A recent study from Estate Agents (Realtors) in North America has highlighted some very interesting and important issues with changes in customer search activities.
Estate agents in Ireland and the UK should sit up and take note.
The keyword search patterns have shifted considerably from 2013 to 2016 - the volume of searches under the same key words has dipped significantly.
Monthly search volumes per keyword:
The top search result of 2.51 million for Realtor(s) in 2016 was @ 9.1 million in 2013
One of the central reasons is that in 2013 the US market was not as buoyant as it is today and property hunters were looking for more help finding their properties and establishing what market prices were etc. In 2017 the market has improved, they feel less need to seek out an estate agent and more are looking to sell their properties FSBO (For Sale By Owner).
For estate agents this actually means they need to market more even though the market itself is moving in the right direction.
For Irish and UK agents the learnings can be seen from the nature of the keyword searches. Perhaps it is not that customers are no longer looking for Realtors (or estate agents in our case) but rather their search approach and mechanisms have changed. They are no longer searching within such a broad pool as '"Realtor".
For starters you should be looking to localise your search - "Estate Agent Cork" for example. Think about 'Long Tail' search, where searchers are looking for something very specific and entering very long detailed sentences to narrow their search. Long tail has become a core driver of search ranking over the last couple of years. In fact as search continues to get more sophisticated agents should be planning to dominate a subject end-to-end. In this scenario Google will be rewarding on how strong a particular business is on an overall theme and not just a single subject area or long tail item. This requires a sustained and consistently broad approach to ever specific search requests.
From a keyword perspective the message is REFINE REFINE REFINE - you must look to move into the niche your target audience will be in - what are the specifics they are looking for and what else is on their spectrum of needs. This delivers not just a better search outcome with a better conversion rate but also ensures you steer clear of broad, generic and expensive key words.