How many words are in here that’s specific to Roseburg stuff? So I took this, figured out how many words they have on the page and found it was about 300 words, including the title tagging content.
Now, if I can create a page with, probably, 500 to 800 words, make it more robust, make it more content, make it better, include some good images, make sure that my title tag is really good and drilled down to the exact phrase I’m trying to rank for.
If I’m going to beat Zillow, I’ve gotta be drilled down exactly with my title tag, and some other things in the phrase I’m looking to go for.
So you can see I titled it, “North Umpqua River homes for sale in Roseburg, Oregon.” That’s exactly what I’m trying to rank for.
Hopefully, it also ranks for other phrases related to it.
The next thing is, put a good title. “Looking for North Umpqua River homes for sale?” You can see I use it kinda similar. Then I use a bunch of different phrases that are similar. You can see a waterfront property in Roseburg?
Where did we get that? We got that from Google. Google was telling us that people are searching for “waterfront.”
The word waterfront is bolded. So I want to make sure that I’m talking about waterfront homes. It also said “river homes in Douglas County,” and the word “Douglas County” is important to Google, because it says it’s related. So I start to work those phrases in there that Google’s telling me. I put about 500 words on this page.
Put a nice image. Put the property listings there through our IDX system.
Then I did exactly what Zillow did. You see “Why use Zillow,” you see a bunch of facts about the area, and then you see some links to some other pages. So we’re like, all right, let’s just go ahead and do what they’re doing.
So I created some “Why Work with the G Team” content. I also put our keyword in there, and then I went and grabbed other common phrases, and I linked them up to their other pages. This one’s linked up to the Garden Valley page. This one’s linked up to the Hucrest page.
Then we put a call to action at the bottom that’s specific to the River homes list. This one took about two months to beat Zillow on Google.
Just creating about 700 words on here, good quality content, deconstructing what Zillow had done with their page format, but adding more content and making it better.
Making sure my title tag was really drilled in, and it beat it, and it’s getting leads right now, really, really targeted leads. That’s how you beat Zillow.
We’re gonna keep on doing it with them, and keep on putting out pieces of training to show you guys how to do it. All things equal, it’s going to be really hard for us to beat Zillow with a bad tech stack.
The tech stack is basically, what is the website built on? Ours is really fast. It’s smooth, and it’s clean, and it keeps on getting better.
We were stuck at position four for about three weeks, and then it went to position three, and one of the Zillow rankings was below us. I believe that if we had a tech stack that was slower, things like that, that it wouldn’t have bumped up there.
We talked about how to get your clickthrough rate higher. So when people click the rankings in Google, the ones at the higher click through rates is actually a factor to get it ranked better.
The last tip is the title tags.
Look at the other titles and see if you can just come up with one that still has the keywords in it, but is more compelling. So this one here, North Umpqua River dash Roseburg Real Estate dash Roseburg Homes, is kinda lifeless.
Depending on the day that you’re searching, or whatever, this actually says, on my cellphone when I do it, it actually shows it this way, the title tag is North Umpqua River homes for sale, Umpqua River property.
So I added in the words “updated daily,” because it shows, oh, this is cool, I can see an updated list. It looks different than the other ones down there.
Try to put things in there that grab their attention, that makes them wanna click the thing in the first place.
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