Google is, for many homeowners, still the first place they go when they’re ready to start talking to real estate agents about selling their home.
Depending on your location, this could mean potentially thousands of homeowners are using Google each month to research agents in their area.
So where are these potential vendors ending up?
According to a study by Backlinko, the first three organic search results on Google receive 75% of all clicks when someone performs a search on Google. The ads at the top of a Google search, while they do appear at the top of the screen, actually perform worse than the organic search results underneath.
Ranking high in Google search results for phrases such as “real estate agents <insert_your_suburb>” can potentially mean a constant stream of leads is delivered to your real estate business, as ‘ready to sell’ vendors pick from the highest-ranking websites.
But ranking poorly means those leads are likely going to your competitors or, worse, homeowners are going to third-party lead generator sites and those sites are selling those leads back to you.
While there are some technical elements that your web developer should be applying to your website itself, there are steps you can take to soar to the top of Google search results without the need to spend thousands on SEO consultants.
Here are three things you can do to rank higher on Google:
1. Google My Business – Add your service areas
We’re going to presume you already have a Google My Business profile set up. If you don’t, you should! Click here and follow the steps.
Log in to your Google My Business profile and navigate to the ‘Info’ page. Add in all of the suburbs you service.
Keep in mind that you are limited to 20 locations so if more suburbs are needed, we recommend expanding the existing ones to cover larger areas.
Being able to specify those areas makes your Google My Business listing more accurate and more likely to rank for prospective clients further away from a physical office address, while still being covered by your service business zone in Google Maps and local search.
Let’s say your real estate business is based in the Sydney suburb of Ryde. A traditional Google My Business listing could mean that you don’t show up in local search for a homeowner looking for an agent in Turramurra, 12km away, even if it’s your company policy to travel up to 20km to offer your service.
So in that case, you’d potentially miss out on winning a client.
Adding your Google My Business service areas places less emphasis on proximity to your office and allows you to tell Google that you do service Turramurra and should be visible in local search for that potential client.
2. Encourage reviews (and respond to them)
We’ve written extensively in the past about the importance of collecting Google reviews over any other review platform for the purposes of getting your reviews seen by more people.
It’s well established that reviews are an important part of the consumer decision-making process and help nurture trust, but they also play an important role in local search optimisation.
The addition of fresh new reviews (along with a response on your part) ticks a number of Google boxes, feeding it both fresh content and crowdsourced opinion on the trustworthiness, prominence, and credibility of your business.
While it’s not yet definitive that responding to reviews impacts on your Google rankings, it does play an important role in establishing your brand as one that cares. If someone has taken time out of their day to leave a review, thank them – publicly. And be sure to add a name and title to your reply rather than “From the Marketing Team”.
When people are “Googling” your name and reading through your reviews (and they will!), your replies show that you care. Adding a name also adds a human element to your brand.
3. Create suburb profiles on your website
Google loves fresh, hyper-local content. It rewards businesses with improved rankings who are publishing this content on their website.
Combined with the adding of your service areas in Google My Business, regularly updated suburb profiles on your real estate website serve as a signal to Google that you are real estate experts in that area.
As the Google bot crawls your website, it’s picking up all of that great content and storing it in their servers. If done properly, suburb profiles can significantly increase your Google rankings in all of the suburbs you service when someone is searching for “real estate agents <insert_your_suburb_here>”
But not all suburb profiles are created equal.
Simply posting a short blurb about the area, a video and some photos isn’t going to cut it – especially in metropolitan areas of Australia where you have multiple other agencies servicing those suburbs. Your suburb profiles need to be more in-depth and provide multiple references to the area, your business, your listings and property data.
These pages also need to be regularly updated to ensure the data is up-to-date and relevant.
Place Newmarket’s suburb profiles feature a detailed suburb overview, description of their business, recent listings, current listings and property data that is pulled in, in real-time, from Domain’s API.
Given that the data is dynamic, as listings change and property data gets updated at Domain, these pages are showing Google that Place Newmarket are constantly publishing fresh content. And this translates into higher Google rankings for their website.
In just three weeks, their Mitchelton suburb profile (pictured above) rose to the 3rd position on page 1 of Google search results for “real estate agents Mitchelton” and the number 1 ranking for businesses in Mitchelton, even though their office is located in Newmarket – 5.2km away.
Previously, Place Newmarket’s website appeared on page 4 of Google for the same search phrase.
You might need some help from your web developers with some of the more technical setup of your suburb profiles – just initially; including your listings, title tags, meta titles, meta description and keywords. Also, if you’re looking to integrate with a third-party data provider as shown in the example above, your developer will need to have knowledge of how to integrate APIs with your website.
That’s it, folks!
Ranking highly on Google has never been more important. And as we’ve said before, you can absolutely win the game of Google rankings for “real estate agents <insert_your_suburb_here>” against the major portals and large real estate third-party websites.
The sooner you start optimising your Google rankings, the sooner the leads will flow to you – and keep flowing.