Google's search results are your real estate profile
Put yourself in a prospective client's shoes. No matter where they found you (from a referral, open house, online ad, property search, etc.), they'll probably Google you before working with you. I know I would.
What they should see first...
When someone Googles you, do you appear in the top 3 to 5 search results? Are those results coming from influential sites? Does your branding shine through? Or are you invisible, mixed up with similar names, or mish-mashed with different companies? Think of your search results page as the first page of your resume. You want to own that page! You're not "somebody" if you're not at the top of search results for your own name.
What they should see next...
- When they click deeper, where do they go? Your bio page? Testimonials? Some random location that doesn't make sense?
- Do you have a compelling bio page that makes them want to work with you? (Also see this post: How to write an audacious real estate bio.)
- Are any of your links broken or going to the wrong place?
- Is your information consistent across all sites? Is your branding clear, or do you seem like different people on different sites?
It happens. You get busy. You stop paying attention to all the different places you appear online...Facebook, Zillow, YouTube, Realtor.com, Homes.com, Yelp, your own website, random directories, on and on. Over time, your search profile can get muddled.
When people search your name on Google, they should instantly say, 'Yes, I want to work with that agent.'
How to Create an Irresistible Real Estate Search Profile
Scan the following steps. Nothing here is very hard, but it can be time consuming. Once you've done it, you'll also need to do it again, at least annually. Note: If you get a lot of reviews, make sure you respond to all negative comments immediately, not annually!
1. Google yourself using a variety of search terms
It's important to use different configurations, because different results will show up. You can't ever be sure how a consumer will search, so you need to try different variations.
- Realtor, John Smith Kansas City
- John Smith real estate agent Kansas
- Kansas City Realtor John Smith
- "John Smith" Kansas
Also search in a specific neighborhood or by type of agent:
- Citrus Heights Realtor
- Citrus Heights real estate agent
- John Smith Citrus Heights first time buyer agent
Example Search Results
I chose John Smith, Kansas City at random and entered him into Google (with compliments to the real John Smith of Kansas). The results page is solid for someone named John F. Smith. He appears in the top 4 results, with Zillow on top. Zillow has a high reputation value. John F Smith has an active Facebook page. He is on LinkedIn where he was smart enough to add a branding tag-line to his meta name. And he also shows up as a Re/Max agent via his recommendations on LinkedIn. If I were thinking of working with John Smith in Kansas City, his online real estate profile would motivate me.
A Note about Searching Yourself in Chrome...
If you use Chrome, make sure you're not logged into your Gmail account. When logged into Gmail, Chrome will feed you more of your own content than if you were logged in as a stranger. In this case, you want to search the way a stranger would.
2. Delete unhelpful accounts that skew your real estate profile
Determine if any of the places you appear are unhelpful or obsolete platforms. Delete those accounts completely. Do this first to make the rest of your process easier.
3. Create an inspiring real estate bio to use across all platforms
Write a single 200-word real estate bio of yourself that makes people salivate to work with you. Also collect a couple of images you want to use. This will be the basis of all the content you put into your online places. For ideas about writing a real estate bio, see this post: How to write an audacious real estate bio.
4. Optimize the keywords in your real estate bio & posts
A keyword can be a single word or phrase. "Real estate bio" is a keyword. "Talmadge real estate agents" is a keyword. "Bob R. Jenson" is another. Stick to two or three keywords and repeat them several times in all your online locations.
Optimization means using consistent keywords throughout your bio or a post. Your name is a keyword, so use it the same way each time. If you are John Smith and you want to go by John F. Smith, then use John F. Smith in all your online bios, profiles, posts, marketing, etc.
5. Claim a spot in all major listing aggregation sites
Have an account on all the major listing aggregation sites, such as Zillow, Realtor, and Homes.com. You don't need to buy leads from them, or even endorse them. But consumers may find you there, so it pays to have a profile in each, and keep them current.
6. Claim your online business space in Google
As a Realtor, you have a right to claim your business on Google. Will people hunt for your business location? No, but by claiming your Google Space, you are giving Google another data point to raise your overall profile in search results. It's free and important! Go here to claim your business in Google.
7. Make your real estate profile consistent on social media
Make sure you look like the same person on all the major social media sites. Also, make sure you use the same sites at least a few times per month. If you don't use a particular site, then add your profile, but send people to your other social media. For instance, if you don't use Instagram, add your audacious real estate bio, but also add a message that says, "Instagram is not my primary social media...see my activity on Facebook instead." Then link to your Facebook profile.
You don't need to be super-active on your preferred social media. For instance, posting your newsletter a couple times/month consistently is enough to create a Google search presence on social media. Of course, if you use social media as a primary marketing tool, then you'd post more than a few times per month.
2-for-1 efficiency — Post your Real Estate Newsletters to Social Media
If you use our Fast Newsletters in Mailchimp, you can post your newsletters directly to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. That's efficient, giving you a polished online presence at the same time as you are doing your email marketing to your SOI or email list.
Final tweaks of your real estate profile
When you're done going through everything, wait a few days, then do another Google search of yourself. You should now have a vibrant, active, cohesive online real estate profile.