Placester.com’s Mark Bushery offers expert advice on how to make this powerful tool work for you.
• Syncing Google Analytics to their website is a must for every REALTOR®, according to Bushery.
• Creating content is an ongoing thing. An editorial calendar is necessary to keep track of what you publish and when.
• To ensure your content is performing the way you want it to, incorporate A/B testing and multivariate testing to see which types of content performs best.
In the modern marketing landscape, it’s impossible to be successful without having a specific plan to track the performance of online content, according to Matthew Bushery, content creator at Placester, a Boston-based digital marketing company for real estate professionals.
“In short, syncing Google Analytics with your real estate website is an absolute necessity for REALTORS® today,” Bushery said. “Think of it this way: Creating top-tier, targeted content for your niche real estate audience is great, right? Well, how can you tell that content is doing well —that is, generating more traffic to your site and keeping visitors browsing your digital presence for lengthy periods so you can eventually convert them — if you aren’t monitoring how each page and post performs?”
What might sound complicated is, in reality, quite straightforward, according to Bushery.
“Sync your site with the analytics platform, play around with the reporting tools and features, and after a couple weeks, you’ll be a Google Analytics wiz, who knows how to determine which channels and content perform best and which keywords to continue using sitewide,” he said.
“Syncing Google Analytics with your real estate website is an absolute necessity for REALTORS® today.” — Matthew Bushery, Placester.com
Create a steady stream of content
Bushery offered three best practices for real estate agents using Google Analytics.
“For starters, you can’t track your website pages’ performance if there aren’t any pages. Prioritize content creation (and, afterward, optimization) before all else,” he said.
Content creation isn’t a one-time activity, according to Bushery. Some agents think, for example, they’ll create a dozen pages explaining the local market and a few blog posts, and they’re set for the year. Not the case, he said.
“To be blunt, no, you’re far from all set,” Bushery said. “Create an editorial calendar in which you can add all of your site content ideas for the weeks and months ahead. Whittle down the list to the absolute, must-create assets and schedule those for creation first. With a steady stream of content, you’ll bolster your chances of later identifying the top-performing pages in Google Analytics and then be able to figure out how you can duplicate that success.”
Become a Google Analytics master!
Tip No. 1: Create an editorial calendar in which you can add all your site content ideas for the weeks and months ahead.
Tip No. 2: Whittle down the list to the absolute, must-create assets and schedule those for creation first.
No. 3: Use A/B and multivariate testing to get insight into which combinations and variations of elements achieve your objectives.
No. 4: Review your website’s performance in Google Analytics often in the first month or so to address any issues with pages.
No. 5: Set specific goals for your website content.
Google Analytics requires you to test, test, test
Another expert tip for real estate pros looking to leverage Google’s data platform is to understand the value of A/B and multivariate testing, Bushery said.
A/B testing compares two versions of a web page, while multivariate testing looks at the individual elements inside a web page to provide insight about which combinations and variations of elements throughout your website achieve your objectives.
It’s important for real estate agents to review their websites’ performance in Google Analytics often in the first month or so to address any issues with pages, according to Placester’s free downloadable eBook: “Launch Your Real Estate Marketing Mix.”
A/B tests, for example, allow agents to modify pages with subpar metrics, such as low time on page, high bounce rate, little traffic, by infusing new copy and calls to action, according to the eBook.
“After you have a wide array of content created for your site and understand which kinds of content tend to perform best (e.g. how-to blog posts, in-depth area pages, video/resource pages, etc.), you can turn to your lesser-performing pages and adjust some of their elements,” Bushery said.
A/B tests allow agents to modify pages with subpar metrics, such as low time on page, high bounce rate, little traffic, by infusing new copy and calls to action.
“For instance, if you created an [Internet Data Exchange] listing page that features 300 words of explanatory copy about your market and find it hasn’t garnered enough clicks and conversions to your liking, create a similar IDX page on a different market segment with 600 words of copy (and maybe a video or graphic). You can then test the performance of these pages in Google Analytics over the course of a couple of months (or longer, if you like) and see which performs better. It’s this kind of analytical experimentation that can help you enhance your online presence over the long haul.”
According to Bushery’s article, “What Is IDX? An Explanation for Beginner Real Estate Agents,” IDX is an umbrella term used to cover policies, standards, and software pertaining to the display of listing information on websites. “Most importantly for agents and brokers, IDX is what enables members of a multiple listing service to integrate real estate listings from the MLS database into their own websites,” he wrote in the article.
Set specific goals for Google Analytics
This might seem obvious, yet, many experienced real estate agents forget to do it. “It,” being to set specific goals for one’s website content.
“The whole point of incorporating Google Analytics into your digital marketing is to gauge which site pages are generating the most visitors and, in turn, new business opportunities. But you won’t be able to effectively compare and contrast your site pages without having clearly defined objectives for what you deem a success and a failure,” Bushery said. “Think about how you want to improve your site over time (e.g. increase new visitor traffic by X percent, get Y percent more organic clicks), then keep close tabs on the progress of those goals for the long run.”
For more about the specific types of Google Analytics reports that real estate agents can run, check out Bushery’s article “13 Google Analytics Reports for Your Real Estate Website.”