Another Charitable Contestant

I am very happy to learn that the current contest leader, Eric Blackwell’s Team, has also announced that they will donate the contest proceeds to charity, which could be in the thousands of dollars, to the ECO PRESERVATION SOCIETY in Costa Rica. Considering that they are currently #1 on Google as of today, that is a very noble gesture, especially since they have a fair shot at succeeding. I applaud and support their efforts!!!

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The Power of The People

From what I understand, optimizing a website for search engines can be broken into two main categories:

1) Onsite Optimization
2) Offsite Optimization

Now onsite optimization is the part that you control. The primary goal of onsite optimization is to create web pages/sites/tools that inspire, entertain, service, and/or educate your readers. If you create a website that is appreciated by other people, than it is highly likely that over time you will be loved by the search engines. Of course there are also a number of technical best practices that you can do to make your website “search engine friendly”, however, the power of all of these tricks are dwarfed by the power of the people.

The power of the people is based on the reality that offsite optimization is more influential in search engine rankings than onsite optimization. Better yet, offsite optimization is only very loosely within your control, and is largely in the hands of other people, which makes it challenging to influence at best. A simplification of offsite optimization, is that your goal is to get the most links, particularly from other websites that have content that is related to your websites content. Each link that is made to a website, is like a vote, and so the more people (ie other websites) that vote for your website, the more you will be loved by the search engines.

Sounds great in theory, but what everyone wants to know, is what can I do about this?

Well, you can start by creating the most brilliantly creative website that you can. Next, you can go out asking your friends with websites to vote for you, and you can certainly try to go out on the Internet and ask strangers to vote for you. However, since onsite optimization is the only thing you really control, than I believe the old adage that if you build it (and it’s interesting) they will come, and where the people go, the search engines will follow.

What does this have to do with the “greatest real estate agent in the world”? Nothing, except that the folks over at REW decided to create an seo contest for this keyphrase, and I have decided to use the contest as an opportunity to learn about SEO, and I’ve found that one of the most effective ways to learn about something is try to share what I’ve learned with the rest of the world.

February Roundup of The Greatest Real Estate Agent In The World Contest

Some time in early February, Eric Bramlett had the idea for an seo contest. He suggested the idea to Morgan Carey, aka SEO Guy, and owner of Real Estate Webmasters, who generously offered to sponsor the contest. With a prize of web services valued at over 4k, this generated a fair bit of excitement among the real estate webmaster and blogging community.

Morgan also added a twist to the contest, which was that each contestants entry must link to another contestant and do a write up of what they learned from that entry. To demonstrate this, he linked to Eric Blackwell‘s entry, who had the great idea to form a team to compete instead of going solo. By reaching out to other Realtors, and leveraging the fact that he himself is not a Realtor, he has taken an early lead in the contest.

Of course, no contest would be complete without some controversy, which has been most notably provided by Ardell DellaLoggia, who pointed out that the initial prize offering required that the winner pay hosting fees to REW which benefitted them in the long run. Morgan’s response to this was to up the prize to include lifetime hosting, which is quite a nice bonus.

Among the Realtor community, some of the other early leaders include Ryan Ward, and Richard Soto. However, the search results have been very dynamic, and many other contestants have popped in, including:

And of course there are more commentators and critics, including SEO professionals, such as Greg Boser, and Knox, who both seem to be doing quite well and have also offered some SEO insights.

Well, that’s a wrap for February, but with 2 months to go, theres plenty of time for things to change.

The Tortoise and The Hare

Most of you probably know the story of the tortoise and the hare. The story consisted of a race, between a very fast rabbit and a very slow turtle, and the slow and steady turtle ultimately won the race.

This blog is going to be like the tortoise. I will continue to slowly observe and analyze the contest, and see what I can learn. Maybe I won’t win the race, but I’ll certainly enjoy the sights along the way.

More Content Less Links

This site was spotted on page six for the search term “Greatest Real Estate Agent In The World” this evening, and it got me thinking… what if I were to write a post about the contest and the SEO strategies that are going on, everyday for the next two months. People say that Google loves content, but what if there is lots of content without a lot of links? Can it work…

I honestly don’t know if I will be able to update this blog that often, but I do know that I can’t compete with the “lots of links” strategy, because the currently leading site has team members who can provide things like signature links from 23,000 posts on the Digitalpoint forums. That’s just crazy!

Does Google Love New Pages?

I’m becoming to wonder if the temporary ranking successes I achieved in this contest, were due to the phenomena of new content being temporarily favored in the SERPs, but then quickly being demoted after a day or two? Although I only made it to the middle of page 2, it seems like in both cases it happened 1-2 days after I posted the content, and then lasted for only a day or so.

It seems like there is a big ranking boost given to new pages, which is then quickly taken away in favor of old pages with the most links. This would make some sense in that it allows new content to be filtered into the results, but it will only stay at the top of the results of many people like the content enough to link to it.

Why Does Google Like REW Better Than This Site?

Well, I can think of a few reasons, so let’s do a comparison:

Real Estate Webmasters

62,100 Pages Indexed of Unique Content
459,217 Inbound Links
Created 04-09-2004

GreatestRealEstateAgentInTheWorld.Wordpress.Com

27 Pages Indexed of Unique Content
134 Inbound Links
Created 02-18-2008

I’m not sure, but I think that REW wins… and this also provides evidence that my theory may have some merit. The theory being that it may be easier to compete in the contest using a page on my REW blog versus this cool new site that I created. Because today, my contest entry on REW for the Greatest Real Estate Agent In The World is in the rankings at #15 was in the rankings for all of 1 minute… sigh.