Search Engine Optimization for Real Estate Websites

The Organic Traffic Drop On Real Estate Websites in June 2022, and Our Strategic Response

Google’s Algorithm Updates and Other Factors of Anticipated Traffic Decline

To bring the most relevant search results, Google will update their algorithm on a regular basis. The latest Google algorithm update on May 22 (2022) had some significant impacts on the traffic of our real estate websites. It’s common for small business websites to experience fluctuations (dips) in traffic after algorithm updates. We confidently expected a traffic drop of 30% or more in June for more reasons than Google’s shift:

May 2017/2018 Real Estate website SEO traffic drop Google report
2017 and 2018 both showed 10~15% traffic drop in June compared to May

The Winners & Losers Of This Algorithm Update

Some websites were hit much harder than others when this algorithm update was rolled out. According to reports, websites that used AI-generated content lost devastating amounts of traffic. Fortunately, Brixwork’s SEO strategy involves human-written custom content, and we hope that none of our clients resorted to AI bots to write their content.

We’ve analyzed many of our more active Realtor® websites, and here’s what we found as far as traffic patterns went after this algorithm update:
Inactive Realtor® websites reports Google SEO

Inactive Websites Lost About 50% of traffic

The real estate websites that lost around half their traffic had the following in common:

  • No blog, or inactive (no recent new articles) blog

  • No regular social media shares (therefore no traffic)

  • Whether the website structure & mobile framework was old (2+ years old) or not was not a major factor.

Websites that Lost Only 10~30% of traffic

The websites that lost traffic, but not much more than the already anticipated traffic decline based on market/human behaviours had the following in common:

  • An active blog with recent custom written content

  • And/Or regular social media shares & inbound traffic

  • Once again, how new (or old) the code structure was had little impact.

Active Real Estate Websites May 2022 SEO Google Report
Relatively young website with active blogging lost about a quarter
Google report of Realtor websites Brixwork SEO
Website with a previous SEO campaign for 1 year saw normal declines in line with market drops.
Google report of MLS® Reciprocity enabled Realtor websites
MLS® Reciprocity enabled website with years of tenure & impressive social media share history fared well.

Other Common Factors That Affected Loss Or Gain

Regardless of whether the website had an active blog or not, the following affected traffic loss:

  • Websites that already had significant ranking built up and consistent social media postings over the years were least impacted.

  • Websites that had upgraded to a mobile-ready version on the new Brixwork architecture early, with MLS® Reciprocity and google-friendly URLs for more than 5 years already, were the least impacted even without a blog.

Brixwork’s Strategy To Work With Google’s New Algorithm

The age old mantra of “Content is King” in the world of SEO has not changed, and will not change for a long time. While the traffic drops most likely indicate Google is favouring larger websites (, major brokerage websites, Redfin & other conglomerates) there are many opportunities for individual Realtor® websites with the right strategy.

Continued Focus on Quality Content (as always)

Better URL structures, better heading & content, and great photos (and fast delivery of such) still remain the best arsenal for best Google™ rankings. Our SEO programs continue to focus on this and we will keep the course steady. For all Brixwork clients, routines to improve ranking is easy:

Structural Upgrades for Load Time Enhancement

We’ve successfully experimented with more JS/CSS defer schemes to improve load time, as well as being able to reduce the # of HTTP requests per page load. Google does take into account how quickly & smoothly a page loads, especially on mobile. These advanced mechanisms will be deployed on websites subscribed to our SEO program.

Discourage full-page covering lead gen forms

“Sign up for..” forms that cover up entire pages on load degrade your Google ranking, and we are moving more towards corner modals that are not obstructive, or inline forms within a page with well-designed call-to-action placement.