My guess is that there is still a lot of interest from real estate professionals on how to use SEO (search engine optimization) to drive (free!) traffic to your site. With that in mind, I thought I’d keep people updated on the little SEO experiment I started a week ago. As you’ll likely see, the results so far have been somewhat mixed.
First the worst news: Google dropped RCG out of the simple search [Seattle Real Estate] (at least on the first few pages). RCG has been in the top 10 for at least a year, so this is quite surprising! (Over the past year, this term has driven about 3% of the new users to RCG, which might not seem like a lot, but it is the most dominant driver of traffic to the site. No other phrase even comes close.
Better news is that after eliminating some of the pages and focusing on only a few tabs on the top of the page, the results for searching like [agent recommendations] has been much better. (RCG is #1 on Google!)
Also of interest, it took less than a week for RCG to now appear on the front page of some obvious searches like [Seattle Real Estate blog] on both MSN and Yahoo. I think this bodes well for the future as these sites do a better job indexing RCG thanks to the keyword and title changes I made.
For comparison purposes, I’ve decided to see how the site has changed using these days:
Pre SEO changes: Nov 12th through the 16th
Post SEO changes: Dec 10th through the 14th
Considering the changes in the status on the big search engines on the big search terms, not much as changed in terms of overall traffic:
Google. Pre: 1738, Post: 1568
MSN. Pre: 41, Post: 42
Yahoo. Pre: 28, Post: 25
Ask. Pre: 22, Post: 15
Technorati. Pre: 21, Post: 34
The overall Google traffic decreased 10%, while there was virtually no change from the other search engines. I included Technorati thinking that would be the “control” that wouldn’t be affected by SEO, but of course, that is the ONLY site that increased substantially! Go Figure!
It’s been a long while since I posted about traffic on RCG. Two reasons come to mind… One, I’ve been swamped in starting my new job and never got around to updating my excel sheet and two, I knew we weren’t seeing much growth, so what’s the point 🙂
However, I took a little time out tonight to play around with RCG stats and I was actually surprised (in a good way!).
First I’ll give two charts and then I’ll explain what I learned from my research. The first chart looks at visitors and the search engines that they are coming from, while the second chart compares the growth in unique visitors to the total visitors to give an idea of how many people are returning to the site on a regular basis…
While traffic may not be growing exponentially any more, we’re still gaining new unique visitors at a relatively healthy clip. (If you take out all the Zillow-hype related traffic in February of this year, then the chart would look a lot more like exponential growth! 🙂 )
Google provides a majority of our unique visitors (almost 15K hits last month alone) and far outweighs any other traffic source (it is all organic traffic as I don’t spend any money on AdSense).
MSN and Yahoo still have not figured out how to parse through the glut of Seattle real estate content in order to drive more traffic to RCG! 🙂
The ratio of total visitors to unique visitors has always hovered between 3.0 and 4.0. This tells me a fair number of people continue to return to RCG and it increases as we attract more unique visitors. It also tells me we haven’t found the viral “secret sauce” that causes either a ton of unique visitors (who could care less about a majority of our content) or a super sticky feature that causes new visitors to come back at a higher rate.
61% are using Internet Explorer, 23% are using Firefox. The rest go using “Unknown” (8%), Safari (4%), and others…
Based on my request for questions a few days ago, I put together a slew of questions for Yahoo to answer about their new real estate site. I must say that I was a little bit disappointed in the number of times they state “we can’t comment on future releases or upgrades”, but otherwise, I think there are some nuggets of gold in their answers. (Note that I also added a few questions in the beginning to get them talking about their service before I hit them with the agent-specific stuff. 🙂 )
1) What are the three best features of the new site?
1. Integration with Yahoo! Local & Maps:
Yahoo! Real Estate has added maps with satellite imagery so house hunters can easily see where homes for sale or rentals are located and their proximity to roads and other landmarks. In addition, integration with Yahoo! Local allows users to also see “inside information
Today Yahoo! Real Estate announced a revamped site which includes comprehensive tools and services to help home seekers chose their dream home. Yahoo! Real Estate is now more tightly integrated with Yahoo! Search and Local, giving users inside information (like mortgages, local market rates, even ratings and reviews on local restaurants, businesses and schools) for the more than 3 million homes listed on the site.
Below you’ll find a release detailing the improvements. If you’re interested in learning more, I’d be happy to arrange an interview with a Yahoo! Real Estate spokesperson, please feel free to email or call me on XXX.XXX.XXXX.
It is really not appropriate for me to do the interview, so I’d rather turn this back on RCG readers… Are there any questions you have for Yahoo about their new site?
If you do have questions, let me know ASAP because I’d like to aggregate the 10 best questions and pass them along to Haley by the end of the day today!