WHAT IS LOCAL SEO FOR REAL ESTATE AGENTS?

If you are a real estate agent there is no doubt that you have been successful at, invested in or thought about building your online web presence and your local SEO search results.

The idea of having people find you online and give you a call to help them buy or sell real estate sounds amazing.  And there are thousands of brands, SEO, coaches and the like that are constantly telling you that you need to be online, you need a website, you need to blog and be on Social Media.

I know that many of you have tried these things and have not had any success.  For that I apologize.  I am one of those thousands of people that have been telling you this.

I am not saying it does not work… on the contrary I have success with it in my own business.  But like any marketing strategy it takes time and effort.

If you think it is something you would like to incorporate into your marketing strategy then this guide will help get you started.

WHAT IS REAL ESTATE SEO?

…The process of increasing the quality and quantity of your traffic or visitors to your Real Estate Website by increasing the visibility of your real estate website to users of a web search engine, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. SEO refers to the improvement of unpaid results and excludes direct traffic/visitors and the purchase of paid placement. Otherwise known as Organic Traffic. Wikipedia

WHAT IS LOCAL SEO FOR REAL ESTATE?

The same as Real Estate SEO but focusing on specific locations rather than just across the entire web.  Making Local SEO much more effective for real estate agents, teams and offices.

In 2016, it was simply putting a location in front of a search term.

Non Local SEO Search Term:

  • Real Estate

Local SEO Search Term:

  • Seattle Real Estate

Since 2016, Google has seen a 92% growth in searches for “best real estate agent,” (Source: Google Data, US, 2018 vs. 2017) and a 61% increase in searches for “homes for sale near me.” (Source: Google Internal Data 2018 vs 2017)

Now Google knows where you are and will find the search term that is located near you.

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.

LOCAL SEO FOR REAL ESTATE SEARCH RANKING FACTORS

local seo search ranking factors
Google My Business Signals 25%
Link Signals 16%
Review Signals 15%
On Page Signals 14%
Citation Signals 10%
Behavioral Signals 9%
Personalization Signals 5%
Social Signals 2%

[25.1%] GOOGLE MY BUSINESS SIGNALS

There are millions of little signals that Google uses to determine how to rank web results.  According to MOZ the most important signals for building strong local SEO are Google My Business signals.

These are the signals that are associated with your GMB profile that when optimized and set up correctly will most influence how your business ranks on Google.

Before we get into the ranking signals themselves we should first take a deeper dive into GMB or Google My Business.

WHAT IS GOOGLE MY BUSINESS

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 SEO 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:

“Engage with customers on Google for free: With a Google My Business account, you get more than a business listing. Your free Business Profile lets you easily connect with customers across Google Search and Maps.”

If you’ve ever typed the name of a business into Google and seen an informative mini overview of the company appear on the right-hand side of the screen, then you’ll have seen a Google My Business profile in action. Essentially, it provides a snippet of information about your company for the user. It should include your name, address and phone number as a minimum requirement.

Google My Business profile for real estate also gives you the chance of appearing in map results. This means that if a user local to your business searches for a real estate business in your area you have a chance of appearing in the map result.

HOW YOUR GMB PROFILE WILL DISPLAY

1.  BUSINESS PROFILE

As a box on the side of the search page

business profile on local seo search results
2.  GOOGLE MAPS

As a pin on Google Maps

Google Maps local seo search
3.  MAP PACKS

My personal favorite… 1 of 3 Map Search results for a product of service search.

Google Map Pack local seo results

Since the largest percentage of Local SEO Ranking Factor comes from your Google My Business account you should take a few minutes to make sure that it is set-up and optimized.

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?

And now more than ever, “Google is about to revolutionize the way consumers find real estate agents”, according to Inman News.

‘Google is about to revolutionize the way consumers find real estate agents’, according to Inman News. Click To Tweet

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.

CREATING AND OPTIMIZING YOUR GOOGLE MY BUSINESS PROFILE

If you have not created a Google My Business Profile and you are serious about your local SEO results you should do that right now by clicking the button below:

GOOGLE MY BUSINESS
Common Questions About Creating A Google My Business Account

Can I use my brokerage address?

    • Yes. But there can be side effects. If your brokerage has a strong presence they may overshadow you. Because of the Google Possum update, sometimes Google will only show 1 business in the Map Pack from the same address or building.

What should my business name be?

    • Keep this short and sweet like your name and a real estate term… Bob Smith Homes. If you have a brand name use that. What is important here is to pick a name and stick with it. Use it on your website and all business profiles. Also, be careful here there are some words that you can not use, such as misrepresenting your self as a brokerage if you are not.

Your NAP+W is critical for local SEO make sure to save it.

