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Everything Realtors Need to Know About Google Listings

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 21 August 2018 16:35
Everything Realtors Need to Know About Google Listings DigiWolves

Google processes over 3 billion search queries every day. This equates to 40,000 queries a second and trillions a year.

It’s no secret that search engines have potency, particularly when it comes to digital marketing efforts. Many searchers, after all, use search engine platforms like Google and Bing to find products, get answers to questions, and research services and businesses.

I’ve already written about the value of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), both local and general, for realtors seeking to boost their visibility in the eyes of clients. I’ll continue to write about this topic, as it comes attached to multiple little nuances.

This post, however, takes a deeper dive into every realtor’s desire to appear on the first page of Google results, the page where searchers are most likely to spend their time (and click).

One way to increase your chances of a first-page Google domination is to ensure that your agency or services are actually listed on Google. In some ways, Google listings are relatively simple—you may already have one and not even know it.

In others, however, there’s a complexity that needs to be addressed. Read on for insight into everything you need to know about Google listings in the real estate industry.

What is a Google Listing?

Time to answer that pressing question.

If you own a business or offer some sort of industry services with a physical location, you have the capacity to claim a Google listing. I mentioned this briefly in my post about local Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Google listings appear as blue “cards” to the right of search results. You likely see them every day, especially when you search for a local business on a mobile device. These cards provide more than just the usual website blurb that appears in search listings.

A Google listing may, for example, show an image of the business, an average review calculated from consumer ratings, hours of operation, the business’s address, and even information about peak hours (busy, not so busy). They give searchers a holistic glimpse of your business without requiring them to navigate to your website.

Now, as a realtor, your website is everything. This is the case whether you work for Berkshire Hathaway or operate your own private agency. It’s important to draw prospective clients to your site so that they can explore property listings and learn more about how you operate as a realtor, company, or partnership.

But Google listings can help searchers become even more selective about the search results they click on. They can channel the right searchers to your site, provided you claim a listing responsibly.

In fact, Google listings are powerful components of your local SEO strategy. They can aid in online reputation management and set you apart from competitors.

Listings also ensure that your company appears on Google maps, anchoring your services in a physical location.

Here’s what you need to know about getting one.

Claiming Your Google Listing

You may already have a Google listing, especially if your company has been around for a while. You can check to see if you have a listing by simply Googling the name of your business or partner in Google Maps. If you have a listing, a virtual red flag will appear on a map, pinpointing your location. This flag may or may not be accurate.

If you have a listing but wish to claim it, click “Claim this Listing.” If you don’t have a listing, it’s time to register your business on Google. Navigate to the homepage of Google My Business and click “Get Started.”

Google will ask for your business title, physical address, and other contact details. It will then require verification of your property ownership, typically by sending a postcard with a verification code to your property itself.

Once you receive this code, log in to your Google My Business dashboard and click “verify property” next to the property listing. Once your business is verified, it appears as that eye-catching blue card in search results. That’s it!

You’ll take the same steps if you already have a listing but wish to claim it.

Optimize Your Listing

We’re not done yet. To truly take advantage of your Google listing, it’s essential to provide as much information as possible to prospective clients and homebuyers.

This entails filling out all available fields. List your accurate hours of operation, enable reviews, and make sure all contact details are correct. Upload a clear cover image of your business (if applicable) and photos of staff if applicable. List your website and any current promotions or services.

Your Google listing also allows you to provide specific “tags” for your services, such as “women-led” or “wheelchair- accessible.” Be sure to choose all relevant tags in this regard, as they can help you stand out from competitors.

Google My Business also has a service called Google Posts. These appear as small text boxes at the bottom of your listing, and they are designed to advertise events, promotions, and seasonal updates. Take advantage of these to give searchers even more info about your services.

Your Google listing opens the window to local SEO by linking Google reviews. Remember that you can insert SEO keywords into your responses to these reviews, giving Google further material to list in search results.

It’s important to note that any consumer can go in and edit some of your Google listing content. This surprises many realtors and brokers—shouldn’t they, after all, have control over what’s out there? But Google is keen about commercial accuracy and will accept changes by users who note an error, such as in hours of operation.

For this reason, always check in on how your listing looks and is performing. You can edit information at any time by navigating to your dashboard and doing a quick glance-through.

Do regularly monitor reviews, responding appropriately to all (positive or negative). If your details or services change, reflect these changes immediately by managing your listing well. Use Posts in order to advertise special promotions or events. You should treat your Google listing just like your website; when you do, you’ll be simultaneously managing your SEO campaigns and online reputation.

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Kate King

Kate McGunagle is a freelance writer, editor, and blogger. Her blog A Lighter Earth focuses on conscious living, mindfulness, and sustainable home and lifestyle practices. Follow her on Instagram at @alighterearth

www.alighterearth.com

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