If you are a property agent, you will probably know how ultra-competitive it is to promote any new condo projects online. Property industry is one that gives Google a hard time in the SERPs because of the intensive keyword competition followed by similar information across all the websites. So how does a property website reach the top of search results? If you want to be #1 in search engine, you need to know what the current top ranking sites are doing and adopt their best practice.
In this article, I will show how to analyze and disclose the online marketing strategies of this property developer in Singapore, the domain name?
www.cdlhome.com.sg Why we choose this website ?
Because this is an authority domain which is ranking well for all its condo project keywords. We find that there are useful takeaways from the technical analysis of this site and it will benefit those who want to learn about property SEO.
A detailed technical SEO analysis of a property developer website and exposing how it acquired high rankings in search engines.
First up, for this type of property website where all the condo projects are listed, its target keywords are usually the project names and its long tail variants. To justify why this website deserves to be analysed, we can look at the rankings for its condo project keywords. For a free service to check keyword rankings, I always recommend an old Internet “friend” of mine.
www.whatsmyserp.com. Register with them and you can track rankings for up to 20 domains and 500 keywords. You will also be able to track the ranking history and compare. Awesome for a free service! Kudos to the folks there.
When viewing the rankings, column “Curr” refers to the current ranking positions. If it shows #3, it means your website is ranked in position 3 in the first page. The SERP Details on the right shows the results in the 1st page. T and D indicates if the keyword is found in the Title Tag and Meta Description of the page -> An indication of the page targeting this keyword.
There are 2 things we observed from the search results.
1. The website is ranking very well for all its projects (mostly top 3 positions), especially for condo projects which were launched prior to 2016. Forest Woods is a project launched in 2016 and competition is stiffer during this period so the ranking is only at #9.
2. The URL of the pages that are ranking contain [project_name]/overview.
These pages behave like the “homepage” for that condo project. This is due to the way the website is structured as we will discuss in the next section.
Site analysis: index status
To start knowing the website structure, we can check its index status by Google. You do this by using the “site” operator. This is a very powerful search operator to use as it gives an instant overview of the website’s architecture.
Type “site:www.cdlhome.com.sg” into the search bar, it will return all indexed pages of the website by Google.
There is a total of 435 pages indexed by Google. This website also has Chinese and Bahasa Indonesia versions. The Bahasa Indonesia language website has 81 pages indexed. However the Chinese version is not indexed by Google at all. You can see this from the message shown by Google when we conduct a similar “site” search operator.
Quick introduction of robots.txt
A robots.txt file is a text file present in most websites, it is used to inform web robots on which section of the website should not be crawled. If we check the Robots.txt of this property website, we will notice there is specific instruction for the bots NOT TO INDEX the website.
“Disallow: /cn/”- This is telling the search bots not to index any pages with /cn/ in the URL.
Site analysis: information architecture
The key SEO boost of this website lies in the display of each condo project. Let’s take a project name for analysis: Gramercy Park.
Instead of using only one page to feature the project like many other sites, it has several subpages for each key information of the project as listed below:
We can conclude the site architecture is one where every condo project is a microsite, with its unique design, nested within the website. There are several benefits to using nested microsites, first of which, it creates dedicated project information pages so it is easy for users to navigate and find what they want. This mimics a standalone condo project website which allows users to browse multiple pages. Secondly, the top level domain lends its authority to each project page, boosting their rankings from the link juice passed on to it. In some cases, pages can rank well from this alone. Lastly, this method increases the number of indexed pages for the website since each project will have 5-6 indexed pages related to it. This means higher possibility of each page being ranked for different keywords. To give you a better idea of what we mean, let’s check the rankings for this project:
The subpages of this project Gramercy Park have all gained good rankings be it Location, Facilities, Interior or Enquiry. Google is able to know each page addresses the searcher’s specific intent, hence, reward the site with better SERPs.
Though the current subpages are ranked well, they may not be targeting keywords that users are trying to find out about the project. From my experience, Price and Floor Plans are some of the common searches related to any condo projects. Therefore, pages such as /price and /floor-plans can be created to target these keywords.
Backlink analysis: overview
As mentioned in the introduction, the information related to any condo project is the same. Hence, other ranking factors such as the domain authority will differentiate the top from the rest. The authority for a domain can be attributed to the backlinks a website has. This developer’s website has some pretty quality links as we investigate. Using Ahrefs.com, we did an analysis of the backlinks for cdlhome.com.sg.
This website has a high domain rating (DR), a sign of its authority, this is not surprising given it is a genuine developer’s website. It is also receiving links from other highly credible websites. There are more than 8,400 backlinks found to this domain. We will dive deeper into the source for these links in later section.
Backlink analysis: link growth
From the link profile below, we observed the growth of backlinks was slow and natural during the first 3 years (2012-2015). However, the inbound links gathered pace from late 2015 to 2016 (see the steep rise in referring domains). The number of referring domains almost tripled!
It is not possible to review over 8000 backlinks the website has, otherwise, this article will be endless. Instead, we will give an overview of its link profile. The links received by this domain can be broadly classified into the following:
i) Links built by SEO
Yes, it appears this developer has hired SEO service for link building work on the website. This is evident from the sites where the links are located. They are usually articles with links embedded within the text (“contextual link”).
An example of the site: http://www.topservants.co.in/component/k2/itemlist/user/83713
Anchor text for link: “seller’s solicitor”
We feel that manual link building is not necessary considering the strong domain authority of cdlhome.com.sg. Being a known brand, the site is able to acquire links naturally through news or referral from other sites. Moreover, manual built links may not boost the domain authority much as it is already strong. In worst case, the site may be penalized by Google for engaging in paid links, though the chance is small unless it is on a large scale.
ii) Link consolidation
The developer also owns several other standalone websites for each project. Currently, they are redirecting all these external sites back to their home domain, consolidating the information to a single official source. This also means that links formerly attributed to these sites such i.e. www.forest-wood.com are now attributed to cdlhome.com.sg.
iii) Partner/press release links
The site is receiving inbound links from their business partner sites. This is usually high quality link juice as they are from high authority domain too. Guess what are these partner sites?
http://www.hongleong.com.sg/our-businesses/property/ -> Parent company
http://www.blackstonegroup.com/media/press-releases/article/cdl-unveils-unique-s$1-5-billion-investment-platform -> Hello Blackstone Group, very credible source! iv) Article links
Occasionally, there will be some blog or local sites that write articles and have a reference to your brand. This article (http://sg.asia-city.com/city-living/news/where-to-eat-drink-play-yishun-sembawang) is a blog about living in the north of Singapore and highlights several condo projects including one by CDL. The writer links to the relevant page within CDLHome’s website, this is top notch in my opinion, having all ingredients of a good backlink,
Natural, Diversified and Relevant. Our learners will know 🙂
What we have learnt from this site analysis
We have completed a detailed technical SEO analysis of this property developer’s website, let’s review some of the key findings:
Microsites nested within the website gives it a good site architecture allowing Google to index more pages and gain rankings for more long tail keywords. A strong authority domain lends its link juice to the inner pages, hence, helping them to rank well. Links from other authority sites give tremendous boost to domain authority. There is a diversified and natural link profile, from Partner, News and Article sites.
Whether you are in the property business or not, the key takeaways from this SEO audit is applicable across any website or industry. Using the right techniques, we can basically take any website apart and expose its online strategy. We try to provide value in our blog by writing engaging and relevant articles. If you have comments about this article, feel free to share with me at
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