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"Using Google to Boost Your Real Estate Sales"

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Justin McCarthy Photo
10/5/07 Interview with Justin McCarthy

Google Inc.
76 Ninth Avenue, 4th Fl
New York, NY 10011

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Google and the Real Estate Market

  1. Google has been involved with real estate throughout its history as a company; since the outset, people have used Google as a primary source to find experts and solid information within the industry.
  2. Google has felt an obligation to provide a decent ranking of results for such consumer searches, and in doing so, has provided a service to the real estate industry by passing consumers directly to professionals at no cost to either.
  3. The number of pages that Google indexes—i.e., the number it crawls on the web to seek information— exceeds 8 billion; that volume of information gives consumers a head start as they begin a web search; by linking consumers to information as directly as possible, Google shortens their search cycle.
  4. Google has no interest in taking real estate brokerage fees or taking any commission sharing position; that attitude has been communicated to the NAR Strategic Planning Committee several times in recent years.
  5. Google uncovers a vast pool of potential clients who have questions; the real estate industry has an opportunity to meet the needs of those consumers; in that regard, Google partners with RE pros and looks forward to continuing to do so.
How RE Pros Can Have a Google Presence

  1. There are three easy ways for agents and brokers to make sure they have a presence that can be easily searched on Google: AdWords is a service that pros pay for; Google Base and Local Business Center are free.
  2. Google AdWords is a cost per click advertising mechanism; users set the price they are willing to pay each time a person clicks on their ad; they can set a daily budget and make a decision daily whether or not to continue; not having to sign a long-term contract democratizes the Web.
  3. Google Base offers RE pros the free opportunity to post snippets from listings on Google by uploading them daily via a feed, spreadsheet or several other ways; searchers are transported to a page with all listings that meet the search criteria; the listings are displayed with thumbnail pictures and a map.
  4. If consumers click on any element (thumbnail picture, link, write-up), they are taken to the agent’s designated page (usually the full listing).
  5. Google has no plans to charge agents for this service because agents are providing Google with web content; advertising not service charges is how Google makes money.
  6. Google Local Business Center is a resource for consumers to find businesses in their area; agents should post a custom description of their business and all their contact information are posted to come up in a local search.
Google Mapping Services

  1. The use of maps has been embraced aggressively by the real estate industry; web-based Google Maps was the first mapping resource that could be dragged and panned and that included satellite images and hybrid versions of maps and overlays.
  2. Google Earth is even more robust in that it reveals topography and allows zooming into areas to see elevations; it is useful to real estate professionals for creating sophisticated presentations.
Blogging and Video

  1. Google has bought a blog search company to enable consumers to search the blogosphere and another company (Blogger) to allow people to build their own blog pages for free.
  2. Consumers love video, especially video images of prospective homes, but maintaining a video presence can be challenging.
  3. The Society’s Online Convention next year will introduce interactive video to attract the interest of convention-goers; the technology will be easy for vendors to use from their desks and will feed right into their booths.
Google Apps

  1. Google Apps is a suite of web-based applications designed especially for small to medium-sized businesses; the tools are highly efficient and mostly free—costs are involved for private labeling and licensing.
  2. Gmail provides 2GB of email storage and allows messages up to 20 MB to be sent—significant for agents who want to send photo files to clients.
  3. Other products in the suite include Calendar and Docs & Spreadsheets; these can be used by various people in an office to share files.
  4. Apps can be used to set up a start page that includes all of the Google Apps tools as well as additional feeds and gadgets.
  5. RE pros should be thinking about working in more collaborative ways and paying attention to tools that enable them to do so; Google Apps is an effective, time- and cost-saving solution.
Favorite Places on the Web

  1. Google Maps Mania is an unofficial site that tracks interesting applications of the Google mapping platforms.
  2. TurnHere focuses on producing quality videos inexpensively.
  3. PropertyShark is a searchable resource for municipal records in about 15 markets; the data carried is often not otherwise available online.
Looking Out Three Years

  1. Expect Google to keep growing and to have a more cohesive relationship with the real estate industry.
  2. The industry is likely to be asking Google to do more in the way of pushing real estate data (listings, video, blogs) to consumers.
Contact Information for Justin McCarthy:

(v) 212.565.9602
(f) 917.591.3367

Real Estate Sites & Tools in this Briefing:

Google, Inc.:
Google AdWords:
Google Base:
Google Local Business Center:
Google map services:
Google Apps:
Apps products
Google Maps Mania: