Documents > Reports > Real estate industry (October 2000)
 
Preliminary report
8 websites scanned - Dates: October 9-10, 2000:
Brolliet SA - CGI Compagnie de Gérance Immobilière SA - GI Générale Immobilière SA - Julliard Immobilier SA - Naef & Cie SA - Société Privée de Gérance - Pilet & Renaud SA - Moser Vernet & Cie.
1. General aspects:
1.1. Search engine visibility - Test: Yahoo, Altavista:
Incredibly weak if you search with rent / apartment / Geneva, whether in French or in English. Depending on the selected criteria, one can find between 0 and 6 of the active real estate companies in Geneva!… and furthermore, those mentioned above do not automatically appear on the first page of results?! - as a reminder, Internet users do not generally check the following pages?!?… Search results - all pages considered:
Altavista: 4 companies.
Yahoo: 6 - but with only one combination of criteria out of the 12 tested…
1.2. Browsers compatibility:
This analysis will be performed upon request...
2. Ease of download:
The average amount of slow pages on the scanned sites is 40%; i.e. the size of these pages is bigger than 30 KB… Reminder of the custom: an Internet user will leave your website if a page is not loaded in less than 10 seconds!
3. Ease of use:
3.1. Broken links:
We noted that the number of broken links is very low. What does it mean? On the one hand - internally - that the sites are well managed (regular checks and clean-ups), bringing to a minimum the number of bugs which could occur while surfing on a site (one good point!). On the other hand - externally - it shows that these websites are not connected to others; i.e. they are functioning like islands ignoring one another, which is the exact opposite of the Web purpose! In doing so, they become invisible for search engines (e.g. Google), which pick up sites ONLY with regards to the number of links they have with other sites having a similar content.
Moreover, the most important argument is that broken links frustrate your audiences/customers and make you look bad...
3.2. Attributes:
An attribute consists of tags (information) regarding the height, width and alt (alternative text description for an object) of an image on a webpage. Adding these tags decreases the time needed for a browser to render a page when requested.
Furthermore, an alt tag (name) allows to reduces "further" surfing difficulties; i.e. for even slightly disabled people or for users with the 'image function' turned off.
Missing attributes average out at 50 to 60% - this situation could be rather easily improved... Yet, if adding an alt tag is technically VERY easy, think about the amount of patience needed when it comes to searching for every single image over hundreds or thousands of objects!!!...
Needless to say the more detailed a project is planned, the less amendments to be made later...
4. High quality content:
It is rather difficult to make an overall comment. In each site, one can find a list of available apartments, although the 'how to do' process is not always obvious… Things get a little trickier when it comes to looking for an item with specific attributes; i.e. apart from criteria such as price, surface, number of rooms, area. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to search for / differentiate / eliminate precise elements such as penthouse, furnished &/or equipped kitchen, HLM or not HLM* rents… circumstances which compel users to go through entire lists of apartments having no connection whatsoever with their criteria! Speaking of which, the C.E.O. of Amazon recently stated: "[…] we should do everything so that our client can make a buying decision".
Practical aspect: it is not always simple for suppliers or potential employees to find the 'way' to contact the related real estate company/nies.
*The definition of the HLM abbreviation is never given, if not impossible to find… Does it mean that the 40% of foreigners living or about to settle in Geneva are not taken into consideration? Not to mention they might not yet be familiar with the Swiss law subtleties!…
5. Frequent updates:
Generally speaking, 20% of the pages are more than 4 months old (!)… thus making it 'challenging' to have a quick look at the availabilities; i.e. have the items been on the market for 1 week or 6 months?....
Besides, the software used to perform this analysis determines the 'last modification date' by reading the header codes returned by the server when a page is requested. So, websites setting the 'date of the day' instead of the 'last modification date' of a page render the test impossible; i.e. some pages might be 'old' but they are not visible... we therefore cannot establish which elements should be 'updated' on the related sites.
However, what should be kept in mind is that updated information increases recurrent traffic, customer satisfaction and therefore helps building trust! - in addition to the fact that old content should be examined to ensure it is still relevant!?!...
 
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