On the 404th episode of Mail-Right Show, Robert Newnan, and Jonathan Denwood discussed Google My Business Profile and shared practical steps to help real estate agents set up and optimize their Google My Business Profile to maximize their online presence and SEO ranking to attract more clients. Jonathan Denwood is the CEO and joint founder of Mail-Right, a platform that builds beautiful websites with CRM, IDX, and other digital marketing tools in one excellent and user-friendly package. On the other hand, Robert Newman is the CEO of Inbound REM, an inbound marketing firm, and has been in the real estate SEO business for over a decade.
Do Not Use Your Broker Business Address
When setting up a Google My Business Profile, to maximize your chances of success, you should use an address other than your broker’s. Avoid using your broker’s business address because using a broker’s address will increase the difficulty of getting the desired results. If you are hesitant, however, to use your own address, alternative solutions are available, such as getting a unique address.
If you still choose to use a broker’s address, you must understand that you must be on top of your local game in terms of external optimization of the local profile. You can’t assume that setting up your profile correctly, like everyone else in your office, will automatically result in a high ranking, particularly if you aim for a top-three position.
Furthermore, when considering the location for your address, remember that your ranking is determined by the physical distance from the office you list. For instance, someone may appear in search results within an 80-mile radius of their office, but it took them five years of dedicated effort and expertise to achieve this reach. On the other hand, the average person or business may only appear in search results within a 5 to 10-mile radius of their office address.
Overall, no matter what local search terms you want to rank for, such as “realtor near me” or “the best realtor in,” it is essential to ensure that your address aligns with your strategic goals.
Selecting the Right Main Category and Load of Targeted Subcategories is Important
Make sure you choose the main category in your Business My Profile correctly as a real estate agent. Subcategories also play a crucial role, particularly in the keywords you rank for locally. For example, when people search for a “realtor,” it is the most common keyword that shows up on realtor’s profiles across various markets.
It is also essential to consider that people may be adding subcategories to their searches, which opens the door to specific, longer search phrases related to those subcategories. Subcategories matter when it comes to catering to these specific searches. If you aim to appear in search results for terms like “real estate notary,” it’s crucial to ensure it is listed in your profile.
Now, when determining whether subcategories significantly impact your overall business category, the evidence is not clear. There is no concrete proof that subcategories have a substantial influence in that regard.
Use the Brokerage Name in the Title of Your Google My Business Profile
Suppose you’re a member of a national brokerage franchise or a large regional one. In that case, it’s advisable to combine the title you use for your Google My Business profile with the brokerage’s name.
For instance, if you say RE/MAX realtor and associate your address with the RE/MAX office, it makes sense to incorporate the brokerage’s name into your business profile. This alignment ensures that your profile corresponds accurately with the address you are using. However, in a usual scenario, such as using your home address or an external one, using the brokerage’s name may be optional. In these cases, what you should do is identify that the external address is your personal place of business and that you are a realtor.
In summary, the decision to include the brokerage name in your Google My Business Profile title depends on the specific circumstances.
Use the Keyword Realtor Instead of Real Estate Agent
Using the keyword Realtor instead of real estate agent creates 3x more activity. Google takes straightforward signals from the keywords you use inside your profile. One of the largest signals you’re ever going to find is the title of your business. So use the word realtor because, in 100 % and 85 % of the markets, the number one keyword that people are going to look for that you care about is going to start or end with realtor or just realtor.
Questions and Answers Section
Google My Business Profile has a section where you can put in the most popular questions your clients or others have asked you. Keep in mind that, in most cases, filling out everything you can fill out on your profile is a good idea. If Google suggests you provide a question-and-answer section, you should provide it.
Now, with Google, ask yourself the question from the perspective of people who do the searches. The answers to the question should be like your top three most requested things that you ever get, like how much are homes? How much is a home in the neighborhood that you currently service? You ask questions like that and then provide answers. Anything that Google is providing you are ways that can you be helpful to the audience.
You want to avoid applying this old-school logic, like if you give away all your information, they will call you. The Information age doesn’t operate that way anymore; you need to provide information upfront and earn their trust before they call you.
The more relevant questions and answers you can provide without going too deep into the details, the more it will go down a tree.
