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When I was growing up, my parents ran a real estate firm. My dad used to say that the best way to drum up business was a good sign with a telephone number on it that they then placed on the best properties they were representing and the houses they were building. The way people searched back then was to drive around neighborhoods to see who was selling properties they liked, then call them. Not anymore. It is all about online search looking for local results. The National Association of REALTORS® recently conducted a Digital House Hunt study that strongly supports real estate professionals having a strong local SEO strategy. 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.

Do I Need Google My Business as a Realtor?

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 which includes a Google My Business listing.

Optimizing Your Real Estate Google My Business Listing

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 the process of optimizing your site and your online presence to attract more business from local search results in google, other search engines, and local business listings.

Local SEO is not terms like:

  • Real Estate
  • Broker
  • Agent
  • Listings
  • Homes

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.

What are the Best Keywords for Realtors Doing Local SEO?

When doing SEO as a realtor, keyword research is the first step and the foundation of any high-quality SEO campaign. To rank for terms in your area, research should be done based on your location. While ranking nationally has its benefits, local SEO needs to be more targeted and should include keywords that target the service areas the realtor conducts business.

Here are some examples of proper keywords for a local SEO campaign:

  • Los Angeles Real Estate
  • Phoenix Real Estate Agent
  • New York City REALTOR®
  • Agent in Albuquerque
  • Austin Homes
  • Houses for Sale Near Me
  • Luxury Real Estate Agent Miami

Local Pack vs Organic Results

Look at the search results in this picture below. You will notice there are two types of results that you need to be concerned about in google for local results. These are the “Local Pack” and the “Organic Results”.

According to one study, 33% of clicks go to the local “snack pack” results, with 40% going to the regular organic results.

Key takeaway: it pays to rank in both, which is where local SEO comes in.

Local Pack vs Organic Results

What is a Google Local Pack for Real Estate?

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.

How does the Google Knowledge Graph Work for Realtors?

Google’s Knowledge Graph is comprised of “cards” of information (called rich cards) 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.

What Data Does Google Maps Use for Realtors?

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.

How Does Google My Business Help Rank Real Estate Agents?

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).

How to Verify Your Real Estate Agency with 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 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

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.