This week we continue with our efforts to bring you the superstars of U.S. real estate. Once again, we’re refining a more objective and quantifiable method. Focusing on Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is presenting us with some new problems, and insights, since this region is a particularly competitive and dynamic market given the economic outlook.
Previously, we used lead generation services like Homelight to aggregate lists of the top agents, but we later shied away from such rating databases opting for Google and Zillow, combined with social, media, and SEO prowess. Now, Oklahoma City is proving how selecting top-notch professionals is even harder than we originally thought. Here’s what we found, with insights into why the average consumer may have trouble picking the best of the best in this locale.
Veteran real estate broker Tara Levinson is this week’s real estate local hero. With 549 total reviews (189 local) on Zillow, and a 4.8 overall Google rating on 203 reviews, her company’s digital effort beats all her competitors, which means potential clients benefit. The company website is not a Google killer or something, but a Semrush authority of 15 with 8.8 thousand monthly visits is above par. 7,000 plus likes on Facebook, tell part of the story of Oklahoma’s top-rated agency.
Is her team on Instagram in a meaningful way? Check. Youtube? Check (only more could be done). State and local news engagement? Of course, she’s covered all the bases it seems. Still, Levinson could do more, it seems to me. After researching Chicago’s Matt Laricy recently, the bar just got a lot higher. So, we should see this top-tier entrepreneur in a bit more high-profile circles. There's a clear reason Levinson is among the top agents in the country.
Kacie Kinney gets spotlighted for the same reasons as the state’s top agent. This Keller Williams professional has perfect Zillow reviews, and the KW team’s Google votes (only 27?) are 5-star as well. SEO and site authority-wise, Kinney using the KW cookie-cutter corporate template has disadvantages. That said, she makes up for this a bit with effective Instagram and Youtube efforts. While not industry-leading by any stretch, the agent seems to be making the effort for her clients.
I cross-checked these and other agents where I could at Homelight and elsewhere, and Kinney’s 400-plus transactions all took place pretty quickly compared to the average agent. Also, as was the case with Levinson, Kinney seems to understand the importance of local media, especially, since she’s appeared in news several times.
Right on the heels of Kinney, Becky Ivins is perfect on Zillow (117 total reviews/67 local), rates 4.9 of 5 on Google (200+ reviews), and her company’s Semrush scores beat nearly every other Oklahoma agency we looked at. 5+ thousand monthly visitors, 2,600 backlinks, and 130 linking domains indicate expenditures and time invested. The bad news is the website is pretty awful and lacks many refined elements top-notch companies include.
Media-wise, Ivins is losing out on incalculable opportunities. Her Facebook is in limbo, I cannot find an Instagram channel, and she’s only taken a poke at using Youtube. I also could not find any recent local or state media coverage of Ivins.
It took us a while to single out Eric Beard as meeting our guideposts for best agents status in Oklahoma City. Being a top Zillow pro, while at the same time working (or owning) an agency that Google users rated best, caused us a bit of time for this roundup. To be honest, we were not expecting this, since past lists were more easily narrowed using Zillow/Google reviews. That said, Beard (184 total reviews on Zillow) and his Loxwood Agency (5-stars on Google) fit the bill.
Moving on to SEO and site effectiveness, the agency lost some points because of a domain authority of only 10, and some other issues. He and the brokerage lost even more points due to a mediocre Facebook footprint and leaving unused profiles lingering, dead links to profile accounts with no content, etc. Beard only made this list because his competition in the area is even worse. One agency, Metro Brokers, has several individual agents ranked high on Google. However, like most other local players, their Google reviews just are not there. Beard managed to slide in largely because of this, and the fact he’s worked a bit on LinkedIn.
Keri Gray of KG Realty was the second real estate pro in a long list of Oklahoma City agents who came close to meeting the first three of our newly established criteria for “top agent.” Zillow five-star ratings for the region are fairly common, but adding five-star Google prominence eliminated dozens of local professionals. Keri’s agency had flawless reviews on Google (79), and 340 total reviews on Zillow (78 local).
On the digital blackboard score (website), Gray’s website leaves much to be desired. With MOZ domain authority 19 and a 7% SPAM score, most of the web is better off. The site seems like an afterthought, in reality. There are no social links or content to speak of.
KG Facebook is a bit of a different story since Gray’s team seems engaged and moving forward. There’s even a Linktree, Instagram, a stab at Twitter (last post-2020), and a stellar LinkedIn profile.
I want to be as fair as possible here. So, the only way to accomplish this for the Oklahoma City market is to basically heap most of the real estate professionals there into one easily recognizable pile. As cities and regions go, digital real estate marketing was never born. The vast potential of mobile/online information and promotion for clients is non-existent. Let me end this report with an example.
If you search on Google for “Oklahoma city homes for sale” the top results are, of course, advertisements. OKC Metro Group Realty bought one spot, Clearpoint Realty paid Google for another, and Will Flanagan’s Kevo Realty bought keywords too. Of those three, only the latter has made even a mediocre effort to feature homes or a company brand in the medium most used by homebuyers for finding properties. The point is, that Oklahoma City real estate professionals are practicing the so-called 'set it, and let it" methods.
Meanwhile, the local news tells of rising mortgage interest rates and declining consumer confidence affecting home sales in Oklahoma City.
Think about it. Who would you choose for buying or selling a home in Oklahoma City?