A story for the Canadian real estate industry.
The perspective to be taken with this discussion will be that of a realtor who would like to develop their own website and gain a competitive advantage by positioning themselves strategically.
Overview of industry:
According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, “organized real estate in Canada is almost as old as the country itself.”  With its first real estate board established in 1888 in Vancouver, it grew substantially during the early 20th century with the creation of real estate boards in several cities across Canada.
Helpful websites operating within industry:
Recommendations for websites operating within industry
Search term trends and website traffic:
One of the recommendations is to include the search terms within the URL itself, for example, http://www.yourhomepage.com/commonsearchterms.html could increase traffic to your site substantially. In addition, it would appear that meta tags within the page’s header are still commonly used and effective since the websites which came up first for “cityName real estate” used them extensively. Finally, it doesn’t hurt to include the key words within the page’s title, for example, a possible title could be <title>cityName Real Estate regionName Real Estate agencyName</title>.
According to the Google Trends site, the terms “regionName real estate” and “regionName mls” have had the most interest over time.
For example, the figure below illustrates the comparison of the following three search terms: “belleville ontario real estate”, “quinte mls”, and “quinte real estate.” Therefore, it is not recommended to use “belleville ontario real estate” as your key search terms compared with the success you’ll have with directing traffic to your site by using “quinte mls” or “quinte real estate.”
A search was performed for “quinte real estate” on June 3, 2013, using Google.com, and the following recommendations are derived based on the results received:
- The website http://www.quinterealestate.on.ca/ was ranked first and since this is the region’s real estate board it would be prudent to be listed within their database as one of the local licensed real estate practitioners. It is another example where the search terms appear in the URL of the site and confirms its effectiveness.
- The website http://www.loyalistrealty.com/ ranked high as well. It uses the search terms within its homepage’s title and keyword meta tags.
If you are interested in discovering more about the demographics and audience currently visiting real estate sites then Alexa.com provides detailed reports. There is one quick and easy way, using Alexa.com, to determine the general reputation of your website once it’s up and running, or you could elect to investigate your competitors’ websites. As an example http://www.loyalistrealty.com, which ranked quite high in the Google search, was used to run a basic inquiry. From the figure below you notice that it has 23 sites linking in.
Furthermore, if you are interested in digging deeper you can find resources by visiting Compete.com, for example, you can download and read “5 Things Every Marketer Should Know About the Consumer Path to Purchase.”
Social media monitoring:
- Anderson, Ken (2009). HBR, Ethnographic Research: A Key to Strategy, http://hbr.org/2009/03/ethnographic-research-a-key-to-strategy/ar/1
- Canadian Real Estate Association. Retrieved May 29, 2013 from http://www.crea.ca/history
- Google Insights for Search, How can I use Google Insights for Search?, http://support.google.com/insights/bin/answer.py?hl=en-US&answer=96693
- Jacob Nielsen Alertbox, When to Use Which User Experience, http://www.useit.com/alertbox/user-research-methods.html
- Kaushik, Avinash (2006). Competitive Intelligence Analytics: Metrics, Tips and Best Practices, Occam’s Razor, http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/competitive-intelligence-analysis-metrics-tips-best-practices/
- Kaushik, Avinash (2006). Experimentation and Testing: A Primer, Occam’s Razor, http://www.kaushik.net/avinash/experimentation-and-testing-a-primer/
- Knight, Kayla (2011). Six Revisions, Usability Testing with Card Sorting, http://sixrevisions.com/usabilityaccessibility/card-sorting/
- Mason, Neil (2010). Where to Get Competitive Benchmark Data, ClickZ, http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/1714729/where-get-competitive-benchmarking-data