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Where to Market Property on the Internet and Why - Some Simple Rules

Aug 17, 2007
If you are an estate agent in Spain, then you will not need to be told about internet marketing because you probably get enquiries every day from companies telling you how they can provide leads through this portal or that. Spinning you with figures about how many hits their website is getting and their page 1 ranking for this key phrase or that keyword.

To the novice, this all sounds too good to be true and can be a little daunting. The jargon of the internet only becomes aware to those of us who use it, when you try explaining something to your grandparents and get a blank faced response of 'Yes Dear'. It's a humbling experience!

So lets explode a few myths, explain some jargon and give you, the estate agent, the tools required to ask the right questions, so that when you are spending your money on internet related exposure, you are getting the right exposure, in the correct market to attract the buyer clients you want.

I am using the Costa del Sol as an example, but is good for most property markets in Spain.

The first question to ask is where do your clients come from?
On the Costa del Sol the largest proportion of buyers come from the UK. So the market you should be targeting exposure in should be the UK Search Engines of the major companies. As Google owns about 70% of all the search traffic then we will focus on Google, but do not dismiss Yahoo and MSN who carry the majority of the rest. 30% is still a lot of traffic.

If you are searching on a computer in Spain and type in Google you will be sent to Google Espana, the Spanish version of Google. This is the most common mistake most people make. These results are NOT what people in the UK see when looking for Spanish Property. This is not the version of Google you will find if you type in Google from a computer in the UK. The results from any search will be different on Google Espana where the majority of searches are for words and phrases in Spanish.

To check the results on Google UK, you need to specify www . google . co. uk . This will give you the results that your buyers are looking at and is where you will need to be seen if you want to attract their business.

The second question is how does the potential website that is after your money rate in the scheme of things.
One of the best comparative measures is the Alexa ranking of a website. Alexa(dot)com ranks millions of websites and rates them in terms of worldwide traffic. The LOWER the alexa ranking figure, the more important the website is, in terms of the amount of visitors it receives.

One note of caution. When you compare websites in terms of the amount of traffic they receive, be sure that the website is property only related. A website that acts as a directory for everything Spanish may have lots of traffic and a good alexa ranking, but if only 5% of that traffic is looking for property with 95% looking for the best place in Spain to buy a toothbrush, then.... well you get the point I am sure.

The other measure of traffic is the number of unique visitors a website receives. This is NOT the same as the number of hits a website receives. If fact I would be bold enough to say that anybody that tries to sell you something on the back of the number of hits their website receives should be dismissed immediately. Why?
Well, a hit on a website page counts the number of images exposed on a web page and is not a reflection of the number of people that visit that page.

A webpage may have 25 pictures or other images on it. Every time a person visits that page it will register as 1 unique visitor or 25 hits. People who sell on the back of their hits per day figures are trying to mislead you and blind you with zeros.

Unique visitors on the otherhand will give you a good indication of how many people are visiting any particular site. Add to this the average page views per visitor, a figure that shouls easily be available in this day and age of Google Analytics and you are well on the way to getting an understanding of which websites matter and which don't.
About the Author
Neil Ebsworth is co-founder of AMLA The Spanish Property MLS and founder of SEO Real Estate Services
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