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Managing Common Problems that Estate Agents Struggle with Online

Are you struggling to get your estate agency business found online? Whether it's social media or SEO you're having difficulties with, we promise you that you won't be the only one. Here at Property Webmasters, we have real estate companies from around the world who come to us with their issues. We've outlined some common problems that estate agents tend to face online and offer some advice on what you can do to overcome those hurdles. Don't forget, we've faced these struggles before and know how best to get around them.

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Admitting You’re Having a Problem is the First Step

The real estate industry is one that’s constantly expanding and changing, which can cause problems for estate agents. Some agencies believe that there’s nothing wrong with how they are currently performing online. However, if you’re struggling with getting your website found in search engines – which it’s fine to admit that you are – then don’t worry. We’ve been in contact with thousands of estate agents over the years, finding out what problems they have with marketing their business online.

So don’t panic and don’t be afraid to seek help – after all, you won’t be the only estate agent who is struggling online. Here are some common issues that estate agents face in the online world and how best to overcome them.

Common Problems Estate Agents Face Online

Now we’re halfway through 2019, we’ve seen some trends arise when it comes to the online world. However, with these trends come issues, especially if you’re not 100% sure what you’re doing. Facebook changes and Google algorithm updates are hard to predict and can often happen without prior warning, which makes it a difficult job for even the most experienced marketers to keep up to date with. Even with all of these more technically advanced changes happening, there are still some very common estate agency problems we’re seeing.

If you think you’re struggling with anything mentioned below – or anything we’ve not covered for that matter – Property Webmasters are on hand to offer help. Book a free one-to-one session to find out if we can help you overcome the obstacles you’re facing online.

Want some FREE advice on property marketing? Chat with a property marketing expert today.

1. Having an Old-Fashioned Website

One of the most common problems we see when we look at estate agency websites is that they’re old fashioned and out of date. If you don’t know how to bring your business into the modern world, don’t panic. To do this day, we still see websites that look fatigued, are hard to navigate and aren’t mobile responsive. Although the design your website currently boasts may have been at the top of its game when it was first done, it may not be what is considered best practice in 2019.

Having an outdated website could potentially be harming your business for many reasons. Let’s think about your own experience when searching online. If you’re browsing online but land on a website that has a tired look about it, you’re going to jump to conclusions and assume that the company itself isn’t up to scratch.

If someone visits your website because they’re looking for a property and see that your design is stuck in the past, they may think that you simply don’t care. Of course, we’re not saying that you don’t, but that’s how it may come across – especially to those who are coming to your website for the first time. Not only this but if your competitors have a better website – whether they provide a better service than you or not – you could end up inadvertently making them look like the more reliable option.

People make a decision about whether they like the look of a website or not pretty quickly. Recent studies show that all it takes is 0.05 seconds for a user to form an opinion. You’ll never get a second chance at making a first impression, so make sure it’s a good one.

If you didn’t already know or haven’t had a chance to read them yet, we previously did a 3-part series that offered advice in regards to three very important parts of an estate agent’s website. You can gain direct access to the brochures here and read up on how to create the best possible property listings page, property search page and homepage.

Part 1: How to Optimise a Property Listing Page
Part 2: Creating the Perfect Property Search
Part 3: Making a Kick-Ass Homepage

2. Not Taking Control of Social Media

Social media is a great way to raise awareness, increase engagement and generate leads. In fact, we’d go as far as saying that social media may just be the number 1 lead generation source in the property industry. Don’t believe us? We work with a Cyprus-based estate agency who came to us for help with their website and their social media. Our dedicated social media team took control of their social media adverts and in just two weeks we spent £55 and generated an impressive 28 leads, costing just £1.97 per lead.

As an estate agent, you shouldn’t overlook the results that social media can create. 2.77 billion people are actively using social media, so it’s a great way to reach your target market.

There are two different sides to social media: paid adverts and organic posting. Both work hand in hand, and when done correctly, can create a dominating social media presence. Ideally, you will master all of your social channels, but from experience, we suggest that you are posting regularly on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Although your goal is to try and sell properties, continually posting about the latest properties you have available can make people switch off. If your pages start to look spammy, social media users won’t engage with you and could even end up unfollowing you to prevent seeing the same thing appearing on their timeline. The best thing to do on social media is to get creative: post about your work space, the local area and make sure to include humour where relevant. You don’t want to bombard people with your products and services all of the time, you want to show off your personality and provide them with insight into what is happening behind the scenes.

Want to become a social media wizard? Learn our best practices and smart tricks.

