• Think you can manipulate Google? Think again.
  • Buying gimmicky SEO services for your real estate website is the biggest mistake you can make.
  • Incredible content can only take you so far. Perfecting a promotion strategy will make all the difference.

A lot of people are looking for shortcuts to trick Google or manipulate the search engine into placing them higher in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs).

This used to be possible. But the fact is, Google is a lot smarter than most people think — they are currently creating cars that drive themselves — and you aren’t going to trick them, at least not anymore.


Some SEO gurus made their fortunes in the early days of search engine optimization when it was easy to influence Google with black-hat tactics such as hiding words on the page and repeating them hundreds of times.

Relevant terms no longer have the same value, and too many could hurt you.

If you’re starting a new website, it’s going to take at least six months before Google will trust you. For instance, my website is only five months old, and I’m still sitting at No. 11 (page 2) for the highly competitive search phrase “Raleigh real estate.”

The reason for this is because I’m inside the Google “sandbox” where it will not place me on page 1 for highly competitive searches simply because my Web domain isn’t old enough. I still rank on page 1 for low-medium competitive searches such as “Raleigh Realtor.”

These gurus are teaching SEO tricks and tips that are not going to work for today’s Google. I will follow up with another article that will discuss what will work in SEO, but let’s start by avoiding big mistakes that could cost you the most:

1. Buying SEO services

First and foremost, avoid any and all gigs that claim they will have you on page 1 for competitive keywords within 90 days. How can they claim that when there’s so much uncertainty that surrounds both your website and Google? They can’t.

These services are not real, and Google will penalize you without warning if it thinks you’re trying to manipulate the system.

What this means is that if you’re creating unnatural backlinks you’re in trouble. You might even get penalized if you create too many pages too quickly because Google will see this as computer-generated versus providing users value.

Especially if you’re creating a bunch of unnatural backlinks to a page deep within your website where users never go and without internal backlinks. Creating great share-worthy content needs to be at the front of everything you do.

Everything you do SEO-wise should be to help the user first and yourself second. This is a good rule of thumb if you’re concerned at all about making a mistake or a penalty.

2. Trusting everything SEO gurus write about

One of the biggest mistakes people will make early on is to trust everything an SEO guru says. In fact, many of these gurus made their fortunes by manipulating Google in its early stages when relevant terms were the No. 1 determining factor in Google’s algorithm.

Today, relevant terms are important, however, too many will have you sitting in the penalty box.

So make sure that if you’re going to trust a guru, they are actively working with Google now versus Google then.

I remember the black hat days when I made a lot of money and generated a ton of leads because it was so easy to manipulate Google — those days are long gone, my friends.

3. Thinking it’s easy

If you understand SEO, you know what it takes to rank on the first page of Google. You know what you need to do, and it’s not going to be easy.

You need to create incredible content that will take a long time to craft. Once you’re exhausted from creating the awesome content for your readers, you need to make sure people read it.

This means you need to hop on the social media promotion band wagon and get as many eyeballs on your work as possible. What good is incredible content if no one ever notices it?

Keep in mind, you’ll be competing with national brokerages that spend a ton of money on content creation and have huge audiences. This puts you at a significant disadvantage, but it’s not impossible.

If you’re trying to manipulate Google, it will come back to hurt you. Anything in life worth having is worth working hard for, and that principle applies to real estate SEO.

Think about your website from a user’s perspective and not your perspective.

Create great content, promote it everywhere and convert your website traffic.

Ryan Fitzgerald is owner and Realtor at Raleigh Realty. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Email Ryan Fitzgerald.

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