What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO or local search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website, blog, or social media profiles for 'local search'. For real estate agents, Local SEO is a powerful tool to help promote your services to buyers and sellers within a specific geographical area by ranking higher on popular search engines.
What Is 'Local Search'?
Let's say a potential client living in Boulder, Colorado is looking to sell their house. They start out by opening their browser and heading to Google to search for a real estate agent to represent them in the selling transaction. They type in the search, 'real estate agents near me' and are presented with a list of agents and brokerages in their area. How does Google know to show results for real estate businesses in the Boulder/Denver area instead of businesses in the Chicago area? 'Local Search' is the process that Google and other search engines go through to understand the geographical location of a user's search and how to provide relevant results within that user's geographic area.
Why Should You Focus on Local Search Engine Optimization?
Local SEO should be a central component to marketing your real estate business and SEO for your real estate website. The benefits include:
- Local citation building helps build online visibility and creates brand awareness and trust
- Optimizing your site for local search allows you to drive more traffic to your real estate website
- Building citations is cost-effective and delivers a high ROI
1. Google My Business Profile
The Google My Business profile (formerly Google Local) provides information to a variety of areas on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), including the local pack and Google Maps, but you will likely recognize its appearance in the top right on desktop or top on mobile of a brand-centric search for your business.
Creating Your Google My Business Profile
Creating a Google My Business profile is easy. Visit Google My Business, sign in to your Google account, and follow the steps to create a business listing.
Google will require verification of your business by mailing a postcard to your business address – If you have an office in your home, you may use this address. Once you receive the postcard in the mail, log back into your Google My Business account, and enter the verification code.
Optimizing Your Google My Business Profile
Once your business has been verified, start filling out all the information inside your profile. Make sure the following pieces of information are filled out.
- Business Name
- Phone Number
- Email Address
- Business Category
- Real Estate Agents
- Real Estate Agency
- Real Estate Surveyor
- Real Estate Appraiser
- Real Estate Consultant
- Real Estate Rental Agency
- Industrial Real Estate Agency
- Commercial Real Estate Inspector
- Service Areas
- Website URL
- Hours of Operation
- Business Description
- URL to Schedule Appointments
- Services Provided
- Business Photos
- Cover Photo
- At Work
Make sure to remember what information you used to optimize your Google My Business profile. This will be important in the next step. The key to a successful local SEO strategy when creating listings is always to remain consistent with your business's information.
2. Local Citations
According to Moz, a local citation is any online mention of the name, address, and phone number for a local business.
Why Are Local Citations Important for Real Estate Agents?
Local citations can positively or negatively impact a business's local search engine rankings. The three factors that determine the impact citations can have on a business's rankings are:
- Quantity of citations
- Quality of citations
- Accuracy of citations
Your business must establish authority and trust for Google and other search engines to rank your website high in search engine results pages (SERPs). If your real estate business has a high number of accurate citations on high-quality websites, Google will perceive this as a signal that your website is trustworthy and authoritative and rank your site higher to local searchers. However, if your business has a low number of citations or a high number of inaccurate citations, Google will find it harder to trust the validity of your business, which will negatively impact your site's chances of ranking.
Focus on Consistent NAP
The most important information that you need to make sure is consistent across all of your online citations is your business's NAP or Name, Address, and Phone Number.
Additionally, make sure your NAP information is listed on your website on each page (ideally in the footer) and on your 'Contact' page.
Where Can I Find Local Citations?
These are the best local citations you can get for your business.
How to Get Citations for Your Real Estate Business?
Most of the websites listed above are entirely free to create a profile or listing on while some require a fee. Start by creating citations on the free websites from the list above and then determine whether the non-free options are in your budget.
Each website requires a verification process. Some websites like Facebook and LinkedIn require verification by email; others like Hot Frog and Superpages require verification by phone, while some like Google and Bing require verification by mail. Keep this in mind when you or someone you hire decides to sit down and start manually creating these listings.
Citation Building Tool
If you decide that building citations manually will require too much of your time, you can always use an online tool called Yext. Yext allows you to choose from a variety of packages that run between $199.00 to $999.00 annually or $4.00 to $19.00 per week. With Yext, you can fill out your real estate business's information, and they will do the rest for you by creating and managing 100s of listing on high-authority websites.
How Many Citations Do I Need for My Real Estate Website?
The total number of citations varies from industry to industry, however, there are some numbers that might help you determine the number of citations you should aim to acquire for your real estate business.
Listed below are the number of citations on average that a business needs to rank in position #1-#3 on Google.
- Local Businesses: 83 citations to rank #1-#3
- Real Estate Businesses: 85 citations to rank #1-#3
Written and Published by: VanEd