Google Local Pack Advice for Real Estate Agents
Local search SEO for real estate agents can offer significant advantages over the competition once they unlock the secrets of the Google Local Pack and follow Google’s SEO rules.
Leveraging onsite and offsite SEO can improve your search engine rankings and your position in the Google local pack – the first page section of the search results showing you the local businesses following your query. This section only shows three companies under a map: you will need to click on “show all” to expand the results in Google maps. Sometimes Google may include an ad in this section, on top of other results, to give advertisers an edge.
Having your business features in the local search pack section is a highly competitive endeavor. Google displays these results on desktop, mobile and tablet search results, sites, extended map results, and the Google Maps app.
In order for your real estate business to be among these results, you need to follow a few steps recommended by Google and SEO experts.
Register your business with Google My Business
You must have a Google account to list your business with Google My Business. Create an account and download your business information:
- Start with the correct NAP: name, address and telephone number. Don’t include aggressive keywords in your business name. Use your legally registered business name, not the one designed for “SEO rankings”. Observe the GMB guidelines:
Represent your business as it is constantly represented and recognized in the real world through signage, stationery and other brands. Your name should reflect the actual name of your business, as it is used consistently on your storefront, website, stationery, and known to customers. Accurately representing your business name helps customers find your business online.
Google My business
- Add a valid link to your website.
- Write a brief description of your business, services or products. Make it informative enough for Google users. Keywords in this description are helpful, but keyword stuffing is a bad idea. You have 750 characters to make a good first impression.
- Choose the appropriate category list for your business.
- Add a list of services and products if you sell any.
- Add relevant professional photos: logo, offices, street view, meeting rooms, etc.
- Check your listing with Google: depending on your domain and business area, you can check by mail, email, phone, or Search Console. Once you’ve claimed your business on Google My Business, you’ll see what options are available to you. Note that verifying your business is one of the most critical steps for a successful local listing.
You can include a few other things here: company attributes (owns Wi-Fi, outdoor seating, etc.), schedules, service area (if you only operate at locations specific), opening date and other details based on the niche of the business.
Manage and respond to Google reviews
Reviews are a critical factor in ranking in Google’s local search. Of course, the number of reviews and their score (more positive reviews will give you a higher score and a better ranking) is essential, but your business’s responses to those reviews are just as important.
Reviews can give your business a boost in “importance” – one of the three factors Google uses to determine local rankings. The other two are relevance and distance. The search engine will provide the most relevant results to a user’s query. Distance matters too: Google considers the distance between each potential search result and the location term used in a search or calculates the distance based on what it knows about a user’s location.
But when it comes to notoriety, things are not very clear.
Google derives its importance from all of your SEO and marketing efforts. It all depends on how your business presents itself on the web: backlinks, articles, social media profiles, forums and directories can send signals that Google’s algorithms will take into account to determine your business awareness. . Famous sites such as museums and attractions may be more visible offline, but Google may still consider them relevant for display in local search and Google’s local pack box.
Reviews are also very relevant, and you should encourage customers to rate your business on Google, Facebook, and even RateMyAgent. The latest is a platform that connects to Google My Business. You can use it to manage your reviews, manage social media profiles, post digital ads, share video testimonials, and more.
Whatever you do, your reviews need to be verified and genuine, coming from real customers and business partners. Fake reviews can result in permanent penalties from Google.
Whether you receive a positive or negative review, always respond to your comments and make your responses professional and insightful.
See these examples from Debbie Sowell – InCity Realty and Fast Track Realty, LLC.
Other tips to increase your business’s presence in Google Local Pack
To increase awareness of your business in the “local pack”, you need to understand the ranking signals used by Google to list businesses in search results.
It is essential to create a well-optimized Google My Business profile. First, include the correct category: real estate agency, real estate agents, real estate consultant, real estate developer, real estate rental agency, etc. Next, don’t stuff your business name with keywords. No “best real estate company” or other keyword phrases. They can result in your company profile being suspended from Google My Business, the “local pack” or even local searches. In a survey by Colan Nielsen published on Search Engine Land, we find that around 40% of companies that practice keyword stuffing have suffered penalties:
I analyzed the impact of reporting 50 examples of keyword stuffing, and in this study Google took action on 40% of them. Some companies received a soft suspension and others a hard suspension.
Colan Nielsen, Search Engine Land
You can only use more than one category for your business if it is relevant to what you do and offer and never use categories as keywords. Google My Business recommends:
Use as few categories as possible to describe your main activity from the list provided. Choose categories that are as specific as possible but representative of your main activity.
Google My business
It would be best to create a strong backlink profile, with high authority links pointing to your website. Sure, niche websites are the best, but links from popular posts and real estate related directories, forums, and social networks will work.
Remember to remove spam businesses, misleading information or fraudulent activity on Google Maps. Spam businesses can use your business name without your permission in an attempt to undermine your brand and popularity in Google My Business. Report them or fill out the corporate complaint form offered by Google.
Get the best local pack location with Google’s local search ads
If you want your business to be at the top of Google’s local pack and above your competition in the Google Maps app (with over 1 million users), you can use local search ads.
Google uses its standard cost-per-click (CPC) format for these types of ads, and you’ll be able to monitor: get location details clicks, direction clicks, mobile clicks to call, and clicks on the website.
Use advertisements to:
- Highlight your business above others on Google searches, extended maps, the Google Maps app, local pack, and local searches.
- Attract more customers to your office when they are close to your business.
- Get more calls with a simple calling feature, whether it’s when clients are nearby for a real estate business near you.
- Let your clients know more about your real estate business, as local search listings will be linked to your GMB profile, which includes address, phone number, hours, reviews, photos, updates. day, etc.
To serve Google local search ads on Google Maps, you must enable location extensions for your Google Ads account. Here is the full list of instructions from Google.