While on a client call yesterday, I was conducting a review of their search positions and their competitive landscape. When I pulled up their search results I noticed a major player that was notably missing – Trulia. I looked back at my ranking logs and verified that Trulia had consistently ranked at the top for this search term. After the call, I decided to test a few more keywords. Every search that I tried yielded the same result – Trulia missing from Google’s search results.
Here are a few:
Raleigh real estate – Google rank (not in top 200) – Yahoo rank #4
Houston real estate – Google rank (not in top 200) – Yahoo rank #4
Dallas real estate – Google rank (not in top 200) – Yahoo rank #5
Ann Arbor Real Estate – Google rank 159 – Yahoo rank #2
Of course Google ranking and Yahoo ranking can vary, but these dramatic differences in ranking leads me to think that Google may have placed a penalty on Trulia.
Clients Started Asking
Earlier today I received emails from Kevin Tomlinson of Miami Beach and a few other clients asking what happened to Trulia. I explained that Trulia hasn’t always been spotless when it came to their SEO strategy.
Truliaâ€™s SEO Tactics
Some of you guys may remember Trulia was caught back in June for cloaking pages. This is obviously against Google’s TOS but I wouldn’t think that something that happened last summer would just now result in a penalty.
Trulia’s PR Problem
The cloaking incident wasn’t the only issue that turned out to be a PR problem (Public Relations not PageRank). Last March Trulia made the call to nofollow links to real estate agent listing pages. Granted they still follow links within an Agent’s profile. But this did cause an uproar in RE.net. In May, they were also accused of Hidden Text, although to be fair, it was simply a usability issue and not an attempt to trick the search engines.
Has Trulia finally pushed the SEO envelop too far for Google? If so, this could be a huge opportunity for Agents and Brokers to regain their positioning in the search results.
A Glitch in The Matrix
I messaged @trulia on Twitter to get his thoughts. He simply said Glitch in Matrix? We’re looking into it… I’m curious to see if this is truly just a “glitch” and how much information they will disclose.
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Update: Eric Baramlett looked into this a little more. It turns out that Truia had a WordPress on a subdomain that was hacked. You can read the full story here