How Commercial Agents get to the Top of Google
30 November, 2011 | Web design
In a hugely competitive commercial property market how do small to medium sized firms of chartered surveyors and commercial agents get noticed? In London alone, there are in excess of 500 agents and surveyors competing for the attention of commercial vendors, tenants, investors, buyers and developers. This level of competition is of course not unique to the London, but the same right across the country.
Commercial agents can also be forgiven for feeling that it is impossible to compete with the huge marketing resources of companies like Savills, Jones Lang LaSalle and Knight Frank.
Yet within one of the most powerful marketing channels open to commercial agents, the smaller firm can not only compete with big commercial property players, but actually beat them.
Where Does Your Website Rank
Your website is a powerful marketing tool for your company. Only a complete fool would not recognize that a high search engine ranking creates more new business enquires. But aside from greater market awareness, high rankings can project powerful perceptions of your company and its market position. Customers perceive that those companies ranked highly are market leaders or specialists with particular sector authority.
Getting To The Top
The secret to high search engine rankings is SEO or Search Engine Optimisation a process that influences every part of your websites design, build and on-going management. Yet the misconception is that commercial agents need to spend thousand of pounds per month on SEO to ensure they attain a high ranking.
There are many in the commercial property sector that do just this. I have recently spoken to a mid sized firm of Birmingham based chartered surveyors who are spending in excess of £1500 per month on SEO. Yet they could achieve the same Google rankings for a fraction of the cost.
Get The Specialist In
In most of the cases that I have seen, as with the aforementioned company, the agent is using a generic agency to deliver an on going SEO program. Had they used an agency that is a specialist provider to the property sector they would have achieved a far more cost effective solution. For example, 92% of Resource Techniques property sector clients enjoy a page one listing on Google. 26% of those are position one! In many cases these are small, one-office agents competing against much larger national or international brands.
Don’t Split Disciplines
Another common mistake is using separate providers for SEO and website design. SEO is intrinsically linked with website design. Design, layout, architecture, navigation and the way content is displayed and managed all have a bearing on your SEO.
In the summer I talked to a Manchester based chartered surveyor, who having spent the princely sum of £9000 and the best part of 6 months on a bespoke website. They had used a designer with no property experience and were looking for someone to solve a dire SEO problem. The website was undoubted beautiful, but what was the point, if no one was going to see it? Unfortunately the website was built on a platform that delivered very little scope for any meaningful SEO.
Beware designers claiming that SEO is not needed
Finally, some design agencies will claim that you don’t need on-going SEO at all. How in a market as competitive as commercial property could any designer claim no need for on-going SEO stuns me. Consider also how regularly search engines change their algorithms. Last year alone Google changed theirs more than 300 times. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that what is current today in SEO will not be in three, six or twelve months time.
A new client from Northampton received just this advice from another design agency before contacting Resource Techniques. We decided to look a little closer at the designer for ourselves. Firstly, they had no internal SEO expertise themselves, furthermore of twenty websites featured on their portfolio page, only four returned page one listening for any of their keyword phrases.
Philip Burrows, Marketing Consultant