Article brought to you by the Tech Helpline, a member benefit of the Kansas Association of REALTORS®.
Google My Business is one of the fastest and easiest ways that real estate agents can increase their presence online. That’s because unless you are a major advertiser with Google – or have invested in an ongoing, professional Search Engine Optimization (SEO) program – most real estate searches typically will not include a local agent website on the first page of the results.
Unless, of course, you have a completed and frequently updated Google My Business profile. About five years ago, Google introduced this free way to increase local businesses’ presence in search.
When someone searches for your name and occupation on Google – such as Jane Smith, real estate agent – Google returns results to include your GMB profile. Best of all, your GMB profile appears at the top right of the search results. It features your contact information, your business hours, photos you have uploaded, a map of your business location, and more.
If you are an agent who tried to use GMB several years ago, you may have been challenged by Google, at the time, not allowing multiple businesses to share one physical address. That prevented many real estate agents from completing a GMB profile when trying to list their home office as their primary address. Google has fixed this quirk for real estate agents. Now agents assigned to one office may use that same address for their GMB profile. Make sure you do use the same physical address for all of your online use.
Today, Google My Business is also connected to Google Maps, meaning a search result in Google Maps may also display your Google My Business profile.
First, you need to create a Google My Business profile. Next, you need to fill out all of the fields in your profile. The more complete it is, the better your chances Google will include your profile in search results. Finally, you need to add images to your profile initially and later add them regularly. These can be photos of your most recent listing, your business location, and even infographics.
Google loves to feature GMB profiles that frequently are updated with posts. These updates can include information about your events (i.e., an open house or zoom meeting available to the community to answer real estate questions) or local community events. You also can post any special offers or a “what’s new” update on your business.
Google also has made several improvements to GMB to make it even more robust. You can now add to your profile new Health & Safety Attributes. These are specifics related to your business health standards, such as “Appointments required, Masks required, Staff wears masks, Staff gets temperatures checked,” and more. New attributes for Online Services allow you to promote your “Online Appointments” within your GMB profile.
Now more than ever, it is essential for agents to ramp up online visibility. GMB is one of the best free online services that can help you promote your business and website. GMB also displays buttons that link to your Website, Directions (to your office), and a Call button to connect the person searching directly to you by phone.
GMB also prominently features your reviews on Google and offers an “Ask a question” button – another call to action feature that can help you connect with potential buyers and sellers.
It’s easy to create a Google My Business profile. You will need a Google account, but if you have a Gmail email address or a YouTube account, you already have the access you need. Go to google.com/business to get started.
Do make sure you add photos, as they are essential to raising your GMB profile. The Search Engine Journal reports, “Businesses with photos on their listings receive 42% more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35% more click-throughs to their websites than businesses without photos,”
Keep in mind that Google search is the king of internet traffic. As the world’s largest search engine, over 3.5 billion searches occur on Google every day. If you want to tap into this massive traffic, you need to leverage your Google My Business Profile.
If you have any challenges with your Google My Business profile, reach out to Tech Helpline and an analyst can assist you.
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