The Twittersphere was chirping loudly last week with the news that Google was dropping real estate listings from its classified listing search on Google Maps. This news means that consumers using Google Maps will no longer be able to search for listings.
Except for a few folks inside Google, we don’t really know whether this is a complete retreat from real estate because the market isn’t big enough, or a way of clearing the deck before they enter the space in a much bigger way.
Either way, one of the things I find most interesting is that there weren’t a lot of agents discussing the issue (at least compared the number of technology folks, social media gurus and real estate vendors talking about the issue!) This begs the question:
Should real estate agents even care?
In my conversations with agents, Google Base wasn’t delivering many leads, so it’s not really a surprise that agents weren’t particularly interested in this news from Google. But I think that’s indicative of a much larger problem within the industry. I talk with agents and brokers on a regular basis about their syndication strategy, and often get blank stares or minimally thought out strategies in response. And this is what really concerns me.
Search is happening online. Not only that, but search is happening online primarily through the power syndication players (Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia, among others.) If you are not getting leads from these sites, you have a problem and you should care.
Listing syndication provides a great opportunity to reach home buyers where they’re active. A well thought out listing syndication strategy can provide branding, lead capture and even SEO benefits. Turning a blind eye to the opportunity is silly.
I would love to hear your thoughts… What’s the key to a successful listing syndication strategy?