“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.” ~ National Association of REALTORS®’s recent Digital House Hunt study

 
Google My Business for real estate is a big deal.  The last 5 clients I have built websites for have not had Google profiles.  According to BrightLocal, “42% of local businesses don’t have their business information claimed”.  I suspect that percentage is higher with real estate agents.

The very first thing you should do if you want to eventually rank on Google for anything is to “Google My Business”.

You can build SEO without it if you really know what you are doing.  But if you really know what you are doing why wouldn’t you?

To me it would be like expecting business leads from an Networking group, but not joining the group.  I mean you could still get some leads from the group… but you would probably get a lot more if you joined the group.
 

What is Local SEO

 
Simply, it is putting a location in front of a search term.

Non Local SEO Search Term:

  • Real Estate
  • Agent
  • Homes
  • Listings

Local SEO Search Term:

  • Seattle Real Estate
  • Las Vegas Agent
  • SoDo Homes
  • Chicago Listings

If you want to rank for the local search terms then you need to tell Google where you are.  It can guess… but it is a robot.  You should probably make sure you tell them.
 

What Does Local SEO Look Like

 
There are 3 ways that your real estate business can stand out from the crowd once you Google Your Business.

1. With a Knowledge Graph

 

The Google Knowledge Graph as defined by Wikipedia:

“The Knowledge Graph…provides structured and detailed information about the topic in addition to a list of links to other sites. The goal is that users would be able to use this information to resolve their query without having to navigate to other sites and assemble the information themselves.  The short summary provided in the knowledge graph is often used as a spoken answer in Google Now searches.”

You can see below that I typed in my business name…

Jason Fox Web Design

and you can see my Knowledge Graph to the right:

 

Google_My_Business

 

FYI:  Below is why using your name as your business name might not work out the best.  When you just type my name in you get the NFL football player Jason Fox’s Knowledge Graph.

Google_My_Business_NO_Knowledge_Pain

 

2. With A Local Pack

 

Google’s Local Pack is a map display of listings that match a service provider and the corresponding area.

In the image below you can see I typed in…

Web Design + Bothell

and below is what the Local Pack or Map Pack looks like:

 

Google_my_business_map_pack

 

3.  As a Place On the Google Map

 

“Your verified business information can appear in Maps, helping customers find directions to your business. They can also find contact info as well as ratings and reviews of your business”. (Google)

As you can see below when I am on Google Maps and I type in…

Web Design + Bothell

you can see my listing and my pin on the map:

 

Google_My_Business_Map

 

Real Estate Local SEO Results

 

Google took Local Packs away from real estate for a while.  It used to be that you would see the Local results when you entered the search term…

Local Area + Real Estate (I always suggest not trying to rank for this keyword unless you are advanced)

As you can see from the image below that no longer produces results for local real estate agents, now it is just the big syndicates:

 

Google_My_Business_Real_Estate_Map_Packs_keyword

 

It looks like Real Estate Agents can get their Local Packs to display with the search term of…

Real Estate Agent + Local Area

As you can see below I entered Seattle + Real Estate Agent and the Local Pack is displayed:

 

Google_My_Business_Real_Estate_Map_Pack

 

FYI:  When I type in…

Real Estate Broker + Seattle

a different set of Local Pack results display, as you can see below:

 

Google_My_Business_Seattle_Broker_Map_Pack

 

Google My Business

This is where “Google My Business” comes in.  It is Google’s way of letting us tell their robots where we are.  Or, what local search terms we should rank for.  If your office is in Seattle.  Then you should have the opportunity to get ranked for search terms with the word Seattle in front of them.

*I can not guarantee that you will rank for your Local Search Terms if you Google Your Business… but,  I can guarantee that will have a better chance if you do.

 

Google explains their product as:

“Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses, brands, artists, and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps. By verifying and editing your business information, you can both help customers find you and tell them the story of your business.”

There are 4 general parts:

  1. Google My Business
  2. Google Listing
  3. Google+
  4. Google Maps

 

Google My Business

This is the back-end of the service, or your Google Dashboard.

Here you can:

  • Edit Your Business Details
  • View Your Page Insights
  • Manage Your Google Reviews
  • Manage Your Adwords Express
  • Manage Your Google Analytics
  • Manage Your Google+ Page

Google My Business Dashboard

2.  Google Listing

 

This is the front-end of Google My Business or what searchers see when they find your Local Business on Google.

 

3. Google+

 

This is your Google+ Page

 

4.  Maps

 

This is what searches see when they search on the Google Map.

Don’t let all of that confuse you.  The Dashboard is all you need to worry about.

When you Google Your Business it will automatically create all of the above.

