With 90% of consumers starting their real estate search online, brokerage websites must focus on standing out among the competition
Chicago, IL – October 19, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — In a recent issue of Chicago Agent magazine, the publication used various tools to rate a number of brokerage websites, touching on an overview of national, local, franchise, and independent offices. The results of the rankings clearly demonstrated that some brokerages might need to up the ante on their websites’ capabilities, and a survey featured in the issue highlights that agents agree.
Fifteen carefully selected websites were put to the test by using HubSpot Inc.’s website grader tool found at websitegrader.com.* HubSpot ranks sites by examining a number of factors, such as search engine optimization (SEO), traffic to the site, and how popular the site is on social media, as well as rating the site’s blogs and twitter accounts.
With 100 being the top score for Google Page Rank, three local brokerage sites – jameson.com, rubloff.com, and dreamtown.com – and two national sites – coldwellbanker.com and sothebysrealty.com – tied with the highest ranking of 99. At the bottom of the list was honig-bell.com, a Coldwell Banker franchise with 20 locations in Northern Illinois, which received a 78, and sudlersothebysrealty.com, the local Chicago site for Sudler Sotheby’s, which received a 72.
Since many SEO experts agree that content is a great way to drive traffic to a website, having a blog presents a great way to increase content on a company’s website. Of the 15 sites, seven did not have a blog at all: atproperties.com, bairdwarner.com, coldwellbankeronline.com, honig-bell.com, koenigstrey.com, sudlersothebysrealty.com, and sothebysrealty.com. The national kellerwilliams.com nabbed the highest blog rating with a 98.62 out of 100. Following closely behind was coldwellbanker.com with 97.46 and then the local rubloff.com with a score of 96.6.
Social media is another popular way for brokerages to gain attention, and four of those examined did not have a corporate Twitter account: atproperties.com, coldwellbankeronline.com, honig-bell.com, and sothebysrealty.com. Both kellerwilliams.com and coldwellbanker.com earned the highest Twitter grade of 100, with sudlersothebysrealty.com following close behind with 96.
Of those that had a Twitter account, bairdwarner.com had the lowest grade with a 44. With just 19 followers, bairdwarner.com has posted only one update. Illinoisproperty.com, the local website for RE/MAX Northern Illinois, has the most followers with 8,301 and has posted 696 updates. The national coldwellbanker.com wins the race for most updates with 4,169, while the local koenigstrey.com had the second most updates, amounting to almost a quarter of the amount of the leader’s with 1,359.
To examine each local website’s SEO ranking on a few key words, Chicago Agent used a Firefox plug-in available at tools.seobook.com to see how each website ranked when searching for key words. This tool pulls search engine results without including the Internet user’s search history.** The key word search included “Chicago Real Estate,” “Chicago Realtor,” “Chicago Real Estate Developer,” and “Chicago Condo.” Across the board, jameson.com and dreamtown.com were the only brokerages that showed up in all four searches. Atproperties.com showed up on all but “Chicago Condo,” and all searches brought up coldwellbankeronline.com and rubloff.com, except for “Chicago Real Estate Developer.” Honig-bell.com and johngreenerealtor.com fared the worst by failing to show up on any search.
According to a recent survey put forth by Chicago Agent magazine, 47 percent of Realtors are dissatisfied with their brokerage’s website when it comes to lead generation. Just 20 percent responded that their website is above average, and only 8 percent actually rated their brokerage website as excellent in terms of lead generation.
Overall, 49 percent of the respondents that took the Chicago Agent survey reported that their website provides only one to five leads per month. Nine percent reported that they receive over 21 leads per month, and a whopping 20 percent receive zero leads a month from their brokerage’s website. The survey concluded that 86 percent of respondents who felt their brokerage’s website is poor received five or less leads per month.
These findings were printed in Chicago Agent’s Website issue, which hit offices on Oct. 11. Results of the survey can also be found at:
* Due to daily Internet activities, rankings can change on a daily basis. The numbers referred to were as of Thursday, Oct. 7.
** Since independent tools gather information using various methods, these results were also manually checked for accuracy.
About Chicago Agent
Chicago Agent magazine and ChicagoAgentMagazine.com is a subsidiary of Agent Publishing, the only media company that unites the residential housing industry in local markets across the U.S. Realtors, developers, lenders and industry affiliates look to Chicago Agent for news, information, advice and important data relevant to the Chicagoland area. The only company that addresses the business and personal needs of the real estate professional, Chicago Agent magazine is delivered to thousands of agents in hundreds of realty offices in the Chicagoland area. For more information, visit ChicagoAgentMagazine.com.
Anne Brindle, Publisher
Chicago Agent magazine