The National Association of REALTORS® recently conducted a Digital House Hunt study that strongly supports real estate professionals having a strong local SEO strategies. The study revealed that “69 percent of home shoppers who take action on a real estate brand website begin their research with a local term, i,e. ‘Houston homes for sale,’ on a search engine.”
Putting it simply, the data confirms that anyone looking to gain customers and increase sales in the real estate industry needs to be optimizing for local SEO.
Google My Business is one of the best and easiest ways for real estate professionals to address local SEO strategies and boost their visibility online. The free tool is beneficial for all industries, but it especially proves worthwhile in real estate where brokers and agents need to demonstrate their connection with a local market. Google My Business also helps real estate brokerages address local SEO for each branch of the business, while maintaining a connection to the overall brand optimization.
Despite the benefits Google My Business offers, roughly 42 percent of local businesses, including real estate brokerages and individual real estate agents, haven’t built or claimed their Google My Business profiles. This is a lost opportunity for real estate professionals to build local authority, see greater website traffic and earn more listings.
If you’re in real estate and you want to rank on Google for anything (local 3-pack, Knowledge Graph or organic search), you need to optimize for local SEO strategies including optimizing Google My Business.
Examples of Local SEO Strategy Search Terms
As you optimize your Google My Business profile, which will include regularly published content on your profile, keep the definition of local SEO in mind.
Local SEO is not terms like:
- Real Estate
These keywords have their place on a real estate profile or website, but they aren’t the ones that will help you connect with buyers and sellers looking for professionals in a given area.
Local SEO is terms like:
- Los Angeles Real Estate
- Phoenix Real Estate Agent
- New York City REALTOR®
- Agent in Albuquerque
- Austin Homes
Real estate brokers and agents who want to rank for local terms need to tell Google where they’re located, through published content, so that Google can present their profiles to web users.
The Local 3-Pack
Type a local real estate search term into your browser search bar and you’ll be rewarded with a 3-pack of real estate professionals who service that specific area. How does Google choose which brokerages, brokers or agents show up in the local 3-pack? It relies on information that the organizations and professionals give it – through tools like Google My Business.
Google Knowledge Graph
Google’s Knowledge Graph is comprised of “cards” of information that Google deems comprehensive and representative of data a searcher would find useful. Again, the information Google uses to match professionals with users, even in real estate searches, comes largely from Google My Business profiles.
Google uses data from Google My Business profiles to populate the maps section on search results pages. On the maps that show up after a local search is conducted, consumers see verified businesses and their exact locations as well as ratings and reviews of the businesses.
Optimizing for Google My Business
Google My Business is the search giant’s way of connecting companies and professionals with its “bots” who then provide relevant information to users. It helps ensure that a home seller or buyer in Seattle will find local professionals in Seattle and not in New York City or Honolulu.
The importance of telling Google about your real estate business can’t be overstated. However, don’t expect that you’ll rank on Page 1 just because you claimed your Google My Business profile or posted consistently to it.
Google My Business is a great tool to increase your chances of ranking ahead of your competition and being showcased within Google’s various products. It must, however, be approached in conjunction with other local SEO strategies like keyword research, on-page optimization and link building to be most effective.
There are 4 main parts to a Google My Business profile, which Google defines as “a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses, brands, artists, and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.”
Google My Business allows you to verify and edit your business information to be shown across the main products so that customers and potential customers find you, and learn the story of your business (which builds awareness and trust).
Google My Business
The backend of Google My Business is known, appropriately, as Google My Business. It’s your dashboard, more specifically, and it’s where you can edit your business details, view page insights, manage Google reviews, manage your G+ page and review analytics.
The first thing you’ll want to do to work with Google My Business is to create a Google account. Then, you’ll use the My Business dashboard to add your business to Google so it can show up when a user searches with local terms.
After you’ve created your Google My Business listing, you’ll need to verify it. This is one of the most important steps in the entire process. Google My Business requires you to verify your exact location before you show up in search results. You can verify your profile by mail or by phone. Following verification, you must ensure you carefully review and edit your listing, checking to see that UNAP data precisely matches your physical location and your website information.
A Pro Tip: When creating and reviewing your business name on Google My Business, make sure it includes a local search term, such as “Carol Lewis – Portland Real Estate Agent.”
Final Thoughts on Local SEO Strategies
When your Google My Business profile is live, relevant users will begin seeing your local listing and any content you publish like on G+. Many consumers will go to your website or blog, and some may visit any linked social media pages you’ve included in your profile. You’ll want to make sure that your UNAP information and brand messaging is consistent no matter where a searcher might inquire about you.
To help you analyze where you’re being found online and retaining interest on the web, or in which spaces you might need to improve your consistency and visibility, Google My Business analytics can be extremely valuable. If you need working with any aspect of Google My Business, or if you’d like to dive deeper into analytics across all of your online channels, contact Galileo Tech Media.