How to Create the Perfect Google Business Title for Agents

How to Create the Perfect Google Business Title for Agents
Founder of InboundREM an inbound marketing lead generation company focused on SEO. Blogger. Real Estate SEO expert. Real Estate Lead Generation expert. Real estate online marketing fanatic. Podcaster. Occasional public speaker and frequent vlogger.

Table of Contents

Case Study of Highly Successful GBPs

One of the hottest markets in the nation, Austin is home to about 27,000 real estate agents. Take a guess as to how many reviews the top Google Business Profiles has. 500? 1000? More?

What if I told you the #1 agent profile for the search “Austin realtors” has only 32 reviews? What if I told you the next 3 profiles have over 1000 reviews? If you don’t believe me, check it out below.

Evidence of Google Business Profile business titles being a top ranking factor

If you think it’s a fluke, check out these other examples with the same search phrase, but for slightly different areas of Austin.

More evidence of GBP business titles playing a major role in ranking for real estate agents

But wait because things get even crazier. I searched “best Jacksonville realtor” on Google Maps and found these astonishing results. The Top 3 results, but especially the Rank 1 result, is unbelievable for a city with an estimated 8000 real estate agents.

The #1 result is brand new and has 0 reviews. Zero. It’s also located 10 miles from the city center. It’s only virtue is the business title of “Best Real Estate Agent in Jacksonville Florida”.

Do I think this profile will last? No, I think they will get flagged for having a keyword-stuffed business title. Because of this, they will have difficulty in the future creating an SEO-friendly GBP business title.

But it’s a perfect example of how powerful a ranking factor the business title is.

The Jacksonville profiles that do follow the guidelines also follow the same trend in Austin.

Hyperlocal and local search case study results

Time and again, relatively new agencies of 1-2 people with less than 100 reviews are rubbing elbows with giant agencies boasting 500-1600 reviews and a 5-star rating. 

So what do all these Davids have in common that’s letting them take on the Goliaths? I looked through every aspect imaginable for these Google Business Profiles. I can say with certainty that three factors created these wild successes.

1. Keyword-Rich Reviews

If you haven’t already read my Ultimate Guide to Google Reviews for Agents, I highly recommend you check out the groundbreaking case studies in that article.

It contains two of the most insane discoveries of 2023 for hyperlocal real estate marketing. That’s definitely true of InboundREM case studies, but I would go so far as to say that article contains some of the most important information for current hyperlocal real estate marketing overall.

Because you can read that article, I’m not going to spend too much time here discussing the importance of keyword-rich reviews. Here are some interesting examples for now.

Hyperlocal Case Study Results

Austin Home Girls Realty beats out competing GBPs with 1000+ reviews for the majority of hyperlocal searches I did across different parts of Austin. 48 of 77 reviews included the word “Austin”. In addition, 22 of the 77 reviews included the phrase “realtor” or “real estate agent”.

Cristina Valdés is the other GBP that consistently outperforms the Goliaths across different areas in Austin. 19 of her 33 reviews have the word “Austin”. 13 of 33 reviews contain “realtor” or “real estate agent.”

As you’ll notice across the images above, the profiles with 1000+ reviews also have great business titles to rank for “Austin realtors”. All three of the bigggest players have “Realty Austin” in their names. That demonstrates how powerful keyword-rich reviews are. 

These are no coincidences, as my previous case studies demonstrate. For this case study, I want to focus much more on the next two algorithmic factors.

2. SEO-Friendly Business Title

I’ll be the first to admit that hyperlocal marketing experts have been aware for awhile that keywords in the business titles of GBPs are a huge ranking factor.

Many studies place it as the second or third biggest ranking factor for hyperlocal searches. The other two factors are primary business category and number of reviews, given a strong overall rating of 4.8+ stars.

This certainly holds true for the real estate market. I’ve highlighted the four real estate agents in Austin who rank well beyond their weight class. As you can see, all of them have “Austin Realty” in their business title.

This is the #1 hack for outranking competing Google Business Profiles with 10x as many reviews for searches like “(Insert Area) realtors”, given that they don’t have a business title with matching keywords for the search.

The issue that crops up with this hack is managing to insert keywords into your business title while abiding by the Google guidelines. I will cover detailed hacks and methods for achieving this below.

Best Keywords for Business Titles

I was interested to see that the first 13-15 results for different parts of Austin contain the phrase “Austin Realty” instead of “Austin Realtor” or “Austin Real Estate Team”.

