seo

seoAs you may be aware, Google has started labeling sites that use Adobe Flash negatively in search engine results.  As we began seeing these changes about 6 weeks ago, Google has now announced that Chrome – the second most used browser in the country – will stop supporting Flash in advertising within their browser. Following the typical Google trend, lowering search engine results for sites that use Flash is the next step.

Many people already dislike Flash on web browsers (and it’s already been abandoned on most mobile devices), so it makes sense for Google’s browser to abandon it.  Flash takes longer to load, it drains your battery, and it’s your phone’s mortal enemy.  Being that Google’s main goal is to serve up great content to users quickly, ditching it is the smart choice.

So, if they don’t support Flash on mobile or PPC, how long until it starts to hurt your SEO?

Google has already begun identifying whether a site uses Flash in the search engine results pages (SERPS) and sooner than later we expect sites using Flash in any form, whether it be ads, sliders, or just playful animations, to begin dropping in search results when compared to Flash-free competitors.

So how do you protect against this Flash-flood of changes?  Use our helpful tips to stay ahead of the curve:

Check your website for Flash

The first place on your website to begin looking is the floor plan section.  Many builders have added interactive elements to engage buyers, such as virtual tours and options selectors that often utilize Flash.

The second place to check is the sliders or images used to display your portfolio of plans, community lot map and available upgrades.

If you think portions of your site are using Flash, you can easily check the source code.  From there, use the “Find” function (Ctrl + F) to search for the terms “object” and “embed” to find Flash, and if you don’t find anything there, look for .swf files.

Update your Flash to HTML5

Being that Google wants you to update your files from Flash to HTML5, they’ve not only provided a tool, but a step by step description.  They even went out of their way to buy a cutting edge company named Swiffy – a simple Flash to HTML5 converter to help make files available to a larger audience.

Click here to use the Swiffy tool:  https://developers.google.com/swiffy/

For Support:  https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/6249073

Contact your Third Party Advertisers

Whether you posted the content or not, you can be penalized.

If your website serves up any sort of Flash advertising, such as DoubleClick ads, Google will still see that things aren’t running as smoothly as they would like – and who wants to be punished for someone else’s mistakes?

If your advertisers haven’t yet chosen a solution other than Flash, let them know that they need to.  If your advertisers choose not to update, it may be more beneficial for you to find a new provider. Additionally, if you’re promoting your homes or communities through ads on other websites that use Flash, it’s time to start updating.  BDX has already started this process to try and stay ahead of the curve.

Being that Chrome is the second most used browser in the nation, home builders need to start embracing the change.  Don’t stress, if you need help optimizing your website’s Flash, contact the BDX Team at Info@theBDX.com or give us a call at (866) 651-8866.

By Jamie Lintner, BDX Advertising Manager 

IP Targeting vs. Geo Targeting. This war has been waged in the online space since the inception of banner advertising. On one hand you have the publishers who stand by IP targeting, the idea that targeting the unique location that a user is browsing from increases the relevancy of the ad itself. On the other you have targeted ads based off of the search parameters of that same user. Both have extreme merit depending on the type of product being advertised.

In the home building vertical, this targeting can have a significant impact on performance.  Consumers moving from Austin to San Francisco want to see homes and builders in San Francisco. We pulled the stats below to help quantify this lift and better understand the impact of ONLY running an IP targeted campaign via Google or other exchange.

To calculate these numbers, I pulled a 3 month sample that included 15 of BDX’s largest advertisers from all parts of the country. I then subdivided traffic into 3 unique performance buckets of data; impressions served in market (Consumers in Austin looking for Austin Homes), targeted delivery to the state (Consumers living in Texas looking for Austin Homes), and targeted delivery to users out of state (isolating people with a desire to relocate across state lines). No data-group contains any duplicate areas.

I assumed that performance would be equivalent for all areas regardless of the geography where the ad was served. In reality, performance is far stronger for users shopping for a home in a different state. As a home builder your ad is 42% more likely to be clicked on by a user out of state than by one in-state, meaning that an IP targeting campaign completely ignores the group of users that is statistically far more likely to engage with your brand.

On average, impressions to the local geo-area (bucket #1) delivered 55% of total delivery and 47% of total clicks. Users in the remainder of the state (bucket #2) were served 12% of total impressions and represented 11% of all clicks. Lastly, users across the nation were served 33% of all geo-targeted impressions but they represented an astonishing 41% of total clicks.

 

 

 

 

 

My best guess as to why there are different levels of performance between data groups is the vast difference in shopping urgency. Home shoppers already in the market will casually browse for a new home. Maybe they have strong intentions to move in the coming months or maybe they’re like my wife; just looking around for that perfect home in ten years. By comparison, out of state users appear to have a much stronger sense of urgency when shopping for a home, potentially due to a job relocation or change in lifestyle.

I’m a perfect case study for an out of state shopper. My wife recently took an out of state job and we had two weeks to find a home. Naturally we reached out to countless communities, apartment complexes, and anyone with a bedroom. Our search was more intentful and motivated than in-state shoppers who weren’t in such dire straits. What home builder wouldn’t dream of such a client?

Is your ad campaign effectively being tailored to the right audience through other online sources? At BDX we are constantly striving  to improve all ad campaigns for home builders and provide guidance on where your ads will perform best.  To learn more about the different types of campaign targeting, please see our previous blog post, Getting the Most from your Exchange Network. For information on starting your own ad campaign contact Info@theBDX.com.

Privacy Policy For Home BuildersAs the BDX continues to expand its advertising solutions we’ve noticed many builders do not have a privacy policy clearly accessible on their website. This is an important if not often overlooked feature for a professional website.

The privacy policy serves as a disclosure, informing consumers of what data can be collected as they visit the website. If your website is designed to capture first party information such as a name, email, address, and/or any financial information it definitely needs a privacy policy that outlines how that data is captured and what is done with it.

Sites that use third party tracking data or vendors such as Google Analytics, Google AdSense, BDX BeBack or CRM solutions also need to have a privacy policy accessible on every page.

How California’s Privacy Laws Affect Your Business– No Matter What State You Are In

The state of California’s laws around privacy policies applies to any website that collects data about Californian residents. The act has a very broad scope, well beyond California’s border. Neither the web server nor the company that created the web site has to be in California to be under the scope of the law. The web site only has to be accessible by California residents. This means that if you build in Florida but have traffic from consumers in California your website needs to adhere to those laws regarding privacy and disclosure.

Fortunately there are several tools and templates available for companies to use to develop their own privacy policy. Your web developer should also be able to help with language and include a privacy policy as a standard part of their operation.

To review privacy policy templates click:  https://www.freeprivacypolicy.com/