“Beat Zillow” is a thing. Here’s why you should care.

by TJ Kelly Published Dec 16, 2020 · Last updated Dec 16, 2020 18 Views
Full disclaimer: this article is not part of the Stop Zillow movement. We’re not real estate agents. We don’t compete with them. They help agents grow their reach and so do we. But we have no plans to sue them anytime soon.
  • They’re eating your lunch
    • They made $761,600,000 in 2017 from their Premier Agent platform. That’s up 26% over 2016, by the way. Which means when 2016 was over, a ton of agents said “man I hate giving my money to Zillow. Better give them more!”
    • The number of Premier Agent advertisers spending more than $5,000 per month was up 70% over 2016. (source)
    • HOW MANY AGENTS DO THEY HAVE???

  • Their Zestimates suuuuuuuck
  • They’re dumbing down your buyers and sellers
    • Sure, we can’t quantify “dumbing down” with hard numbers or psych studies
    • But ask literally any real estate agent.
    • Some hate Zillow and its Zestimates. Some love them because their inaccuracy gives the pros a chance to demonstrate their expertise by providing accurate info.
    • But EVERYONE acknowledges their significant impact: for better or worse, clients are misinformed
  • Making your job harder
    • Even if you’re grateful to Zillow for making you look like an expert, you have to admit they’re making more work for you.
    • Imagine if you could skip that conversation that you’ve had over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.
    • If Zillow were accurate (or didn’t exist), you wouldn’t have that problem.
    • They’re making more work for you.
Alright cool, so we all agree that every realtor should want to beat zillow.

What does Beat Zillow mean?

  • It means winning business online without Zillow’s help.
    Don’t give them what they want.

    • Zillow wants to control the online real estate market
      • They’ve had 12 acquisitions in 7 years
      • Total of $3,751,800,000 in 7 years, or $535 Million a year
      • Biggest by far was Truly at 3.5 Billion: 13X the rest of their acquisitions combined
      • Next biggest was Dotloop at 108 Million. They could’ve bought 32 Dotloops for the price they paid for Trulia.
    • They want to be the gatekeeper to online leads.
      • Their mission statement says that Zillow is “dedicated to empowering consumers …and connecting them with the best local professionals.”
        • What do you think “connecting them with professionals” means?
      • If there’s another way to monetize the real estate search market (other than selling leads), we haven’t found it yet. And neither has the rest of the industry (although Redfin might get there eventually).
      • The very next line in that mission statement says “Zillow serves the full lifecycle of owning and living in a home: buying, selling, renting, financing, remodeling and more.”
      • And let’s be real here: Zillow is not a charity. They’re a massive for-profit corporation. Any time a business says they “serve” someone, you can translate that to “makes money from.” So let’s try that again…
        • “Zillow MAKES MONEY FROM the full lifecycle…buying, selling, renting, financing, remodeling and more.”
    • They want you to NEED them
      • This is a legal version of extortion. The same one that all major brands aim for. Remember the Microsoft anti-trust lawsuits from the 90s?
      • Corporations walk a fine line between wanting total market domination and jail time.
      • This is why Walmart is so much cheaper than everyone else:
        • They’re SO BIG that they can demand discounts from their vendors.
        • Marketshare is a bargaining chip.
      • Zillow—and, to be fair, this true of everyone—wants to own the market.
        • Zillow is Walmart
        • Buyers and sellers are the Walmart shoppers
        • YOU are the vendor
        • And with enough marketshare, Zillmart can demand discounts from you
        • They’re already doing this, by the way. But the bigger they get, the more you’ll be forced to play by their rules, and the more you’ll depend on them.
        • That is, of course, until Amazon comes along and says “that’s cute” and swallows Walmart whole. Or something.
  • It means getting organic traffic and leads, without Zillow’s help
    • This is business. You need to generate leads to close deals
      • In the old days, that meant mailers, door knocking, and cold-calling expireds.
      • It can still mean those things, but the stats are heavily in favor of digital:
        • In 1981, 22% of home buyers read newspaper ads to find a home, and most buyers found their agent through referrals.
        • In 2016, 44% of buyers searched for properties online BEFORE contacting an agent.
