The Q4 2023 benchmarking report for UK house builders has just been published. Learn how the top 12 UK house builders perform across the digital space.
The latest Q4 2023 benchmarking report for UK house builders has just been published. It covers the largest 12 national house builders, including Barratt Homes, Berkeley Group, Crest Nicholson, Taylor Wimpey, Bellway, Redrow, Persimmon, Bloor Homes, Countryside, Cala, Miller Homes, and Bovis Homes.
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 house builders to win brand exposure, drive online enquiries, and generate show home 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 take-aways, 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 house builders on, check out our quick-look table below;
Continue reading for further detail on this quarter's top and poorest-performing house builders, or request a copy of the report for the full review.
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 under-perform. 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. House builders have the benefit of not needing to juggle large volumes of product pages, which can often be a stumbling block for ecommerce sites, but they must still ensure that key pages are clearly signposted and easy to find.
In Q2, we noted that Crest Nicholson was returning the most 4xx errors of all twelve house builders, with 89. In Q4, Crest Nicholson has reduced this level to 52, putting them ahead of two competitors. Taylor Wimpey is the most techincally compliant house builder, with only one 4xx error visible in our crawls.
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. House builders will want to give a positive impression of their brand from each digital touchpoint, ensuring that their site is quick and easy to use, so as not to put off potential home buyers.
Bloor Homes has now increased its Q2 mobile page speed score of 45 to 50, reaching the 'okay' benchmark score. Countryside has the slowest mobile site, achieving only a score of 9. Countryside must review their on-page experience, ensuring that potential house buyers are able to access the information they need.
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 gage of how effective your site is at achieving organic traffic, i.e. ‘free’ traffic that isn’t gained through sponsored ads. House builders can look to include outreach to local news sites (in areas they're building in), home-bloggers, and interiors publications to gain backlinks and improve referral traffic.
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 house builders currently range from 53 to 71, indicating a strongly-performing sector.
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. Changing consumer habits and mortgage rates will have impacted the new home sector, as prospective buyers may be holding off on a new house purchase for when interest rates fall.
As in our Q2 report, all house builders are seeing a fall in organic traffic year on year. The biggest loss is being seen by Bovis Homes, which has seen a 53% drop in its digital footfall year on year. Cala is the house builder closest to retaining its year on year traffic levels, seeing only a 16% drop overall.
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. 'Image pack' and 'local pack' results are key for house builders to raise interest in their homes directly from the SERP, and build awareness of new developments in key areas.
'People also ask', 'local pack', and 'image' results were the most-used universal search results for house builders in Q4. As in our last report, Barratt Homes remain in the lead on these results, securing 1,100 'local pack' results, 1,200 'people also ask' results, and 6,000 'image results. However, Taylor Wimpey are now falling only slightly behind, appearing for only 200 results fewer, overall.
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. For house builders, they will want to keep an eye on high-conversion potential keywords, including mentions of bookings, mortgages, locations, and availability.
Though Barratt Homes is appearing for the most longtail keywords overall, Taylor Wimpey has scored more rankings in the top three positions, with 4,285. Barratt Homes can immediately look to its keywords ranking in positions 4-20 to improve on this score, identifying the highest-potential content or aiming to optimise alternate pages which could be a better fit.
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.
We've included examples of Persimmon's recent Facebook ads below. Persimmon has used the same copy across two images, presenting the opportunity to evaluate the success of each image, and serve the most compelling image to the right audiences. Persimmon has also used video content to give high-quality insight into a Persimmon home's layout and internal features.
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. As with developing DA scores, house builders can look to creating informational content on anything to do with home ownership, from mortgage applications, to facilities in local areas, and even house maintenance.
Meta is the favoured platform of all house builders. Though Barratt Homes has the largest audience on Facebook, with 186,500 likes, Taylor Wimpey has the largest following on Instagram, with 82,700 followers. The larger a brand's audience, the more likely it is to get high levels of reach on organic social content, without needing to pay for ads or boosting posts.
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. For house builders, having an non-accessible site will also send the message that their homes themselves may not be accessible for those with vision deficiencies.
Whiler Berkeley Group, which has returned the highest level of accessibility errors in all of our previous reports, has still made very little headway on improving accessibility, Countryside now has the biggest concern for accessibility, with 369 alerts present in our crawls.
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.