This article is a step by step guide on how you can dominate your local market as a real estate investor with a prominent visibility on Google where you buy and sell houses.
And it takes only a few hours for you to implement it.
The results will be a constant flow of very targeted and motivated leads for your real estate investing business that you can easily convert to closed deals.
Attracting real estate investing leads is the key to growing your business.
When you focus on a local market, you attract leads that are more responsive.
Leads you can convert to closed deals.
Prominent visibility in the search engines is the key to attracting these leads. Almost everyone starts their search on the internet when they are looking to buy or sell a house.
For example, a motivated seller will search for something like “how to sell my house for cash”, “sell my house fast” or “sell the house I inherited”, and so on.
How can these people find you?
You must have a website that has a commanding position in the search engines.
People tend to visit the websites that are higher up in the search engine results more than other listings.
So how do you get to the top?
The answer is simple – through local search results such as Google Local.
And it’s unbelievably easy to get there.
Let’s look at an example. I live in Dallas Texas. When I type “sell my house fast” on Google, this is what I see:
Notice that except for the sponsored (paid) ads, the top search results are from Google local search.
In your local market, people searching for similar keywords will see local search results relevant to their search area.
Leads from local search results are motivated and targeted. If you target these people will see a leap in your conversions – and the deals you close.
A recent study by Google found that 50% of consumers who conducted a local search on a smart phone visited the store within a day, and 34% if they searched on a computer.
So how do you get your website and business here?
Let’s get started.
Getting your real estate investing business high up in Google Local will involve the following steps:
- Prepare your NAP
- Check your real estate investor website on-page SEO
- Claim your Google My Business page
- Leverage other directories
- Build your local reviews
- Build your links and citations
Prepare your NAP
NAP stands for Name, Address, Phone Number.
This information happens to be extremely important and it’s a big determinant to your ranking on local SEO.
You must make sure this information is consistent across the web. The information on your website must exactly match the information on Google Local and other local directories.
A recent study by MOZ found that the presence and accuracy of NAP is an important on-page SEO signal that accounts for 21% in result factors.
Want to know the biggest negative ranking factor in local SEO?
Mismatched NAPs account for 41% of ranking issues.
So now you know that the NAP accuracy is important, you must make sure the information you submit on Google search must match the NAP info you provide on your website.
How to insert NAP on your website
NAP information must be included in crawlable HTML text on your website. Don’t put it in an image which cannot be crawled by the search engines.
Preferably, include this information at the footer on your website. After all, this is where most people expect it on your website.
Here’s an example of how you should format your NAP:
It is important to make sure the search engines can identify this information accurately.
Search engines recommend Schema markup for this kind of information.
Our interactive real estate investor websites come with your NAP already installed with schema markup.
All you have to do is to make sure the address on your profile in the virtual back office is the correct address for your NAP.
You do not need to mess with any code to install your NAP:
How to embed a Google map on your website.
A Google map is recommended but not required for your NAP.
Preferably, you can place this as a small map in the footer of your website. Here are some instructions on how to do this.
Check Your Real Estate Investor Website On-page SEO
On-page SEO means optimizing the content on your website.
This is really SEO 101, and it falls into 2 categories:
i) Localize the content on your website
Localized on-page SEO very important in local search.
Thankfully it’s also pretty easy to fix. These fixes are quite traditional and old school in SEO.
The key is to localize your website keyword targeting. This means including your city and region as well as the relevant keywords in the right places, such as
- Title – in the meta tags
- Description – in the meta tags
- H1 tag on the content
- In the content body
- In your image ALT attributes
Our interactive real estate investor websites are delivered with all this already set up for you.
And of course you have full control of this content from a simple interface in your virtual back office:
ii) Optimize your URL with location name
On the same note, having the geographical location in the URL offers a big boost to your local rankings.
Neil Patel in a recent study found that domains that contain location area tend to rank higher in the area where the search takes place.
For example, a domain like dallashousebuyer.com would rank better in Dallas than a domain with no location in it.
So what if you already have a domain name?
If you already have a domain name that does not have a geographical location, you can still create a new page that includes the location keywords in the URL.
You can then optimize the content as described above. Even though this content will not be the home page, it can still give you the benefits of a localized URL.
You can do this from your virtual back office, or from your wordpress blog and create a new page, e.g. We Buy Houses In Dallas Texas.
The URL of this page will then be [yourdomain.com]/we-buy-houses-in-dallas-texas
While this is not the same as having the location in the URL, it can give you an SEO advantage compared to someone who does not have these keywords.
Claim Your Google My Business Page
When you have all the information you need, the next step is to submit your listing to Google My Business.
Make sure you follow Google’s guidelines when submitting your information.
I will not go over the technical details of how to submit your listing as we have already covered the technical aspects of how to do this on this here.
This video also covers how to submit your listing.
Here are a few things you need to take care of when submitting your information:
i) Use an accurate, consistent NAP
As we have seen, make sure your NAP is consistent across the web.
ii) Use local phone number
Do not use a 1-800 number. Use a local number.
