First the news that they’re getting beaten handily by their rivals Zillow in the traffic game (see John Cook’s post on TechFlash).

According to Zillow’s COO Spencer Rascoff, Zillow pulled in 7,529,360 visitors in January. A pretty impressive achievement.

Compounding the situation for the big T though, comes news yesterday that Trulia’s city results have dropped out of Google’s search results.

Sure enough, a search for “portland real estate” and “san francisco real estate” now returns zero Trulia results. A search for “seattle real estate” however still brings them up, but in a much lower position than they previously occupied.

No indication as to why the company was dropped from the index — though some bloggers are theorizing it was because they were penalized for their URL structure.

Regardless, dropping out of the Google index, even if it’s only temporarily, can’t be good for the company’s traffic-building attempts.

The race to try and knock Realtor.com off its perch as the #1 place for real estate related eyeballs (see 3 sites join real estate top-20 rankings) has getting really interesting lately. Yahoo, for example, has made enormous strides in taking them on, even with all the turmoil that has surrounded the company lately.

And Zillow, as evidenced by its strong January showing, is obviously not content playing in third place either. They want a shot at the title.

Interestingly, their impressive January numbers were, according to John Cook, also as a result of some SEO fiddling undertaken by the company.

I heard from a real estate source this week that Zillow has figured out some new search engine optimization techniques, which are helping to build traffic…

Let’s just hope it wasn’t the same techniques Trulia were using.

photo by faeryboots

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