Here’s the conundrum. You know that as a local real estate agent that you should be setting up a Google My Business page (formerly known as a Google Plus local business page). However, the process can get confusing when as an agent, you may be located in a regional head office representing more than one agent. Setting up a page to represent you, using the local office address can get messy without the right direction. If the office itself and/or the other agents in the office set-up their own local pages, one or more may end up getting deleted by Google, for violating the guidelines set forth by Google My Business. There can be no duplication of a business name under the same address. So how do you work around this? Read further to find out.
How Real Estate Agents in a Multi-Agent Office Should Set-Up Their Google My Business Local Page
1. Make Sure That the Office Itself Has a Google Local Agency Page First
If your agency office does not yet have a Google My Business page it will need to set one up under the agency brand name, using the local address, general office phone number, corporate logo, and have the agency website verified through the page. Resist the urge to get the jump on your own office by claiming the agency brand along with your name (see example below). Doing so will end up hurting you both in the long run when the office eventually gets around to setting up the Google My Business profile on their own. At that point, your page would be identified by the Google algorithm that seeks out duplicate local pages using the same NAP (name, address, phone number) and kick yours to the curb in favor of the true agency office page.
Instead of this: RE/MAX Manhattan NY – Jane Smith, Realtor®
Your agency office page title should look like this: RE/MAX Manhattan NY Realtors®
2. Set-Up Your Google Local Page as an Individual Agent
Once you’ve done your office, and yourself, the favor of guiding them towards the correct Google My Business page for the agency, it is time to set-up a Google local page to represent your personal brand. In keeping with Google’s guidelines on the matter, you must avoid using the agency name as the key identifier in the page title (see example below). The local page must be about you and your personal website should be verified within it. Of course the address will be the same (that’s fine) but the phone number should be unique (your mobile or direct office line) and the profile photo should be a headshot of your likeness. It is not uncommon to see agents include the brand name of the agency within the page title, after their own personal name, but even though they are getting away with it for the time being it remains in violation of Google’s terms. Remember to link your page and website with that of your agency’s page (and vice versa), under the “about” section within “links”.
Instead of this: Century 21 Hollywood CA – John J. Smith, Realtor®
Or even this: John J. Smith, Realtor® – Century 21 Hollywood CA
Your personal agent page should look like this: John J. Smith, Realtor®
In the end, setting up your Google My Business page is one of the most important parts of SEO for a local real estate agent. One wrong move can set you in the wrong direction, further away from the Google page-one map placement that you are hoping to claim. To avoid any potential for mishaps in this capacity you may want to consider bringing in a professional local SEO firm to set-up and optimize your Google My Business presence.
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