Been a ridiculously great morning at the…

Been a ridiculously great morning at the HomeQuest Social Media Summit in Portland.

We had a packed house… Great audience. Wonderful crowd. Engaging speakers. So much fun!

And the speakers were unbeatable. There’s always so much to learn from:

And if you were at the event, we’d love your feedback… What did you think? How could we improve the event/presentations?

[Photo from Dale Chumbley!]

Another Rock’n Inman Conference

As always, the Real Estate Connect Event put on by Inman this year rocked!  The information, the people, the food, the fun…  it’s just way too much fun (honestly too much!).  And I know I’m a bit biased, but I hang with a really great group of people, even if you’all do stay out a bit too late.

125x125_nyc_09Combine a great New York City trip with being able to team up with Jay Thompson for a session on blogging and you know I’m going to have fun.

Follow that up with a great opportunity to moderate a discussion on the future of mobile technology in real estate with Brad Blumbert of SmarterAgent, Mark Ford of Qwasi, Dawn Doherty of StreetEasy and Jamie Glenn of Trulia and I was feeling pretty darn good!   But then give me the opportunity to moderate another panel on web analytics with Gahlord Dewald of Union Street Media, Marty Frame of CyberHomes, Ed Freyfogle of Nestoria and Anita Gandi of Hitwise and I was in online real estate geek heaven!

I learned a ton from so many folks at Inman this year, so thanks again to everyone who connected up over the past few days!

Sadly, I’m going to be missing out on the last day of the event (thanks to the fact that I doubled up my NYC time with a client meeting on Friday), but I did that very reluctantly as I cherish every minute I get to soak up from the great folks in online real estate!

Can’t wait to see you’all in San Francisco!

Has Google Analytics Gone Bad?

A few weeks ago I moved the Rain City Guide servers over to new servers.  Starting a few days before I moved the site over, I noticed a drop in the amount of traffic that coming to RCG as measured by Google Analytics:

Total Traffic to Rain City Guide

The fact that it started a few days beforehand didn’t really surprise me since I had been having trouble with the host (hence the move!).

However, the huge drop that Google Analytics shows is almost entirely from a drop in search engine (think: Google) traffic: Search Engine Traffic to Rain City Guide

It’s not pretty, but I figured it was a reality and just part of the consequences of moving the site from one server to another and I figured Google would hopefully start sending lots search traffic again over time.  But here’s where it gets weird.

The ONLY indication I have that our search traffic has decreased is Google Analytics… All other indications are that the traffic is just about the same.

For example, Quantcast total daily visits from the same time frame (which, just like Google Analytics, uses a bit of javascript I installed in the footer of the site):

Quantcast Daily Visits to Rain City Guide

Diving deeper into the search terms I can see that for terms we used to rank really well for, like [moving to Seattle], Google Analytics said we dropped to only one person visiting us from that search term yesterday:

Moving to Seattle search term on Rain City Guide

But, I simply can’t believe that for two reasons:

  1. The Rain City Guide post on Moving to Seattle is STILL the #1 result on Google for the term
  2. WP-Stats (also using a bit of Java-script in the footer) says we got 32 views from that term yesterday which is a bit low, but closer to what I’d expect by showing up #1 under that particular term in google:

WP-Stat Top Terms

For those wondering, I didn’t touch the Google Analytics code when I moved servers. Nor did I install any caching or other plugins that would be related to this in any way that I can think of…

And finally, just to show you that the issue really is only related to search engine traffic, both the direct traffic and referring traffic have remained pretty consistent throughout this time period:

Direct Traffic to Rain City Guide

Referring Traffic to Rain City Guide

So finally…

My questions for the 4realz community:

  • What is going on with Google Analytics?   Is it busted?  Any ideas on why it would only be picking up a small portion of the search terms that come to Rain City Guide?
  • Or maybe you’d argue that RCG’s google search traffic really did drop off heavily…  But then wouldn’t you have expected us to stop ranking well in the usual phrases [agent recommendations], [Seattle real estate blog], etc.?

UPDATE:

After only 14 hours or so of a fix (thanks to an idea I had inspired by a comment below), the search engine traffic on RCG as measured by GA has had a nice bump: Updated Search Engine Traffic on Rain City Guide

(Notice the jump at the right of the chart… That’s today’s traffic from search engines)

At least for one of the WordPress blogs that I run, all evidence points to the fact that the existing tracking code went bust at some point in mid-May!   Obviously, if you’re also noticing that GA is measuring a drop in search engine traffic, as some others have mentioned in the comments, then try upgarding to the latest javascript code.

4realz Roundtable today: Tracking and analytics for agents

NOTE:  You can listen to the podcast and read a brief summary of the show at the bottom of the post!

As I mentioned last week, I’m putting together a list of resources for agents for a presentation at RE Connect…  and at the end of the process, I’ll end up with a list of the top 50 marketing tools for agents.   However, over the next month or so, I’m hoping to really dive into some specific areas and so I thought I’d start with tracking and analytical tools for agents by bringing the conversation to the 4realz Roundtable.

Today’s Roundtable will be at 4PM PST! And, as always, we’d love to have you take part!

If you’re an agent who’s eye’s glace over at this subject, I’m hoping you’ll try to stick with it a bit because I think there is no better way to find value in your internet marketing then measuring, tracking and adjusting your online marketing and I hope to get into some strategies with the participants of the roundtable today!

