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Adding Real Estate Statistics Doubled My Website Traffic

Probability & Statistics

Do you have my numbers?

At BlogWorld last week I had the privilege of meeting Mike Simonsen of Altos Research. I use his products*, so I was excited to spend a few minutes chatting with him. When I first was introduced to Mike on Twitter, I liked what I saw, but to be honest, I didn’t see the need for statistics. I wanted to sell houses, not be a mathematician.

Eventually, I decided to toy with statistics and start understanding them. I blogged about them, learned them, and quoted them. As I started to use them, I started to see how useful they actually were. I thought most people (outside of investors) cared more about the feelings, the emotions, and the qualities of a home. I was wrong.

Since adding statistics to my website, my traffic has doubled and several of my market reports are viewed more often than other pages. I get requests for my reports and have phone conversations about them with prospective clients. I use them in listing presentations and show them to co-workers when we’re discussing an issue. Statistics are becoming more a part of my life everyday.

So what does any of this have to do with you, the new agent? Everything. Take my advice and dive into statistics and learn to love them – you’ll be shocked at how many consumers want to know more about them. When you do statistics posts, don’t just cut and paste how many houses are available in a neighborhood. Talk about what that means to your readers. Explain to them supply and demand. Show them how although the “market is bad” – their particular neighborhood is outperforming others. Use them for insight, not fluff.

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As you do more and more, watch your website – see which posts start becoming hot spots. I’d be willing to set a high probability that it’s your statistics.

* In the interest of disclosure, I do use Altos Research, but I pay for their services. I have received a free t-shirt from Mike, but that has nothing to do with this post.

photo courtesy of Rob Ireton

P.S. I’m a bit behind in my work, so I apologize for my brief post. Return soon and I’ll be caught back up.

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Written By

Matt is a former PA-based rockstar turned real estate agent with RE/MAX Access in San Antonio, TX. He was asked to join AgentGenius to provide a look at the successes and trials of being a newer agent. His consumer-based outlook on the real estate business has helped him see things from both sides. He is married to a wonderful woman from England who makes him use the word "rubbish."

27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Bob Wilson

    October 22, 2009 at 3:50 am

    Matt, could you expand a bit on your traffic stats? I’m curious how adding stats drove additional visitors. Are you able to make a correlation between what your analytics shows as increased traffic sources and the reports?

  2. Atlanta Real Estate

    October 22, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Matt;

    Great post. Interesting. I never thought that all those boring statistics posted on many Realtor sites did anything more than help fill up the page. I know that’s why I put them on my site. LOL!

    Nice to hear someone getting some mileage out of them.

  3. Benn Rosales

    October 22, 2009 at 9:49 am

    Bob – I went through this exercise about a 1.5 yrs ago in the Austin market and oddly enough where physically typing out numerical data rather than a screen capture and we did see noticeable keyword traffic relative to market statistics especially by area/market. Suddenly we were ranking for longtail we had never even considered that produced leads based on very specific market data- namely “should I sell in my neighborhood” “is this the neighborhood I should invest in for lease property” sorts of clientèle. I also believe it was Kelley Kohler that wrote a post on similar results here on AG although I may be wrong.

    I didn’t do it as a means to increase google traffic so I wasn’t documenting it as such, but the bump was considerable. It may be worth a controlled testing.

    Matt, it’s often the nuggets that come by way of the quick post that are the most valuable, and this post proves it. Short or long, value can come from a single idea, word, or phrase.

    Nothing on Mike Simenson here, but you dont have pay for this type of data to get these sorts of results in TX as our MLS/Boards provide more market data then we really know what to do with. It’s how you write it out, the titles you create, and how specific and unique the keywords are. If you’re not into buying data, just use the data you’re already paying for through your board.

  4. Jeffrey Douglass

    October 22, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Matt, I too use Altos on my blog with really good results. I love the new flash graphs and find I am in conversations with many potential Clients regarding market data. While real estate is about emotion, the prudent real estate buyer should be aware of market trends before making purchase decisions. Thanks for your post.

    Benn, I agree with your statement and have seen the same.

  5. Matt Stigliano

    October 22, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Bob – Yes, I can make the direct correlation based on Google keyword searches. Some of my most common keyword searches revolve around “market report 782xx” (where xx is the last two digits of a zip code I cover). My general Market Reports page, where users can actually pick and choose the statistics they’d like to chart is in the Top 10 viewed pages on my site most days and overall (it is slightly newer) is ranked #13 on my site.

    Rob – I always thought they were a bit “hey check me out, I know stats therefore I am an expert” and hadn’t really gotten into them much. One thing I have noticed though while reading blogs of other agents is that I tend to actually pay attention to those posts when they have a bit of substance to them. Analyze the figures – even just a little and people pay attention more. Show me a graph and I’ll click through without a second thought. To me, the worst stats are the cut and paste “here’s what’s listed in the MLS” pages. Those aren’t stats, those are houses for sale – to me there is a difference.

    Benn – I do think I have read a post by Kelley on this topic. I definitely think that charts and stats without analysis won’t get you very far – either in interest by the public or by Google. Our board does pump out some good statistics if you’re willing to put it all together. I like Altos Research because of it’s ease of use and nice output. You always have encouraged me to write it, no matter how useful I think it is, so I guess this is a case in point.