Reviews are Critical
Reviews not only provide credibility and reassurance to your target audience, but it is also the most influential signal that Google utilizes across all search platforms—user behavior signals. These factors include the duration people spend on your page, the number of reviews users look at, and whether they click on links, call you, send messages, and engage with your photos and videos on your Google profile.
It’s important to remember that it takes a lot of work for Google to make algorithm changes for its various divisions. Therefore, they may use similar signals for your local profile and website. They assess which images or videos users view and how long they stay. Professional SEO experts estimate that user signals contribute 20-25% to your overall ranking.
Reviews also have the power to captivate people, prompting them to scan your profile and read through all the reviews. Reviews boost the signal to about 35% because they encourage visitors to stay longer, read more reviews, and interact more with your profile.
For these reasons, reviews are one of the strongest things you have under your control. So make sure it has reviews that are detailed and informative, addressing the who, what, when, where, and how of your transactions or customer service interactions to make a significant impact.
Tag Photos and Videos Correctly
You have many options to enhance your local profile, most revolving around Google. Leveraging photos is easy by just using your cellphone. Regarding video, Google has offered the ability to add a latitude and longitude tag into your video or location tag.
The reason that Google does location tags is directly related to hyper-local ranking. Think about it: Google has been collecting location data for a very long time because they want to determine, in a scientific and trackable manner, who is providing valuable information for their local business audience. And it’s a beautiful and entirely authentic tracking method.
For instance, if you have a video titled “Top 100 Things You Need to Know Before You Move to Austin,” it garners 100,000 views and accumulates 3,000 hours of watch time. This video is also connected to an email address belonging to a licensed real estate agent. In contrast, another agent has no video or online presence; who do you think Google will favor when serving the local audience? It’s undoubtedly the person who invested the time and effort into creating content that benefits Google’s algorithm. Google rewards with ranking those who produce information that helps them in their algorithm.
Other Business Directories are Still Important
There are several business directories, such as yellowpages.com, Yelp, Bing, Superpages, MacQuest, and Local.com, that are still important today. Additionally, there’s still a service running from SEO and MOS, where you give a certain amount of money, fill out a form, and it automatically update your business details across all these directories. Since this information stems from a central source, it ensures accuracy across the board.
Google looks at these directories to gather signals; that’s why these directories are still significant as technical signals. Although Google knows some individuals try to manipulate these directories, it still contributes 10-15% to the overall ranking score.
Many local marketing companies build their strategies around these local directories. However, the competition in these directories has intensified, and their impact isn’t as significant as it once was. Nevertheless, they remain a robust technical signal that Google considers, and you should do the same. But as said, it is essential to acknowledge that this signal is gradually diminishing, as Google prefers not to rely on signals that can be manipulated. Ideally, Google would like to measure a business’s value based on the information provided in its profile and reward those who offer the most value.
Tips for Realtors with Real Estate Websites
Google Maps has a plugin that can be very useful for realtors with a real estate website. The Google Maps plugin can be installed on the website, and it serves as a direct connector to the local algorithm. When you create a map, three things happen.
First, if you customize the map by making notations of your preferences and highlighting the neighborhoods you serve, consider adding a few notes directly on the map. The tool provides this capability. This way, people will start to find your customized map within the hyper-local search profile.
Second, if you have Google Maps connected to a website, Google correlates the map signals to your local website and goes, this is a person that’s sending a lot of signals to the hyperlocal. So, it’s a massive way for Google to identify you as a local expert. If you highlight neighborhoods and talk about neighborhoods as part of the map that you built, you definitively add those neighborhoods to your local profile search radius. So, you add extra keywords and extra reach.
Third, the audience loves maps. So, if you install it on a website, you’re going to extend the time that people spend on your site. If people are staying on your site longer because they’re fiddling around with the map that you created, you get a ranking for SEO.
Mistakes that Realtors Make in Their Google My Business Profile
The number one mistake on thousands of profiles is that people use a different email address from their hyper-local profile and other marketing platforms.
You should use a different address from your local profile and YouTube channel, but you can use the same email address on your YouTube channel and your local profile. It is advisable that all your Google tools should be referenced using the same email address.
Another common mistake behind the email address on local profiles is not responding to client reviews. It would be best to have a better conversion of the people who visit your profile. They would call you more frequently. They will schedule an appointment with you. They will use the calendar link that you install on your profile.