Introduction to Google Business Profile For Real Estate Agents
Having a Google Business Profile (formerly called Google My Business) is one of the most important steps you can take as a real estate agent as it pertains to marketing your business and is the most important first step connected to getting ready to use the power of Google Local Service Adverts.
You want people to find your business when your target customers search for your services and products on a search engine like Google, don’t you? So if someone asks Google for “real estate offices near me,” or “real estate agents near me,” this is the local SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that will show up.
We’ll go into more reasons why you need a Google Business Profile (GBP) below, but we wanted to start off by asking if you’ve ever Googled yourself? If you haven’t, take a minute right now and click here: Google myself, and then come back (also take this step if you haven’t Googled yourself in a while too). What populated in your search? Whatever is showing happens to also be the online marketing that Google is displaying about you. Now, let’s review why having a GBP is so crucial, as well as some of the basic, but important, intentional steps you can take to get more SEO out of it.
What is a Google Business Profile?
This is an online listing for your business specifically on Google. Although there is a free version everyone should take advantage of, you should also consider utilizing the optional paid ads through Google that we’ll briefly go into later.
Why does a Google Business Profile matter?
Google is the largest search engine in the world…need we say more? In addition, you want a GBP because you want to grow your business online, reach more people and get more leads…right? Another reason is that if, or when, people Google you (or your business), they’re more than likely going to see what you just saw when you searched for yourself. This might be a positive or negative experience depending, so you might as well control what is seen by what you develop with your GBP listing for your company.
What’s the cost?
It doesn’t cost anything (except for some time and knowledge) to get it set up and to use their basic services. However, there are options within a GBP that do cost extra if you’d like to, but it’s not required.
How do you create a GMB listing?
As we mentioned, you can create your own listing either by yourself, or you can have a company like Mail-Right set it up for you (it’s also included with all of our plans because we understand how powerful this is for you and your business). There are some nuances and details when setting up your listing that you’ll want to consider and take advantage of, so if you’re not familiar with the local SEO, utilizing keywords and what ranks best in your industry and area, you should probably have someone like us create it for you so you can maximize the results vs. hoping you set it up correctly. However, don’t be afraid to try to create it on your own too…it’s all about ROI (your return on investment) and your availability.
Go to: business.google.com (It’ll look similar to the illustration below.)
Navigate through each of the tabs on the left side and become familiar with them. You can also begin to add the necessary info in each tab where you’re able to. These are the tabs you’ll see: Home, Posts*, Info, Insights*, Reviews*, Messages*, Photos, Products*, Services, Website, and Users. Take note: The tabs that have an asterisk * next to the above means that you will be limited on what you can do in those tabs until your account is verified.
The Info tab is perhaps where you’ll spend most of your time should you tackle this project on your own.
Business Location: The first part in the Info tab is your business location. Depending on your local real estate regulations and guidelines, this will help you determine if you should use your home address or work address. (Please ask your brokerage for guidance on this matter.) If you choose to use your home address…do you really want the general public to know where you live, even if you work remotely at home?
It’s probably not the safest option either, and again, it may not be within your local guidelines, so it’s something to consider. If you work for a brokerage and don’t have your own office address, you can either add your brokerage address, or clear your address as we illustrated above, and move on to the next section which is your Service areas.
Can you have a Google business without an address?
Google Business Location Requirements: Even when your business doesn’t want to display an address in the listing, Google requires a mailing address for the business. While in the Info tab, click the Address section, and in the window that appears, scroll down and simply select the box next to the “I deliver goods and services to my customers at their locations” option, and your business will have a listing without an address.
Can you use a virtual address for Google business?
Virtual business addresses are allowed and can be registered for a Google Business Profile without violating any rules. In fact, a virtual business address often provides more legitimacy than just listing your home address online without going through the appropriate steps to register with Google Business. If you’d like more information about this, let us know in the comments below and we can further assist.
Can I hide my home address on Google business?
Yes, do the following:
Step 1: Log in to Your Profile
Step 2: Click the “Info” Tab
Step 3: Click the Pencil “Edit” button (next to your location address)
Step 4: Select “Clear Address”
Step 5: Click “Apply”
Step 6: Confirm that your address was removed
Verification! If you’re noticing you don’t have access to some of the tab information and editing, it’s more than likely because your business has yet to be verified. Be sure to go through this process by clicking on any of the verification links that Google provides in your account in multiple areas. Once you take those steps, Google will send you a postcard with a pin # on it.
This pin will be used inside your account to verify that it’s you/your business at that location. Again, you’ll be a little limited on some of the options during setting up your profile until verification is approved. Any edits after you save your listing will also not appear until you’re verified. Be aware, the verification postcard is exactly that, a postcard, and it’s rather unassuming and very easy to get lost in “junk mail” and such.
The next section to focus on in the Info tab are the main areas/locations you service and sell real estate? This is extremely important and is also where Googling: “Realtors in Reno” or “Realtors near me” will populate those who have their GMB properly set up and fully complete, as well as a few additional things they’re doing to get them on top (that we can assist with).
Hours of Operation:
This is your own choice if you want to be available 24 hours or during certain days and times unless, of course, you have an office location that does have specific hours of operation. These times and days can also be changed and edited at any time. Something to consider if you’re virtual or focus more on a service area rather than an address location is if you choose to not be open “24 hours.”
