You don’t need to be a real estate expert to know that Australia’s current real estate market is a hot one. With opportunities to work with buyers and sellers alike at record highs, no one across the industry wants to be in a position where they may miss out on their slice of the pie. If it feels like a crowded market, it’s more important than ever to make your business a stand-out. Be a go-to, accessible and trustworthy realtor that those in the market gravitate toward.
Perhaps surprisingly, your current marketing strategy may not be the only factor dictating your success. If you’re struggling to leave a strong digital footprint, you may need to start looking outward.
Digital tools in a bricks and mortar world
Some estimates state that 86 per cent of buyers begin their real estate search online. We know buyers, or even curious real estate dabblers are specific in their searches, too. In 2020 keyword searches on Domain for “home office” were up a whopping 830 per cent in Victoria alone. But once everyone is back in the office, terms like “home office” will make way for new keywords and terms. You will need to update your website with these terms to boost your page ranking and increase the likelihood of more clicks.
Ensuring your search engine optimisation (SEO) is up to scratch across your business’s digital presence is vital in ensuring you find yourself in a reputable position within Google’s search results. A front-page search result for your services indicates a level of success and trustworthiness to potential clients, in addition to getting your listings in front of the most buyers.
When it comes to SEO, a focus on “local” is key, particularly when it comes to real estate agents and agencies. Start by updating your Google My Business, complete as much of the profile as you can, and add photos, videos and other content to attract eyes – and keep your profile up to date. The more places your website is listed on business directory sites with contact details, the better this will boost your ranking and increase the chances of listing higher than competitors and other real estate-specific websites.
Improving your SEO can also be done in a number of ways, from featuring blog content on your site that follows market trends. But competitor analysis is where you may find your edge.
Digging up the dirt
Competitor analysis is concerned with developing a point of difference. Before you can articulate how to out-perform your competitors’ SEO, or to tailor an approach that articulates to your clients how your offering is superior, you need to understand what it is they are not doing well, or whether there’s some lessons you might be able to learn from the things they are.
Consider your biggest rival. Monitor their media presence; are there publications they keep popping up in? How might you break into that space, what stories can you tell? Identify key journalists and media professionals whose bylines subhead stories you wished you’d been interviewed for, and reach out to them.
A thorough audit of your competitors’ SEO is where you’ll find some of the key data you need to improve your digital footprint. If you’re already on board with the benefits of SEO, your sites will be littered with key search terms, but I am willing to bet your rivals will have identified terms you missed. Analysing their SEO performance data will enable you to find out what is working for them – and what is not – which is a key advantage in further shaping what appears on your site to establish you as a trusted real estate authority.
Help is at hand
While there is plenty to learn from simply reading and observing other businesses’ digital presence, the hard data that will yield the best ROI can be excavated through a range of digital competitor analysis tools.
If you want to investigate the content your rivals are producing, try out BuzzSumo, which enables you to check out what content your competitors are producing, and how well that content might be performing. When data feels a bit daunting, try out SEMRush, whose user interface is really user-friendly. Ahrefs is one of the most popular tools for a reason, and WooRank will give you easily accessible SEO data reports. MozBar is another tool that you may find handy too, operating as a browser extension that dissects a number of factors including your competitors’ domain authority and spam score.
If all of this is new to you, or you’re feeling daunted by jargon, there are services that can assist you further. It is worth investing your energy, time and finances into competitor analysis that will yield high ROI in this digital-first age – or even a digital agency that can do the hard yards for you. While real estate will always be a bricks and mortar game, there’s no longer time to leave your digital presence in the Stone Age while your competitors outrank you.
Byron Redhead is the director of First Page.