The Q4 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 Q4 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 Q4 report, click here. To get a copy of the full report and the key takeaways, please complete the enquiry form or schedule a call.
Q4 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;
Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's best and poorest-performing estate agents, or request a copy of the report for the full review.
What The Industry Research Report Covers
The 70+ pages of research benchmarks each site 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.
Seven of the twelve estate agents are seeing very few 4xx error codes, returning less than 120 in our crawls. Last quarter, we noted that Knight Frank had reduced its 4xx error codes to 1,855, however, in Q4 this figure has increased once again to 2,311.
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.
Two estate agents are surpassing the benchmark 'okay' score of 50, with the full range of performance sitting from 12-59. Foxtons, which was the top-performing estate agent of Q2 on mobile page speed score, has maintained its position ahead of the pack.
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. DAs for UK estate agents ranged from 44 to 78, with William H Brown sitting at the lower end of this scale. William H Brown has slightly improved its DA from Q2, increasing by 1 point.
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.
Five estate agents have seen a reduction in traffic year on year, with Hunters seeing the biggest loss of 26%. The biggest increase is now being seen by Haart, which has achieved 21% more digital footfall than in 2022.
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 site 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.
Foxtons remain ahead when it comes to Universal Search appearances, most of which come from 'reviews' content, with 23,600. Foxtons also remain ahead when it comes to 'people also ask' results, with 7,100 - a great indication of a strong longtail keyword performance.
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 brand 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.
Knight Frank has now overtaken Purple Bricks on longtail keyword performance. Knight Frank is now ranking in the top three positions for 4,936 longtail terms, with a further 18,809 in positions 4-10.
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 Foxtons' Facebook ads. Foxtons has used a range of creatives, including a vertical video format that will sit within Meta's organic 'reels' content, gaining visibility from an audience readily-engaged in video content.
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 brand 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 has the largest following on Instagram (with 219,000 followers), it only has the fourth highest number of Facebook likes (for which Knight Frank has now overtake Foxtons to claim the largest audience, with 62,200).
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, brands 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 William H Brown and Your Move each had the highest amount of accessibility alerts, with 249 (remaining consistent with Your Move's previous performance). In Q4, neither estate agent has seen a significant increase on these figures, with 247 alerts being flagged for William H Brown and 244 being flagged for Your Move.
GET THE FULL 79-PAGE Q4 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.