Bring sticky traffic to your website with DIY real estate stats

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By MICHAEL SEGUIN

Have a website? Of course you do. Want more visitors? Of course you do.

Leveraging real estate statistics is a great way to drive up the value of your website, increasing both traffic and stickiness. But there are some time-tested tips and tricks to know going in if you are going to get the most out of the practice.

First, have a CMS. A CMS is a content management system. Most of you know them as a blog. I recommend WordPress, but there are lots of good options out there. Having a good CMS will make adding your content much easier to do, and help ensure that you maximize the benefit of that content by baking some SEO (search engine optimization) right in. I will assume that you already have a CMS and get right to the fun parts.

Second, do it yourself, first. There is no substitute to creating some statistics manually. None. There are a number of platforms out there that will try to sell you an embedded widget, and lots of ghost writers out there that will offer to create content in your name leveraging real estate statistics.

Now, there is ultimately nothing wrong with delegating this task in the end. Pay for a widget, or a ghost blogger if you are so inclined. But if you skip the part where you actually do it yourself, you rob yourself in several ways:

  1. You rob yourself of the chance to really understand your markets movement in a granular fashion… inventory, days-on-market, list-to-sale-ratio. If you take the time to generate a few months worth of reports yourself, you will have a knowledge of and appreciation for these metrics that will last a lifetime.
  2. You rob yourself of the ability to understand what metrics really matter, and how much it is worth it to you to pay someone else to create them. It may well be that your time is much better spent meeting with clients, building relationships, submitting listing presentations or offers… but taking the time to do some of this work yourself will help you even in these contexts by arming you with more tools. And you will be well prepared to guide your relationship with a service or ghost writer to get the value you want.
  3. Worst of all, you run the risk of being unable to speak to content that you claim is yours. There are few things worse for relationship building than having a consumer ask you about your content, but you have no clue how to answer them.

For all these reasons and more, I highly recommend that you start by doing it yourself. We will come back to that part!

Third, don’t just do charts! This is the single biggest mistake that most agents make. They grab a chart or table of data from somewhere, likely as an image or a pdf, and think that posting that to their website will help them out. You must remember that goal 1 is to get traffic to your content, and goal 2 is to have them enjoy that content long enough to stay. You cannot have the latter without the former.

The primary goal of leveraging statistics on your website is to get the traffic, and you cannot do this simply posting pictures or pdf’s. Without getting into the depths of SEO, suffice it to say that on the web, a thousand words is worth much more than a picture. Google, and the other search engines, index words far better than they do pictures.

A simple rule of thumb is that you need to describe in words both the important data points in, and the meaning (in your mind) of the data that is presented visually in a chart.

Here is an example:

If I simply post this chart, with no descriptive text at all, Google will see that content as an image file name, perhaps a title tag or alt text, and nothing more. Therefore, someone searching Google for exactly this information will never find your content, your website, and of course, you.

However, if I add a descriptive paragraph with a few links to my other content, I am creating rich content for Google to consider. Clearly, in our chart, Days-On-Market is plummeting… but if you don’t explain your opinion of why, all Google will see is an image.

So try something like:

Due in part to pent up demand, days on market over the past 18 months for inventory has plummeted. The time to sell an average non-distressed property is now less than 30 days for condos and townhomes, and less than 40 days for detached homes in the (insert market area name here).

This is good news for sellers as it means that they can expect a rapid transaction for a well priced home (already have an article on the art of pricing? Link “well priced home” to that article). It is also good news for real estate values in general, as it helps to bring home values back from their depressed state.

Looking for real estate in (insert market area here)? Just click here to see homes in this (insert market area here) area.

Link that text to a deep search on your real estate search engine for homes in that region. Adding a link to the words “click here”  does not help you! The link needs to be on the words that matter.

What we end up with is a useful, rich description for Google to kanoodle on. If someone searches for home values in {your market area}, you now have a greatly increased chance to bring that visitor to your website, and keep them there.

Fourth capture leads! This component is optional of course, but if you have done all of this, then why not offer consumers a chance to subscribe to receive a newsletter style update on a monthly basis of the movement of the market?

Finally, use a boilerplate statement at the bottom of each post along the lines of:

The information presented is deemed accurate but not reliable or guaranteed. Reasonable precautions were taking in the preparation of and presentation of this information to ensure accuracy, but the author assumed no liability for any actions taken based on this information. Safe harbor for forward looking statements; some opinions expressed represent forecasts of economic conditions as they impact real estate values. All such information is solely conjecture and should be regarded as opinion only and not serve as the sole basis for any financial decision.

In a followup post on the subject, we will explore the best metrics to track, and how to present eye catching charts and write SEO rich descriptions to help draw traffic to your site and keep them engaged once you get them there.

Michael Seguin is a technology and communications specialist. He is the Senior Technology Manager for the Contra Costa Association of Realtors. He is also the founder of GotWebDev Inc. and owner operator of QRstyler.com, the first free custom QR encoder on the planet.