“We’ve been in the real estate business for over 20 years. That business above us on Google has only been around for 6 months and their website pages are ranking higher than us on Google. How can that be?”
Ever wondered this yourself?
Google is, for many homeowners, the first place they go when they’re looking for an agent to sell their property so it pays to exist on page one. Literally.
The problem for most real estate businesses is they don’t appear on page one of a Google search. And the most frustrating thing for some long-established businesses is that much younger businesses are appearing above them on a Google search. But how can this be? You’ve been in business way longer than those other guys so shouldn’t you appear above them?
Well, here’s the rub… Google doesn’t care how long you’ve been in real estate. Not one little bit.
Here’s what Google really cares about when it comes to ranking businesses in its search and local pack results:
- How many Google reviews you have (and your average rating).
- How much traffic you get to your website, how long people spend there and how many come back.
- How well you’ve optimised your website for the user experience.
- How many other websites have links back to your website.
Notice a trend here?
When it comes to how your brand and website pages are ranked on Google search results, it comes down to this… How much effort are you putting into your website and your reviews on Google’s platform?
If your team are constantly directing people to the major property portals, social media pages, ratings and reviews websites and any other site that doesn’t belong to you, this is helping to improve search rankings for those websites. Not yours.
When it comes to Google reviews, these can be a significant ranking factor for your brand. The same cannot be said about other platforms where you may be generating lots of reviews i.e. ratemyagent.com.au and realestate.com.au. Does this mean you shouldn’t generate reviews on those platforms? No. But Google reviews should always be at the top of your priority list.
Don’t be fooled by the sales tactics of some agent review platforms who will tell you that your reviews on their website can be integrated with your own Google reviews. They might also suggest that getting more reviews on their platform will help with your own website’s SEO (search engine optimisation). None of this is true. They are simply posting your reviews as Google posts, which are different from Google reviews and have no impact on your rankings whatsoever.
Some agents tell us they prefer to generate reviews on realestate.com.au or ratemyagent.com.au because they believe people are less likely to leave Google reviews over other platforms. But you don’t need to look far for examples of real estate businesses who are proving this is certainly not the case and these businesses are being rewarded with higher organic search rankings and top spot in Google’s Local Pack – a position that can receive more than 40% of all clicks on a Google search (over Google ads and organic search).
Another reason agents tell us why they don’t focus on Google reviews is that their Google My Business profile is littered with lots of reviews by disgruntled tenants. This alone is probably the worst reason to neglect your Google reviews. What does this say to the dozens of potential clients who are checking you out online every week, if all they’re seeing is annoyed ex-tenants on your Google reviews and no positive reviews to balance it up?
And if your team are not sending people back to your website because they’re embarrassed by your website, get a new one.
Why ‘younger’ real estate businesses have an advantage
Younger real estate businesses tend not to have legacy thinking, systems or processes around where they send traffic online or where they generate reviews. Instead, they’re focusing on optimising their own website, driving more traffic to their own website, creating lots of great articles on their own website and generating lots of positive reviews on Google over other platforms while more established real estate businesses are sticking to what they’ve always done… sending traffic to the portals and their social media pages and generating reviews solely on realestate.com.au and ratemyagent.com.au.
This is where younger real estate businesses have an advantage when it comes to appearing on Google – which is still one of the most profitable places your business can exist online. And you will get there by putting more focus on growing your own audience and less effort on growing traffic for someone else’s platform.
When it comes to your rankings on Google, always remember that they don’t care how great you are, how long you’ve been in business or how many reviews you have on someone else’s website. They care about serving up the best possible pages on the internet and the most popular local businesses (based on Google review volume and rating) for that person who searches for the “best real estate agents in <insert_your_suburb_here>”.
By putting more effort into your own website and generating (positive) Google reviews consistently over time, you’re guaranteed to be rewarded with higher Google rankings. But if you keep pushing people over the major property portals, ratings and reviews websites and your social media pages, and neglecting your website altogether, you can be guaranteed the opposite result.