Proof You Can Buy Your Way to No. 1 on Google & Yahoo

Filed in Google, Yahoo by Matt McGee on July 22, 2008 12 Comments

If you do real estate in Richland, WA — and I just happen to know someone who does — you could buy your way to the top of both Google and Yahoo. Today. For a killer search term.

Have a look at the SERPs for the phrase [richland real estate]: on Google … and on Yahoo:

Google and Yahoo SERPS

The same site ranks at number one on both search engines, and also happens to rank at number three on MSN Live Search. I’m not going to link to it, but here’s a screenshot of what it is: A domain for sale owned by a real estate web site vendor.

domain for sale screenshot

I don’t know, G and Y … I know real estate is a spam-filled crapfest, and real estate SEO is a joke, but isn’t it pretty obvious this doesn’t belong anywhere in the SERPs, much less at the top? I’m biased, but maybe instead you could reward the folks who are creating actual real estate content that has value to readers? Just sayin’ is all…….

Comments (12)

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  1. TheMadHat says:

    Ranking an exact match keyword domain in any market isn’t really that hard. That person is just making his domain property all the more valuable.

  2. Matt McGee says:

    I wasn’t saying it was hard. I was saying it doesn’t belong. 🙂

  3. MiriamEllis says:

    Wow, how’s that for not returning relevant results? Good spot, Matt. I wonder what they’re charging for the domain.

  4. David Mihm says:

    There are TONS of sites just like this one that rank for Bay Area real estate searches, where I have several clients. It’s sad, considering that there is plenty of good, local RE content out there, like Cari’s blog.

  5. Scott Fish says:

    All the more reason to buy up your or! 🙂

  6. I don’t get it?

    It seems to me that they are actually using relevant keywords, title and domain name which are normally used for ranking.

    Yes, it is for sale but the owners are doing what all of us are so what’s the big deal?

  7. It’s been easy to buy top rankings in Yahoo for years. They even have an official program for it – Yahoo Search Submit Pro.

  8. paul says:


    If you can tell Google what rules to use to detect that this page does not belong, I’m sure they’ll oblige. The fact is, there is nothing to differentiate this page from a ‘deserving’ page – apart from the short para that gives it away. Unfortunately, Google would need to actually *understand* the meaning of words to use that little red flag. Maybe they’re working on it 🙂

  9. Wow..interesting and sad at the same time. What a waste of time for searchers who are genuinely looking for good content.

  10. Matt McGee says:

    Allan – the big deal is that this is a fake web site. The Buying, Selling, and MLS pages all lead to a fake search form that doesn’t really search the MLS — it requires you provide your name, phone, and email which it sends to the company that owns the web site.

    The company that owns the web site isn’t a real estate agent or brokerage, it’s a vendor of web site for real estate agents.

    This site has no value to the end consumer who is looking to buy a home, sell a home, or find a real estate agent.

  11. Oh, I got that.

    My point is that they rank well because they have used whatever trick SEOs should be using.

    The only way that won’t work is if the seach engines do what paul says. This would require e doing the ranking manually or develope some sort of intelligent ranking algorithm.

    As it is now, the people behind the fake site know what they’re doing. Good for them.

  12. marius says:

    I see everyday parked domains ranking higher than DMOZ, 6 years old relevant websites just because of the domain cool is that?

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