Who leads the pack for commercial property websites in the UK? Part 4: The Top 100
In the previous parts of this blog series we looked at the marketing effectiveness ratings of UK commercial property websites according to WebsiteGrader.com, at Google Page Rank and at inbound links (according to Alexa.com). We then looked at traffic both globally and from the UK (again according to Alexa.com). Now it’s time to put all these together and reveal the top 100 UK commercial property websites.
The Full ListBut, before revealing the list, let me explain how we came up with it: Firstly, we have ordered it by the web sites’ WebsiteGrader ranking (as this series of blog articles was really about who excels at marketing UK commercial property in the digital space and not who has the biggest company). We then included their Google page rank, global traffic rank, UK traffic rank and the number of inbound links they have (according to Alexa.com). So, sit back and enjoy...
Overall ObservationsThis is the bit where we rant on about SEO and usability and how important they are... well maybe a bit. Here are a few thoughts for those trying to really succeed in the UK commercial property digital marketplace.
1. Being national helps, being international helps even more
The Google algorithm likes big sites with lots of indexed pages. It also likes well established sites. However, it especially likes lots of relevant and high page rank sites linking to your site (non reciprocal links). It is much easier for you to achieve this if you have national, or better still international, presence or have another helpful way of doing this (e.g. being part of a publishing group like EGPropertyLink).
2. You have to fight really hard to beat the big boys and portals - but be smart and fight hard in your areas of strength
You can try and compete for the search term “commercial property” or “commercial property London” but good luck. If you are a regional or local agent you almost certainly can’t beat the big boys but you really CAN compete in your locality for search terms such as “Industrial Units in Accrington”. If you type this in (and we really did pick this at random) the first on the list is www.taylorweaver.co.uk, the second is www.thomasvshaw.co.uk and the third is NovaLoca. This is because NovaLoca’s SEO strategy was to target hundreds of thousands of keyword combinations rather than the most popular – it is no surprise therefore that only less than 10% of visitors arrive on NovaLoca’s home page as most arrive on a page much more targeted to their search terms.
3. Marketing Effectiveness is not just about traffic
As we have mentioned before, it is one thing to appear as high as possible on a Google search, but it is quite another to create a compelling experience when a user makes it to your site. You need to think hard about page layout, calls to action, usability, language, ease of search, the right information at the right time, maximising conversions, tracking usage and ongoing development. A website is often seen as a product that can be launched and ignored for two or three years. This is not true if you really want to drive ROI.
4. There are 30 commercial property websites with a UK presence that Website Grader puts in the top 10% of marketing effectiveness worldwide
This means that the competition is challenging and improving all the time and it takes lots of effort to get further up this list. Emerging technologies are really playing a part in this too (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, iphone apps, blogs) and you really need to have a strong view on where you are going to focus your energies to maximise your returns. It really isn’t about building a pretty website and then putting it on a URL – “Build it and they will come” is alright for Kevin Costner (Field of Dreams) but it doesn’t work in the real world.
5. If you work really hard you can beat the odds
There is hope. We like stories like NovaLoca, Paramount Investments and UK commercial agents like Gerald Eve who all beat EGPropertyLink in terms of their websitegrader score. They may not beat them in terms of UK or global traffic but we bet you that where they focus their energies is their localities and their specialism’s they are really winning. It takes initiative, innovation, focus and frankly a lot of hard work, but it is possible.
6. If you are going to focus your energies on one thing, make it back links
It has long been known that back links are massively important to Google. In many ways this is because they are the greatest compliment that can be paid in the impersonal world of the internet, but it is mostly because they are so difficult to get if you want them and don’t have them. What’s more, your web developers can’t just get them for you no matter how much money you throw at them. Yes, you can register on press release sites and directories but generally people only link back to you if you have something valuable to say or offer. A good example is NovaLoca who launched Street Level View in the UK a full four months before Google did in partnership with a small Italian company called Seety. This didn’t create the huge PR that Google did but it certainly provided some press coverage and some good back links.
7. If you receive an email that says something like “We guarantee to get you to the top of Google”, our advice is to delete it immediately
It just isn’t possible to guarantee anything with Google (or any other search engine) and anyone who promises to is just after your cash. Page ranks go up and down, back links are so important (but not under your control) and SEO is so much about what you do as a company and how much effort you are prepared to invest. The best strategy is to find a technology partner who knows what they are doing and who knows their limitations and then works extremely hard on both technical and non technical SEO activities. Then watch what happens. A good rule of thumb is try ten things and probably two will be really valuable – you just won’t know which two until you try!
If you want to know more about why your site appears where it does on the list, if you want to explore the data in more detail, if you want to complain about an inaccuracy or hopefully most importantly you want to chat about how you can get the most out of your digital marketing spend then please feel free to get in touch with me directly:
Neil Osmond email me at firstname.lastname@example.org call me at 0845 642 9885 follow/contact me on twitter @mredonny skype me at neil.osmond or please feel free to comment on this blog article.