Rupert Murdoch once said, “The Internet has been the most fundamental change during my lifetime and for hundreds of years. Someone the other day said, “It’s the biggest thing since Guttenberg,” and then someone else said, “No, it’s the biggest thing since the invention of writing.” Which is why I want to write about it.
Why, then in Australia (and everywhere else for that matter) do so many real estate agencies struggle with the basic concepts of intelligent online activation strategies?
In this four- part series I will walk agents through our online platform strategies identifying from where we started to where we are today. The good news is that (Stage 1) won’t cost you anything where, more importantly this series is aimed at providing you with the guidance and tips that hopefully, will assist you in building your very own dynamic online consumer platform.
Otherwise known as your real estate point of difference – which is based more about, what you are missing in the online world and why, your competitors (may) have gained poll position in your market place. This four part series will address:-
Stage 1 -Diagnosing your online position (warts and all)
Stage 2 – Constructing your perfect online real estate media platform
Stage 3 – Lock –up stage and moving into your online business
Stage 4 – Growing awareness, acceptability and acknowledgment
This is much like when you go to a personal trainer and they assess you by way of that fitness test (otherwise known as the starting point). Remember it is not about where you start – rather where you finish. Believe it or not, this is where the fun begins as you are (hopefully now) about to self test your online business.
Let’s get started.
Open up Website Grader and enter your URL (ie www.yourwebsite.com.au) for analysis to get your grade. Test your competitors websites also, then print out your reports so that you can identify exactly what you need to do to improve your website and score. This is a brilliant tool where we utilise this report and include it in our property submissions to potential vendors. The vast majority of real estate websites are in sleep mode – I’ll show you why!
Note: vendors are looking for an agency that leads the market as against those that follow. Online tracking can’t be forged as you have to earn your position where your competitors take it for granted based on the assumption that vendors don’t understand online machinations. It is very easy for a savvy online real estate agency to reveal your online weakness and when they do it is costly.
A website does not need to be a Ferrari rather a Ute as it should be working around the clock 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week – maximising your online position (so long as you continue to add content – when you reward Google they reciprocate). Each and every time somebody views (unique visitor) your website Google counts this and improves your ranking on their search engines.
Simply put: this is all about driving your online traffic and accelerating your Google ranking.
Open up Page Checker which allows you to ascertain your Google page ranking (enter your URL to receive your ranking). Rankings are from 1 to 10 (when you get to 10 you have mastered the Universe and online) where even SMH and NEWS get 8/10. Our score is 4/10 which is pretty good for an individual website – we are pushing hard to get our score to 5 ( all that is required is adding more and more relevant pages to your website and getting more and more websites of consequence to link to you).
Prior to the Internet agents would spend vast amounts of money advertising in the Yellow Pages. These days’ vendors and purchasers use keyword searches on the search engines like Google. So open up Google and assess your online position.
Type in the suburb(s) that you specialise in (one at a time) and note on what page your business appears on the directory. Also, note which agencies appear before your business because now you are going to catch and pass them by organically growing your online business.
Next in Google, type into the search (your suburb) then the words “real estate” and again see on what page you appear. Again, make a note of where competitors appear. Also, do your suburb(s) typing in “real estate agents”. Keep taking notes so that you can monitor your progress where in time your goal is to appear on page one of each and every search demographic.
Again in Google, you need to see how many pages from your website that Google has captured so in the search bar type. Site: (your website) and count the number of pages recorded. Then do the same with your competitors to see how many SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) pages they have recorded. The greater the number pages your business has the higher your Google ranking.
Your goal overtime will be to focus on driving your online business ahead of your competitors – we have. In my opinion, you need to be managing and operating your own website as against, a corporate Head Office website that grabs all your SEO – after all you own the business so maximise your time on the www. Thanks to you they also grab fantastic third party revenues from your listings.
This series is all about building and gaining a greater understanding about how to improve, drive and benefit from making online your agencies point of difference.
Your homework is to search again in Google – How does Google work? As well as study your HubSpot’s Website Grader Report and make sure you read the “Learn More” advice.
There is a strong possibility that your competitors are reading this article too. Spend some time researching and planning your perfect website. What do you want? More importantly, what are YOU prepared to do to make it better? Business models only change when you do!
Last, but not least – have a look at your website and count the number of pages on it. Homepage, properties for sale, properties for rent, agent profiles, past sales, about us and contact us etc. Our website has just over 2,500 pages on Google.
This is where it gets interesting as most agent websites have around 50 to 150 pages which explains why they appear “down the back of the bus” on Google searches. Average that out at 100 pages/per agency website. Past sales/rentals are a classic example – keep them alive simply because owners search their property addresses and guess who you want them to see first.
We add 100 pages of content nearly every week to our website (Stage 2). Personal trainers teach you how to lose weight and website trainers teach your online business how to add your website weight on that Google Monster.
Have fun with your online position – back soon with Stage 2.