Early this year, Google hinted that they would prefer sites use https:// SSL – which makes sites more secure… and they indicated that it would be good for ALL sites, not just those that are handling financial transactions. Many in the real estate industry decided on a wait and see approach. Then Google announced recently that it was / is now a ranking factor (albeit a small one) in determining which sites are relevant in the search engine. That drove real estate website builders such as RealEstateWebmasters to add this option for their clients.
Many other real estate websites are “working on it” or have “started to make changes”. To date major national real estate sites have resisted the idea. RedFin.com is now the first major portal to secure their site. Going to their site now, you see the GREEN Lock and the address says HTTPS:// instead of HTTP://
Will other major portals follow suit? It is too early to tell. So far Zillow.com, Trulia.com and Realtor.com have not. Franchisors such as Keller Williams, Remax, Prudential, Coldwell Banker, and many others have not. Will it make a difference in their rankings? Will it help consumers feel safer on their site? Time will tell. If the past is any indicator, we know two things. First, Glen Kelmann and the team at Redfin are typically the first into technology like this. And second, he and his team will be measuring the results carefully.