        • BUT! Buyers still worked with an agent 88% of the time.
    • Beating Zillow means demonstrating that you DON’T need them
      • Sure, you can choose a competitor like Realtor.com, but that just robs Peter to pay Paul. It doesn’t solve the problem.
    • It means having a strong brand and strong sales funnel online
      • We’ll get into this more below, but if you want to beat zillow, you need to establish yourself in your area as the go-to source for local help.
  • It doesn’t mean outranking for “___ real estate”
    • That’s a vanity metric
      • Read that line again. “I need to rank #1 in Google” is not how you beat zillow.
      • Hi. I’m an SEO expert.
      • Nice to meet you.
      • Ranking #1 in google is what I do.
      • So let me say that again:
        • “I need to rank #1 in Google” is not how you beat zillow.
    • What? Why not??
      • Because ranking #1 in Google is not a goal. It’s a method.
      • It’s a means to an end.
      • What’s the end? Leads. Clients. Closings. Commissions.
      • Ranking above zillow in Google SERPs is great. But it’s not an overnight fast-track to more deals.
      • Everyone still knows zillow. If you rank #1, they’re still going to rank #2, and they have MUCH better brand recognition than you ever will.
        • They’ll still collect a ton of traffic (which, in a very Catch-22 sort of way, means they’ll probably take back that #1 spot from you anyway).
    • Stay focused on business, not pride
      • Forget about SERPs. Go straight for customers.
      • Remember that “means to an end” thing.
      • Be RELENTLESS on the goal, but don’t pay ANY attention to the method. Do what works.
      • Who cares what the KWs are? Just convert!
        • Sure, search volume is a thing
        • But it’s a surface metric: ultimately it’s sales, not searches, that matters
        • You can always make up for low search volume
        • Consider search volume over time (preview of long-tail)
  • Beating them means making them unnecessary
    • Consider what Zillow is good at:
      • User Experience displaying listings
      • Map searches
      • General housing market data
      • [Ostensibly] estimating home values
        • We know this one is blatantly untrue, but most consumers don’t. So we have to keep it on the list. It’s something that draws customers to them, whether it should or not.
      • Being on the customer’s team
        • Zillow doesn’t sell to consumers, so as far as the consumer is concerned, Zillow is totally unbiased.
        • Whereas YOU are just another slimy realtor who just wants a commission
        • In that mindset, you can see why users trust Zillow. “Even if their data isn’t perfect,” they’ll say, “at least they’re not trying to sell me anything.”
          • How wrong they are
    • That’s a pretty big list.
      • From the user’s point of view, why WOULDN’T they use Zillow? You can’t compete with all that.
      • Oh, but you can. And you’ve got something MUCH better. Users just don’t know it yet.
      • How can you make Zillow unnecessary?
        • Zillow is a tool. It does a job.
          • You, by contrast, are a trained professional with a brain, a heart, and a smile
        • You’re the trusted advisor and guiding hand. You’re the concierge. The maitre d and the black tie/white glove waiter.
          • Zillow isn’t even a vending machine. They’re the keypad menu ON the vending machine. No personal touch. No help. Just a computer with shoddy data.
        • You’re not a computer. You’re a smile, a handshake, and an expert.
  • Plus, real talk: you can’t win at homes for sale in______ {{{ MASSIVE IDEA: IS ANYONE WINNING?? RESEARCH THAT SHIT }}}
    • If we’re gonna talk SEO for a minute—and you know I’m happy to talk Real Estate SEO all day long—then let’s talk about it.
      • You’d have an impossible time outranking Zillow in Google for “homes for sale in Boston” (or your town, obviously)
      • Their DA is too strong.
        • For starters, you’d need 9,000,000 backlinks. (You’ll be lucky to get 9,000.)
        • For another, you’d need to compete on at least 6 of the other 7 major algorithm factors. This stuff is SEO 101…
          • Domain signals (we just talked about this one)
            • Age
            • Registration length
            • etc
          • Page signals
          • Site signals
            • Pretty much everything under Page Signals, but taken in aggregate of ALL pages on your site, not page-by-page
          • Backlink signals (we just about this one too)
            • Quality, then quantity
          • Brand
          • Social
          • ??