At first, I thought that having an exact match keyword, as opposed to a semantically-related keyword like “realty” didn’t make much of a difference.

However, I wanted to be sure about the best words to use in your GBP business title, so I studied several other cities.

Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco have a very balanced spread of business titles with keywords like realty, realtor, real estate, real estate team, etc.

Vancouver, Miami, and Las Vegas feature Google Business Profiles with the exact keyword match of “(Insert City) Realtor”.

Diving Deeper Into GBP Business Titles

Regarding the point above, I noticed a fascinating pattern while researching. For some cities, like Austin, there seems to be a herd mentality where the majority of real estate agencies choose a word like “Realty” in their official business title. The same trend was true of Vancouver, but for “Realtor” instead of “Realty”.

I won’t pretend to understand exactly why this is happening. Maybe new agents and agencies name themselves based on what they see their local competition typically doing. Maybe it’s something else. Who knows?

But I can say this. Your farming area will have its own unique trend with GBP business titles. When creating or editing your business title, you should be aware of what the competition is doing.

Regardless, you probably want to opt for “(Insert City) Realty” or “(Insert City) Realtor” no matter what for the following reasons:

  1. If your area has a spread of business title keywords in the Top 20 results, then opt for “(Insert Area) Realty” or “(Insert Area) Realtor” depending on whether you’re an agency or agent to leverage a possible boost for exact match keywords.
  2. If your area has predominately “(Insert Area) Realtor”, then follow the pack because you don’t want to have a semantically-related business title keyword when exact match is the mainstream.
  3. If your area has predominately business titles that don’t include “(Insert Area) Realtor/Realty”, then do opt for “(Insert Area) Realtor/Realty” because you may get a boost for having an exact match business title keyword in a region where the herd has neglected doing so for whatever reason.

In other words, it’s important to avoid following the local trend in GBP business titles if your competition is mostly using keywords besides “Realtor” or “Realty”.

Of course, these recommendations are based purely in hyperlocal SEO strategies, specifically for GBP business titles.

Again, using a phrase like “Best (Insert Area) Realty” doesn’t have to be your legal business name. You just need to include it in your GBP business title while following Google guidelines in order to reap the SEO benefits.

3. Keyword-Rich Website Domain Name

This section is the most enlightening because it demonstrates evidence of something that nobody is talking about. That’s probably because nobody has been fully aware of it until I did this case study.

Here’s the main takeaway. If your official website connected to your Google Business Profile has exact match keywords for common local searches, you will receive a big (you might even say unfair) boost in rankings.

For example, if the URL of your official website connected to your GBP is www(dot)BestJacksonvilleRealty(dot)com, then you will enjoy a major ranking boost on Google Maps and other local searches for queries like “best Jacksonville realtor” or even “Jacksonville realtor”.

An SEO secret I’ve known for awhile is how much blog articles get a boost when ranking for keywords when the domain name has those exact keywords.

example of importance of domain name keyword matches

Check out the rankings for “living in San Diego”. The highlighted result has a much worse Domain Rating (the metric for how much Google values the website overall), but it’s still holding it’s own. Despite a DR7, it’s beating strong articles with a DR73 and DR61. 

Why? Well, it’s no coincidence that the surprisingly high-ranking article about living in San Diego comes from the domain www.LivingInSanDiego.com.

Now here’s the evidence for Google Business Profiles.

Austin realtor GBP with great business title
Austin realtor GBP with great business title 2
Austin realtor GBP with great business title 3

The first example is the search results from “Austin realtors” on Google Maps. The top results all have “Austin” and some word for “realty” in their domain names. They also have similar keywords in their landing page URLs.

Below you see the same is true for Dallas. In other cities, you don’t find many high-ranking profiles with keyword matches for the landing page URL. But in those cities, you usually don’t find any profiles with keyword-matching URLs.

Dallas real estate agents with good landing page URLs
Dallas real estate agents with good landing page URLs 2
Dallas real estate agents with good landing page URLs 3

Another example is for the search “Miami realtors”. The number 2 result has a relatively poor 4.3 star rating. But way more importantly, it’s not actually a real estate agent or agency. It’s the headquarters for the Miami Association of Realtors.

Yes, it’s related to real estate. But keep in mind that the primary business category is widely considered a Top 2 ranking factor for every local search. Yet in this case, thousands of actual agents and agencies are being overtaken by a profile with a different primary business category, despite a poor rating.

