When someone guarantees Google placement…

…you can be pretty sure they are trying to sell you a website product and they are hoping to play off of your inexperience.   

Let’s take Rain City Guide for example…  Mary McKnight gives 8 steps to guarantee first page placement in Google.    I’ve done EVERY one of these things (and more) on Rain City Guide and yet front page placement still eludes RCG on the most obvious and critical search term: [seattle real estate]

  1. Use keywords in link text.
    • Check. EVERY page on RCG links back to the main page with the text “Seattle Real Estate” in two paces (header tabs and footer)
  2. Use keywords in your title tag
    • Check.
  3. Use keywords in your heading tags (H1, H2, and H3)
    • Check. Many, many posts have been written with titles (H2) that include the keywords “Seattle”, “real estate”, and even “Seattle real estate”
  4. Monitor and work to increase your PageRank on both your homepage and internal pages
    • Check. I’ve been monitoring and improving PageRank for almost three year
  5. Be sure that each page contains more than 200 words of relevant, indexable content
    • Check.
  6. Update your real estate blog content at least 3-5 times per week
    • Check.
  7. Actively seek new links to your site from other related websites but do not build backlinks too fast
  8. Wait until your domain name ages
    • Check. RCG is one of the oldest real estate blogs around. If the solution means waiting more than 3 years, then is not really a solution at all.

I honestly have nothing against Mary’s advice… It’s all good stuff.   I just don’t believe that you will guarantee yourself first page placement by following it.

29 responses

  1. Too much short head. Move to Tacoma. Move to Olympia. Move to Ruby Beach — it’s beautiful, and, on the OP, the long tail is unclaimed.

  2. I have seen some clients site where any SEO savvy person can give you a close to certain prediction but in most competitive markets you just have to cover all the internet marketing best practices and monitor to re caliber. Good Job!

  3. That’s an idea… and if I could just get all the contributors to move out to Seabrook, we’d already start way ahead of the game! 🙂

  4. The issue with RCG is the home page term you want “seattle real estate” is too diluted with all posts as you currently have it structured.

  5. And Jessie, I happen to know that it is an EXTREMELY competitive keyword with some agents spending tens of thousands of dollars a year to rank in that term (which will buy a lot of linkbacks!)…

    Also, all my SEO work has not been in vain. RCG does really well on some terms that are less competitive (like [agent recommendations] and [moving to seattle]…

  6. There Dustin goes stirring up the mud again. Online like a true uberblogger can.

  7. There Dustin goes stirring up the mud again. Only like a true uberblogger can.

  8. I’m sure it is but in the competitive terms like this, there is not a single item that will work, it is the combination of all the little things together that add up.

    The more competition, the more that every little thing needs to be correct. Also the links are only part of the total equation. I think your 107,000 links is more than enough.. 🙂


  9. I don’t think anyone can guarantee anything in Google.

  10. Jon: I probably shouldn’t enjoy myself as much as I do… but… what the hell! 🙂

  11. toddwcarpenter Avatar

    Meanwhile, my Denver Modern Homes blog received First place page results for all sorts of keyword terms without doing ANY of that.

    Also, Dustin, is Seattle Real Estate really such an important term? Is this how consumers think? I guessed that consumers would use a term like house or homes instead of real estate. Purely a guess though.

  12. Drew: I think I’ve even heard Matt Cutts say he can’t guarantee anything in Google! 🙂

  13. Todd: You bring up a good point that there are probably more people searching for [Seattle home listings] or some such term, but RCG doesn’t do a good job answering that query.. I like to think we do a pretty good job giving information about [seattle real estate] though. 🙂

  14. Google placement, isn’t that the question of the century. Keywords are tricky and some are extremely competitive. In the 7 months I’ve had Miamism I have succeeded with my main keyword and have been creeping up with 2 others because they are similar to “seattle real estate” (miami real estate and miami beach real estate)….I would talk to Mary….she has talked to a couple of people with similar issues and with just a bit of tweaking, they have made incredible progress in a short time.

