Making a Good Scent Trail

By
Real Estate Services with Applied Real Estate Technology

I firmly believe that if you show your web visitors the right information at the right time, they'll love you for it. But in order to do that, you need to understand a little bit about how people behave online, what they see and do.

There was a study done a while back, the Lincoln Study, by Jared Spool, where they gaged user's confidence and success in finding something online, to try to figure out why some sites consistently are good at helping people find their target content and some just aren't. Among other interesting discoveries, they found that when users were successful in finding the target content, the description words of that content appeared on the page 72% of the time. And when users were unsuccessful in finding the target content, the descriptive words only appeared an average of 6% of the time on the page.

Which means...

Users like to see words describing their goal on a site, it helps them have more confidence that the thing they're looking for is indeed there to be found. It's called a scent trail.

In practice, that goes like this: If someone is looking for townhomes in Tucson, and they search Google for "townhomes in Tucson" and just happen to click on that page in my site from the search engine results page, then that page needs to - very prominently - repeat the words "Townhomes in Tucson." We're not trying to be subtle or fancy here. We're trying to be clear and clean and highly usable.

Which means that if I create a page on my site just for people looking at townhomes, then I need to very carefully optimize for those kinds of words, and then I need to restate those words plainly on the page.

Remember - a web page should do one of two things: it either provides the content that someone is looking for, or it provides links to that content. Otherwise, users stop looking and click away.

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Groups:
Extra Mile Solutions - Tech Tips & Web Development
Internet Lead Generation-How Best To Capture Your Audience
Making Real Estate Better with Technology
Tags:
user experience
web usability
scent trail

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Rainmaker
362,135
Susie Blackmon
Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing

Classic Kristal response above! Enjoyed your post and wish I had a cheap guru to just do that for me!!

November 29, 2008 04:08 AM
Rainmaker
198,339
William Collins
Director of Property Management
ERA Queen City Realty

Kelley,

Thanks for the post. So simplistic and so true. Amazing how we seem to gravitate toward the complex and yet it is the simple thing that can often times get the job done.

November 29, 2008 07:20 AM
Rainer
200,847
Mana Tulberg
Real Estate Agent - Camarillo CA
805 County Real Estate

Kelley, I agree with KK!! :0) And I have to agree with all you have stated.

November 30, 2008 11:33 AM
Rainmaker
215,755
Troy Erickson
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor
Terra Solis Realty, LLC www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com

For those of us that are not as internet saavy as others, this is very valuable information.  I will go back to my website and incorporate this information into my pages. Thanks.

December 15, 2008 03:54 PM
Anonymous #10
Anonymous
Shawna Ebersole

Hi Kelley ~ Thanks so much for the good info.  I guess a lot of times it feels awkward for me to keep incorporating the keywords into the content of my post, but I guess it's something I need to start getting better at!

February 13, 2009 07:36 AM
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Rainer
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