With that in mind, here’s a great list of tools from an email that was sent to me last week by Gahlord Dewald of Union Street Media last week (and reprinted with his permission!):

Survive the downturn by using analytics to listen to and observe your customers
  • Google Analytics. Survive the downturn by knowing more about your customers. More reports than you’ll ever have time to read. Free.
  • SiteScan GA. To save a few bucks you installed Google Analytics yourself. Did you install it correctly? Use SiteScan to find out. Free
  • CrazyEgg. Know exactly where on a page people are clicking and how soon after arriving they click. Ruthlessly prune links that don’t improve your conversions. Free.
  • 4q. Listening to your customers is important no matter if the market is good or bad. 4Q mashes analytics expert Avinash Kaushik’s brain with qualitative experts iPerceptions into a simple, easy to use 4 question survey to capture the voice of the customer. Free (this is the absolute best free “qualitative analytics” tool on the market).
  • FeedBurner. Sure it’s also great for simplifying your blog’s RSS feed. But it also lets you know what content your audience is reading and clicking on. Use this to help you write stuff your audience wants. Free
  • ClickTale. Ever want to observe exactly how visitors browse through your site including cursor placement, clicks and time? Clicktale is the next best thing to looking over their shoulder while they browse your site. WARNING: Time consuming and addictive. Free
  • GetClicky.  Where your visitors come from, what content they view, what links they followed, how they got there and more: in Real Time. Free
Survive the downturn by dominating your competition
  • Keyword Envy. You’re good enough to know which specific keywords matter to you. You can track your site’s performance over time at Keyword Envy. Free
  • Compete.com.  Competitive research on the web is notoriously fuzzy. But people still want it. If you want to do competitive research, use Compete.com for its combination of data sources. Free
  • SEOQuake. What is so great about the sites ahead of yours in the Search Engine Results Page? Install SEOQuake on your browser and find out things like latest cachedate, google page rank, number of backlinks, did they submit a sitemap and more right at the SERP. Free.
Survive the downturn by getting smarter
  • Web Analytics Wednesday. Once a week, in your town (or one near you) web analysts get together to drink beer, give a short presentation and talk shop. They love talking to real people with real business problems. Attend a Web Analytics Wednesday.
I found this list from Gahlord to be extremely helpful… and a GREAT jumping point into the world of analytics.  With today’s participants, I hope to get people talking about the tools they use and/or recommend… and why!

Are you an analytically-minded agent or someone who wants to get more technical in your online marketing? Join us at 4pm to let us know what tools you’re using and get some feedback from others from the roundtable on what you could do better in the future!

Note about the Roundtable

I’ve had more than a few questions about what it takes to get involved… Essentially, the answer is not much.   If you want to listen into the conversation, then you need only log in from the talk shoe site.   If you want to ask questions live (as oppose to the chat), then you’ll need to call in using any phone.   ALL the information needed to get involved is on the TalkShoe site!

UPDATE:

What an awesome show!

There was a great group of people on the call including Andy Kaufman, Kevin Tomlinson, Mark Eckenrode, Grant Freer, Jeff Turner, Todd Carpenter, Gabe Hoggarth, and Jim Marks.

We covered all kinds of topics including a few websites not mentioned above like Have a Mint and Woopra.  However, I think the real value for most agents will come from our discussion on how much agents should know (and need to know) about SEO.

If you’re an agent interested in understanding what you need to know about SEO, tracking and analytics in order to improve your business, I can only imagine that you’ll find this roundtable discussion very enlightening:

The 1st 4RealzEd event was yesterday and…

4ealzEdI think I’ve recovered enough now to actually post about it! 🙂

Despite our best efforts to be prepared, the day started off a bit rough with a nearby mudslide taking out power in our building in the morning (meaning no hot coffee and no projector) and a 9-car pileup on a nearby freeway slowed me down tremendously. AHHH

So, to say it started rough would be an understatement… But once it started, things seem to get on a roll quickly.

I started with an overview of consumers expectations in a web2.0 world to set expectations for the day… Jim followed up with presentation on optimal features and design for a real estate website. Then it turned back to me for a presentation on social networking… lunch… then another presentation by me on creating value through blogging about communities. And we returned for the day’s finally with Jim giving a engaging presentation on measuring and tracking marketing results to ensure a positive ROI.

All around, it was a wonderful day! And, maybe they were just being nice, but the attendees who talked with me said only good things about the education.

Because I promised attendees I would give them a list of all the sites I mentioned in my presentations (so that they wouldn’t have to ask me to spell out each URL), here is the list for everyone’s benefit.

Consumer Expectations in a Web2.0 World:

Engaging in Social Networking to Earn Clients

Using Blogs to Build Communities

I wasn’t tracking the sites that Jim mentioned, but there were not nearly as many of them in his presentations…

And thanks again to all the bloggers who have helped spread the word about the event, the sponsors who helped us keep the price low and all the attendees who made the day possible!

I received some incredible feedback from all three groups, which is going to lead me to make some changes to the upcoming events (I’ll announce those early next week!). Great stuff all around. Thanks again to everyone!

Zillow’s hosting a conference call on home values at…

11am today where you can quiz them on their latest quarterly report.

Negative Owner Equity
I don’t think it will surprise many readers, but their data on homeowner equity paints a pretty bleak picture from the Central Valley of California down to Riverside (as well as the Las Vegas area).

Greg already covered tonight’s Redfin announcements…

in detail, so no need for me to repeat things.  But what stuck out for me the first time I read the press release was that they are now giving consumers the ability to export all of their saved listings to a spreadsheet for better off-line analysis.

That’s a beautiful idea.   And it pains me a bit that the site is still “under maintenance”, because I can’t wait to to see how this feature comes together in practice.