Location authority is the new SEO for local businesses. Whenever Google infers a searcher is looking for something local (e.g., a slice pizza, a nearby banking center, or a resident REALTOR®), it’ll display Google My Business (GMB) listings. Here’s why you should set up your Google My Business profile for real estate and how to do it.
And it isn’t just Google Search, GMB listings also populate in Google Maps — desktop and mobile.
The stronger your GMBs location authority, the less Google will hesitate to rank it in a search. So if a would-be buyer or seller Googles something like “real estate agents nearby”, your profile will or won’t show up based on its location authority. For the record, the more often it shows up in searches, the better!
What’s more, when prospective clients Google you — and they will — it oughta trigger your GMB in the results page: putting 5-star customer reviews on display along with easy access to website links, photos, contact info and pertinent business details.
If your profile isn’t readily appearing when you Google-search its name verbatim (e.g. “John Doe Realty”), or even when your search phrase includes a location identifier (e.g. “John Doe Realty, Nashville, TN”), it’s likely a product of poor location authority.
To know for sure, for first step for Google My Business for real estate is to conduct a Google search while literally standing inside the listing’s (claimed and verified) business location (and be sure the location-tracking on your search device is enabled). If the GMB profile populates while on site but nowhere else, odds are, your profile is suffering from weak location authority — meaning that Google wouldn’t show it unless the searcher was physically standing smack-dab at its listed address.
Google analyzes three variables when displaying (and ranking) local search results:
- Relevance: Do the contents of the GMB profile match up with the searcher’s intent?
- Prominence: How popular is the GMB profile (e.g., reviews, views, et al.)?
- Distance: What is the searcher’s geo-location (or it assesses a location named in the actual search phrase) proximate to the GMB profile and its specified service area(s)?
Setting up a Google My Business Profile
To set up a Google My Business profile for real estate, for starters, make sure you’re logged in the Google Account you want associated with the business listing. After that, navigate to Business.Google.com in your web browser and follow the prompts. Although, before any of that, it may be prudent to do a quick scan of the Internet to certify you don’t have any unknown or unclaimed GMB profiles floating around.
Once you’ve created your Google My Business profile for real estate, it needs to be officially verified, which may entail Google mailing you a postcard with a printed code, or if you’re lucky, it may just be a phone call, email or an instant-online approval — but it’ll probably be a postcard.
While you’re waiting for that postcard, get your house in order. The first thing you’ll want to do is lock in your N-A-P (i.e., your Name, Address, and Phone number). Google’s going to “Google you,” in a manner of speaking, to see how your business is listed on other popular sites like Yelp, Facebook, Realtor.com, and so on.
So make sure your business name matches up across the web. Its address should be character-for-character anywhere and everywhere it’s listed. In other words, if you abbreviate “Avenue,” as “Ave.,” — with the dot at the end — make it the same everywhere. Your phone number should be local and, though many teams and agents use trackable numbers, it isn’t (technically) recommended. Oh, and if someone dials that number and you don’t answer, Google knows!
Add photos and reviews
In addition, add photos to your profile. In fact, add 100 or more photos! Research has indicated GMBs with more than a hundred photos garner (way) more website clicks — as in, 1,065% more!
And finally, make Google Reviews a top priority, especially seller testimonials. Google searches in which the searcher is seeking an agent tend to be associated with “seller intent.” So it’d look good for there to be lots of past sellers bragging on you.
Like I said at the top, location authority is the new SEO for local businesses. SEO has long been a technically-complex and competitive space dominated by major players. But here recently, Google has made some serious inroads to streamline and assist local businesses with tools and products to capitalize on the benefits of SEO — first and foremost: Google My Business. My advice is … go all-in on Google!
By Jason Pantana, business coach and national speaker, Ferry International, the real estate industry’s leading coaching and training company, as well as host of the popular seminar, Marketing Edge. His dynamic sessions arm professionals with the tools they need to stay current, competitive and successful.
Formerly the education director for a leading national real estate franchise, Jason creates tailored sessions for a range of professionals. His areas of expertise include social media strategy, digital marketing and developing an eye for emerging business trends. He’s provided clear paths for companies, both large and small, to roll out powerful advertising campaigns through online platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google.