          • Webspam
Phew. That’s a lot.
Need a minute?
…..
Ok. You feeling better?
Ready to talk about what you can ***DO?***
Here comes all the actionable stuff.
Ready?
Here we go….

Ok, so what to do about all that?

  • Hopefully by now I’ve made it clear that beating zillow is not about SEO. It’s bigger than that.
    • It’s about brand, customer experience, and human beings.
    • It’s about positioning yourself as the thinking, feeling, caring head and heart, not some unfeeling computer algorithm.
  • Be human, and go for the Triple-A… (aka know/like/trust)
    • People buy from people.
      • When was the last time you made friends with a computer?
      • You might like the self-checkout aisle at the grocery store, but would you buy a $200,000 house in there?
      • And what happens if your chicken soup is on sale, but the self-checkout computer doesn’t give you the discount?
        • Do you press more buttons? Or talk ask the screen what happened?
        • No. You look for a human.
        • When push comes to shove, we turn to other people for help.
        • This is about HELP.
    • Ok, cool. How do you connect with people BEFORE they know they need your help?
      • Triple-A. Hit these 3 checkboxes in your marketing/outreach efforts. This is all you need:
      • Awareness (know you)
        • How can they buy from you if they don’t even know about you?
        • This is where content marketing comes in.
        • Publish, publish, and publish some more.
          • Camera-first. Video, video, and more video.
          • It’s not search OR social. It’s search AND social. Be everywhere.
          • Yes, you need a Facebook group. (or a few of them)
          • Yes, you need a YouTube show.
          • Yes, you need a podcast.
          • Yes, you need to be on your local news.
          • You need to be everywhere. And not all of it will be free.
        • Look— if you don’t publish it, how can they find it?
          • If you wait until they’re googling “homes for sale in ____” it’s too late.
          • The pack of wolves that is the leads-for-sale marketplace has already gotten to them.
          • You lose.
      • Affinity (like you)
        • Most realtors know this one already, but unfortunately some of it can’t be taught:
          • People need to like you
        • You can’t fire-side chat with every prospect in their home
        • The next best thing is video
          • Any high school student can tell you what the advent of TV did for American politics
            • Why do you think it revolutionized elections? Suddenly, viewers could ALMOST know what it’s like to meet their politicians. A total game-changer.
            • It’s also the only medium that’s impossible to fake (although even that is changing now)
            • Anyone can hire a ghost-writer. But you KNOW it’s them on camera.
          • Video is BY FAR the most important platform for connecting with prospects
          • It’s no secret: the closer you can get to a face-to-face conversation, the better. Video wins in landslide over written or audio (don’t sleep on the other 2, but put video first)
          • Some video stats
            • Facebook is on record as saying that by the end of 2021, the platform will be “all video”
            • Video consumption already accounts for ____% of all web traffic
            • Marketing budgets
            • Time to market saturation
      • Authority (trust you)
        • Did you know that there’s an art exhibit submerged in Great Salt Lake?
        • Did you know that _____? Or that _______? (other local expertise examples)
        • What about the market?
          • Did you know that single-family homes in ____ actually sell 30 days FASTER than condos?
          • Did you know that 10% of homes in ___ sell the day they’re listed? (Meaning: some lucky buyer got a pre-MLS sneak peek. Was it your buyer??)
        • There are A MILLION things to know about
          • the home buying/selling process
          • market conditions right now (or next spring, fall, etc)
          • negotiating tactics and selling tips
        • You need to know everything about everything, and you need to prove that knowledge, constantly.

Ok. So how do you establish awareness, affinity, and authority with digital and content marketing?

  • Pivot. Change the subject away from Zillow’s territory of listings/maps. Go long-tail
    • Real estate — this is only one of the subjects you should talk about.
      • Subdivisions & neighborhoods
        • New 10-unit development is going in? Interview the builders.
        • New 1,000-unit village is underway? Spend one day there every week.
        • Do full-length features on the layout, the scenery, the wildlife or green-technology being used.
          • Go above and beyond what everyone else is doing.
