The Q2 2023 benchmarking report for UK estate agents has just been published. Learn how the top 12 UK estate agents perform across the digital space.
The latest Q2 2023 benchmarking report for UK estate agents has just been published. It covers the largest 12 national estate agents, including Reeds Rains, Purplebricks, Hunters, Connells, Knight Frank, Savills, Your Move, Chancellors, Yopa, Haart, Foxtons and William H Brown.
The research gives an inside track on who is winning the biggest share of voice online, and quantifies the gaps, risks and missed opportunities for other estate agents to win brand exposure locally, drive in-branch footfall, and generate property viewings. The report highlights quick wins that will improve enquiries from your online strategy and identifies the barriers that may be reducing your site’s ability to optimise digital performance.
To see a preview and contents page of the Q2 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.
What The Industry Research Report Covers
The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each retailer based on 50+ metrics and indicators of successful digital strategy, including organic visibility, domain authority, paid media ads, conversion performance, technical performance, site speed, universal search, content, social ads, accessibility, and mobile performance.
Driving Optimal ROAS from Paid Media Channels
Some of the leading players in the space are high spenders on paid media channels such as Google, Bing & Facebook - but have a poor or sub-optimal conversion improvement strategy. Without an optimised, sophisticated conversion strategy that maximises the conversion rate, the return on investment is unsustainable or will underperform. Scaling spend on paid media is not achievable unless the conversion rate delivers optimal performance in the sector. Some in the space have paid media spend levels from 30k+ per month but dedicate minimal resources and budgets to conversion testing. Given the cost per clicks on ad networks will continue to rise, we recommend spending at least 10% of your paid media budget on ongoing conversion optimisation testing schedules to ensure your paid media ROI maintains long-term viability, competitive advantage, and sustainability.
Technical Website Compliance
Savvy digital marketers know that having a technically sound website is an essential component of a successful fully integrated digital strategy - plus a site capable of maximising conversion performance. For estate agents, who'll need to manage an ever-changing range of homes, they'll want to keep on top of their internal linking and redirect strategy, ensuring users looking for pages that have been removed are redirected to alternative content.
Ten of the twelve estate agents are seeing very few 4xx error codes, returning less than 100 in our crawls. Last quarter, we noted that Knight Frank were seeing the largest volume of 4xx errors, with a total of 2,121. In Q2, Knight Frank reduced this figure to 1,855 - an improvement, even if it stands well above most other estate agents' levels. Hunters are now showing the highest amount of 4xx errors, with a total of 1,975.
Site Speed & Conversion Rate Performance
When 62% of consumers are less likely to convert if they have a negative mobile site experience, ensuring that your site is quick and easy to load makes a significant improvement on your overall conversion rates. Estate agents will want to ensure homebuyers have a positive mobile experience, as modern house-hunters will often be browsing on mobile while doing other tasks.
In our last report, seven estate agents were surpassing the benchmark 'okay' score of 50, with the full range of performance sitting from 50-89. The performance range for estate agents is now between 23 and 56. Though Your Move were leading the way in Q1, they have now fallen to a score of 38, with Foxtons now coming out on top. However, we are seeing falls in mobile page speed score from previously high-scoring brands across all the sectors we specialise in, indicating an adjustment of benchmarks from Google themselves. This being said, we still recommend using mobile page score to assess performance against competitors.
Building Competitive Advantage with Domain Authority
Domain authority is an essential metric for measuring the effectiveness of SEO performance, and helps create a reliable overall gauge of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads. For estate agents, they can work with a digital PR specialist on engaging content that can be picked up by local and national press, including topics such as most desirable places to live, house price changes over time, and even demographic splits of house-type ownerships.
A ‘good’ DA really comes down to how your competitors are performing, however it’s generally considered average between 40 and 50, good between 50 and 60, and excellent above 60. In our last report, we noted that DAs for UK estate agents ranged from 42 to 78, with William H Brown sitting at the end of this scale. William H Brown have slightly improved their DA, moving up to 43.
Organic Performance – Mobile & Desktop
A strong organic performance is strategically important as it ensures your site ranks above competitors for key, transactional keywords. When 93% of your customers won’t go past the first page of Google, your absence or lack of targeting for essential keywords will cost you conversions. High mortgage rates and house prices will make estate agents vulnerable to changing consumer habits, so each will need to be cautious that they're consistently optimising for the most relevant terms, so as not to lose traffic to competitors.