    Jeffrey – Just wait until I write my new post about a trick I learned with the flash charts that is coming in handy (I’ll probably write that over at ActiveRain). I spoke with Mike about it and he’s excited about the possibilities. I need to do some further experiments with it, but once I get it down, I’ll post it.

  6. Tiffany Cloud

    October 22, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Matt,
    Stats are how I differentiate myself from the competition and they were wonders when trying to negotiate as well. Fantastic advise. Thanks for the reminder and new information!

  7. Claudia Gonella

    October 22, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Really interested in reading this post as, so far, we’re finding that our market data posts get less attention and feedback than our ‘how to” or ‘top tips’ posts.

    The goal of our website is to bring data to real estate buyers and sellers looking at Central America. (Official stats are not released so we’re hoping to help fill a data gap).

    We’re exploring different ways of presenting the data – the latest is a 2009 Price rank for master communities something that is hard to get anywhere else – but so far these posts get less attention. Maybe it’s too early to tell and we have not experimented enough with different formats or data types but that’s the result so far.

  8. Lisa Heindel

    October 22, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    Matt, I’m a numbers junkie, so from the moment I started blogging, I included local market stats. Those first reports were absolutely horrid, but as time went on I learned how to interpret the data enough to have sellers pick up the phone and provide enough visuals for the scanners.

    Keeping a database of 6 years of sales info makes it very easy for me to see trends in my area and (hopefully) communicate them to my readers. My most popular new posts each month are market reports – IMO, people truly are interested in what the market is doing, whether they plan on buying, selling or staying put.

  9. Keith Lutz

    October 22, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    This is an excellent article. I used Altos Research for awhile about 2 years ago, when it was just a chart on my page, it was free to me then. Have to reconsider this.

  10. Joe Loomer

    October 23, 2009 at 6:52 am

    Wow Matt – great post and helps edify things I’ve been doing recently. Although our MLS provides some market data – none of it is in readable or micro-level format. I pump the info into excel sheets to generate graphs – which are much more visual and help my listing appointments end up with the price I recommend. In other words, I don’t take the blame for the market.

    Now I’m going to take a page from your book and figure out how to post them on the front page of my site.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  11. Bruce Lemieux

    October 23, 2009 at 7:52 am

    For me, an unexpected benefit from doing stats for my blog was that I became a better, more knowledgeable agent. My local market is like a Tale of Two Cities — one’s booming, the other’s not. The difference – price range. Knowing the data helps convert buyers and sellers. I know which areas and price ranges are hot, and which are not because I look at these numbers at least once per month for my site.

    I think it’s important to keep the stats as simple and straight-forward as possible. It’s very easy to throw up a complicated charts that confuse rather than clarify. That’s always a constant challenge for me.

    I’ve seen super-sexy graphs produced using https://www.maani.us/xml_charts/index.php For me, I stick to Excel>Chart>Jpeg.

  12. Claude Labbe

    October 24, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    I’m with Bruce on this one, so I’m not “adding” to this dialog other than to say, I started working with stats in the early summer. Four months later, I have a different appreciation and understanding of the market behaviors around me. This allows a different discussion for those sellers or buyers who are more numbers driven. When those numbers represent $, it makes sense.
    Now I’ll have to monitor this topic because I suspect Matt has a lot more suggestions that will help us all out.

    -Claude

  13. Matt Stigliano

    October 29, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Tiffany – Great negotiating tools and great tools for showing clients exactly why you’re thinking what you’re thinking. I’ve found that giving them the numbers and discussing them helps them see the points I’m trying to make.

    Claudia – Perhaps it’s a cultural difference (from the stand point of both locals and foreigners buying in your area)?

    Lisa – Your point about them being interested regardless of their housing plans rings true to me. I’ve had a few people ask me about numbers and after some discussion they told me that they were just interested in seeing how it all worked. With all the talk of our housing markets in the media, it’s no wonder people have a heightened awareness of the statistics and want to know more, especially locally.

    Keith – I definitely encourage you to give something a try. Definitely visual, but with solid analysis from you to back it up. The words are good to explain and of course help bring the SEO value to the post too.

    Joe – I’ve spoken to a few agents recently who have been really ramping up their market reports and using them to their advantage. Good to see you’re one of them. Whether home grown like yours or computer-built like mine, the visual is important. The analysis are what seals the deal.

    Bruce – You hit on something super-important there. I know my market better thanks to paying attention to these reports. When someone asks, I can visualize charts in my head and spit out numbers for them to get a better picture. And when I can’t remember a particular, I can always pull them up on my phone as well so I can show them right then and there the answer to their question.

    Claude – One of the great things I learned recently by using my own statistics was that sometimes an area will defy the laws of supply and demand. When I saw the chart, I thought “wait a minute, that doesn’t make sense.” So I sat there, thinking of that area and trying to figure out what was happening. Turned out, after some thought, I could see several outside influences that would make supply and demand not work properly. When I had that “a-ha” moment, I realized that not only did the stats help me show my clients what was going on, but also helped me gain perspective on something I might otherwise not have noticed.

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