Some years back when we started to trade in Spanish property, our own website was sufficient to gain the sales and rentals we needed. But as the internet began to explode, and competition increased, it proved to be a tough and expensive battle to keep at the top of the search engines. At one point we were paying several hundred euros per month for optimisation with little improvement in results. It wasn’t long before we researched other alternatives and began to target the high ranking portals. Over the last few years we’ve paid for advertising on pretty much every property portal available, and with varying levels of success.
How did we decide who to advertise with?
Our general decision process stemmed from contacting the portals, requesting their marketing material and doing some of our own general research, which mainly consisted of seeing who ranks well for certain search terms.
It was patently obvious that one of the real pains in comparing sites on the internet is the lack of true data about a site’s traffic volume and coverage. Each and every portal provided very positive statistics on the number of visitors they achieve and the number of enquiries they produce. How could we know whether what we were being told was true or not?
While there are some statistical sites that provide general traffic data, their data was dubious or not relative to the Spanish market. For example, alexa.com makes it easy to compare sites but is totally reliant on a visitor having the Alexa toolbar installed - when the toolbar itself gets flagged as dangerous by anti-virus programs it’s unlikely to give a true reflection of a site’s traffic volume. Another example would be compete.com; unfortunately this is completely biased towards the American market and offers no valuable data for Spain or even Europe.
So, we are really left with the portals own figures and, with experience of our website statistics, we know how easy it is to talk about hits and views rather than actual real visitors. Effectively we just made the plunge and crossed our fingers that we were being told the truth.
Recently there have been some positive changes, about a year ago globaledge.co.uk launched to monitor overseas property portals. For the first time they gave a breakdown of the major portals in Spain and their google rankings, all based on actual results for a set common keywords (e.g. malaga property, property for sale in malaga etc). At the time they indicated that this would be monthly, we envisaged a clear opinion on the state of each portal in direct comparison to another … this was not to be. The first breakdown has also been the last we’ve seen and global edge has transformed somewhat into a business portal designed to help real estate agents and property developers do business overseas, most information is mow for paid members only. We doubt putting their clients performance head to head so publicly would go down well either!
More promisingly, google themselves have made available more of their data. Being ubiquitous to nearly all sites, google analytics is the eminent web stat software and most website owners use this as their primary metric for gauging their own site performance. Now a summary of this data is available through google trends … much to the delight of the public, but no doubt rather scary to site owners. Subsequently, having seen none of this information on the internet, we went about collating information on the ‘leading’ Spanish property portals – the results were as follows:
Although we weren’t too surprised by the two top performing sites, we were surprised by the relative lack of performance of their competitors. There is a marked difference in visitors and page views.
So, Kyero.com and Thinkspain.com appear to rule the roost in Spanish property. Their lead over other sites is quite dramatic, with Kyero.com leading the way (these figures were taken in May 2009). One other notable point is that Kyero is a solely dedicated property portal whereas thinkspain covers news, jobs, classified and more. We’ve been unable to unearth the percentage of visitors looking only at property, so we would guesstimate that their true property viewing figures would be halved and Kyero really being the overall leader at this time.