Having a business account on Elance, which I rarely use, I often see job postings from real estate agents and real estate companies looking for search engine optimization. I’ll read through lengthy job descriptions and they always seem to end the same way: “I want to rank #1 on Google for all of my keywords and search terms!”
As a side-note, my advice to any and all agents who post similar demands is to not even bother with mentioning such a request. Believe it or not, every Realtor with a business website has that same goal, so it goes without saying that your intent is to rank higher than your competition.
But to get back on topic, if you’re not familiar with Elance, or any of these other virtual freelance websites, along with posting a job description, you can also list the budget you have set for each specific job, giving applicants a better idea of what you’re looking to spend and how to come up with the best proposal possible that fits your needs.
More often than not, job postings will have a much lower budget than what the actual job should require. And to be honest, I completely understand why this may be the case. Many individuals or businesses strictly use Elance as an additional income source and although a job may require more time, attention and money than what contractors bid, it’s simply part of the equation when doing freelance work.
However, the problem with real estate agents looking to cut search engine optimization corners with a budget of under $500, for example, is that the results you’ll likely get from a contractor agreeing to this sort of arrangement won’t work. In fact, the long-term effects will likely hurt your website ranking much more than help its overall position.
A recent article from webmonkey.com outlines Google’s latest attempt to cap “black-hat web spam” and techniques such as over-stuffing of keywords and suspicious link patterns will eventually have a negative impact on where your site will appear during a web search. As I constantly stress to Real Estate Web Creation clients, search engine optimization is a process that takes TIME, PATIENCE, and A LOT OF HARD WORK.
This idea that a contractor from Elance can get your site ranking #1 overnight, for very little money, is utterly absurd. If anyone promises you such results, the best thing you can do is RUN, because the black-hat techniques he’ll likely use to get your site a quick boost in rankings will inevitably be the beginning of the end to your real estate website. If you truly want to S.E.O. your real estate website, I urge you to use the proper optimization techniques, have patience, and be in it for the long haul. The extra money you’ll spend doing it the right way WILL pay off eventually and your site won’t be penalized in the process, ultimately saving you money down the road.
Joe Heath is a graduate of Indiana University and possesses a Graduate Certificate in Real Estate Development from Drexel University. After working in the market research sector and authoring published Market Snapshots for Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, Joe now works as a Web Marketing Specialist and co-owns Real Estate Web Creation with his partner, Ted Guarnero, a 25+ year real estate veteran.