Real Estate SEO is a Joke

Filed in SEO by Matt McGee on November 20, 2007 19 Comments

There are countless companies that target real estate agencies and individual agents, offering “complete web site packages” and “custom solutions” that always include “search engine optimization” so you can “maximize your traffic and sell more houses.”


You want to see what they’re offering? I got my hands on one of their marketing sheets, and here’s the section on SEO. Have a look:

real estate seo offerings

That’s 25 “search engines” — using the term loosely! — they submit to. Oh, it’s “just a few” of the places they submit. For real. Let’s ignore the fact that search engine submission is dead and look a little more closely at this list.

I’ve been doing search marketing since 1999/2000, and I haven’t even heard of seven of these. That little search engine called “Yahoo!” isn’t on the list. WiseNut, which is on the list, has closed its doors. Sympatico is a Canadian property that partners with MSN. MSN is already listed, so that’s redundant, and it also begs the question of how much natural search traffic a U.S. real estate agent is going to get from Canada. I’m not about to link to iSleuth, you’ll have to add .com and tell me if you think that’s a search engine or not. Do the same with Galaxy and check the PageRank before adding your site there. IC Search? Ditto. You have a better shot buying that domain than getting your web site listed there….

Anyway, you get the point. I said before that real estate SEO is a disaster and an opportunity. I think this marketing sheet makes good physical evidence to support that.

(A highly-respected, fellow search marketer recently launched a marketing platform for real estate professionals; I’m thinking that might make for a good interview….)

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  1. I think the funniest part about the Yahoo omission is that they actually have a paid submission program.

    And isn’t including HotBot just a wee bit redundant since everything that powers it is found elsewhere on the list?

  2. I like the “we submits” part. Wonder where this company is from? Any guesses?

  3. Greg says:

    Hey Matt,

    Just let me know when and where. I’d be more than happy to do an interview. Maybe at PubCon??

  4. evolvor says:

    “real estate SEO is a disaster and an opportunity”

    I have a client of min in the real estate biz and I do view it as an “opportunity”. The people ripping agents off are doing so in large numbers, and I see lots of opportunity for real-deal SEO work in the field.

    Just be prepared to back up what you know with testimonials and a nice portfolio, ’cause when you go knocking on their doors, they may not be that trustworthy.

  5. Josh Garner says:


    This is my sentiment exactly. As a matter of fact, I have partnered with a few peers in an attempt to hang up the freelance hat and put on the entrepreneur hat. We have an opportunity through an executive for a home builder’s company, which would give us a great lead into an SEO and website design discussion with potential real estate agents both independent and incorporated.

    We also view it as an opportunity as being a “legitimate” company that would offer a real service would help to sell itself. We like the idea that we are surrounded by wolves. We happen to be really strong sheep.

  6. Miriam says:

    Whew-ee! You’ve called it right, Matt. It is really sad to think of all of the real estate agents who will waste their funding on packages like this. Keep putting the word out, like you’ve done in this article, and you may save some very nice folks from being rooked.


  7. Matt McGee says:

    Thanks for the great comments, gang.

    @georgebounacos — does HotBot even have a submit URL link? 🙂

    @David Wallace — they’re not from where you’d think they are!

  8. Just imagine being an agent and your broker strikes a deal with one of these SEO companies. Most realtors/brokers are clueless when it comes to the Web. What an opportunity to correct a wrong being done to them and to make some good money.
    Thanks for the post.

  9. @ David

    I haven’t noticed that until I’ve read you post…:-)

    This company is a big JOKE, I agree but not all are like them. SEO has been part of online marketing whatever your businesses/products/services are and not to mention real estate. This strategy helps a lot.


  10. I have, over the years, worked with many Realtors that get burned all the time – it’s sad really as honest small services like mine give an honest service with no lies or fancy sales pitch

    I don’t specialize in Real Estate but do have about 12 BICs as clients – they all do well as they do as I show them…


  11. Joy says:

    I see this sort of thing everywhere, I think its a shame that people get burned from such low life die hard scammers. Good homework on the list. I was brought up to trust no one and that means no one.

  12. Paul Zubrys says:

    As the #1 Buyers Broker in my market I recommend that all real estate agents learn to do SEO for themselves. I would guess that more than 95% of real estate markets can have their organic search space dominated by applying the most basic SEO principals. Sure, this will not work in New York or LA, but even in mid size markets like mine, which is a Lake Michigan lakefront, upscale vacation home market, 1 hour outside of Chicago, it is almost like shooting fish in a barrel. “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day…”

  13. david wolf says:

    That isnt any different than the normal SEO schemes that people have been touting for a long time. The sad truth is that people will still buy that crap.

  14. david wolf says:

    Paul made a great point on this one. I always try to teach my clients a lot about what it is we do. My thoughts are that if he can and wants to do it himself, he should be using me anyways. I want clients that do what they do best, and want to outsource what I do best. Makes my life a lot simpler.

  15. James says:

    Did a search a few weeks ago for SEO in relation to real estate and the top result was for a company advocating reciprocal linking!!

    My impression though is that things have improved quite a bit in a few short years and most services are more professional now.

    Any thoughts….

  16. Matt McGee says:

    James, I’d need to see some evidence before I’ll go along with the idea that real estate SEO providers are any better now than when this post was originally published.

  17. Matt-

    I want to share this link with you. It makes me cry on the inside, but laugh on the outside…

    I always wanted to be on page 1 of Google… Guaranteed!

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