I take a lot of time looking at my stats for Canadarentals.net. This helps me to see what is being searched, and also, an idea of what is not being searched with my site. This could either mean that people aren’t using the phrase, or that my site is not yet ranked for that phrase in the engines. Either way, it often feels like I am unraveling a mystery, and sometimes my hunches are right, and sometimes they are not.
I have also learned that if you gear your site towards one “golden” search phrase, and that is your only goal, you are going to lose out on other smaller, more obscure phrases and combinations that people might use to find your site. By looking at my stats, I am noticing that people type in fairly long search phrases – which is good, especially if you are a brand-new site. These phrases are much easier to be ranked with. For example:
This is a phrase that comes up very well on one search engine (at the top), and that phrase is the most popular. However, as I scroll down the list for that same search engine, the top 500 searches are, by majority, longer phrases that often times single out a specific element – a neighbourhood, street intersection, or demographic (such as ‘gay friendly’ apartments toronto). Abbreviations are common here too – “sask” instead of “Saskatchewan.”
Macdonald apartments, Cunard Street Halifax
This is an example of a very specific phrase that came up in my stats. Searches like this are very common, and although you may only get one visit from a unique search from this phrase, you may get hundreds our thousands of visits for similar, long search strings that are similar. If half of your searches come from one “golden phrase” the other half, if not more, should come from these long strings with specifics.
The key to coming up for these strings has been by doing research on each city, and writing about each one. Including neighbourhoods and city landmarks has increased my search depth and traffic by a large margin. Finding out about different universities in each city, and including details about off-campus housing and student housing has also been a great source of new search terms and traffic – and ultimately LISTINGS!
So the short answer to the question “Top search phrases for the Canadian Apartment and Home Rental Market” in my experience is:
apartments in fredericton
apartments in lethbridge
HOUSES FOR RENT IN CALGARY
apartments in edmonton
edmonton house rentals
apartments in winnipeg
calgary home rentals
However, again, these phrases make up only a marginal percentage of all searches on the site. By continually adding relevant and unique content to the site on a daily basis, my traffic has steadily been increasing, mostly from the more obscure and specific search phrases and combinations that are found in the text and content of the page, and not in the title tag or keywords.
Ok, I am off to continue unraveling the mystery!