Watching great TV ads makes me happy and I get that, in the eyes of some people, this may make me seem like a freak. But, you see, there's so much to learn from TV ads.
Tonight, punctuating a TV show about Lord & Lady Lucan, was a TV ad for primelocation.com that attempted to ooze marketplace superiority because of the property portal's new keyword search feature. Despite how well-conceived and well-shot the ad itself was, the advertiser themselves proved to be utterly forgettable because, before writing this blog, I had to research that it was, indeed, a primelocation.com ad and not an altogether different property portal.
The ad didn't get me clicking but it had got me thinking. What made keyword search worth oozing over? Having a search engine in a website is neither new nor especially complicated to install. So why waste money on an ad that looked good but was unable to help me store a mental connection between searching with keywords and primelocation.com?
I came to the conclusion that the TV ad wasn't so much about the appearance of a good search engine on a website so much as about the presence of good descriptive copy in the property listings themselves.
This wasn't an ad. This was a signal that estate agents have now woken-up to the possibilities of Search.
When was the last time you searched Google and the search engine failed to come up with any results? Difficult to recall such an occurrence isn't it? That's because Google is not only very good with Search but also because the organisation has the entire web to crawl and mine for great, relevant content. In contrast, a property portal doesn't have access to rich descriptions of property. The portal just has hastily-written facts and copy-pasted clichés which have been entered into an estate agents property management system that syncs to the portal. But it's not entirely the estate agent's fault because the amount of space that developers of property management software and, in turn, property portals offer estate agents to summarise properties is small. The property management system isn't an SEO tool after all.
A stunning four bedroom detached family home set in the prestigious new development of Westminster Fields on the outskirts of Harpenden. Built and finished to an exceptional contemporary standard oozing style and charm, the property offers a professionally designed kitchen featuring fully integrated appliances, en-suite bathroom to master bedroom, landscaped front and rear gardens plus driveway parking and a garage. With stunning views over open countryside the development is ideally located in close proximity to the M1 which offers good links to London and the North. Harpenden train station is only two miles away with a direct service into London St. Pancras and Luton Airport is just over six miles away. Harpenden also boasts an excellent selection of 'ofsted outstanding' independent and state schools. Call today to register your interest and avoid disappointment!
That's the exact copy an estate agent has used to sell a property. What a complete load of clichéd guff. This property will never get found with a keyword search, no matter how much money the property portal spends on nice TV ads. Come on, can you imagine buyers trying to find their dream home using Search and describing their dream property with the words
exceptional contemporary standard oozing style and charm. Of course not. They might search for the name of the local development and they might search for the town but they're just as likely to search for: the catchment area of a particular school; a property that has modern bi-folding doors; a property with a wood burning stove; a property with space to store logs; a house that's great for hosting parties; a property that's been extended using the design of a known architect; a property offering independance to an owner living with a disability; a property with a feeling of openness and that's not a series of boxes. After all, don't primelocation.com want us to tell them about our dreams when we search?
I don't know about you but my dreams can be a little freaky - last night I dreamed about being inside a large perspex ball, mounted ontop of a pole hundreds of feet in the air; by shifting my weight I was able to sway the pole in a gut-wrenching manner in order to achieve my objective of getting a ball through a hole in the floor whilst my wife wanted me to stop and take a look at the state of our house when viewed from hundreds of feet up in the air.
No. Clearly these aren't the kind of dreams primelocation.com are asking for. They're envisaging that property buyers will use (key)words in their searches such as:
The desire to use TV advertising to encourage people to search more is a clear indication by primelocation.com that they are confident that keyword searches shouldn't now return null search results. This is a clear signal of their confidence that their estate agents are getting better at describing properties and better able to think like the Customer.
Search is all about being found, not about doing your best to disappear. Don't let your online content be the best thing since Lord Lucan. Describe what you offer using the kinds of words that your buyers will search with. Share their dreams, move to where they are thinking.