Rightmove are changing – and so must your website.

Rightmove have revealed that they are developing a new set of search results for their users via a video on their blog. Head of Lettings, Sam Mitchell gives a 2 minute video outlining exactly what they are doing and the reasons for it. Below is a summary of the video in bullet point form and the video itself:

http://www.rightmove.co.uk/news/uncategorized/our-new-search-results-pages-designed-to-give-you-more-exposure

1) A quicker and cleaner search

2) Fully integrated mobile and desktop pages, with responsive designs that automatically resize to the device

3) Filters that sit at the top of the page giving your properties more space

4) Improved functionality such as filters that allow you to select multiple criteria at one time – like detached and semi-detached properties for example

5) Products like Featured Property and Featured Agent will now be visible on our mobile site and apps, giving your brand and properties more exposure

Why exactly are Rightmove doing this?

It is touched on in the video but basically technology has caught up with Rightmove and the need for a responsive offering for Rightmove’s end users is evident. As Sam says in the video, over half of Rightmove’s users now browse the website on mobile and tablet devices. I would have also said that the number of true end users (not businesses browsing the website but people looking for properties to buy or rent) browsing on mobile devices is considerably higher than the number browsing on desktop. The Rightmove website, while a great tool for Agents is built for the public and therefore must accommodate all the latest needs and wants of the average consumer. Obviously there is the fact that Rightmove will no doubt be making more money from this as the ‘extra exposure’ slots for featured agents and properties on mobile devices will give agents another advertising space to fight over, but why not if it benefits the end user.

What does this mean for Estate Agents websites?

These changes will have a bigger effect on your website than you might think, here’s a scenario that explains why..

Imagine a punter goes onto Rightmove to search for a rental property. They are browsing for a few days, using their iPad on the bus and their iPhone at lunch. The Rightmove website works perfectly on their phone an iPad and browsing the properties is a breeze. They finally narrow it down to 2 properties, one of them is on your books and the other is your competitors. They go to get more details about the property from your website or just to find a bit more about yourselves but your website is not functional on a mobile device however your competitors is responsive and works perfectly. Who do you think is going to get the call first?

The point I’m trying to make is that when a big industry player like Rightmove makes a fundamental change to their website, your main client base will then get used to the look and feel of using their mobile friendly interface. If a potential client is browsing Estate Agents websites to sell their house and comes across yours & then it doesn’t meet the same mobile friendly standards the Rightmove website does, they will almost always click off your website, and you lose the chance to value their home.

It is so important now to make sure that your website is mobile friendly for so many reasons other than just Rightmove changing their search results:

1) Google have said that responsive websites will rank higher than those that aren’t on mobile devices
2) Enhanced user experience for your clients
3) Increased leads due to ease of use
4) Cleaner more considered design
5) Better brand perception

We are able to generate statistics from all of our clients sites using Google Analytics and one of the figures that stands out the most is the fact that across the board, from big agents to smaller boutique agents 52% of all traffic is through mobile devices. If your website isn’t mobile friendly at the moment, fear not, upgrading is so simple. We offer several different responsive templates and a bespoke service if you are looking for something with a more personal touch.

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