3. Getting Lost in Space … A.K.A, Search Engines

Sometimes you think you may be doing everything right, yet you’re still not on the first page of Google? If you’re within the top 100 results, that’s a great start, but you want to be making yourself more prominent. If you’re not within the top 100, then there’s work to be done.

If you’re not showing up anywhere in the search results, here’s a few reasons why that may be:

  • Your website is brand new and Google hasn’t crawled it yet
  • You don’t have any backlinks from external sources
  • Your site’s navigation makes it hard for a robot to crawl it effectively
  • You’re using crawler directives that are blocking search engines from crawling your website
  • Your site has been penalised by Google for spammy tactics

Research shows that websites on the first page of search engines receive around 95% of web traffic, leaving only 5% for the remaining pages.

Being on the first page of well-known search engines is a dream for many business owners, but once there you’ve also got to make your website stand out from the rest. Once a result grabs the attention of a web user, the next step would be to click through onto the website.

Reaching page one signifies a major milestone for your estate agency website, especially if you’re targeting locations and keywords that are highly competitive. If you feel like your website is getting lost in search engines and you are struggling to climb up the rankings, there are a few things you can try.

What you need to remember is that when it comes to search engines, changes don’t happen overnight. Whether you’re just starting out as an estate agent or you’ve been in business a long time but don’t seem to be seeing organic improvements online, your strategy needs to be different to that of those who are already in Google’s top spot.

If you want your estate agency to be found online, try these tips and see how your website improves over 6 months.

  • Target long-tail keywords with a smaller search volume yet lower competition
  • Write optimised blog articles and post them regularly (or at least more than your competition)
  • Have your website featured in online round-ups and review posts
  • Collaborate with others in order to gain backlinks from websites with a high domain authority and trust score

4. Not Understanding How Search Engines Work

This kind of links in with point 3, but if you don’t understand how search engines work, then how do you expect your website to be shown in the top 10? Think of search engines like an answering machine. You ask them a question and they deliver a response. They exist to discover, understand and organise online content in the best way possible, ensuring to give the user what they want the first time round.

Search engines have three main functions: crawling, indexing and ranking. Let’s take Google for example, it will scour the internet finding content, reading it and then putting it in an order based on the searcher’s query.

  1. Search engines crawl your website, fetching pages and following links to discover new URLs
  2. Search engines process and store information they find in an index, a huge database of all the content they’ve discovered and deem good enough to serve up to searchers
  3. Search engines take what they have in their index, finding highly relevant content and showing this to the user

Webmasters and marketers work to help search engines understand what your website is about. After all, despite how clever technology is these days, search engines still need a helping hand.

Technical SEO is one of the hardest things to grasp. If what’s going on behind the scenes isn’t optimised, you’ll struggle to appear in search results – no matter how much high-quality content you produce. Some of the common technical problems we see with estate agency websites are:

  • Duplicate content
  • Incorrect XML sitemap
  • Lack of internal links
  • Un-natural backlinks
  • Redirect chains

5. Competing Against the Big Names

If you’re worried about keeping up with estate agencies larger than yourself, then you shouldn’t panic. Although you may feel like you’re unable to compete against bigger names and brands, there are things you can do to jump above them in search results – but it isn’t going to be easy.

As an estate agency that employs 10 staff and works in one location, you’re never going to use the same tactics as a company that is 10x larger than you. What you need to do is find, analyse and recognise opportunities to beat them. Every agency is different, so it’s important that you do what’s right for you. Here are some tips for competing against larger agencies.

  • Know your customers like the back of  your hand
  • Create compelling content that’s unique to your business
  • Send out emails and social media posts to help promote yourself
  • Offer outstanding customer service and ask people to leave reviews
  • Provide something different and showcase your unique selling point

Overcoming the Hurdles to Help Grow Your Estate Agency

Estate agents are always going to have obstacles to face when it comes to being found online. If you’ve already tried everything and have waited for the changes to take effect but are still struggling, then it may be time to seek help from property marketing professionals.

  • Are you frustrated about the lack of success that you are having?
  • Are you wasting too much time marketing your agency and very little time selling properties?
  • Are you anxious and worried about how the online industry may affect your business?
  • Are you annoyed that you are not getting enough exposure?

If you answer yes to the above questions, then you can’t pass up the opportunity to speak to someone who knows how to help. Our team offer free, no-obligation chats and can review your website to pinpoint areas for improvement. We’ve faced these common issues several times before so can offer quick and efficient solutions that are sure to help you see an improvement with traffic, rankings and leads.

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