      • Amenities & features
        • How big is the pool? Is it bigger than the other communities’ pools?
          • Can you meet the lifeguards? “Meet the staff” series?
        • How many holes in the golf course? Who designed it?
          • Play the course and document it! Social media videos are a perfect start. You don’t have to hire a video crew.
        • Who runs the country club? What kinds of programs do they have?
          • Interview their staff too. Feature their restaurant specials & bar tenders.
          • Eat there regularly and be sure to talk to the manager every time. Make friends!
        • Any hiking trails? Recreation spaces? Fitness centers?
    • Culture
      • Local business
      • Community events
Beat Zillow with long-tail SEO: Subdivisions & neighborhoods
  • Maps
    • Embed the standard Google Maps. Here’s how. {{{MAKE A VIDEO]]]
      • Go to Google Maps
      • Search for an address or area
      • Zoom in or out to be sure you capture the right spots
      • Click SHARE, then embed.
      • If you’re on WordPress, you can paste in just the share URL.
      • In some cases, you might need to paste in the <iframe>
    • Make your own in Google Maps. Here’s how. {{{MAKE A VIDEO]]]
      • Go to My Maps
      • Search for an address or area
      • Zoom in or out to be sure you capture the right spots
      • Click ADD and drop a marker in the important spots
      • Color code by topic: business, municipal, recreation, etc
      • Click SHARE, then embed
      • If you’re on WordPress, you can paste in just the share URL.
      • In some cases, you might need to paste in the <iframe>
  • HOAs
    • Go for the big stuff right away: fees and bylaws.
      • Ask for permission to re-publish the bylaws.
        • They never say no.
        • Link to the source.
        • MAKE A VIDEO OF THESE BYLAWS! Just read them and give anecdotal examples to help explain them.
          • Bonus points if you can get the board members to be in this video with you.
      • Profile the board members. Email them and conduct an informal interview.
        • Who are they? How long have they lived there? What do they do for a living?
        • How long have they been on the board?
        • Any plans or hopes/dreams for the HOA or community?
        • What’s their favorite thing about the community?
        • What’s one thing they wish every community resident knew?
      • Cover nominations/elections/volunteer opportunities or policies
    • Then talk about benefits. WHY is there an HOA at all?
      • Services included with fees
        • Curbside trash pickup— for some reason, this is ALWAYS the first one people ask about
        • Access to facilities
        • Home maintenance? Snow removal? Lawn care?
        • Lots of people hate having to pay into an HOA.
          • Speak to that and relate to their pain, but spin the positive.
  • Zoning
    • Are there restrictions or policies about the land use in the community?
      • Square foot minimums in the structures
      • Acreage minimums in the parcels
      • Road-frontage minimums in parcels
    • Are there commercial or mixed-use zones?
      • Add maps again, and videos explaining where these areas are and what that means
      • Again, spin positive.
  • History
    • This one gets TONS of traction when done well
      • Old-timey photos are KILLER on social. Use your website as an archive
        • Ask the area historical society
        • BONUS: do a weekly WHERE WAS THIS TAKEN? contest on Facebook
    • But fair warning: to do it well is hard, and can take some resources.
    • It’s worth it
      • Interview people who grew up there.
        • New England Chronicle is the perfect template for this
        • For this one, get a video team.
          • $300-500 per video.
          • One a month? Every other?
          • Or front-load them in the spring/summer weather
        • Ken Burns documentaries are a great template
          • How to tell a story in 2018 that took place in…. 1918?
          • Pan-zoom old photos
          • Lay old plot plan maps over current Google Maps views
      • Hire an intern to go to the local public library <—— absolute treasure trove of awesome info and material/content
        • Scour old-time newspapers for stories that happened in the area
          • “On this day” series once a week
          • “What if this happened now?” funny series
            • Reimagine old news coverage in a series of tweets
              • The authors of the tweets are long-deceased residents
              • “@19thCenturyPhoenixMom: ugh hubby broke the wagon wheel AGAIN last night”
            • Better yet, prompt your facebook followers to post their best “If they had Twitter in 1875” caption/tweet
        • Post photos/scans of the old-timey newspapers
        • Make videos of this material
          • Put on your best news anchor hat and pretend to read “current events” news
          • Lumen5/etc the scans/photos into videos at a minimum
  • Stats/RPR in each subdivision
    • Hi, you’re a realtor and I’m about to insult you. Sorry.