    She’s good Dustin and doesn’t need to sell the product because it sells itself (here I am selling it for her)

  15. ines: I hear everything you’re saying… and you’re probably right that she doesn’t need anyone to see her product for her…

    Probably doesn’t need anyone to defend herself either. She’s a smart woman and my guess is that she deliberately used the word “guarantee” in the title because she hoped it would cause a bit of controversy, which I was more than happy to provide! 😉

  16. If this means I have to say “Seattle Real Estate” eight times in every one of my RCG posts…well, fukgeddaboutit!

  17. LOL! New RCG rules: Every post must have the words seattle real estate in the title! 🙂

  18. Well, this gives me some comfort…I’ve decided that being “found” is probably not as important as being “lost.” One could LOOSE countless hours of time and sleep trying to unravel the mysterious science of “google placement.” Here’s to better results…hopefully…but not guaranteed. 🙂

  19. My blog has first page placement and is number one on the first page. It has been there for almost a year. I don’t do 2, 3 or 5. My placement was not an accident, I did work for it. it took 14 months to get to the number one spot and about six months to get on the first page. There are no guarantees. I come up number one on some lessor known keywords too and those are the words that bring me the kind of business I want.

  20. “I come up number one on some lessor known keywords too and those are the words that bring me the kind of business I want.”

    That sentence bears repeating. For me, it’s all about MSN and not Google. I have to work extra hard at that, and haven’t lately. But that’s what pays off for me.

  21. Dustin- nice new venture here.

    On Mary’s post. I do not believe she even offers SEO. She just writes posts on the subject, and I think she probably was employing perhaps too hypie a title, than she was guaranteeing her work.

    I agree guaranteeing SEO work is just plain silly and impossible, although you can gurantee it thru risk reversals.

    In regards to your site, without spending much time analyzing it, I would say for one to get the footer text to not match the white background as that could be considered spam.

    I get that you are #22 in google for your term.

    Your footer text says Seattle’s Rain City Real Estate Guide and you are 22. Hmmm.
    What if you were to change that footer to say:
    Seattle Real Estate Guide in Rain City

    I would bet that just moving the proximity of your important terms would get you closer to your goal.

    BTW you are #1 for Seattle’s Rain City Real Estate Guide

    I havent run my software but my guess is that the jillions of links to your page says the brand: seattle rain city real estate guide, but not seattle real estate, ask your new link partners to use seattle real estate and you will rise inthe serps-i can almost guarantee 😉

    Tim O’Keefe

  22. “LOL! New RCG rules: Every post must have the words seattle real estate in the title!”

    Sadly, there are many blogs out there doing exactly that.

    “City Real Estate” in every title, and then liberally sprinkled through every post.

    They read horribly but can rank well.

    I’d prefer to write for the readers, not the search engines.

    I don’t ignore SEO, but it is the least of my concerns when writing a post. My blog does pretty well on search engines, including Page 1 for terms like “phoenix real estate”, “phoenix realtor” and more”. But it’s really the Long Tail and much more localized terms that bring the clients in.

    There is no “formula” for SEO and “formula-matic” writing likely rarely engages a reader and makes it difficult to show the real you. I tell people just be yourself. Some will like you, some won’t. Oh well. You can’t please everyone all the time, and that includes the search engines.

    Completely off-topic, but does WordPress.com allow the”subscribe to comments” plug-in?

  23. Hey Dustin,

    I wrote a post on my blog today title Seattle Real Estate just for laughs.

  24. Hey Tim… Thanks for the tips! Good stuff and at some point soon I hope to return to RCG to give it the next round of SEO love! 🙂

  25. Jay, there’s no subscribe to comments (via email) as far as I know… but you can always subscribe to the RSS feed of the comments! (I do that!)

  26. Fej Tebroc Avatar
    Fej Tebroc

    Im surprised the McKnights have not stomped a tirade that would read on a Richter scale or attempted to overload your server Dustin, for publishing such heresy!

    I think Jimmy T had to file a restraining order for a post of similar context 😉

  27. I specifically clicked through to read Mary’s response. Hey Mary — your brand is slipping….

  28. you all need to get up to date on the current online marketing realm. Basic site structure/strategy is the first step, 99 percent of real estate static sites and blogs fail this, so to expect first page is naive!


  29. you all need to get up to date on the current online marketing realm. Basic site structure/strategy is the first step, 99 percent of real estate static sites and blogs fail this, so to expect first page organic listing is naive! The days of questionable incoming link value is over (500 seattle real estate example), content is king, and structured content is
    dominant. Justin, you seem to be a really bright guy, if you want to play in the SEM world for organics, you need to get up to speed and stop playing the last game!


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