I love spreadsheets. Sincerely: hand me big swaths of data and I’ll happily analyze for hours to bring you trends, pressure points, new advantages, all kinds of internet marketing ideas for your home builder website. But not everyone wants to crawl through 10 pages of analytics data month by month – and, honestly, not all of it is important to your internet marketing campaign. Traditional google analytics is based around short-sell marketing, not the long-tail sales and other special trends unique to our industry. It’s good to know the breakdown of mobile versus desktop traffic (especially if you’re considering a responsive website), but you probably don’t need the breakdown of OS and Android device usage.
So, what is important about your analytics report? What do you need to know about your website traffic and internet marketing? Here are the Top Five Metrics to Check:
ONE: BOUNCE RATE
The bounce rate is how often people immediately click away from your site. Obviously we want that to be low; if people aren’t staying that means the site isn’t selling, or they’re confused about what you offer. The ideal percentage for home builder websites is going to be south of 30%. (Other websites, like Wikipedia, are going to have a very high bounce rate without that being a problem – a person found the answer they needed and left.)
Some factors can artificially inflate that number, like an Adwords (pay-per-click) campaign, or heavy referral traffic from a large source like Realtor.com. Since you’re paying for lots of people to come to your website, the interest level won’t be quite the same as those who find you by organic search. Still, we want that number to be in the 30%-40% range. Anything 50% or above points to a problem with that paid advertising, whether a link somewhere is bad or it’s not the right choice for your company.
The take away: A bounce rate is going to naturally fluctuate over time, but as long as it’s below the danger threshold you’re good to go. If it starts to progressively rise or suddenly shoot up, you definitely want to talk to your SEO consultant – who’s likely already at work on it.
TWO: TRAFFIC ORIGIN
There are three main sources of traffic: organic (see #3), referral (see #4) and direct. (Other common sources of traffic include retargeting banners and Adword campaigns, email marketing, or paid social media.) Ideally we want a strong mix of all three. That way, if something starts to slip, we’re still going strong and driving traffic. An “unbalanced” pie chart can indicate a problem somewhere in your internet marketing, like the need for better brand awareness or the lack of a link building campaign.
Direct traffic is people going directly to your website, whether by typing in your URL or from a bookmark. A low percentage of direct traffic means buyers aren’t aware of your name or your website. That’s when we focus on some more traditional marketing. If the link is the issue, make sure it’s pasted everywhere – your social media accounts, business cards, flyers, email footers.
Organic traffic is people searching relevant keywords, like “new homes in Oklahoma City“, and finding your website. Organic traffic is a major focus of your SEO’s efforts. The numbers of total traffic and new traffic is going to fluctuate as does the market, but it should always be high and should always be leading towards lead generation.
Referral traffic is people jumping to your website from another link, whether that’s Facebook, a blog share, or directory traffic like BDX. Low referral traffic calls for a link building campaign. That said, it’s likely going to be smaller in proportion to organic and direct traffic, and that’s okay.
The take away: Make sure you have a strong mix of incoming website traffic. That is going to “future proof” your internet marketing.
THREE: ORGANIC TRAFFIC
When looking at your organic traffic, pay attention to what keywords people are using to find your website. They should be a mix of name awareness, like “Royal Oaks Homes” or “Royal Oaks Building Group in NC”, and research focus, like “new homes in Raleigh” or “Fayetteville home builders”.
If you have a strong keyword that’s bringing in a lot of traffic, keep that focus. It’s telling you that you’re hot for that market, and this is the time to blog, talk, and grab leads.
If you have a missing keyword that should be bringing you buyers – like you’re missing the adult living market – that could be for two reasons. One is that a keyword you want to be found for isn’t actually relevant. Since we work in the home builder industry we have a lot of jargon on hand, but buyers don’t. They may not realize “55 and up residents” is a useful search term, and instead ask a question, like “where’s a good community of new homes in Wilmington for an active lifestyle for older adults?”.
But assuming it is a good keyword, like “new homes in Norman OK”, then we want to focus content. Whether that’s tweaking on-page copy, writing some new blogs, or mucking around with the meta tags, a missing keyword calls for action.
The take away: See how buyers are searching for you. That will tell you how to sell.
FOUR: REFERRAL TRAFFIC
Referral traffic is all about strong social media and strong link building. If you have social media accounts they absolutely should be sending you a lot of traffic, and the more active you are the higher the percentage. If you’re posting on Facebook weekly but only getting two visitors a month, that’s a problem. On the other hand, stronger traffic from Pinterest over Facebook tells us how we can focus in our marketing and capture new leads.
Link building is crucial for referral traffic and domain authority. Our Builder Cloud websites, for example, are often a very high percentage of referral traffic for our builders. Both Top Ten Builders.com and Custom Builders.com provide interested leads, sometimes 10% or more of total website traffic. That’s true for our small local-only high-custom builders and our Top 100 production builders, which shows you the power of a good link building campaign.
The take away: If there aren’t incoming links to your website, build them. That’s how you rank high.
Demographic reports illustrate the breakdown in both age and gender for incoming traffic. (Note: this is based on user behavior by Google, and is not necessarily perfect.) Why does that matter?
One: Correct market targeting. Women are far and above the leading buyer of new homes. Are you capturing that market? And age demographic: what is your focus – new homes for starter families, or custom homes in the million+ range? If you see that most interested home buyers visiting your website are women in their 30-40’s, or men in their 20’s, that’s good to know. That should affect your marketing approach to capture and transforms those leads into sales.
Two: Missed market targeting. If your primary market is adult living communities but very few buyers in the 50+ age range are visiting the website, that’s a problem. Is it hard to use? Is your online marketing only on Twitter, with your Yellow Pages phone number way out of date? Or, if you haven’t captured the 20-30 crowd: is your website non-mobile friendly? Social media accounts stale and untouched for the past year?
The take away: We want to make sure your incoming traffic matches your desired traffic.
And that’s true for everything we do. Our home builder SEO efforts aren’t just in getting buyers to the website, although that’s obviously important, or giving buyers an incredible website to browse, though that’s something we spend hours and hours on too. Our ultimate focus is getting those buyers to pick up the phone and call you. We want to be your lead generation machine. That requires a lot of charts and graphs on our end. For you, it’s these five metric checks that will guarantee we’re all on the right path together.