    • You know what your problem is? You think like a realtor. Stop it.
    • Put on your cat-videos hat for a minute and become a consumer again. You wouldn’t post on Facebook about your licensing exam, right? No one cares. That’s how people feel about most real estate stats.
    • They’re not relatable and they’re just boring. ESPECIALLY when you’re not actively looking to buy or sell. Which is, like, almost everyone.
    • But there’s hope. RPR and sources like it contain a TON of awesome data. You just need to learn how to spin that data into interesting, consumable, stories.
      • Odd-numbered houses sell faster than even ones.
      • Houses with a pool sit on the market 30 days longer than non-pool
      • Solar panels add $5k to sale value
    • Share your stats.
      • Screenshot the graphs. Convert them to Google Sheets or other tables
      • Embed the tables on your pages
      • Create one long infographic tying together all the data points into your conclusion
      • As always, make a video explaining the stats/conclusion
Beat Zillow with long-tail SEO: Amenities & features
  • Recreation
    • Parks/Fields/Playgrounds/Schools (track/field)
      • Maps, photos, videos
      • B-roll footage, aerial/drone footage.
      • Professional photos *AND* cell phone snaps of you/your dogs/your family/etc
        • Enlist the help of other people. Get friends to send you their photos
        • Crawl Instagram, Facebook & Flickr looking for photos people took there
        • Ask for permission to use and repost their photos. Give them credit.
      • Do any groups run their programs in these areas? Get in touch. Feature them.
    • Trails/Hiking
      • Get a GoPro and strap that thing onto your chest. Go hiking.
        • Speed up the footage w/ song overlaid. “3 miles in 90 seconds!”
        • Collect these “speed trails” videos into a YouTube playlist
        • Write a page/blog post about Hiking Trails in _____
          • For each trail, include…
            • Google map
            • Speed hiking video
            • 3-5 paragraphs
            • Instagram photos (yours and others’ that you borrowed)
    • Pools/lakes/ponds/beaches
      • Swimming (talk to lifeguards)
        • Talk to lifeguards
        • Get a waterproof GoPro and go swimming! (Or get someone else to do it 😃
        • Explain what the water conditions look like
          • It’s ok to use someone else’s resources on this. Embed YouTube videos.
          • If you’re feeling adventurous, it would (probably) be possible to hire a web developer to build a widget into your website that parses the local beach club’s website and reads the wind/water condition status from their site and updates your website to match.
        • Sand art contests?
        • Beach volleyball tournaments?
        • Ever been any shark sightings?
      • Fishing
        • Talk to the harbormaster! These people are always hard-nosed and their interviews are hilarious
        • Watch old episodes of [[fisherman’s outfitter show]]
        • Tournaments? Who holds the record? Can you email that person?
          • Old photos of the record-setting catch
          • How many fishermen enter the contests every year?
          • Help promote the event! Also sponsor it.
            • Your sponsorship could come in the form of of a professional video
      • Skating in the winter?
        • Hockey?
      • Ice fishing?
        • Can I drive my truck on the ice?
    • PlayCafé-type places
      • WHERE CAN I TAKE MY KIDS?? THEY’RE DRIVNG ME CRAZY
      • Seriously, every parent who ever lived will love you forever if you hook this up
      • Work out a partnership w/ the store and offer a discount to your fans.
        • Collect email addresses from this. Drip them on COMMUNITY info, not sales info
  • Shopping
    • Apparel
      • Go there. Take videos. Play dress-up.
      • Check instagram for other people’s photos
    • Gifts
      • Buy some. Give some away. Photos.
    • Local fare
      • There’s always that one funky local shop. Show it off.
  • Dining (tie this into the Local Biz section below)
    • High-end
      • Get pro photos/videos for this
      • Feature the menu and chef/bar tenders
    • Family
      • Learn from the pro photos/videos on how to shoot this setting.
    • Casual
      • DIY cell phone, but learn from the pros
      • Tie this to events, if it’s a sports bar place.