Why? Well you might think it’s because the business title includes the search keyphrase. But there are lots of profiles from actual agencies with the same keyphrase in their business title.

But check this. The official website of the Miami Association of Realtors is www.miamirealtors.com, a domain name with an exact match keyword for the search.

WhiteSpark is one of the absolute biggest authorities on ranking factors for hyperlocal Google Business Profile ranking. They place “keywords in the GBP landing page URL” as the 70th most important ranking factor.

Guess what? I think they got this one wrong. In this exact case, we have their 70th most important ranking factor completely overriding the #1 ranking factor, which is primary GBP business category.

That said, there’s a decent chance the H1 of the homepage includes the search keywords. But I still hold to this hack because I know exact match domain names play a stronger role for ranking on Organic Search than many SEO experts think.

Learn more about that in our 3 Hacks for GBP Business Titles section at the bottom.

How InboundREM Can Help

If the biggest hyperlocal marketing experts and corporations aren’t aware of this hack, your competition doesn’t either. In fact, I would say it’s safe to say that nobody knows of this hack except InboundREM and the readers of this article.

To be clear, I’m not saying that hyperlocal marketing giants like WhiteSpark and BrightLocal don’t know what they’re doing. I’m saying their in-depth case studies have been to broad to uncover this particular hack that’s specific to the real estate niche and keywords like “(Insert City) Realtor”.

At InboundREM, we’re committed to helping small and medium-sized teams defeat heavyweight champions. If that describes your business, you’re in luck.

Huge real estate SEO and marketing corporations tend to focus on aspects of the business that cater to agencies with huge marketing budgets. It makes sense, and more power to them if they do their jobs well.

If you want to have a no-strings-attached conversation about how I can help you make the Mike Tysons of your farming area sweat, you can schedule a consultation below.

Let's have a talk

Schedule a Meeting

Let’s chat about how an SEO-focused website that YOU OWN, Google Business Profile Campaigns, or Custom Email Campaigns can generate high-quality leads and exceptional long-term ROI. If my services aren’t the best move for you, I’ll gladly point you in the right direction

Official Google Guidelines

Here are the relevant parts of the Google Guidelines for business titles.

Our hacks below will help you fully optimize the business title of your Google Business Profile while following these guidelines.

3 Hacks for High-Ranking GBP Business Titles

To be fair, I have seen lots of agents and agencies with Google Business Titles that definitely appear guilty of keyword stuffing and breaking the Google guidelines.

In some cases, they were absolutely keyword stuffing. I won’t name names, but a hypothetical example would be “Brian King Top Manhattan Brooklyn New York Realtor”.

Regardless, I wouldn’t recommend making this change without following my tips. Just because a few keyword-rich profiles exist at certain point doesn’t mean they won’t be flagged. It also doesn’t mean that the vast majority of keyword-stuffed business titles have already resulted in consequences.

#1 Hack for GBP Business Titles

If you’re an agency, there’s no one-size-fits-all hack for naming your business title since there will be variations in agency names. But here’s my standard suggestion:

The Guarino Team | Long Beach Island Realtors

If you’re an agency, I recommend changing your GBP to look like this:

Mike Addams | Austin Realtor

If you’re connected to a brokerage or agency whose name includes local place names or real estate language like “realty”, then you should add that as well. Then your business title would look like one of these:

Mike Addams | Austin Realtor | Coldwell Banker Austin

Mike Addams | Austin Realtor | Longhorn Realty

If your brokerage or agency name doesn’t contain any keywords, it’s a personal choice whether you should include it for branding purposes. It’s probably smart, especially because people may search for your agency by name.

I don’t have any metrics to back this up, but I often saw profiles that had both “Realtor” and “Realty” in their business titles performing extremely well. If you can authentically create a business title like the last example above, definitely do it. 

Finally, if you’re among the 33% of real estate agents without a website, you have the opportunity and information necessary to choose the absolute best SEO-friendly domain name and landing page URL for your business.

Your domain name (website homepage URL) doesn’t have to be your business name. In fact, at InboundREM we opt for SEO-friendly domain names that intentionally don’t match the agency’s name.

For example, we locked down www.bestcincinnatihomes.com for the Maria Walley Group to help capture keywords including the words “best”, “Cincinnati”, and “homes”.

