It is no secret that SEO is a highly recognised strategy for pushing businesses digitally to ensure that they connect with their intended audience online. Starberry, one of the UK’s largest providers of retail agency website and lead generation technology, says that SEO strategies such as valuable content, high-ranking keyword copy, thoughtfully designed user interface (UI) and user experience (UX), all work to create a strong digital presence. However, it is important that the advantage of a localised focus is not overlooked.
According to Ben Sellers, Co-Founder of Starberry, part of the nurtur.group says, approximately 44% of all buyers search online for property listings as the first stage of their home-buying journey, with over 90% using the internet in their home search. “This highlights the number of leads that can be captured by estate agents online. Moreover, of the 40,000 Google searches made around the globe each second, data reveals that 46% have local intent, for example – estate agents in South East London. So, the more an estate agency can attach itself to such local searches the more traffic can be generated,” he adds.
Sellers says that there are a few key elements that agents can focus on regarding local SEO and creating a more targeted strategy geared towards capturing leads through local organic searches, more specifically Google users.
Optimising Google Business Profile (Formally known as Google My Business or GMB)
Optimising your Google Business Profile ensures the digital information presented to potential leads is always valuable and up to date.
“Posting onto your profile on a regular basis demonstrates to potential leads that your business is digitally active, which increases the chance of them trusting in an engagement. Connecting your social media to your Google Business Profile also improves your presence during search engine crawls, as it creates back-links to more relatable content that allows Google to better rank your business,” advises Sellers. “The posts can be a combination of photos, videos or illustrations, showing your offices or the work you do locally, which will add a personal touch that separates you from the competition and brings in more leads.”
He notes that frequently updating basic information such as name, address and office phone numbers is the bare minimum requirement when setting up the profile. Regularly updated information highlights your website more during local searches. Furthermore, agents showing the most recent information experience increased lead generation because they come across as more trusted sources when compared to those who don’t.
Finally utilising the valuable insights generated from your Google Business Profile is vital. Insights can show you your highest performing website links or the content that drove the most traffic to your website and social platforms, this allows for more informed future digital marketing decisions that will drive more leads the next time around.
Google Business Profile category selection
Google Business Profile categories are selected when setting up your profile and ensuring the right one is selected is vital as these rank highly with Google’s algorithm. The categories represent your estate agency to both your potential leads and to Google. Selecting the right ones could lead to the following:
- An SEO structure favoured by Google – by selecting the precise category you are providing relevant information that is important for leads to find you and for Google when judging your website’s authenticity.
- Increased lead action – selecting the right category for your Google Business Profile will push you in front of your target audience.
- Higher Google ranking – selecting the precise category of your services will push your estate agency beyond those who have selected a more generic option.
Utilising Google Reviews
Online Google Reviews should be encouraged. Asking satisfied customers to provide a review, leaves a trail of social proof of services. This same proof can lead to more instructions, as peer reviews are trusted more than a business’s own promotion.
“More importantly, a part of Google’s algorithm reviews a website by its expertise, authority, and trust. Estate agents maximising Google Reviews solidify their website as a trusted source, which in turn can lead to search engines shining a light on your services,” Sellers comments.
Google Friendly Backlinks and Categories
Backlink building revolves around getting other websites with a higher Google Domain Authority score to link back to yours. This creates a network of high value links that works wonders for SEO, driving referral traffic and increasing site authority.
According to Sellers there are few ways that agents can increase backlinks to enhance their SEO, the first being strategic business partners. “Partnering with businesses that are either in the property sector or work in conjunction with it can lead to a valuable link network. In addition, if these partners utilise trending keywords, they will only push the copy further to the intended audience,” he adds. “Another option are estate agency review sites, taking advantage of this, you can create strong backlinks that pull in leads who are already looking for support in moving along the home-moving process.”
Sellers adds that one of the most important playing fields to digitally dominate as an estate agency is Google Local Pack (Google Maps). These optimisation tips can secure you a competitively ranked spot within the 3-pack (sitting in the top three places in Google Search results), which enhances your rankings on both organic and map listings. Especially important as the majority of searches are on mobile and the companies a part of the local pack are shown to mobile users before others – Google Local is the lowest hanging fruit in SEO and the most cost effective lead generator for estate agents.
“Google’s algorithm has a sole focus on providing users what they want at all times, which will always be the most relevantly useful and popular option. Through a better understanding of where your business appears in local searches, an estate agency can optimise accordingly, building brand awareness online which can quickly boost sales in the offline world,” he concludes.