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Friday, December 30, 2011

Looking to increase visitors and leads in 2012?


Every December I like to look back on the year and look at what was done right and things that could have been done differently. I usually do this on the 30th or 31st of the month but I’ve been thinking about it a little bit early this year and thought I should write down some of my thoughts.

So, what did we do right?

While there are quite a few small things that I could talk about I think we did three specific things right in 2011 that increased visitors and leads. I’m using information from one client web site we host. I picked this site because it has a good amount of traffic and leads and because this site has been doing well for years. I could have used examples that were obnoxious showing new customers that increased their traffic by over 3000% but those examples would have been skewed because what they were doing prior to using Delta was really bad.

1,786,437 website visits in 2011
So, I believe we did three things in 2011 to increase visitors by 60% and leads by 24% on this site. To help clarify these numbers, unique visitors were up from 480,976 in 2010 to 770,233 in 2011 and leads were up from 9,880 in 2010 to 12,215 in 2011. These are some good increases that I’m sure any real estate brokerage would appreciate having!


1.14 million visits from 505,553 different keywords
The first thing we did was targeted Long Tail search engine results. Now, unless you are a tech geek (like me) you may not understand this so let me explain it with a quick example: Long Tail searches for real estate are search phrases such as a property address. We felt that we could compete for more traffic and better traffic by focusing on people that “Google” for a home address. (We also believe these people are more serious about shopping for property and will probably make a buying decision soon but have no proof.) We did this in 2011 and did it really well. So well in fact that we found ourselves competing with the national portals for traffic, not other local brokerage sites. This was good...really good. This one change helped tremendously in getting 83% growth in search engine traffic on this site in 2011. The best part is that we were stealing this traffic from the national portals.

The second things we did was created Market Specific Landing Pages. If you’ve gone to any real estate conference in the past two years you heard the phrase “hyper local”. I have my thoughts on this (and what companies are pushing at conferences) but one specific thought I have is that in going hyper local you need to understand the basics of what people are looking for: information on real estate that is local. So, we created specific landing pages that contained information that was targeted to the local market. Information like featured properties, average prices, uniquely written content, subdivisions, lakes, etc. Really, these are very specific on a per market basis. Let me also say that the verbiage used in one landing page may not work on another landing page on the same web site that is targeting a different market. On this site, some of these landing pages account for over 1,000 visits themselves each month. Why? Because Google finds them relevant and customers do to.

Analytics showing link clicks
The third thing we did was paid attention to the tools Google gives us. Google gives us access to these tools for a reason. Specific tools we use are Google’s Analytics, In Page Analytics, Webmaster Tools, and Visitors Flow. Using these we know exactly what customers interact with on each page. So, when we go to make changes on the page we can do so intelligently. In some cases we are surprised what customers do and don’t interact with. Using these we also know exactly what Google is seeing whenever they crawl our sites and they even tell us what they think of our sites if we just pay attention and know what to look at! This has been critical in understanding what impact each site change had on our overall goals in increasing traffic and increasing leads.

So, does your real estate website target long tail search results on Google and Yahoo? Do you have landing pages? How about landing pages with content that was specifically created for that exact market on a per-landing page basis? Do you, or someone for you monitor Google Analytics at least monthly for you?

Regardless of who you use to do your real estate website you have a choice when it comes to your site and what you expect from it. Doing these things are critical in today’s market. The companies that are doing this are taking market share from the companies that fail to do it.

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