We just escorted a client though a double audit of their search engine optimization on their broker website. We reviewed Domain Authority and ranked it against their competition and saw a range of authority from 44 to 48 for leading broker websites. We reviewed Moz Report, CheckPageRank.net, and others.
We carefully analyzed all area search keyword traffic using a combination of searches that include Neilson, ComScore, Google Analytics, and Hitwise. You can ignore any site data from a third party that is free (i.e. Quantcast and other free services are way off).
Too often, firms look too closely at their Google Analytics. Google Analytics can only tell you what is happening on your site. Nielson, ComScore, and Hitwise give you a vision into the size of the online audience in your Demographic Market Area or DMA. They provide you with competitive matrix against your category competitors. These competitive sites include your brokerage competitors, national sites, and MLS consumer sites. They give you a look at the whole picture, not just your website stats.
When you understand the total size of your consumer audience, you can review your share of consumer audience. You can understand your demographic audience vs. competitor sites. Armed with this information, you can develop your web strategy to be very focused and very targeted in your local audience. You can map your progress against competitors, and make sure that your strategy is working.
To create your success, you will need a combination of SEO strategy, content strategy, social media strategy and search Marketing. Most firms fail by not having a good balance between these. It is very easy to be boring online, and the minute you are too promotional, you become spammy. The last thing you want is for your real estate brand to be viewed by the consumer in the category of a belly-fat ad.
Veteran online marketers, Prem Luthra and April Elgas are launching a new media network in partnership with This Old House. It offers super compelling content that can compliment a broker’s own content development. Brokers are doing well if they create one well-produced video per month (a.k.a – not something shot on a cell phone – a real, well edited video that you have invested $5k into). But firms should be pushing out a post every day on social media. This Old House has a huge repository of good stuff that brokers can publish on their website under a free license.
Leading with great content, your firm will develop great SEO. Remember, publishers like Realtor.com, Homes.com and Zillow are pushing out 5 or 6 pieces of content every day. If you want to tangle with that in your local market, you need to have a plan and a partner.
Brokerages could also consider an online ad strategy for Facebook, Google, and MSN. Facebook drives volume, Google provides reach, MSN attracts the best traffic. Optimize this program and you will be able to drive a cost per lead down below $10 (vs. portal marketing lead programs that cost somewhere around $35 per lead). Be careful here! If you do not know what you are doing, you will burn a lot of money and get very little back. Buying online advertising is a science. It takes experience.
An often neglected practice is promotion of your mobile app. If you are using the HomeSnap app or any other app, it is important that you try to drive conversions. The percentage of conversions from consumers that have downloaded your app is #1 for all conversions across the brokerage. If consumers are using your mobile app, you have them sold.