        • Superbowl
        • World Series
        • Olympics
        • Local football?
        • High school/college town?
      • Great opportunity to use that gimbal {{AFF LINK}}
    • Takeout
      • Selfies.
      • Rewards cards?
    • Breakfast/coffee/café
      • Selfies
      • Break it down
        • Weekday: FAST, affordable breakfast
        • Weekend: yummy brunch spots
      • “Best local coffee” contest. See ILM burger bracket
    • Lunch/sub + sandwich shops
      • Discounts & photos.
      • Menus/specials?
  • Exercise
    • Gyms
      • Promote signups.
      • Photos/videos inside
    • Workout bootcamps
      • Attend. Document. Sweat. Look funny.
    • Yoga studios
      • Attend. Sweat. Fail. Look funny.
    • Run clubs
      • Attend. Run. Fail. Look funny.
    • Hiking clubs
      • See “speed trails” section above.
      • Go on group hikes and document the whole thing.
      • Attend their Earth Day cleanups
    • Cycling clubs
      • Video them ZOOMING by you
      • Try to keep up.
  • Education
    • Schools (careful of steering)
    • Training programs? Carpenter/plumber, etc
    • Pilot? Lifeguard? Truck driver? Specialty?
  • Jobs
    • Major employers
    • Commute
    • Employment rates
Beat Zillow with long-tail SEO: Local Businesses
  • Interviews + Feature — this is the real money-maker
    • Why
      • Kill it on social
        • The Food Network exists (to say nothing of Tasty facebook vids) because people are gluttons.
        • We lose our minds over food.
        • Restaurants, and photos/videos of their food, perform LIKE CRAZY on Facebook
          • “omg i LOOOVVVE their margaritas!!”
      • Make friends/referral partners
        • Restaurant owners/managers are CONSTANTLY trying to put more butts in seats
        • Help them promote their business, and you’ll have a best friend for life who promotes you
          • (There is real psychology around reciprocity in sales.)
        • Plus, restaurant managers (and bar tenders) know EVERYONE
          • Perfect networking partners
      • Get backlinks
        • Most of these places will have their own websites. When you write about them, they can turn around and write about you.
          • You should ask them directly if they would please link to your article
        • These backlinks are not going to be terribly high-quality in strict SEO terms
        • That’s ok. Do it anyway.
          • Whatever you lack in quality you can make up in quantity
          • They’re SUPER local and relevant (bonus SEO points)
          • They will still drive traffic!
        • Ask them to link to you. Ask them to link to you.
          • Ask them to link to you.
        • ASK THEM!!!
    • How
      • Make a list of 52 restaurants (if your area has that many) — once a week
        • Or 26? Every 2 weeks. 24? twice a month.
        • “Monthly” sounds nice for scheduling/workload, but 12 in a year isn’t enough
      • Find contact information for owner/managers
        • Call/email and ask if you can interview them.
        • “Spend 30 minutes talking with me. I’ll even buy lunch at your spot!”
          • They usually give you more than 30 minutes
          • Lunch is usually free 😃
          • Get them talking
            • How long have they been in business?
            • Any other spots they own?
            • Just talk.
          • Get them to “once upon a time” it for you. Tell a story.
            • “What’s the funniest thing that ever happened here?”
          • Video the interview
            • Hire a video crew if possible
            • If not, just prop up your iPhone on a tripod
            • Make sure sound is good. Wear a lav mic.
          • Send the video footage to Rev.com {{{AFF LINK}}}
            • $1/minute for a verbatim transcript
            • Send the transcript to a writer (WHY NOT ZOIDBERG??)
            • Turn the transcript into a blog post
          • Take photos (or have a pro do it)
            • Ambiance
            • Food
            • Staff?
            • Perspectives
              • Get behind the bar and shoot left-to-right
              • Out over the dining room from bar tender’s POV
              • Get in the kitchen
            • Exterior & signage
          • Include the photos in the blog post
            • AND share them directly onto Facebook & other socials
      • Prioritize them by popularity.
        • Start in the middle of the pack, not the most popular.
        • Hit the bottom of the list too.
