Website design for estate agents and SEO
26 August, 2009 | Web design
Estate agent website design is important for your business. Not only does it have to look spotless and show exactly what the brand is about, but it also has to provide a large amount of traffic. There's no point spending valued resources on a website design if no one is there to access it, irrelevant on how the website looks. Therefore website designers today have to appease to the mighty search engine giants and also to the everyday internet user that has a range of knowledge and experience. With 72% of customers seeing you first on the internet, you cannot underestimate the importance of getting this right.
The everyday user
People searching for estate agents online will have a wide range of experience with websites. Some of the younger generation will have been using websites all their life and others will have limited experience. Since more and more people will be using the internet for property it is important to cater for everyone. This is done by using certain techniques.
Firstly you need to greet the user onto the website. Having a lot of content and images flash up will disorientate the user and increase the chance that they will simply click off the website and move onto another estate agent website. Therefore having an animated introduction to greet the user and establish your brand name or logo gently introduces them into the website. Next you naturally guide the eye to a 'Call to Action'.
A Call to Action is where the website gives the user a clearly defined route to take. For estate agent websites, the Call to Action is the property search. This is because over 97% of users visiting estate agents websites are just simply looking for property. With this fact in mind, why would you make it difficult for them? Providing a large and clear 'Property Search' will give both you and the user exactly what you want. They want to view the available properties and you want them to contact you for viewings.
So you've got the user viewing you're properties, whats next?
Things have moved on from just having 'property listings'. The savvy internet user wants a bit extra. They want:
- Large quality images
- Full search options
- Enhanced mapping - indicating local amendments
- The latest viewer technology
- A printable PDF brochure
- Virtual Tour or Video
- Email alerts
- News Section
- Google Street View
All this plus a simple design that lets everyone make use of any feature they want to use. Some users will want to receive emails of similar properties whereas others will prefer just to keep coming back and using Google maps to see the houses for sale nearest their children's school. It is the option that counts.
Website design has continued to evolve and modern estate agents understand that brand image is reflected from what is on their website. A tawdry website with cheap gimmicks won't do your brand justice. Whereas a website that reflects the colour scheme and the underlying brand image could strengthen your overall brand and keep people coming back again and again.
The modern trend at the moment is to use large imagery combined with simplistic navigation process to guide the user to each Call to Action. For a website selling clothes, the Call to Action would be to go to the checkout and then finally purchase the items of clothing. Property website's call to Action (as mentioned above) is primarily the 'Property Search' button, then after viewing each property the Call to Action would be to contact the estate agent. For this to happen there has to be clear contact details with every listing.
Search engine optimisation (SEO)
So far the user side has been covered. As equally important is getting people onto your website. This is done by putting yourself onto the results listings of search engines and hence the birth of SEO.
Search engines were made because of the need for people to try and find websites that they did not know the addresses for. While defining exactly how to list websites, Sergey Brin and Larry Page produced an algorithm that created the search engine giant Google. This algorithm is a way of putting ranking weights on different aspects of how the website is constructed. The more a website fits the algorithm the more likely it is to appear on Google's results page. Therefore SEO is optimising or modifying websites so that it complies with the most up to date algorithms. By doing this your website will be higher up the rankings and therefore have more traffic.
One major way of utilising SEO is providing relevant current content. Even Google has gone on record and stated that "Content is King". Better content means a better user experience which means the higher up the rankings you will go. One way of doing this is to have a 'News feature'. Google's programs will see that not only your website has content from local or national news but it will also notice that it has been updated recently.
Another way to do this is to have particular keywords within your website. These keywords are embedded into your website as a whole and represent the terms in which users would search for. For example, people in Watford finding a house to buy would most likely search for 'estate agent in Watford' or 'property in Watford'. Utilising your website to these search terms means that you can maximise the amount of people (traffic) that views your website and pin point exactly the type of people who go on your website.
Another way is having many in-bound links to your website. The more links you have pointing to your website the more your website can be viewed as popular. A popular website will have content that people want to read and therefore these are the websites that Google wants to list, popular websites with relevant current content.
Resource Techniques is dedicated to providing estate agents with website design that will be visually impressive while also performing well in search engines using the latest SEO techniques. To enquire about web sites for estate agents, SEO Services or any other services we provide, contact us on 0208 457 4777 or visit our contact us page.