When we launched Zillow in February of 2006, we knew that we’d never, as a national company, have the level of local expertise that area professionals and residents have under their belt.  With this in mind, we opened up the site two years ago and encouraged the community to contribute their insights.  Since then, we’ve received some incredible contributions (thank you!) from professionals.  I met many of them two weeks ago.

Through these contributions, Zillow visitors have been able to find professionals and seek their guidance.  However, there hasn’t been a central way for folks to search for professionals in a particular geographic area or expertise.  With today’s launch of the Zillow Professional Directory, that’s no longer the case.   Now the nearly 5 1/2 million individuals who come to Zillow each month can search and connect with the more than 150,000 professionals who have already created profiles on our site.  For the professionals out there, it’s another free and easy way for you to market yourselves on Zillow.

To check it out, just click the Find a Pro tab.

So what do you need to do to be a part of the Directory?  Simply register (for free) on Zillow as a professional, and create a profile page with all of the pertinent details, including your photo, links to your Web site and a description of yourself and your professional background.  Also be sure to note your areas of expertise.  For example, if you focus on relocation or foreclosures, you can be found through the Zillow Professional Directory based on these keywords, so be sure to note each and every area in which you have experience.  If you already have a profile on Zillow, you’re already included – though now would be a great time to revisit that profile to make sure you’re selling yourself well.

In addition to today’s Professional Directory announcement, we’re also rolling out some new badges, including Local Expert, which will be given to people who are very active in a specific city or neighborhood. This new badge, along with the Zillow All-Star badge are also the default sort order within the Directory—if you are awarded one of these badges, you’ll show up first.  This is our way of rewarding those who are active contributors to the site.  We’re also highlighting these folks through our local “leader boards”, which showcase the top 5 contributors in a given area, providing them even more exposure to our audience (check out the right-hand column for an example of these).

So what are you waiting for?!  Create a profile to be a part of the directory today!  And if you are currently registered, take another look at your profile page (click My Zillow) and update it with even more details about your expertise.

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