Have you ever gone a day without jumping on Google? Have you even gone a waking hour or two without getting on Google? Google is just as much a part of our lives as anything we do. We rely on it for directions, recipes, reviews, business research, personal research, and much, much more.
In fact, Google processes 40,000 search processes per second, which equates to 3.5 billion per day, and around 1.2 TRILLION processes per year. That’s a lot of searching. Google also has an 89% market share (% of searches) in the US, so it’s safe to say that if something is a popular Google query, it’s also popular in society.
Need proof? Just look at the bar graph. These are the top Google searches. Anything look familiar? It all should, because these are all popular in society. We all shop at Walmart, we all watch Netflix, we all have a Facebook account, etc. Google search trends are a great glimpse into what is in, and what is out, in our culture.
Manufactured Housing Industry Trends
So…what does this mean for manufactured home retailers? It means we can use Google searches and trends to see how AND when potential customers are thinking about manufactured housing. And fortunately, Google realizes the need as well, and they’ve provided us with a tool to access trends nationwide: https://trends.google.com/
Let’s first look separately at the two terms that consumers use to call our product: ‘mobile home’ and ‘manufactured home.’ These graphs are on a relative scale, so 100 would be the most ever, and 0 would be the least ever.
The good news is that there is a slight upwards trend. Both ‘manufactured home’ and ‘mobile home’ are moving on up. It’s interesting to note that interest DOES NOT peak in March, when many dealers report that they are busiest. Interest actually peaks around July of every year – and this is consistent with site built housing trends.
When we put the two together, we see the massive discrepancy in how consumers refer to our product. Despite the industry’s best efforts, the popular term for our product is ‘mobile home.’ This is unfortunate because 1) there are some negative connotations associated with the term ‘mobile home’, and 2) many dealers are switching the terminology they’re using, which means that they may not be showing up in Google search results like they need to.
To further analyze the two terms, we went all the way back to 2004, prior to the crash in 2008 (See chart below)
‘Manufactured Home’ (red) and ‘Mobile Home’ (blue) compared, Since 2004
Look at the upward trend! That’s good, but it does seem to be leveling off in the past couple years. We’ll have to wait and see if that’s indicative of anything or not.
You’ll also notice that ‘manufactured home’ is not nearing the peak that it had in 2004. It’s usage has decreased in popularity, and hasn’t really seen the resurgence that ‘mobile home’ has.
“What should I do with this?”
We know your next question: “What do I do with this information?” And we’re with you there – data can be neat, but if you can’t do anything with it, it’s not worth much.
This data needs to shape how you write the content on your website. Despite the industry’s desires to change the terminology surrounding our product, consumers are still using the term ‘mobile home.’ This means that Google is out looking (crawling) for the term ‘mobile home’ on websites, so you need to make sure you have some reference to it on your website.
That doesn’t mean that you need to plaster it all over the home page. It means that it needs to included on the site, maybe buried in a blog or FAQ section. If you completely eliminate the term ‘mobile home’ from your website, you run the risk of buyers not finding you when they look for their new home.
Want some food for though before you leave? Look at ‘Home for sale’ vs ‘Mobile Homes for sale’. Like we said above, site built interest peaks in July, and overall interest absolutely trump interest in mobile and manufactured homes. Maybe the industry just needs to ditch the extra word (‘mobile’) and start selling ‘homes’?
But that’s a discussion for another day… ; )