If you can get a domain name with local search keywords, you can maximize your website SEO efforts while getting a boost on your GBP business title.

That boost will mostly come from having a business title that follows Google guidelines, and to a lesser degree the exact match keywords in the landing page URL.

I recommend getting a domain name of one of the following types:

Then include “Best Austin Realty” or whatever phrase belongs to your domain name into your GBP business title.

If you don’t or can’t get a domain name like these, it seems to be a widely acceptable practice to follow the original business title formulation of “Mike Addams | Austin Realtor”.

#2 Hack for GBP Ranking Boost

This hack is also super important to know. Of the hundreds of ranking factors, there are two very valuable ones that take only a few minutes to change if you have a website. Check out this weighted list of ranking factors from BrightLocal:

BrightLocal ranking factors for GBP

As you can see, the two highlighted factors are the presence of keywords in the landing page URL title and headings. That’s a change that matters almost as much as extremely time-consuming factors like number of reviews and number of citations. But it only takes minutes to edit.

So for example, if your current H1 (homepage title of your website) is “Sharon Steele Real Estate”, just change it to “Sharon Steele Real Estate | Westfield and Cranford New Jersey Realtor”.

Typically the page title of your homepage does not actually appear on the website itself. So you’re free to add keywords without changing the content or branding that visitors see. Keep in mind this hack is only for your homepage, which should be your GBP landing page URL. It does not apply to the rest of your website pages.

As for H2 and H3 headings, these will appear as text on your website homepage. In this case, I recommend adding copy like “Your Austin Realtor” and similar language as suits your website.

#3 Hack for GBP Business Titles for Agents

Our third hack is about gaining marketing materials to prove you follow the Google guidelines for your business title. One simple way you can do this is by using our eBooks, which are also fantastic client resources and excellent lead magnets for your website.

300-ideas-mockup-min
Get it now

FREE eBook

300 Ideas to Sell Your Home Faster

Use this extensive checklist of the smartest home improvements, listing process hacks, and more to help clients and delight prospects.

To purchase a branded version of this eBook with your name and logo, reach out to aubrey@inboundrem.com.

In addition, we have other Real Estate Marketing eBooks you can either have branded at cost or simply download for free without branding.

GBP Verification Process

After all this good news, the Google Business Profile verification or re-verification process can be a thorn for some agents. 

Whether you need to verify a new profile or reverify info changes, there are 5 possible options to do so. 

  • Instant verification
  • Postcard verification
  • Phone call verification
  • Email verification
  • Video verification

Not everyone will receive the same verification options. In 2023, it’s common for video verification to be the only option unless you have an older, existing profile.

Tips for Successful Verification

When updating a GBP business title, here are some quick and simple ways to prove that you can authentically include “San Diego Realtor” for a successful verification:

  1. Physical documents with an updated letterhead
  2. Website Content
  3. Branded eBooks
  4. Email Signature 
  5. Physical or Digital Business Cards

All of these should include “(Insert Area) Realtor(s)”. 

You can order new business cards or use a digital business card like Retrev, which redirects smartphones to a landing page with all of your contact info and social media handles. 

Google Business Profile Articles

Check out our full suite of hyperlocal content to optimize your Google Business Profile and dominate your local market. 

Even better, get excited about planning a consultation call with me about hyperlocal SEO and how we can transform your business with this highly cost-effective strategy. Schedule below!

InboundREM Hyperlocal Campaigns

If you would like to find out more about InboundREM’s hyperlocal (Google Business Profile) campaigns, check out our Services page. There you can find detailed information on pricing and service offerings. 

Alternatively, you can schedule a free, no-strings-attached consultation with me about the intersection between your business, hyperlocal marketing, and SEO marketing.

If we decide together after a transparent conversation that we aren’t a perfect match for each other, then you’ll still learn some great info and walk away with suggestions about what the best direction for your marketing strategy should be. 

Let's have a talk

Schedule a Meeting

Let’s chat about how an SEO-focused website that YOU OWN, Google Business Profile Campaigns, or Custom Email Campaigns can generate high-quality leads and exceptional long-term ROI. If my services aren’t the best move for you, I’ll gladly point you in the right direction

Free eBooks for Agents

Free eBooks for Real Estate Agents

Download any or all of our real estate marketing eBooks. These books contain cutting edge information, deep-diving case studies, actionable hacks to skyrocket your business.