Since most real estate investors don’t have an office, the phone number you use here should be the one you use for your business.
Remember this number can be used by different people – motivated sellers, other investors, etc.
If you are not willing to trade your cell phone number, you can use Google Voice with a local area code, which can connect to multiple lines.
iii) Use an email address on your domain
Do not use a generic email like gmail. Use an email address on your domain, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org.
You should also make this the email on your profile in your business listing. It will add a clear message and credibility that you own this domain and business.
iv) Choose the correct category
You must choose the right category when submitting your listing. According to Google, “your business category should describe what your business is and not what it does or sells”.
For example, “Real estate consultant” is a correct category. “Buying and selling houses” is not.
v) Include a long description
Add a long description, preferably at least 250 words. I prefer a description longer than 250 words.
Make sure it’s well formatted and easy to read, including links if applicable.
As of this writing, Google seems to have ditched the description. I can no longer find the description on my old listings.
vi) Include your website URL
Obviously this is extremely important.
The website URL should be the main home page with a NAP matching the one you submit to Google.
For local customers, NAP is the most important information they are looking for. As a real estate investor, you also have the added advantage of having a website.
Your leads will mostly come through this website.
A closer look will show you that Google highlights this:
vii) Upload as many pictures as you can
Upload a high-resolution profile image and cover photo.
Upload as many high resolution pictures as you can. The more the better.
Include a high resolution cover picture. Google says “Your cover photo should showcase the personality of your business. It is your preferred photo to be shown on your listing in Search and Maps.”
Upload a profile photo. Your profile photo is used to show your identity when you post a photo or reply to a review. Profile photos will be cropped square.
If you have videos, include them as well. The more complete the information you submit the better your listing gets.
Leverage Other Directories
You must be wondering why other directories?
In 2014, Google shook up local SEO with its Pigeon update.
This update boosted the local visibility on Google and Yelp.
Apple uses Yelp for local results.
It is also important to submit your real estate investing business to Bing Local.
A consistent match in your NAP, reviews and prominent listings across relevant directories boost your local visibility and targeted traffic.
The following directories are important for local listings. There may be more where you live, so be sure to check:
- Yahoo Local – Yahoo partnered with Yext, but it seems there is a way to submit it without paying for it.
- yp.com – Yellow pages
What if you do not have a physical address?
It is worth noting that the Google Pigeon update gave prominence to businesses with no physical addresses.
If you are like most real estate investors, you probably run your business from home. But you probably don’t want to use your home address in local SEO.
You can open a UPS mailbox and still use this address for your business and NAP.
Build Your Local Reviews
Reviews are a big determinant in ranking for local search.
Websites with 10 or more reviews get 6.5 times more inquiries.
Brightlocal reviewed 2000 local respondents and found 88% read or used reviews to determine the quality of a local business
And of course they stand out more prominently.
Google and Yelp have filters that might just wipe you out if you have bad reviews.
It is therefore important to build these reviews. Here are a few ways you can build reviews.
i) Review page
Create a page on your real estate investing website on how people can give you a review.
Make it easy and simple and point them to the page where they can give you a review.
Most people are not technically savvy, and they like things broken down for them.
ii) Ask for reviews
Start with the low hanging fruit – ask your existing clients for reviews and send them to your page. Yelp does not allow you to ask for reviews, but Google does.
The easiest way is to let clients know they can find reviews about past customers on your page when you make contact.
After the transaction is over, follow up with them with an email thanking them for their business, with a link to your review page.
Most people will write a review for you when they visit this page.
iii) Engage with reviewers and respond to negative reviews
When people leave negative feedback, it gives you an opportunity to respond and boost your image.
People that respond to negative reviews see 116% increase in sales.
Start by expressing understanding, care and concern about their negative experience. Offer a resolution that helps them if possible.
iv) More tips
This article has great tips how you can build these reviews
Build Your Inbound Links & Citations
Back links do work on local SEO as well – and they are extremely important.
The difference with regular SEO is that these links should come mostly from relevant websites local to you.
This means local directories are very important resource for links and citations.
“A citation is an online reference to your business’s name, address and phone number (NAP).” (source) .
Google uses citations to evaluate the online authority of your business.
Unlike regular links, the citations do not need to link to your website. Just a reference with an accurate NAP is enough to give you credit.
Searchengineland.com gives some awesome tips on how to get these citations:
The more citations you can have in multiple places, the better you are going to rank in local results.
Hopefully these tips will get your local ranking higher up in the search engines and attract more real state leads and business for you.
Notice that except for getting reviews and citations, most of the work involves the initial setup.
Take a few hours to get this done, and you will see more targeted traffic and deals in your local area.
To recap, here’s what you need to do to boost your local search visibility:
- Prepare your NAP and insert it on your real estate investor website with rich snippets
- Include a Google map on your website if possible
- Optimize the on-page SEO and URL to include your geographical location
- Set up your Google My Business information
- Make sure your NAP is consistent across different directories
- Generate genuine reviews from your clients
- Focus on local link building
Does your real estate investing business have a prominent position in your local area?
Got any questions?
Please leave your comments below.