Read ‘Who leads the pack for commercial property websites in the UK? Part 1: Website Grader’
Read ‘Who leads the pack for commercial property websites in the UK? Part 2: Google Page Rank and Inbound Links’
Read ‘Who leads the pack for commercial property websites in the UK? Part 3: Site Traffic’
Read ‘Who leads the pack for commercial property websites in the UK? Part 4: The Top 100’
This is the final part in this blog series. Previously we have looked at the marketing effectiveness ratings of UK commercial property websites according to WebsiteGrader.com, at Google Page Rank and at inbound links (according to Alexa.com). We then looked at traffic both globally and from the UK (again according to Alexa.com). For anyone still awake and interested this is how we went about compiling the list.
Methodology in Detail
Compiling the List of companies
We couldn’t find a generic list of top 100 UK commercial property companies on the internet so the first challenge was to come up with a list of top UK based commercial property search engines. In order to do this we looked at three different things:
Mailing List – we were provided with a mailing list of commercial property companies by MJM Marketing Ltd (who specialise in mailings and mailing lists for the UK commercial property marketplace) for which we are very grateful. We then compiled a list of all the companies that appeared on this list and that had 50 or more employees.
NovaLoca – we then asked NovaLoca for a list of any agent that had over 100 properties listed on NovaLoca.com and added any that didn’t appear on the mailing list data.
Google – we then undertook a few generic Google searches (“Commercial Property”, “Commercial Property UK”, “Industrial Property”) and looked at the first few pages of the search results and added any companies that did not already appear to the list.
We then made some decisions on which URLs to exclude from the list and used the following principles:
1. For any company site where they had two sites, we used the higher rated site. An example of this would be www.edwinhill.co.uk and www.altus-edwinhill.com – we took www.edwinhill.co.uk
2. We excluded sites where they either have very few instances of commercial property or are a portal where the primary focus is residential property. An example being www.findaproperty.com.
3. We excluded any site where the predominant raison d’etre is to market businesses rather than commercial properties. Examples being www.rightbiz.co.uk and www.daltonsbusiness.com.
4. We excluded sites which may be focused on commercial property but where they did not market commercial property. Examples being www.rics.org and www.communities.gov.uk.
Following the analysis we then drew an arbitrary line at a round number of companies close to a websitegrader score of 50/100.
We are sure that we are missing some (probably obvious) companies for which we can only apologise and assure you that this is inadvertent. We may repeat this exercise on a regular basis and if we do we would like to improve the list so please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any suggested inclusions for next time.
Deciding on what metrics to use
When doing this analysis we were really looking to find a trusted independent third party who could provide data on all the commercial property websites. One obvious choice was Alexa.com which has become the gold standard in comparing website traffic. Alexa is a company owned by Amazon.com that has built a database of information about sites that includes statistics, related links and more. All of this information can be found on Alexa’s site overview pages, traffic detail pages and related links pages. You can look at all the parameters over one month, three months, six months or a year. Balancing recency against a robust time period, we opted for last three months.
The next choice was to use Google’s page rank which is an indicator of the relative value Google places on a website relative to a comparable website. This is available through the Google toolbar.
The last choice was less easy and we looked across the web to find a company that specialised in not just giving data on traffic but also analysed how good the site is for SEO. My theory was that you can have a poor site for a big international brand and a fantastic site for a small regional brand and based on traffic, back links, page rank etc, the bigger, poorer site would score better. However, it would be the small company that would be arguably the more successful in the digital marketplace. We looked at quite a few solutions but in the end arrived at WebsiteGrader. WebsiteGrader is a free SEO tool that measures the marketing effectiveness of a website. It provides a score that incorporates things like website traffic, SEO, social popularity and other technical factors. It also provides some basic advice on how the website can be improved from a marketing perspective. It is owned and operated by HubSpot who are a specialist internet marketing company.
Alexa traffic ranks, Google Page ranks and WebsiteGrader ranks can all change on a relatively frequent basis so we gathered all the stats over a relatively short period of one week between Tuesday 16th and Thursday 25nd February 2010. Please note that if you go and check any of the data now, it will have changed at least slightly but this may be perfectly natural due to the ebb and flow of traffic etc.
Reporting any inaccuracies
This is the first time we have looked at pulling together research such as this (though we may make it a semi regular thing depending on the feedback). If you find any errors or would like to make any comments on how we could have improved this, please let me know and we will endeavour to make restitution and to apologise in advance. Please contact me via email at email@example.com.