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Boosting your website traffic, improving your listings

publication date: Feb 1, 2011
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Whilst Google and other search engines do quite a good job at providing websites with traffic for free, long gone are the days where you can put a website online, and expect it to instantaneously get results. Brochure websites are dead, and today’s consumers are looking for much more than a telephone number and dull about page. Instead, dynamic, content managed websites which deliver real results are becoming the standard for estate agency businesses across the UK.

Many estate agents spend a large proportion of time and effort marketing. It’s what separates the good from the mediocre, however with business increasingly being won online; you have to think about how you are going to market your website alongside numerous competitors.

Search marketing is the most targeted form of advertising there is, as appearing for a keyword matches a targeted prospect directly to you, however there is no magic wand to wave, and only the businesses which work hard on their online marketing efforts see the rewards.

Thankfully, when it comes to search, the field is relatively level, which means the little guy has every chance of outmanoeuvring larger competitors and winning if he works hard and applies basic marketing and SEO concepts.

Search engines prefer quality rather than the depth of your pocket to rank websites– the secret lies in showing and providing that quality to them.

So what can you do?

Google local and citation based links.

The major search engines on the web today are increasingly aware that improving search
relies on location, location, location – in much the same way as selling a home does. In order
to improve this they have introduced the local business listing facility, which allows small
business to clarify exactly where they are.

Trying a search now for [service] in [location] generates a map result, pulling information from Google local. It is well worth claiming your business result (by way of a telephone and PIN verification), and adding photos and /or videos to your listing to improve your presence.

Three of the major search engines provide local listing centres. We recommend you get listed on all three to maximise your exposure.

Google Local URL
http://www.google.com/local/add


Bing Local
https://ssl.bing.com/listings/ListingCenter.aspx


Yahoo Local
http://listings.local.yahoo.com/


To further confuse you, along with links - improving your position once you are listed involves building citations, (mentions of your business address). Google uses a number of providers to build its local offering, which in the UK comprise of some of the following.

http://www.yelp.co.uk

http://www.thomsonlocal.com/free-listing.aspx
http://www.yell.com/
http://www.hotfroguk.co.uk/
http://www.city-visitor.com/products/payment_free.html
https://www.touchtarget.com/product/home
http://www.scoot.co.uk/advertise/free-listing.html
http://webapp.localeze.com/extranet
http://www.finder.co.uk/

Build links

If you take nothing else away from this article – pay attention to this:

“To obtain better rankings in the search engines, I should concentrate on building relevant links to my business.”

Links are a crucial part of search engine algorithms, and continue to feature heavily. As larger websites which have been around for longer and have obtained more third party links, it stands to reason that this is why we see larger websites at the top of many keyword searches. There are a number of ways to obtain links. You can ask friends and family to link to you, you can ask suppliers and fellow business people to link to you, you can take time to submit yourself to local business directories etc. OR you can concentrate heavily on content.

Content


Content is at the centre of every good website, and search engines learn to more frequently visit and crawl your website, if you are frequently updating and supplying them with fresh and relevant pages.

Whilst many agencies are frequently updating properties on their site, this isn’t the only type of content which should be created to maximise on marketing efforts. As not many links are generated from new properties, it is important to also provide articles of relevance to your audience. For example, blog articles such as “10 ways to protect your home from winter blues” or “5 DIY tips for the not so handy homeowner” attract links from around the web, and are more frequently shared by others. You may even want to write articles for other people in exchange for links back to your site.

You will find that as your content gets more widely known, more links start to pour into your site, and in turn, the more your properties etc. will rank above your competition as a result.

This should give you a basic overview of how to go about marketing yourself online, but in a nutshell, content and links are the two single most important factors in increasing your website traffic, and achieving more enquiries and leads through the web.

Today’s guest blog comes from Paul Anthony, who works as Internet Marketing Manager for Northern Ireland’s largest property website, Property Pal. His role within the company includes managing all search engine optimisation, search engine marketing and social media activity.






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