Ranking high in Google local search results is crucial to the success of any estate agent. In fact, doing so can generate very focused and localised leads.
To ensure your listing in the local search results appears for the right people and provides the best possible experience to them, you should make sure your Google My Business listing is fully optimised. Here are the eight essential steps you need to do that.
- Be consistent
First of all, it’s important to make sure that your business name, address, and local contact number are all exactly the same across all channels. Even using the same abbreviations is important – to Google, there is a difference between “Ave” and “Avenue”. Make sure that your Google My Business listing, website, landing pages and social media profiles all show the exact same contact information.
You also need to keep your Google My Business information current and up to date. So, are your opening hours still the same? Are any pictures of your estate agent branch out of date?
- Verify your location
For your Google My Business listing to show up in the local search results, it’s essential to verify your business location. When you verify your listing, Google will send you a postcard containing a verification code. This will typically arrive within 14 days. Once you’ve received it, sign in to your Google My Business account and enter the verification code. You can also do this process by selecting the option to let Google call your business telephone number.
Verifying your Google My Business listing means that your branch will show up in Google Maps and in the search results, and make it easier for new clients to find you.
- Select the right categories
Choosing categories for your listing helps Google to understand what your page is about, making it more likely to show up in local search for the right search terms. For estate agents, you’ll need to select “Real Estate Agency” (it’s the American term unfortunately – but it will do the same thing), “Property Management Company” and any others that apply to you.
- Create your description
You need a good description, but it doesn’t need to be a novel. In fact, with Google My Business, short and sweet is better – we’d recommend around 200-250 characters of text. You may also want to include a keyphrase, such as “We’re the leading independent estate agents in Bethnal Green.”
- Add at least 3-5 photographs
Photographs are an essential part of using Google My Business to gain more local clients. So, you should have photographs of your staff, the inside of your office, pictures of your agents showing clients around properties, and some properties that you have you’ve sold.
- Encourage reviews
Having reviews on your Google My Business listing can help its position in the listings and act as customer proof of the quality of your services. You could try to encourage your satisfied clients to leave reviews about your business and standards of service. Google also recommends interacting with your clients by responding to their reviews.
Looking for tips to encourage more reviews? Try a simple, polite card or postcard through the letterbox after a sale with step-by-step instructions for leaving a review – we’ve found that’s an effective way to do it.
- Post videos to YouTube
Another way that Google My Business can help you gain more local clients is to post videos to YouTube. With the latest smartphones, it is quite easy to make semi-professional videos for online content. You could showcase some of your best properties or interview your staff on what there is to do in the local area. It is also possible to turn some high-quality photographs of your latest properties into a short video.
Your Google My Business dashboard shows snapshots of your YouTube channel stats and you can analyse how this is bringing in more local clients.
- Have a mobile-friendly website
Most local searches are now done using mobile devices and Google takes this into account. In fact, you could start losing potential clients if your website isn’t already geared up for mobile searches. Make sure that your website also has links to Google Maps and directions to make it easy for new clients to find you and contact you.
- Hire a trusted Street View professional
For that extra, above-and-beyond touch, you can hire a trusted Street View professional to create an immersive 360-degree virtual tour of your branches. This means that your clients can preview your branch, including how you plan to advertise their properties in your window for example, within Google Maps before they set out to visit your office. Reputable studies have shown that Google My Business listings with images and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest from consumers finding them on Google Maps.