If you are wondering why your website traffic is down, join the club, and hope that you’re not living in California. Of the 50 largest U.S. cities, San Jose suffered the sharpest decline in number of requests for its real estate market on Google. Randy Eagar, President of WebsTarget, a search engine optimization strategy company headquartered in Salt Lake City, recently released the results of a study conducted in February signifying a dramatic shift for real estate websites.
While the lowest marks went to San Jose, there were two other California cities that ranked in the top 10: Los Angeles, that ranked 2nd (95% drop); and San Diego that ranked 5th (94% drop). Overall, the top 10 cities dropped by 92%. The average for the top 50 locations showed an 86% drop in February over the previous 12 months’ average.
WebsTarget used the Google Keyword Tool for each of the major cities with keyword phrases of “city real estate.” Results showed only 8,100 requests for “San Jose real estate,” whereas the average monthly requests for the previous 12 months had been as high as 301,000 requests. This represents a 97% decline.
So why such a decline? Well there were two major factors at work here. The first one is predictable. February is one of the slowest months for real estate requests during the year. However it is not THIS slow. The major fact seemed to be the economic downturn that put the brakes on everyone’s interest to move in any direction.
Eagar conducted the survey in response to concerns over the dramatic drop in what some real estate agents and brokers felt had been their best “keyword phrases.” “Frankly, the results were quite shocking,” The reason for the research came from the fact that we send out reports to all of our clients every month tracking each of the keyword phrases that they’re found under. When we saw this hug a drop almost across the board, we decided to look into it.
Roy Collins, Senior SEO analyst for WebsTarget added, “These statistics tell us that consumers are really cooling off in their real estate searches. Those who specialize in Search Engine Optimization or SEO (especially real estate SEO) need to be on their toes to pick up market trends.” Whether you are marketing with PPC or SEO, the facts are still the same.
The study also showed that smaller cities are still hurting, but seemed to fare better among the largest 50 cities. For example, Las Vegas and Denver tied for 46th spot with a 75% drop in real estate requests.
However just the requests for a certain keyword phrase does not tell the whole story. That’s why we dug deeper to see which of these keyword phrase had the most cache and which had the least. In other words, it’s one thing to have a drop off in requests, but if your competition for that keyword phrase is already high, the effect is a double whammy.
The most competitive of the top 50 cities according to Google’s search engine was Milwaukee with 60,600,000 websites containing the keyword phrase “Milwaukee real estate”. Following this was Los Angeles (56,400,000), Jacksonville (49,200,000), New York City (43,900,000) and Austin (31,100,000). The least competitive of the top 50 cities were Fresno (811,000), Tulsa (869,000), El Paso (938,000), Mesa (1,190,000) and Arlington (1,340,000).
Even though “city real estate” is not necessarily the most searched keyword phrase, it is certainly recognized to be one of, if not the most competitive, keyword phrases in Google Adwords. According to Wikipedia, “Google Adwords” is Google's flagship advertising product and main source of revenue ($16.4 billion in 2007). AdWords offers pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and site-targeted advertising for both text and banner ads. The AdWords program includes local, national, and international distribution.
“The good news,” Eagar said, “is that while the requests for ‘city real estate’ are down across the board, there is a silver lining. With depressed real estate prices and interest rates at all time lows, we have ‘the perfect storm’ for ‘best time to buy’ real estate.” I’ll make a prediction here. The market is SO off right now, when we start getting some good news (if the media will let it out), you’re going to see a huge surge in real estate activity.
For the entire list of the 50 largest cities real estate SEO requests, email: