The Rightmove Conundrum; What’s the Answer?

Published: 15/03/2021 By Elliott Rowland - Chief Operating Officer at Webdadi

For years, the estate agency industry has rallied against Rightmove’s ever increasing price rises. Agents feel continually squeezed to the point at which monthly budgets are at breaking point.

But what is the answer? Agents seem to be stuck in a never-ending cycle of “can’t live with you but can’t live without you” as they grapple to rally against Rightmove’s seeming stranglehold.

For years, the proclaimed answer was always “there needs to be competition.” Boomin’ is the latest challenger in a long line of self-proclaimed heroes stepping up to slay the Rightmove dragon. We’ve seen such portals come and go, so it will be interesting to see if Michael Bruce and his team can offer a genuine alternative for agents to turn to, or if they’ll simply be gobbled up by the monster that’s consumed all previous challengers.

But in all this wrangling about challenger portals and market competition, we forget the people who have given Rightmove such power over the years. The consumer.

What the Public Wants

The British public makes 127.5 million visits a month to Rightmove. It has become a brand that has successfully synonymised buying a house, with searching on Rightmove. The consumer seemingly knows no different than to search on Rightmove and find their happy.

Can an agent actually afford not to be on a portal that most vendor’s and landlords see as vital if they are going to sell or let their house?

Well, let’s break that down a second. 127.5m visits a month is how Rightmove justifies its monthly fee to agents, and to be fair to Rightmove, that is a hell of a lot of website hits. But for the individual agent justifying their spend, how many actual visits to your properties does exporting to Rightmove guarantee? Furthermore, how many leads does it get you, and what’s the quality of those leads?

The issue an agent has with their listings on Rightmove, is that your property stock is effectively homogenised. It’s just another property for people to view that either attracts them, or it doesn’t. Sure, you can affect the quality of the listing by using professional photography, video tours, and ensuring a good quality write up, but in essence your property simply joins a templated conveyor belt, a beauty parade for property.

I suspect an agent’s leads from Rightmove boil down to one metric; the more stock you list, the more leads you get. If I’m wrong about that, you can stop reading this article, but if that sounds like your business, carry on.

What if there was another way to attract those applicants? If Rightmove has no clear USP for your business, can you attract the same level of applicants elsewhere?

Using Your Own Site's Content To Your Advantage

Yes. Through your website. We know that broadly, your website is to help you attract vendors and landlords (if you’re not doing that then you’re doing it wrong), and the portals are where you get the majority of applicant leads. But what if you could also attract high volumes of applicants through your website as well?

More and more consumers are turning to Google to simply search for “property for sale in X” to find their dream property. Search terms as “houses for sale in X” or “flats for sale in X” are targeted, specific searches by applicants with a clear criteria and intent.

Good SEO on your website can ensure your website appears at the top of these searches, increasing the likelihood of attracting that click and gaining the lead.

If you think about it, searching on Google is no different from people searching on Rightmove. Except, there’s one key difference. You can control the quality of your website’s SEO to influence how highly your website appears for those searches. On Rightmove, your property is being buried alongside your competitors without any way to flag your listing above any other.  Sheer volume of properties means your likely to get leads, but it’s no different from throwing mud at a wall and hoping some sticks.

With your website, you can specifically target and measure its performance to start converting those Google searches into leads.

Does it mean you can drop Rightmove? I’ll leave that decision to you. However, the tactic of challenger portals removing Rightmove’s power has been ongoing for 10 years and yet Rightmove are charging agent’s more now than they ever have.

So maybe switch your thinking, remember it’s the consumer who holds the power, and go to them directly to wrestle back control of your lead generation.

After all, you only need to find one applicant to sell a property, not 127.5m.

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