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An SEO Pearl of Wisdom; Opposites do Attract

Opposites do Attract

Getting Found For What You Don’t Do Can be a Good Thing

Buckle your seat-belts folks, this week’s SEO tip is a bit upside-down.

You’ve spent countless hours building a beautiful Real Estate site, filled page after page of compelling, keyword rich content.  You have proper page titles, used the headline tags, even made sure to use alt tags and photo captions.  All your hard work is being rewarded, as you slowly work your way up the page rankings for your chosen keyword phrases.  But are you reaching all of your potential customers?  I can guarantee that many of you are not.  Trust me, I checked.

Why Do I Need a Realtor?

As you all know, I am not a Realtor, so this is a bit of a guess.  But I think I know something that really irritates you, because it used to irritate me too.  When I owned a tech company, one of my biggest on-going battles was people wanting to “do it themselves.”  Keep in mind this was before the days of WordPress or other CMS tools.  If you wanted a really good web site, you needed a really good company to build it.  If you needed networking done, you hired someone to do it.  We heard so many times that a prospect didn’t need us because “the neighbor’s kid would do it for free in his high school computer club.”  How often have you had somebody say to you “Why should I pay an agent?  I can buy an ad in the paper, I can put it online myself.”?

Negative Search Phrases

No, I am not suggesting that you talk bad about people who want to sell their own home, negative in this case means opposite.  When properly done, being found by people searching for the opposite of you can be a very powerful sales tool.  You need to take the irritation these people cause you and use it to create some pearls.  Use “negative search phrases” to create pages showing your potential clients the risks of not hiring you.  Explain how saving a little money on your fee could actually cost them a lot of money in reduced selling prices.  Show them the hazards and pitfalls of doing it themselves.  I’m sure that at some point you have had a home seller sheepishly come to you and say they tried it on their own, now they need professional help.  Tell that story, get testimonilas, if you can…get it on video.  Video is very powerful (but that’s a tip for another day).  In short, you should educate them.  With all the new content directed at this specific group of readers, when someone in your area searches for info on “fsbo”, they will hopefully land on your site instead of somebody offering to sell them a blank sign.

You do need to be cautious with this tactic, if you are too strong, too negative you may come across as having a bad case of “sour grapes,”  making potential clients even more sure that they don’t need you.

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Written By

Jack Leblond is a SEO/SEM professional working for a large corporation full time in Austin, TX. He is not a Realtor, he is our in-house SEO expert. Jack is the Director of Internet Strategy and Operations for TG ( In addition to managing the team that develops and maintains the company's multiple Web sites, he focuses on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), e-marketing and Social Media. Jack's background ranges from Submarine Sonar Technician/Instructor for the United States Navy, technical writer, pioneer in internet/intranet creation for McGraw-Hill and Times Mirror Higher Education, former Adjunct Professor for two Universities teaching web-related courses, has served as a city council member and co-founded Net-Smart, a web design and hosting company, where he managed networks and oversaw the development of hundreds of Web sites. As a free-lance SEO consultant, Jack performs SEO Site Audits for small/medium businesses that want their web sites to perform better in the search engine listings.



  1. Kim Wood

    September 23, 2008 at 7:44 am

    Hi Jack! I’ve actually had success helping FSBO’s a little bit. Obviously even if I wanted to, I can’t tell them everything involved in a transaction to get them sold and closed. But I’m happy to be there to answer a few questions – cause guess who they’ll call *when* they can’t sell?

    Never thought of blogging while keeping in mind the other options to using an agent though – very good point!

  2. Jay Thompson

    September 23, 2008 at 8:31 am

    So you’re saying it’s OK that someone found me at #1 in Google for “dumbass Phoenix realtor”?

    Interesting tactic Jack, thanks for sharing. And you know of course, you are now on the hook for a post about video and SEO…

  3. Spanish Fork Townhomes

    September 23, 2008 at 11:22 am

    That is some really good advice. Negative attention is still attention. The best inbound links are natural links of pure love. But links that are out of hate are still inbound links. So being found for things that are not what you think you should be ranked for could pull in some extra traffic.

  4. Jonathan Bentz

    September 23, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Great tip Jack. While I would agree that REA’s should be capitalizing on this SEO tactic, I think there are a lot of companies in all industries that could gain a lot more exposure and potential conversions/leads with negative keyword campaigns. Thanks.

  5. Jack Leblond

    September 23, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Hi Folks – thanks for the feedback.

    Quick poll – how many of you use video on your site now?

    Please drop me a line and let me know: jack [at] jackleblond [dot] com

  6. Vicki Moore

    September 23, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    I’ve seen some companies/individuals who have terrible comments about themselves on Google then when you go to the site, it’s actually their site. Heading it off at the pass, I guess.

  7. seo london

    July 27, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    Nice article, thanks for the info.

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