    • Name
    • Address
    • Phone
    • Website
  • Think of this combination as a Social Security number for your business on Google. Every time Google sees that combination they know it is your business.

GOOGLE MY BUSINESS DASHBOARD

Google My Business Dashboard

Once you have created a GMB Profile you will have access to a dashboard that allows you to:

  • Publish Posts, Events & Specials To Your Profile
  • Access Google Ads and Create Ads
  • See Business Insights and Stats
  • View and Respond To Reviews
  • Access Direct Messaging
  • Add Photos and Videos
  • Create A Free Website
  • Manage Business Info
  • And More

OPTIMIZE YOUR BUSINESS PROFILE

Now that you have alerted Google to the fact that you are a Local Business that would like to be indexed for local SEO results 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.

1. Complete Every Detail of Your Business Profile Keeping Your NAP+W in Mind

    • Logo
    • Images
    • Videos
    • Cover Photo
    • All Contact Information
    • Hours of Operation
    • A Complete Business Description
    • Service Areas
    • Website
    • Services
    • About

2. Get Positive Reviews On Your Business Listing

    • We will go into greater detail about this later

3. Add Update, Add Event, Add Offer or Add Product Every few weeks

Post to your business profile

TOP GMB RANKING SIGNALS

  • Proximity of Address to the Point of Search (Searcher-Business Distance)
  • Physical Address in City of Search
  • Proper GMB Category Associations
  • Product/Service Keyword in GMB Business Title
  • Location Keyword in GMB Business Title
  • GMB Primary Category Matches a Broader Category of the Search Category (e.g. primary category=restaurant & search=pizza)
  • Completeness of GMB Listing
  • Quality/Authority of Inbound Links to GMB Landing Page
  • Quantity of Native Google Reviews (with text)
  • Product/Service Keyword in GMB Landing Page Title
  • Page Authority of GMB Landing Page URL
  • Location Keyword in GMB Landing Page Title
  • Quantity of Engagement Signals on GMB Listing (scrolling through listing, clicking photos, reading reviews, reading Q&A, clicking on Posts, etc.)
  • Age of GMB Listing
  • Verified GMB Listing
  • HTML NAP Matching GMB Listing NAP
  • Quantity of Inbound Links to GMB Landing Page URL
  • Local Area Code on GMB Listing
  • Association of Photos with GMB Listing

According to MOZ

[15.4%] REVIEW SIGNALS

These are the rankings signals that are associated with the number, quality and diversity of your Online Reviews.

There’s no denying the fact that word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways for real estate professionals to attract new business. But even the friends and families of your past clients will be interested in knowing a little bit more about the person they’re about to trust to help them make such a major financial decision.” (Inman.com)

Statistics show that online reviews are critically important to establishing trust with future clients, with 84% of consumers trusting online reviews as much as a personal recommendation and 60% of consumers saying that negative reviews make them question the quality of a business.

Because of that fact they are also quite crucial for your local SEO real estate results.

But which online review site matters the most? We all know that consumers search Yelp for restaurants, but what about when they search for real estate agents? Where do they go?

Before you ask your next client for a review, you might want to know which site to ask them to go to.

As it turns out, new evidence from Rising Star Reviews shows that Zillow is the most important review site for real estate agents to focus on first.

More people search for real estate agent reviews on Zillow than any other site.

This wasn’t always the case. Prior to 2017, the leader in real estate agent reviews was actually Google! No, not Trulia or Realtor.com or any other real estate site…and not even the review-focused site, Yelp, but Google!

In 2017, Zillow surpassed Google for the first time as the #1 place people go when they want to find reviews of real estate agents.

But Google remains a very strong #2 behind Zillow for now. So as soon as you have your Zillow reviews under control, your very next priority should be to get lots of strong Google reviews.

Coming in a distant third, Yelp should be your next priority after Google.

And finally, the remaining real estate sites barely rank as “also ran’s.” Trulia is the most important site specific to the real estate industry after Zillow…although you don’t have to do anything to get reviews on Trulia, since the same reviews you get on Zillow automatically transfer to Trulia now that Zillow and Trulia are fully integrated. After Trulia, Redfin is the next most popular place people search for real estate agent reviews, followed finally by Realtor.com.

Review Mistakes I Have Made

1. Asking my clients to review me on my site using a review plugin

2. Asking my clients to review me on a 3rd party sites like Linkedin and Mosaic Hub

You can see I have many positive reviews on this page that do not show up on local searches

3. Not asking my clients for reviews…. this is the worst of all.

HOW TO GET REVIEWS

The hardest part about online reviews is not which platform to collect them on but how to get your clients to take the time and give you a review.

Here are some things to try.