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:
Website traffic in June is typically 10~15% lower than May (excluding anomaly years such as the COVID19 pandemic years).
The first summer with almost all COVID restrictions dropped means more vacations & travels, less home searches & tours.
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 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.
Relatively young website with active blogging lost about a quarter
Website with a previous SEO campaign for 1 year saw normal declines in line with market drops.
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 (REW.ca, 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.