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Q: Who is searching for "Section 8"? ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Who is searching for "Section 8"?
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: frankshank-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 12 Mar 2003 12:42 PST
Expires: 11 Apr 2003 13:42 PDT
Question ID: 175275
I know that there are thousands of monthly searches performed on the
keywords "section 8". Section 8 is a federally run program that
provides rent payments for low income families. I would like to know
if the searches are being performed by property owners looking for
information on how to participate in the program or by low income
individuals seeking information on the program. You can find
information on the subject on this page: (this
provides information on illinois' section 8 program).
Subject: Re: Who is searching for "Section 8"?
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 12 Mar 2003 18:01 PST
Hello Frankshank, and thank you for a very challenging question. 

Originally, I wasn't going to touch this one, for the reason that
robertskelton-ga commented on:  I felt certain there wouldn't be any
sort of record of who was conducting which searches.  And I must say,
I'm glad that there isn't.  But your response that it was OK to make
an educated guess opened up a good avenue of exploration to at least
give an overall sense of where the interest lies in searching for
Section 8 information.

What I did was to make use of the Google "link" function to ascertain
who has an interest in Section 8.  The "link" search on a URL lets you
know which sites include links to that URL.  By conducting a link
search on two sites that focus on Section 8, I was able to get a good
overview of who "backlinks" to the sites -- that is, who is interested
enough in those sites to include links to them.

If this isn't clear yet, it will be when I give you the results,

But first, the bottom line:  the level of interest in Section 8
appears to be pretty evenly divided between commercial interests
(landlords, realtors, etc) and non-profit organizations that provide
housing services to low income families.  The two groups, though, seem
to rely on different resources for their information.

The first backlink search was conducted on the main HUD page for
Section 8 -- "Housing Choice Vouchers" -- that explains the Section 8


This search revealed that 672 sites link to the HUD page, although
Google only lists about 300 or the actual links in order to avoid
redundant results.

The vast majority of the backlink sites are other HUD pages.  

Only four of the links were from commercial (.com) sites such as 
[ ] or [ ].

Fifteen links were from organizations (.org) or university (.edu)
sites or local agency sites, and most of these had an obvious
quasi-government or low-income-advocacy orientation.  Some of the
sites listed included:

StreetViews Summer 2002 A publication of The Wyoming Coalition for the

Rental Assistance, City and County of Honolulu
You are here: Main / Community Services / Rental Assistance. ... 

Accessible Homes Foundation PO Box 26383  Salt Lake City, UT
Mission: Promote development of accessible homes. ... 

So as far as who is going to the HUD site for information on Section
8, it seems much more weighted to non-profit groups supporting low
income families, than it does to commercial interests.


The second backlink exercise was for the Section 8 page of the site, which is largely geared towards commercial


Here, the results were somewhat the reverse -- there were only a few
non-profit type sites listed, while most of the results (other than
the links belonging to itself) had a decidedly
commercial flavor:

Property Managers Web
Property Managers Web: interactive rental property resource for
developers and income property managers. Property Managers Web ...  

Haves & Wants - HomePage
Haves & Wants Listing Web: Interactive income property resource for
landlords, developers, income property managers, and commercial
tenants. ... 

Landlords Web Homepage
Landlords Web: interactive rental property resource for real
estate investors and property managers. Landlords Web. ... 

Investing in Real Estate
Real estate investing information for landlords, property
managers real estate investors and developers. ... 

Rental Housing Vacancy Listings Home
Rental housing vacancy listings for landlords, tenants, property
managers, real estate investors and housing professionals. ... 

Rental Housing On Line Contents
What's New for landlords, tenants, real estate investors and property
managers. Includes our page changes and updates, new rental ... - 81k - Cached - Similar pages 

A few backlink sites were less commercially oriented, however:

Rental Housing Programs
Government Housing Programs. Government's roll in housing was limited
to local
poor farms, orphanages and veterans homes until the 1929 bank
failures. ... 

Retirement Resources
Retirement Resources. ... - 31k - Cached - Similar pages


So, on balance it seems that the level of interest in Section 8
resource -- as evidenced by the types of sites that backlink to
Section 8 pages -- is pretty evenly divided between commercial and
non-commercial sites.  The non-commercial sites are largely focused on
serving the needs of low-income families.

It seems reasonable that the types of links that are present on the
web act as a decent proxy for the types of searches being made as
well.  At least that's my educated guess.

I hope you find this information useful.  If there's anything that
requires additional information, or another angle you're interested in
having me pursue, please post a Request for Clarification, and I'm
happy to do some additional work on this.
Subject: Re: Who is searching for "Section 8"?
From: robertskelton-ga on 12 Mar 2003 12:50 PST
It would be quite scary if the powers-that-be knew, not just the
keywords being searched for, but who it was doing the searching. I
think the only way to know would be to have a page which gets lots of
visitors via the "Section 8" search term, and place a form on the page
that politely asks them.
Subject: Re: Who is searching for "Section 8"?
From: frankshank-ga on 12 Mar 2003 12:55 PST
Educated guesses with research backup would be acceptable.

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