Organic search typically becomes the first step in the purchase or rental of real estate, with Zillow estimating that in December 2017 the total value of U.S. homes reached 31.8 trillion.
Standard links make up about 80% of the results at the very top of Google’s organic results for real estate-related searches, but the most common standard links are region- or neighborhood-specific aggregate listings.
The second most common are answer boxes that provide information directly on the search page Google pulls from websites in the top ten organic results. Often these page results answer specific questions such as location. These types of answers are critical to voice search results.
In a study released this week, Conductor analyzes how people search to buy and rent real estate, and identifies those that are leading in search and how they build and execute successful strategies to own key market share on Google.
Not surprisingly, 90% of home buyers begin their research online, spending between eight to 12 weeks searching for a home.
Those searching have warmed up to mobile. About 72% of buyers have searched for a home on a mobile device. Millennials are the most common segment to use mobile to search for real estate, with 58% using a mobile device.
About 99% of millennial home buyers will research all different types of property online, with 67% of renters in this age group using a mobile device to search for apartments.
Overall, 51% of all apartment searches occur on smartphones. About 62% of renters -- apartment or home -- still prefer searching on a desktop.
Conductor tracked more than 27,000 search terms consumers used to find products, services, and information about real estate in 2018. In aggregate, these search terms represent nearly 125 million searches per month on average by consumers.
Since eight out of 10 renters consider consumer reviews important to their rental property search, New York City apartment website RentHop began using reviews and apartment listings, using what it calls a HopScore. It includes an analysis of listing photos that determines the relevance to renters, human verification of new listers, and more.
The reviews are necessary because less than half of apartment renters use an agent or broker, with 72% going online first to start their search. Most renters spend between two to 12 weeks searching for an apartment.
Renters are more likely to complete their journey online, with 67% admit to renting an apartment they originally found online. Similar to real estate buyers, 99% of millennial buyers use the internet to search for properties, and 58% found the home they eventually bought using a mobile device.
Brands that dominated online visibility in the real estate space by consistently ranking in the top organic spots for high-volume, relevant searches for information or products are highlighted in this report, which included information about apartments, by owner, condos for rent, homes for rent, homes for sale, townhouses, property and vacation homes.
While the real estate market seems pretty fragmented, the top performers by share are Zillow at 13% and Bankrate at 5%. Both have held the top two spots since 2017, but Zillow continues to pull away from the competition. There is still room to grow among all companies. Nearly half -- or 49% -- of the market share is up for grabs.
On the East Coast for mobile searches, Zillow at 10% ranks No. 1, followed by Trulia at 8%, Apartments.com at 5%, Realtor.com at 5%, and Street Easy at 4% which together rank on the top five. On the West Coast, Zillow also ranks No. 1 with 10% market share, followed by Truilia with 7%, Realtor.com at 5%, Apartments.com at 5% and HotPads at 5%.