Here is a tool that is both interesting and helpful for your SEO and marketing. Google trends tracks the activity of internet search terms over a period of time. Although one downfall is if the term does not get enough activity and trends report can not be created.
Let us take the terms Maryland Homes and Maryland Real Estate (my service area). Both terms have trends that are fairly comparable as should be given the similarity of the meanings of the phrases. The activity gives us clues about the real estate market. First, notice the peak in mid 2005. This peak corresponds to the hottest point in our Maryland marketplace in recent years as it did with many locations across the United States. After that point into 2006 the terms overall were search for less often correlating to the real estate slowdown. Also notice the drop offs in the later part of the years. These are generally the months of November and December around the holidays when people have other things on their minds than home buying. Also the weather has gotten colder. We do seem to see an upward trend at right before the New Year. Maybe this is people's tendency for making plans to buy a home in the upcoming year.
So how can this tool help us? Well it can tell us which search terms online create the most activity and therefore optimization to your website can be done. It can also be used for marketing certain properties. Take a look at the trend below. In this example concentrating on the marketing of waterfront properties during the summer months would make more sense.
Here's another one that isn't hard to figure out. Divorce filed....into rehab.