        • Launch the super popular ones after you’ve done 5-6 other smaller ones
  • Vendor lists
    • Why
      • Great way to establish business relationships with vendors
        • Mortgage/Title
        • Movers/Storage
        • Appraisers/inspectors
        • Landscape/Plow/Irrigation/Pool
        • Painter/electrician/plumber/carpenter
        • Contractor/mason/driveway/window
        • Roofing/siding/fencing
        • Decorator/designer
        • Photographer/Videographer
        • Portrait artists
        • Caterer/Party rental
        • Pet groomer/walker/daycare/Vet
        • Security systems/alarms
        • Appliance repair
      • There’s 35 categories. They don’t have to be exclusive (one per category) either.
        • If you pick 3 of each category, that’s 110 businesses.
        • Even if none of these folks ever refer you CLIENTS, that’s 100+ potential backlinks from local businesses.
      • Plus, you build trust with users when they see you’re connected to all these folks
      • You build business relationships with these companies when you promote them.
      • Great for local searches! That’s more eyeballs on your website, and more retargeting audience opportunities.
    • How
      • Identify a few vendors per category, and start building a spreadsheet of their data
        • Name, phone, email, website, logo, photo of owner, photo of establishment
        • Social page URL, avg star rating, and # of reviews
          • Facebook, Google maps, Yelp, and any others as necessary.
        • Convert this spreadsheet data into database data if possible. Make it searchable/sortable on your site.
          • You’ll need a VA or web developer for this
        • Include 3-5 paragraphs about each vendor
          • You gotta figure…
            • ~25 words per paragraph * 3 paragraphs per vendor
            • (25*3=75) words per vendor * 110 vendors
            • [(25*3=75)*110]= 8,250 words on that page, plus 220 images
          • Find me a local competitor who can compete with that
        • Very easy to find, but tedious to compile. Get a VA.
      • Reach out to businesses owners
        • Before the page is built (or released to the public anyway)
        • Tell them you’re building a list, and “they’re in the top 3!!” etc (build excitement)
        • Ask for their permission to include them on the list and link to them/promote them
          • May I use your logo?
          • May I use your name and photo?? (some will say no)
        • “Can I send you the link when it’s done so you can review your entry??”
          • This is the sweet spot. The secret sauce.
          • This is the one that dramatically increases the likelihood that they’ll link to you
        • When they review it, prompt them to announce it to their followers/website visitors!
          • You gotta ask! Many of them would be happy to, but never think to do it.
  • Charity donations/sponsorships
    • Why
      • All the same reasons as above, plus:
      • Builds affinity by aligning to a cause — specialize! Music in the Arts performs well.
    • How
      • All the same stuff as above, only with organizers instead of business owners.
      • In this case, don’t go for “3 per category.” Get ALL OF THEM per category.
  • Contests/promotions/giveaways
    • Why
      • It’s fun & people love free stuff (more promotion!)
      • You can make it part of the rules “share this to be entered…”
        • Careful of FB’s terms for this
    • How
      • ILM’s best burger contest
  • Best-of Reviews (a la TripAdvisor)
    • Why
      • Nothing says “local expert” like detailed reviews of everything in town
      • Careful with locally-owned businesses. Too much at stake to risk angering someone
        • Parks, beaches, public spaces
    • How
      • Use the same database list of businesses as above. Sort by ratings & reviews
      • PROMPT VISITORS TO LEAVE THEIR OWN COMMENTS
Beat Zillow with long-tail SEO: Community Events
  • Schedule/calendar
    • Target “When is the santa parade?” searches
    • Summer concert series in ______ town, USA
    • Provide links to ticketing/signups
  • Videos/photos coverage
    • Be the 5 o’clock news reporter
    • Go to EVERYTHING and cover it. Or send someone who can
    • Interview organizers
    • Interview big/headline participants
  • Partnerships! Help promote events
    • Boost some FB posts about this. Build an audience. These folks will keep coming back.

Beat Zillow by making them irrelevant

  • Stop giving them your money
  • Stop relying on them for leads
  • Take control of your brand and your business
  • People buy from companies. They partner with people. Focus on people and become their partner.

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