Prospects will potentially move on to the next agent if they’re viewing your GMB listing after hours and they’re ready to get the information and resources they’re looking for.
Simply add in your phone number and turn your call history on. This also allows you to track the calls you’ll be receiving from your GBP.
If you don’t have a website, then Mail-Right can help you with this too with one of our plans you can find here that are specifically for real estate agents and brokers. Mail-Right’s websites will provide you with the SEO you’re wanting and needing, and complement your business on Google and other search engines.
This is also a crucial area to focus on. Add in the services that you provide as a real estate agent such as Real Estate Agency, Real Estate, Realtors, Finding a Home, Listing Your Home, Selling Your Home, Buying a Home as some examples.
From the business:
You can add attributes to make your profile even more relevant. For example, you could choose “Identifies as women-owned” and add “Online appointments” to your service options.
The bottom section of the Info tab and the From the business area is the description of your business. This does show up on the Google searches under your business listing, so if you scroll down under your listing, you’ll see this description. Be sure to use search terms and keywords in this in an organic way to maximize the SEO, or we can do it for you with one of our plans. You can add up to 750 characters in this description.
Moving on from the Info tab is the Reviews tab. As you probably know, these are the testimonials and recommendations from your clients. People check Google reviews – this is a fact! In fact, over 80% of people trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation. In addition, the more reviews you have, the better ranking you’ll receive from Google. You’ll also get to a point where you will populate in searches higher than your competition because of the reviews you’re receiving. Be sure you’re replying to your reply to your reviews in a timely manner.
Use cordial communication, thank them for their input, and especially for the good reviews, be direct, use keywords, and continually use “…best Realtor in ______” (add the area you service) in your replies so that adds Google juice to the search algorithms. “I’m humbled by the fact that you say I am the best Realtor in Reno…” for instance.
What about bad reviews?!? Google likes when you’re directly on the replies and that you give the person the opportunity to reach out to you so you can find out more about the situation and see if you can grow from this experience and improve in any way. Thank them for the feedback, and maybe a few details about the possible reasons they maybe had a less than exceptional experience. You can also ask some friends to honestly add reviews after the bad review to counter it. There are always legitimate reasons why you may have not met the person leaving the review’s expectations.
You may not have been willing to overprice their home, or maybe they put you in an uncomfortable situation. As best you can, share this so when people read through the reviews, they’ll see your response. Most of the time, you’ll probably find that there are very few replies back to the responses you give to your reviews, whether good or bad reviews.
What else can you do with these reviews?
Compile your reviews, testimonials, and recommendations in a document or form that you can then also bring to your listing appointments. You can organize them based on what you know about the prospect. If pricing is important or a timely sale, but those reviews upfront so they can glance at them and it’ll relate. After your listing appointment, you can leave them a little gift, let them know their home is beautiful and that they’ll be making their neighbors proud by having you sell their home for them…then include those reviews that you have saved in a document form.
Also, you want to take advantage of your happy customers at closing, and ask if they are open to you sending them a few simple links that help you grow your business. Let them know that you’d like to also share their testimonial with other people so you can help more people as you did for them. Then, follow up with an email and/or text to your happy clients on closing day with those Google, Facebook, and Zillow Review links to make it easy and convenient for them. Make sure they know it’ll only take a couple of minutes and help you a lot!
Include the closing disclosure/settlement statement since they’ll need it for their taxes. You can always give them a few ideas on what they can share, but really…what made this a successful and pleasing transaction? What simple details can they add to it that they loved about working with you? Take Note: You don’t want every review to have the same type of copy on it, so be careful about this because Google is looking for genuineness with these reviews, so duplicate review text will possibly trigger some negative juice to their algorithms.
Reviews Pro Tip: Google Business has a link for you in your account that you can use in your emails and texts with your clients. If you go to your Home tab, scroll down and you’ll find it under the Performance section if it’s your first time using it and you don’t have any reviews yet, the section will say: “Get your first review” and you’ll click on the “Share review form.”
Photos are a really important factor in your business account. You’ll want to try and add at least 100 high-quality photos and even videos, that will market you positively. Photos are proven to drive more customers, and Google says that people are 42% more likely to request driving directions to a business if its Business Profile has photos, and 35% more likely to go to its website. Don’t be afraid to use the Google Business app on your phone or mobile device…it’s convenient, accessible, and makes life easier for you and your marketing! Don’t have 100 photos to add? It’s OK to build this up over time. You can also take photos/screenshots from your other sites that you have reviews on and add those to your GBP listing, such as your happy clients at closing or in front of their new home, new listings in the area that you have permission to share, parks, trails, outdoor recreation areas and the like. What are things, people?
In this post we have tried to give a clear and simple road-map connected to how you setup your “Google Business Profile” and also give you some insights on whay its so important to spend time and engery on this if you a real estate agent professional. One of the great things about this is that Google is offering all this power and free promostion to you for free also by seting your Google Business Profile the correct way you be of about 10% of agents that claimed and spent any time connected to setting up and configuring their Google Business Profile. Also it the fundemental first step you need to do if you plan to use the power of Google Local Service Adverts which in our option one of the most powerful and affordable ways you can get quality local leads at the present moment that really turn into commision checks!