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Knight Frank dominates student accommodation sector

Knight Frank remains top of the student market after a 33% increase in its visibility over the past year, according to a new report.

The annual ‘Student Accommodation Insight Report’, produced by digital marketing specialists Salience Marketing, ranked 55 of the leading brand websites according to their online performance.

It also highlights where there is room for improvement for each website, revealing their successes and shortcomings.

Overall, the top 10 saw the majority record a rise in their visibility year-on-year. We Are Homes for Students recorded the most significant increase among the top 10 (up by 175%), followed by Unite Students (167%). Hello Students, Fresh Student Living and My Student Halls dropped out of the top 10.

Top searched brands and owned socials

Knight Frank came in first place, with 49,500 brand searches per month, with Accommodation for Students, Unite, Student.com and City Lets rounding up the top five for searches per month.

However, when it came to social scores (followers and engaged conversations across all major social platforms), Uniplaces was in the lead, followed by Student.com, Knight Frank, Accommodation for Students and Hello Student.

Despite recording a high brand search score of 49,500, Knight Frank saw a low owned social score of 192. Similarly, Unite scored 22,200 for monthly searches but only a 52 owned social score.

Also appearing in the top 10 with a high brand search score, City Lets recorded a low owned social score of just 19. Student Pad and CRM Students both recorded search scores in the top 10, but their owned results were both below 10.

In fact, owned social was extremely low across the sector, with only five of the 55 featured brands recording a score above 100.

Leaders of high-quality links

Links are another important ranking factor and can determine how far up a brand appears on Google. Gaining new high-quality links can be great for business, while high-link volumes without the quality could be detrimental to a brand, according to Salience.

Accommodation for Students gained an impressive average number of links per month of good quality which are mostly on location pages and images; this is due to their guide page.

When it came to ‘high-quality, low-volume’ links, We Are Homes for Students, Cornwall Student Pad, Host Students, Student Roost and The Nido Collection were in the lead.

There were also sites with ‘low-quality, high-volume’ links, such as CRM, Pads for Students, Sanctuary Student, Fresh Student Living and Downing Students.

“It’s all about location when it comes to keywords in this landscape, so ensuring your localised results are en-pointe is the key to success here,” said Gemma Curtis, inbound content marketer at Inside Online.

“Google’s big focus still seems to be on ‘great content’, so we were glad to see some of the top sites producing rich, valuable content for their audiences such as guides and infographics. However, this market doesn’t seem to be using social channels very well to engage new audiences. Owned social scores were low overall, and we weren’t wowed by those that were slightly higher than average.”

She added: “Students are the perfect candidates to address on social media. We’d suggest creating engaging posts, competitions and producing content that’s unique to each platform to get the most out of your social presence.”

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