MeilleursAgents: Doubling speed and freeing developers with Google Cloud Platform

Leading French real estate website MeilleursAgents has achieved outstanding growth. Smart SEO and the company’s instant real estate valuation tool draw bring in 1.5 million unique users per month – that’s half of all French property sellers. When MeilleursAgents leveraged this audience for advertising in 2014, it triggered rapid expansion that slowed website performance and made it harder to do its day job. The team looked at three competing options for a powerful, developer-friendly solution. Google Cloud Platform delivered on all fronts.

“Our new line in advertising has made our business grow really, really fast. Three years ago, we had 600 to 700 real estate agencies using MeilleursAgents. Now, more than 5,000 estate agencies are on the site. Website performance had become slow, but Google Cloud Platform lets us generate pages twice as fast.” – Nicolas Baron, VP Engineering, MeilleursAgents

Faster website, greater innovation

Website performance and reputation is at the core of any online business model based on advertiser relationships and visitor numbers. With 80 million hits per month and new requests for property price estimations every 12 seconds, the MeilleursAgents website handles a huge workload. In addition, the company’s developers have to stay ahead of competition by finding new ways to create and deliver market data for users, such as generating maps layered with local price variations. That means providing developers with the right environment for them to add value.

Implementing Google Cloud Platform delivered massive gains in both departments. Google partner Skale-5 worked in-house to help design an application architecture that leveraged key GCP features, separated build and run processes and industrialised the deployment of applications. MeilleursAgents cut API and main website response times in half using GCP’s advanced server hardware (from 400ms to 180ms, and 60ms to 25ms, respectively). That boost to user experience was coupled with improved SEO, as crawlers responded to faster webpages. MeilleursAgents developers can now call up Virtual Machines in seconds instead of weeks with their previous provider, then dispose of them whenever they like, instead of being tied into a one-year contract. That makes it more convenient and cost-effective to carry out experimental work, such as provisioning new applications or staging for QA.

“SEO is really important to us. Most people find us because we are very strong in SEO, with top rankings on all queries related to real estate prices and local searches. Google Cloud Platform has made our webpages faster, so search engines can crawl more of them and our SEO improves.” – Nicolas Mussat, CTO, MeilleursAgents

Freeing up resources to focus on development

MeilleursAgents anticipate a 15% saving on infrastructure costs, now that its website and all applications, APIs and internal tools are running on GCP. The coming year will see more major opportunities for MeilleursAgents, as expansion of coverage throughout France brings an anticipated major increase in web traffic. The Paris office will be doubling the size of its tech team and investigating ways to optimise costs using Google Kubernetes Engine, App Engine and Google Cloud Storage. Meanwhile Skale-5 remain present on a day-to-day basis, monitoring servers so closely that the MeilleursAgents team hear about potential issues from Skale-5 first, and can solve them with ease.

“The migration was incredibly successful. Now we want to focus on developing key features and rely on Google’s managed services for the rest. This year we plan to double the size of the tech team, confident that we can leverage GCP to provide them with the best tools.” – Nicolas Baron, VP Engineering, MeilleursAgents