As was the case in our Q1 report, only three estate agents have seen an improvement in organic mobile traffic year on year. However, the biggest drop in traffic is now being seen by William H Brown, who have seen a loss of 42%, while Yopa have now gained the most organic visitors, 49% up from last year.
Universal Search Opportunity
Google Universal Search Results is an evolving opportunity to make your pages visible on a SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Universal results often appear before traditional listings and are eye-catching for users. Universal search results refer to rankings on a SERP that are not the traditional ‘blue line’ Google link, and a retailer can appear for universal search results without being strong in standard rankings. 'Local pack' and 'image pack' results could prove most useful for estate agents, who can instantly show their location and houses for sale directly from the SERP.
'People also ask' were the most widely used universal search results of Q2, with Foxtons appearing for the most queries, with a total of 5,300 results. Foxtons also appear for the most Universal Search results in total, with the majority of these being 'reviews' - a total of 33,300.
The Longtail Keyword Opportunity
Longtail keywords are often considered high intent and potentially more likely to convert as a searcher is being more specific. Optimising for longtail keywords also puts your content strategy in a strong position to rank for retailer new search terms as they enter Google’s index. Estate agents performing well for 'people also ask' results are also likely to be performing well for longtail keywords, and should be targeting both informational phrases and questions, along with specific terms that indicate a high-buying intent.
Purple Bricks are not only ranking for the highest amount of longtail keywords, but are appearing in the top twenty results for almost as many as their closest rival's total tally. However, Purple Bricks are only appearing in the top 3 positions for 4% of these top-twenty rankings. Purple Bricks can look to their appearances in positions 4-20 as potential opportunities for quick-wins.
With the number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) forecast to hit over 42 million users by 2022, it is not surprising that companies have jumped at the opportunity to advertise on the social media platform. Facebook’s UK digital advertising revenue has been estimated to have breached 2.6b GB pounds in 2019. Estate agents can use Facebook ads to promote time-sensitive content quickly, as opposed to waiting for organic posts to gain traction and build reach.
Below, we can see examples of William H Brown's Facebook ads. They've used the carousel ad format to showcase homes available in similar areas or estates, multiplying their chances for users to spot a home they're likely to find appealing.
Top Social Shares & Content
When it comes to social media and on-site content strategies, it is important to release content that has a longer shelf life. An article is considered 'Evergreen' if it has maintained its relevancy to an audience for longer. It's great for your retailer engagement, but great for Google too, who will recognise content which achieves traffic over a long period of time. Estate agents can look to creating shareable content across the full range of home buying and ownership, from guides to the processes involved in buying a home at various stages of the property ladder, to advice for selling your home, and even guides on how to maximise the value of your home over time.
Meta is the preferred platform for all estate agents. Interestingly, though Savill's have the largest following on Instagram (with 211,800 followers), they only have the fourth highest number of Facebook likes (for which Foxtons have the largest audience, with 55,200).
Website Readability & Accessibility
20% of people in the UK have a disability – 2 million of which are people living with sight loss. In addition, 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have some degree of colour vision deficiency. When websites are not designed to meet these needs, retailers lose customer interest as they turn elsewhere. As housing is a universal need, estate agents must consider all levels of ability when designing their site. Estate agents should also consider being clear about accessibility benefits within their house descriptions, normalising any additional accessibility needs house-hunters may have.
We noted in our last report that all estate agents were struggling with accessibility needs, with Your Move seeing the highest amount of alerts, with a total of 253. Your Move have made no significant progress on accessibility in Q2, still returning 249 alerts. However, this figure means they are tied with William H Brown for the highest amount of alerts.
Q2 2023 WINNERS LEADERBOARD
For a glance into just 6 of the metrics we evaluated these top 12 estate agents on, check out our quick-look table below;
GET THE FULL 79-PAGE Q2 2023 REPORT
To get a copy of the full report, please complete the enquiry form. If you want to talk to us about accelerating your digital performance, please call us on 01543 410014 or schedule a call with Mike Movassaghi.