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Real Estate Tool of the Month: Google Trends

by | Apr 01, 2014

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What is Google Trends?

I discovered this little gem about six months ago, and have been obsessed with it ever since! Google Trends is an online search tool that allows you to see how specific keywords, topics and phrases have trended over a period of time. It graphs how often a term is used over time and where geographically most people are searching for a given term. This data can be exported the data into a .CSV file which can be opened in Excel or other spreadsheet applications. Another cool feature is that you can compare up to five terms to view their relative popularity.

Why is all of this important? For a couple reasons:

  • Mobile: More and more consumers are searching on mobile devices. And people search differently on mobile than they do on a computer. If they are typing the search, they tend to use fewer words. If they are using voice controls, they tend to be more conversational. This will an affect on the keyword phrases you choose.

  • Change: The only constant is change, and you can be sure the topics and phrased that consumers use to search for real estate online will change as well. If you're going to go to work hard at optimizing your website and content for a keyword phrase, wouldn't you rather use a phrase that is trending UP, rather than one that is trending DOWN?

How can you use Google Trends as a Real Estate Tool?

Keyword Research: One of the most important processes of SEO and the entire search process is finding the right keyword phrases. Keywords are what consumers type into a search engine to find you or your content online. My favorite way to use it for keyword research is to compare the level of interest among several target phrases. Here's an example I did to compare possible keyword phrases agents might use when searching for photography services. It's easy to see that for Obeo, "Real Estate Photography" would be the wisest choice of keyword phrases.

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Trend Research: I think this is really fun! Every six months or so, check your keyword phrases to see if they are trending up or down. You need to stay on top of what consumers are doing online, and how mobile might be changing the way they search and the phrases they use. You also need to stay on top of consumer trends. Do you think consumers are interested in real estate search apps? If not, maybe this will change your mind:

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Competition and Industry Monitoring: See how you compare and trend compared to your competition! While the downward trend that started back when the bubble burst is a bit scary, overall it's encouraging to see how many people search for Obeo compared to our competition!

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Content for Social Sharing: Within Google Trends is a section called Hot Trends, which is a list of the fastest rising search terms/topics at the moment. This isn't an absolute measure of popularity, it is a measure of which terms are hot and trending in news and social media feeds like Facebook and Twitter. By checking out what is trending on any given day, you can be sure to share content that is hot, and more likely to go viral. Give people what they are looking for!

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News Jacking: News Jacking is a very hot SEO technique at the moment. Select a topic off the Hot Searches list above, blog about it, and then promote through your social media channels like Facebook and Twitter using any hashtag that may be associated with the topic. In order for this to work, you have to work FAST, as trending topics change quickly! Newsjacking can be fun, such as a baby naming contest for a pregnant celebrity who is trending. Or you can take a serious topic, such as the flooding in Boulder, Colorado last fall (assuming this was written at the time of the flooding), and do a photo blog. Or create a list of resources for flood victims.

Further Reading

MIAMI Blog
RCA Commercial Blog
International Blog

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