Negotiation, Negotiation, Negotiation

UK Property Investment news and comments from Mark Harrison of

The greatest real estate agent in the world contest, aka “The dumbest idea in the world”

Posted by markharrison on February 19, 2008

One of the things that still amazes me about Internet Marketing is that some people still fall for the idea that you can build a long-term business through coding hacks to make your website appear high on Google.

I’ve met some people who’ve coded their websites like this… and some who have had their websites banned by Google for using tricks designed solely to manipulate their search rankings.

Google are motivated to delivery high-quality search results – they employ thousands of really smart programmers to constantly refine what they’re doing and weed out the Search Engine Hackers crowd.

Which is why I find things like the “Greatest real estate agent in the world” contest stupid. This is a contest run by a US website to see WHO can score top in Google for that phrase.

Of course, if you go and ask Google, they make it very clear what counts:

  1. Having good quality, regularly updated content
  2. Having a clear structure that makes it easy for people to navigate
  3. Having lots of other sites linking to you (and links from high-quality sites themselves count for a lot more than spam sites – indeed, sites with little content bar a “links” page often are flagged up as spam sites and actually REDUCE the score of the sites they are linking to!)

Note the complete absence of things like code hacks 🙂

The problem with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is that, for a while at least, it works. You do notice your traffic climb. In the meantime, everyone suffers – because customers get a much worse set of results… which is why Google can, and do, just stop listing sites that are working to get a high listing rather than working to help customers. (Ever wonder why all those “Squeeze page” sites spend so much money on advertising – because they aren’t getting listed in the normal search results!)

Anyway, the person who is currently top, before the competition started, and therefore possibly does have a claim to the title the greatest real estate agent in the world, is a lady called ardell dellaloggia.

She’s obviously a little surprised at the competition and has written some amusing things about the “prize” (a one-year subscription to a high priced service, with the obvious lock-in after that.) The reassuring thing is that she’s never tried to game the system – just concentrated on writing useful content and building relationships.
Thanks to Lani of RERevealed for letting me know about this foolishness.


15 Responses to “The greatest real estate agent in the world contest, aka “The dumbest idea in the world””

  1. ARDELL said

    Good Morning, Mark.

    I woke up to a severe stomach ache and saw this trackback. While the Alka Seltzer is kicking in, I thought I’d pop in and say that writing consistently decent content for over two years may knock me out of the running. Apparently being good at what you do may be a disqualifying point in this particular contest. That would be just perfect, wouldn’t it. The #1 entry is disqualifed because she didn’t win at gaming the system, as the contest intended, she was just one of those good agent/bloggers, so “no prize for you!” LOL

    Thanks for the chuckle. My stomach’s feeling better already. Now do I go back to sleep or put on my walking shoes and exercise? Decisions. Decisions.

    Have a great day!

  2. Fire Town said

    Mark, this is not about what Google says we should do, but observing what works and what doesn’t. And it’s especially funny observing some of the top 10 guys and seeing what they do and how well it still works.
    Knowledge is power, and this contest can teach us all what Google responds to.

  3. Fire Town,

    “Observing what works and what doesn’t” is all very well…

    … but a lot of what passes as SEO is the advertising equivalent of gathering pennies in front of a steamroller… stuff DOES work for a while, and then suddenly everything falls over flat.


  4. Wayne said

    It looks to me like the 2 top contenders are doing the 3 things Google said are important. So – where’s the beef??

  5. […] The greatest real estate agent in the world contest, aka “The … Which is why I find things like the “Greatest real estate agent in the world” contest stupid. This is a contest run by a US website to see WHO can score top ……/ – 77k – […]

  6. There are a lot of people on the peripehery of this thing that should be politicians. One thing comes out of their mouth accusing the other parties of not standing as tall as them while the first party carries on with doublespeak of why they are great and are forthcoming with no details of why they are great. Ardell shows up in an awful lot of places on what is purported to be the shady side of town by her posts. As Wayne said, the others are doing nothing more than she is. Have some koolaide guys!

  7. Mike Brown said

    “coding hacks” I’d be interested in knowing what coding hacks anyone in the top 20 is using. I think it all comes down to content and networking. I personally have not seen anything black hat, then again I probably would not recognize black hat or coding hacks if you waved them in front of my nose. I may be way off base but I believe it all comes down to links. The more people who link to your site the more likely you are to rank well. If you are good at networking you can find a good deal of people willing to link to you. Ardell is a world class blogger. Do you think she has any problem finding people to link to her? I’m guessing the answer is no.

  8. Mike,

    That’s pretty much where I’m coming from.

    My beef is that having such competitions is inherently dumb. Good businesses concentrate on delivering great value to their customers, and making sure that potential customers know that…. not in mucking around with “SEO Competitions.”

    The danger of such competitions is that other people try to optimise for a particular phrase, not because it reflects their business, but because they want to show off in the competition.

    That hurts those who are just getting on with REALLY doing that stuff, AND hurts customers.

    SEO is inherently a zero-sum game.

    BTW – I feel differently about AdWords optimisation – that can be a useful focus!

  9. Jayson said

    I’d want my agent to win – that would show me that they have the ability to market my properties and prove to me that their website is capable of getting traffic. All this contest is-is education.

    Real Estate agents are learning through experience to make it so they can deliver their customers results. BH is absent from this contest so far and I doubt any real estate agent would be so irresponsible with their personal website.

    If the search term was valuable it would hurt customers but I highly doubt, and realize that I could be wrong, that whoever wins gets clients from it.

    Liked your post – thanks!

  10. […] the perceived problem she highlighted. So Ardell through a few more lines into the water. She blasted SEOs as people who “game the system” with one hand, and had friends encourage others to link […]

  11. Mark;

    First off, good to meet you. I certainly can understand the surface appearance of what you are saying. Ardell, Greg and I have been trading the top spot for a while now. What I think has come to the surface is that there are some interesting similarities between us: a) We are all using blogs b) We all write on and contribute to MANY blogs (Greg through his SEO consulting, Ardell writes on SEVERAL, and me through moderating REW and writing on the bloodhound blog…which is where Lani picked up on it. c) that content writing affords us the luxury of networking with MANY REALTORS-all whom can choose to support our ideas or not.

    Like it or not Google uses links (and especially the links from authoritative relevant sutes) as an strong indicator of a pages relevance–and relevance is what Google is after (rightfully so).

    All that having been said. The ultimate goal of this contest was a FRIENDLY competition where we learn and have some fun.

    I TOTALLY agree with you about hacks and tweaks and SPAM. My site is a pretty stock WP blog just over one year old. No special hacks that I am aware of other that just basic search engine friendly stuff that most WP folks do.

    Either way, good to meet you!


  12. Glad I found your blog. I’ve found a few good tips on your site. I’ll be a regular visitor from now!

  13. sandrar said

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  14. YanJ said

    Haha.. what a nice post. Your post’s title made me curious. nice post anyway

  15. eurolevon said

    Just wanted to introduce myself.. Im Sean… glad to be here! Does anyone have any recommendations / advice on using this site?

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