Monday, 18 February 2008

More Globrix

The Globrix post has appeared to stir a healthy discussion and thanks for the comments. To this end, I would like to introduce a few further issues into the mix.

Just how intelligent is the Globrix search?

There is a helpful section in their webmasters guide that is the beginnings of what we would hope to be real assistance for estate agents in optimising their pages for the Globrix search.

Given many agents may not have the time to consider and act upon the advice provided, the question remains, what is Globrix searching? In a nutshell, it would appear to search a set parameter of keywords within estate agent sites.

On the whole, this is impressive, but it still relies upon agents having content that marries up with the search criteria. Perhaps I am stating the obvious, but by using such search criteria I sense two immediate issues, namely (a) agent's site content may not match search criteria and will therefore produce inconsistent results, and (b) agents may rewrite content to force incorrect properties into first line searches.

How will the smaller agent optimise and push its way into the listings?

Globrix is good for affiliate partners such as Property Owl as we can feed all our estate agent clients into Glorbix by way of ftp. Given our pages are well optimised and we have clear instructions from Glorbix regarding how they crawl and what they search, our agents should do well. Indeed, agents may find it easier to sign up to affiliate partners such as us and let us handle their site structure and optimisation.

Indeed, this is where we can compliment such a system. Many agents will not have the time and/or technical background to play around with meta tags and the like and would be better off looking to us to assist them.

The default search appears to be set for price ‘low to high’ so in theory the cheaper properties should be displayed first and therefore perhaps the smaller agents will at least get a look in.

Will it deliver quality traffic?

It is hard to say at this stage and perhaps one for comments.

What impact on agents?

Many agents have of course built their sites around Rightmove, Primelocation etc. and to this end Globrix is displaying search results from Rightmove and the like. The question follows that if Globrix can delivery quality traffic, all the agent needs to do is rebuild their website and remove their listing from Rightmove (but see below). Indeed, what if they big three start to block Globrix from searching such sites?

This does put pressure on agents to monitor and advance their analytical efforts so they can see where the traffic is coming from. Of course, if it is as good as it says on the tin, then a minor investment to the likes of Property Owl can in the long run save the agent a small fortune!

Great for estate agents potentially, but what about users?

Whilst being a good system, the user still has to be weaned off using the bigger players. Yes, deep pocket marketing can dent this, but brand loyalty is hard to penetrate. I guess if they are that successful and agents do stop paying rightmove et al, then the Rightmove brand will suffer for having less properties. This is of course a long term and very expensive strategy. I suspect they will need to shout louder.

Will they be satisfied with just site ad revenue?

I will leave for comments, but even with the levels of Rightmove traffic, will the site ad revenue alone satisfy the board and shareholders alike?

The industry overall?

Whatever happens, such development is stimulating estate agents to address their webs sites, delivery of online property content, search optimisation and general SEM. We know what we have built will only help the agents further, so better times for agents perhaps.


Anonymous said...

Globrix is a good site. The search is great a bit fiddly but easy to fine tune. I am sure Ian Parry and his partner who sold it off to News are very happy chappies.

But I think they have missed one crucial thing. They don't understand what Estate Agents need and how they operate.

As a person who works with a data feed company, I work closely with trying to explain to agents, STILL, the value of online and how it all works. You need to work closely with them, give them support and advice, and as you said, their websites just aren't up to scratch so Globrix might miss them all together.

Foxtons and the big wigs will be fine, but Globrix won't cater for all the smaller estate agents.

Also, if I were Foxtons, I'd just buy every search term - it's PPC afterall, and test it out, see how it goes.

So Globrix will make its money, maybe if people click, but is that fair to all the other agents?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how it was weh Ian still owned Globrix, however, it would appear to me that they don't charge PPC? The only way I can see their current revenue is small ads on the right? I'm sure that won't be like that for ever though...

Further to that I believe (not 100%) that this niche vertical search company's don't allow you to buy up terms, only detect their terms from the content you provide. Could be wrong though?

Anonymous said...

With regard to the first comment - as a small agent we have been extremely impressed with the way Globrix have reacted. We have a reasonably good website, and we were immediately made aware that Globrix can work with us either via our website or a data feed. They already had our content however offered to take a feed if that suited us.

From looking in my local area they have excellent coverage, many small agents as well as the larger.

Anonymous said...

Very thorough and interesting post! Regarding search criteria and content format, it looks to me like Globrix normalise the metadata themselves (for the left hand filters), since it seems much cleaner than the text in many ads.

I believe this is very good for small agents, since as long as they write clear descriptions they can still appear in structured searches without having to worry about ftp/xml schema. Will make it much easier for Globrix to have a complete index with rich search features compared to a site which requires you comply to standards.

Anonymous said...

How do people find Globrix? Can Google find a site that hosts no content? So the question I pose is how does a search engine search another search engine? From what I can see - Globrix doesn't rank anywhere unless you type in GLOBRIX?

Property Owl said...

It is a fair point and one that comes down to very effective SEO. Have a look at who do it very well indeed with no content. I just searched three bedroom house portsmouth into google and there were nestoria at number 3 position. They are normally there or thereabouts for most searches. I am sure Globrix are working on this and it won't be long before they are appearing in a similar position.

Anonymous said...

Nestoria has been doing well for a long time in the SERPS (search engine result pages), however, I've noticed over the last month or so zoomf and globrix catching up!