 

Let’s Google Your Real Estate Business

 

Visit:https://www.google.com/business/

 

Get your business on google free

 

>> If you already have a Google Account then you can just login.

 

Google Account

 

>> If you don’t have a Google Account you can “Create Account”.

 

Once you are logged in you will see a “Google My Business” page that will show you:

  • Locations
  • Brand Pages

Yours will probably be empty.

 

Add A Location

 

>> There is a blue button in the bottom right hand corner with a + on it.

 

Add A Location

 

>> This will prompt you to search for your business.  If you, or an associate, have already claimed your business in the past it will be displayed.  If not then “Add Your Business”.

 

Search For Your Business

 

>> Complete The Form.

 

*This part is VERY IMPORTANT. 

You will be entering your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number.  This is called your NAP.  You are like a toddler with your NAP… it is very important.  This is how Google Identifies your business on the web.

Be sure to list your Business Name, Address, and Phone Number exactly as it is on your website.

Including small details like:

  • LLC
  • St.
  • #
  • Suite
  • Area Code

Also make sure to pick the category that most closely resembles your business… “Real Estate Agents”.

Add Your business information

 

>> Verify that you are authorized to create the business listing.

 

verify your business

 

>> This will create a Google+ Page (a requirement for having a Google Business Listing) and will prompt you to Verify Your Business.

 

Google wants to be sure that you are a verifiable and legitimate business.

If you can use the “Call Me Now” button do it and you can get instant verification.

If you have to use the “Mail Me My Code” button it will take a week or so for you to get a card in the mail with a verification code that you will need to enter later.

Verify My Business

 

>> If You have to verify by mail and have received the verification pin postcard from Google.

 

  • You must login to your Google My Business dashboard.
  • Click the “Enter Code” button.
  • Enter your verification code.. and Boom.
  • Your are a verified Google Listing.

 

Optimize Your Google Listing

 

Now that you have alerted Google to the fact that you are a Local Business that would like to be indexed we need to give them a reason to rank you higher than other real estate agents in your area.

Rest assured if you only go as far as getting your Google Real Estate Business Listing set-up you will already be ahead of most.

If you would like to take it to the next level than you need to optimize your listing.

 

You can do this in 4 steps:

 

 1. Complete every detail of your business.

  • Logo
  • Images
  • Cover Photo
  • All Contact Information
  • Hours of Operation
  • A Complete Business Description

 

2. Get Positive Reviews On Your Business Listing

 

3. Add Business Citations with the same NAP (Business Name, Address, & Phone Number)

  • Business Citations are simply business listings on other similar websites as Google with the same Business Name, Address, and Phone Number.
  • Sites such as:
    • Bing, City Search, Mapquest, Dex, and SuperPages.
  • If you want the easiest possible way to add citations you can try YEXT
    • YEXT is quite pricey at $499 year
    • YEXT has a contract with many of the large sites and it is the only way you can get listed.
    • If you move or need to make changes YEXT has a dashboard that allows you to submit to 50 sites at once.
  • You can have someone do them for you on Fiverr but they will not get access to the sites with the most juice.
  • You can do them yourself by using a service like:

 

4. Make sure that your NAP (Business Name, Address & Phone Number) are displayed on your website exactly the way it is on your Business Listing

  • If you want to take it to the next level you should use Schema Mark Up to display your business information.
  • Whitespark does an excellent tutorial on this:  Local Business Schema

 

Summary

As a local real estate agent being found online for local searches is beneficial.  The easiest way to get started doing that is to Google Your Business.

Google has made it much easier recently to get your Google Business Listing up and verified.  By doing this your business will be more likely to display in local searches.

Your real estate business may stand out by displaying:

  • A Knowledge Graph
  • In a Local Pack
  • On The Google Map
  • As  A Google Page on Google+

Increasing your chances of getting found.

By |2016-02-04T13:49:39+00:00February 2nd, 2016|

About the Author:

Jason Fox - Real Estate Marketing Business: We build WordPress Real Estate Websites with IDX Me: #GoHawks, #BringBackTheSonics, #MaybeNextYearMariners, #ILoveMyKids #SeattleSunLover #SeattleWaterLover #BFF Blog: Focuses on Wordpress Websites, Content Management, SEO Services, SEM Campaigns, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Beautiful Design, IDX, and more.

18 Comments

  1. Bill Gassett February 2, 2016 at 10:06 am - Reply

    Jason – Great re-cap of what a real estate agent should be doing when it comes to Google My Business. I would be willing to bet if I surveyed my real estate office 95% of the Realtors would be looking like they had seen a ghost if I asked whether they knew anything about this. It amazes me how few agents pay attention to SEO.

