What do these things have in common: your car, your next open house, your latest closing, the listing your buyers just fell in love with? Heck, probably the grocery store, too.
If you’re a real estate agent, you’re likely spending more time in these places than your actual office. Sure, you’ll come in for a few hours each week and attend a few meetings — but the majority of your job requires showing listings to clients, prospecting neighborhoods for your next seller lead, going to home inspections, and a laundry list of other tasks that have you constantly on-the-go.
For these reasons, you might not think Google Maps is advantageous to real estate agents. You might be silently pondering, “Why send a lead or client to a place where I spend little time each week?”
Well, think again. Every agent needs to be on Google Maps.
Buyers and sellers behave differently now vs. even five years ago
First, let’s consider the behavior of a buyer or seller. According to the National Association of Realtors, every age demographic starts the home search process online as a first step — and a whopping 98% of all buyers use the Internet to search for homes.
The data make it very clear: no matter their age, the buyer or seller of today relies heavily on the Internet and search engines to find real estate agents and homes. And as technology evolves, online searchers expect faster and more accurate information. Google frequently refers to this as the “age of assistance,” where most people rely on their mobile phones to assist them at a moment’s notice.
Google has adjusted its strategy and algorithm accordingly, making it much more geo-targeted to satisfy the “accurate information” desire of searchers. You can see the “near me” search — the bread and butter of Google Maps — is extremely popular with buyers and sellers. For instance, mobile searches for “homes for sale near me” have skyrocketed by 61% in just two years — a sign that online searchers have happily adapted to the new hyperlocal algorithm.
Buyers and sellers are adapting the way they search online, so they’re directed more and more to Google Maps as a result. To stay competitive, agents need to adapt, too.
Google Maps gets top billing in mobile Google search results
If you type any “near me” search into Google, you’ll see that location-specific results pop up first. Google wants to show you relevant content, and what’s more relevant than showing what is geographically near where you are searching?
This is how Google integrates its “Maps” technology with its “Search” technology (of course, plenty of people also go directly to the Google Maps app to find what they need; Google says it has 1 billion monthly users).
Now, a real estate agent isn’t exactly operating a full-time brick-and-mortar storefront like a pizzeria, but a real estate agent is a small business that benefits from exposure. Getting into the coveted “Local Pack” (see above) at the top of Google Maps results is absolute gold because of the volume of Google traffic there.
The best way to get there is through a verified Google business profile. Remember: Online searchers want 1) fast and 2) accurate information, and a verified Google business profile is Google’s way of delivering on that promise. After all, Google is going to trust the businesses that it has verified over all else.
And a pro tip for Google Ads aficionados: Having a verified Google Business Profile supercharges your ad reach, as it opens the door for coveted Google Maps ad placements in the aforementioned Local Pack.
You need to establish your presence in your key farming areas
Once you’re in the Local Pack, it’s not really about getting people to come to your office. It’s about putting yourself on the map — establishing yourself as a reputable agent in a specific geographical area where someone is searching.
In the last five years, Google has made a marked shift to serving people with different search and map results depending on their geographic location. If I type in “real estate agents near me” while in the Washington, DC, area, my Google Search and Maps results will be different than if I searched that same phrase in Denver, Colorado.
That’s the magic of Google Maps. It puts your brand literally on the map for the thousands and thousands of people searching for agents and homes based on — the core of real estate — geography. Your office address is a signal to a buyer or seller that you’re nearby, and that little red pin is all you need to reach your next prospect.
You don’t need to be in your office 24/7, but you do need to be top of mind with prospects 24/7
Real estate is naturally a geographic game, and the way to win is by getting on Google Maps. Buyers and sellers aren’t going to immediately hit “get directions” and start banging on your brokerage’s door, but they will see you as a leading agent in your local market — that’s the power of a professional, well-managed Google Business Profile.
Visit Homesnap Pro+ to make sure you’re on the (Google) map, too.