The Client and Project
Dwell are an estate agency based in Leeds.
They were struggling with organic traffic because the top of the SERPs for the competitive local keywords in this industry was dominated by the local branches of larger, regional estate agencies.
Before the campaign began, Dwell were top of page 2 for the term “Letting Agent in Leeds”, and middle of page 2 for the search term “Estate Agent in Leeds”.
Both terms were receiving in excess of 300 searches each month (according to Google Search Console).
This told me two things:
1) That it was well worth getting to the top of the SERPs for these search terms (or as close as we could);
2) That we needed some authoritative, relevant links to get there, as we were competing with large multi-location estate agents who would have a strong link profile due to the size of their brands…
…so that’s what I got them.
Guest posting on the blogs of adjacent businesses
Given the amount of different parties involved in the buying, selling, owning and renting of a home, the client seemed ripe for guest posting on the blogs and news feeds of other businesses in the property industry.
This involved building a list of businesses that are involved in the buying and selling of home and who also have a decent blog on their website. I would then come up with some blog topics that bridge our two industries and pitched them as guest posts to their marketing folk.
The end of the year also saw a lot of journalists and property writers looking for experts to give “market forecasts for 2020” and the like. This gave us the opportunity to get on large property websites and publications for free, as the writers needed our insights. We just had to be in the right place at the right time to snap up these opportunities.
I also did some of your more typical guest posting on industry blogs, weeding out the few in this industry that hadn’t been spammed to death.
We got 37 links over the space over the three months of the campaign. There are some residuals from the campaign that are coming in at the time of writing (May 2020).
I was pretty pleased with this, given that we had little existing content to work with and we did not pay for a single link.
The first month of the campaign being December also didn’t help, as people were getting drunk rather than publishing content.
Here are some of the highlights from the campaign, as far as links are concerned:
House Beautiful (DR 83): https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/garden/designs/a32090592/garden-features-devalue-property-value/
Arthur Online (Landlord SAAS company) (DR 51): https://www.arthuronline.co.uk/blog/property-news/what-do-students-look-for-in-private-accommodation/
Fixflo (Landlord SAAS company) (DR 73): https://www.fixflo.com/blog/how-to-make-your-rental-property-wheelchair-accessible
Faraway Furniture (home and garden improvement blog) (DR 69): https://www.farawayfurniture.com/faraway-furniture-blog/garden-features-devalue-property/
Reich Insurance (home insurance provider) (DR 38): https://www.reichinsurance.co.uk/media-centre/a-guide-to-hmo-licensing-for-landlords/
The PR element of the campaign also landed us an unlinked mention in The Sun: https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/10596937/house-prices-property-market-2020/
This pissed me right off as I couldn’t get them to link out. The Sun does nooo’ like to respond to my reclamation outreach (I have found this to be the case over several clients).
Change in overall organic traffic
Traffic increased by 37% from the start of the campaign (end of November 2019 to Feb 2019)
Below is a screenshot from analytics, the expertly drawn blue arrow is where the campaign started.
Given the seasonality of the property market, and that the campaign only lasted three months (more on this later), it’s useful to mention that traffic increased by 75% from February 2019 to 2020. Traffic had been flatlining in the 6 months before the campaign started.
January 2020 saw the client achieve their highest monthly number of enquiries since they started recording them (just over 3 years ago). That record was beaten again in February 2020, despite it usually being a slow month in the market.
Admittedly the following month’s traffic has dipped, but our rankings did not. I therefore think that it is fair to assume that the drop in traffic was due to the impact of Coronavirus on peoples’ searching habits (the housing market was frozen).
Change in keyword position
Good progress was made with both “lettings agent in Leeds” and “estate agent in Leeds”
For the term “lettings agent in leeds” we went from an average position of 9.6 at the start of the campaign to an average position of 4.8 at the end.
We had dislodged all the other independent agents and were mixing it with the regional/national guys.
Here is a screenie from Search Console. Again the beautifully drawn blue arrow indicates when the campaign started:
“Estate agent in Leeds” went from an average position of 16.2 at the start of the campaign to 8.8 at the end. This alone was barely moving the needle in terms of traffic, but the progress was good.
Here is the Google Search Console screenshot:
Links were coming in, traffic was increasing, and we were getting to the tasty part of the SERPs for one of our main keywords…
…and then Coronavirus happened and the property market froze.
The client, who was a small business, could not justify paying me anymore.
All in all a decent job (if I say so myself) but there is still a sense of what might have been…