    • jasonfox February 2, 2016 at 10:41 am - Reply

      Bill, thanks for stopping by. Yeah, I bet about 90% of our clients have not taken advantage of this simple and free way to help their presence.

  2. KayeSwain February 2, 2016 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Thanks for the tips. I learned a couple of new ones today which I really appreciated. 🙂
    Kaye

    • jasonfox February 2, 2016 at 4:05 pm - Reply

      Kay, thanks for stopping by. You are welcome.. hope it helps.

  3. jackbobeck February 3, 2016 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Jason,

    Great info! Its not hard to build a successful business online, but it takes TIME, and everyone thinks they can throw their NAP on the Google, and its instantaneous. Thanks for mentioning Moz,com/local, I use it with my customers because they are much more affordable than Yext and Moz is known for SEO, and all Yext does is sell, sell, sell. Moz is very affordable too.

    Keep up the great work! Don’t forget about Facebook.com/services too.

    Jack

    • jasonfox February 3, 2016 at 9:01 am - Reply

      Hello Jack. Thanks for stopping by, and the kind words. SEO has a cost that is for sure… cash or ticks on the clock. I work in a niche that is behind the curve and maybe just throwing up their NAP will help 🙂 How do we optimize for Facebook.com/services?

  4. Michelle February 6, 2016 at 9:04 am - Reply

    What if you are an agent “within” a local real estate brokerage that has already claimed thier business on google?

    • jasonfox February 6, 2016 at 11:26 am - Reply

      Michelle,

      I would create a Home Office, use the brokerage address and suite or desk #, or you can rent a Virtual Address for pretty cheap.

      • Kim Schillig January 9, 2017 at 7:38 pm - Reply

        Hi Jason – I’ve been searching for an answer to this question…It seems that my broker has claimed their GMB, so for me to also have a GMB at the same location I need to make it more specific on the address with a suite number of Office number or some type of distinguishing address. Am I understanding that correctly?

      • Dan O'Connor January 10, 2017 at 1:20 pm - Reply

        I use Moz local to help clients with local SEO. I was asked by a real estate agent to help with Local SEO. Unfortunately, any marketing for the Agents has to list the Brokers main address and phone number. I assume this is true for most Brokers. Is there a way I can help any individual agent with Local Packs?

        • Valerie Cudnik August 3, 2017 at 8:56 am - Reply

          It probably depends on the state and the MLS. A lot of agents in my area (the ones that do any real internet marketing) get their own business name. They have to identify their broker on their website, but don’t have to elsewhere.

          My challenge is what to do with the agents that *don’t* have a business license in their own name.

      • Steven Smith February 4, 2017 at 10:52 am - Reply

        Jason, can you please elaborate on the address portion of Google Your Business? I am an agent who works with a brokerage and am wondering if I should use the address of the brokerage, or use my home address? Which would be better or is using the brokerage address (with 150 other agents like me) even an option? Or, you mentioned creating a virtual address – would this be the best option and how would one go about doing this?

        • jasonfox July 24, 2017 at 3:13 pm - Reply

          Depends on how you want to show up! I use the office address for one business, and home address for another.

        • Valerie Cudnik August 3, 2017 at 9:43 am - Reply

          That’s the million dollar question! An independent agent vs a brokerage.

          My take: get a business license with your name if you don’t already have one and use your home address, but choose the option in GMB that says “sees customers at their locations” and don’t show your address.

          I just had a client using a shared office space where GMB suspended their account because of signage — their name wasn’t on the building/door/marquis. Got some help from them and that’s what they had us do. (A virtual address is good for validation purposes only at this point, so you may as well use your home address and keep it private.)

          • jasonfox August 3, 2017 at 6:01 pm

            Hey Valerie, Thanks for the real life example.

  5. Elizabeth Pagano McGuire April 29, 2016 at 4:04 am - Reply

    Jason, I love this article and have taken the steps to have a Google Business page, but what confuses me is this: I now have two profiles on Google. From my research, it appears that you cannot connect your Google Business profile to your personal Google+ profile…..and yet what am I supposed to do with all of the data (connections, followers, etc.) on the personal profile….and should I start building reviews on the business one, even though the personal one is more widely viewed? Or should I/can I just delete the personal one and start to build a following and reviews on the new Google Business profile? Please help!!

    • jasonfox April 29, 2016 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      When you created your business profile you should have done so using the login credentials from your personal profile. Making them 1 in the same. While they are not directly linked they really are. Reviews should go to your business page… and connections for the most part should stay on your personal profile… that is my opinion anyway.

  6. Charles December 13, 2016 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    Love this. Amazing how real estate agents don’t take advantage of local seo.

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