Real Estate Website Review
March 31, 2011 2 Comments
Review of Vancouver’s Top Real Estate Web Sites
Have you studied the top ranking Realtor Websites on Google and are wondering why they rank at the top and yours is not? With such few differences between the top ranking sites, you might think Google just rolls some dice to decide which one gets the top spot. In Vancouver, a couple of agents typically dominate the top rankings for the most popular and high converting phrases. That means they’re grabbing all the best lead which translates to high sales and commission. This doesn’t mean their sites convert that traffic well, but rankings and traffic are the foundation for high realtor income.
The top Google performing real estate agents in Vancouver are Jay Banks, Richard Morrison, Rick Clark, Ken Wyder, Nicholas Myer and Matt Collinge. These agents have sites that possess the best visibility on Google search results. Each one might successful for different reasons. Google’s ranking algorithm is complex.
Don’t doubt that Google rankings are important. They are pivotal to many agent’s success and without them, their leads would dry up fast. What’s important to you as a Vancouver realtor, is that top ranking websites are better able to convert visitors better. Therefore, fewer searches are going down the Google rankings. The top sites are engaging their visitors more and not losing them. So, if you’re ranking #5 to 10, you’re only seeing a trickle of the traffic that the top ranking sites are getting. If you don’t believe that, just start an Adwords account and bid the highest price for Vancouver Real Estate and Vancouver MLS and see how many ad impressions and clickthroughs you get.
The number one organic ranking site gets about 40% of the clicks while number 2 gets maybe 20%. It depends on how many adwords ads and other junk Google pushes into that particular page. The point is, that any site ranked 5th or lower is getting starved out. Smart market leaders know how to get the traffic and convert it so the visitor’s search stops.
The Best in Vancouver
In this series of posts, I’m taking a look at the top ranking Vancouver real estate agent sites and I hope this gives you the inspiration you need to take your business to the next level. Always remember, that these Vancouver area agents were right where you are now. There’s no doubt they look back at their own humble beginnings and have pride that they took the right action. Perhaps it turned out a lot better than they ever imagined. Great success isn’t luck, it’s positioning. Position your site at the top and good things will happen.
For the most part, Google ranks websites based on the other websites that link to them. So if you analyze what some people call the backlinks to a site, you’ll see which other sites are linking to them. SEO is basically a game of acquiring links on other sites and managing what those links say. Jay Banks real estate website has over 200 links on other websites pointing to his site. They’re not all high quality links but they’re all good enough to give him the best allround presence in Google’s rankings.
He has blog posts that appear on the homepage, good to keep the spiders visiting regularly and giving his site that freshness factor. Integrating a blog into your homepage is a cheap way to look fresh and relevant. Other social media type connections (twitter, youtube, facebook, reddit, etc.) aren’t a bad idea either. Keep the freshness factor in mind.
Jay Banks is hosting with Realestatewebmasters. I’ve noticed something interesting on his site in regard to hosting that may help with his rankings too. Sorry can’t tell you what that is, because I don’t want to cause trouble for him. He’s done a good job and deserves his lofty rankings.
He only has 2 featured listings currently which is unusual for such a top performer. With 24,000 pages (MLS listings mostly), he’s got plenty of ammunition to attract home buyers. However, just having pages means very little. Those pages have to rank and visitors need to register and request info.
Currently, he’s not doing Google Adwords which I believe is leaving money on the table. Maximizing exposure is always the best approach and even if it costs money, that extra exposure reinforces credibility and exposure.
With respect to keyword phrases, jaybanks.ca ranks excellently for the ones you want to rank on. Alexa ranks jaybanks.ca as the 24,000th top Canadian Website. This graphic (which is publicly available on alexa.com) shows which keyword phrases are critical to his site. Alexa doesn’t reveal everything but these stats are helpful. In this graphic Alexa gives us info on which keyword phrases might be growing in importance and which are falling. In this case, jaybanks.ca may be losing rankings on certain keywords. Fluctuations always occur even for the top sites, even though Google rankings tend to be stagnant.
These are just some of the tools available to help you study the top real estate agents and understand competitors in your market. You want to know what they’re up to and what they’re focusing on. Although some agents do their website work on their own using 3rd party hosting services, the competition is getting tougher. An agent who uses a dedicated marketing provider will have the advantage over the long run. Better optimization and fresher, interesting content creates more traffic. Converting your visitors to real leads has a lot to do with establishing relevance through compelling content and creating desire with a good call to action strategy. When you’re at the top, there won’t be any trickle down benefit for the lower ranking sites. You’ll be keeping your visitors and their home search will be over!