What people see when they Google you matters, especially when it comes to old and outdated profiles. Controlling your online presence is tricky, but doable. Just have a little patience, and follow these five tips.

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Busy real estate agents find that helping people buy and sell real estate takes up most of their working hours. So, finding time to market their business online is difficult. Finding time to clean up the old marketing they posted years ago is even harder.

We have no idea who is typing our names into the search bar these days. It’s important to know what your name is attached to online. In this article, I’m going to give you some tips and tricks to make sure all of your online profiles are on point. These tips should take no more than a few hours to implement, but they can have a serious impact on your business.

Controlling and cleaning up your online presence is tricky, but very possible. Take some time to dig through the internet with me, and let’s get all of our profiles on point. Here are five tips to get you there:

1. Establish one central online ‘hub’

If you really want to take advantage of your online presence, the first place to start is by establishing your main “hub.” This will be the place that you use the most to market your business. It may be a website, a web page, a blog, your Facebook business page, your YouTube channel, etc. You should commit to one main hub — one hub to rule them all.

If you don’t yet have a hub, I highly recommend that you start there. Choose the No. 1 place that you want all of the people in your sphere to funnel through. For me, it’s my website. It’s the center of all of my business. I point every online profile to it.

I update my website weekly, even though I may not update my online profiles quite as often. My website is designed to keep people engaged with my business.

If running a website is too intimidating, then use your Facebook business page (not your personal page). If you are great with videos, maybe try using your YouTube channel. Just remember that the more control you have over your hub, the less likely you are to regret choosing that particular medium.

Take some time, and do some research before choosing the right one. It’s a very important first step. It will be the first result that people see when they search your name.

2. Keep a database of your profiles

There are too many online profiles to keep track of these days. I barely remember setting up profiles for old sites like Yahoo and ActiveRain. If you’ve changed brokerages or moved to a different city, you’ll definitely want to update all of your old profiles immediately. This is so much easier when you keep a running list of those profiles.

I have a Google spreadsheet where I keep track of all of my profiles. If I ever move to a different brokerage, I can go down the list and change the information based on my spreadsheet. It keeps me from having outdated information attached to my name. Every time I make a new profile somewhere, it goes into my spreadsheet.

If you don’t have a spreadsheet of your online accounts, here’s a list of popular sites that most real estate agents have created a profile for at some point in their careers. Use this as a reference to get started. Then, make sure to keep it updated as you build your online presence.

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Yahoo
  • Yelp
  • Zoom
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Zillow
  • Pinterest
  • ActiveRain
  • Realtor.com
  • Realtor.org
  • Homes.com
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Local MLS
  • State licensing board

These are only around 10 percent of the profiles I have in my spreadsheet. I’ve been keeping a running list for years now. It’s amazing how many profiles I’ve signed up for that I completely forgot about. Some of them have my avatar from 10 years ago.

3. Make sure all profiles match

It’s important to keep your information the same throughout all of your profiles. When Google sees conflicting information about you across different accounts, it’s less likely to display your details. Its algorithm hates conflicting data. It’s also important for consumers to see consistency throughout platforms as well.

When people are referred to you, they most likely will search your name online to see what they find. The content they find could either strengthen their desire to work with you or completely turn them away. If you have outdated content on old profiles, make sure to clean it up as soon as possible.

When I update my profiles, my headshot is the first thing I change. I try to use a new headshot every year to stay current. Make sure to update all of your profiles with the same addresses, phone numbers, websites, brokerage info and photo to keep your online presence strong.

4. Link to social profiles everywhere

One way to make sure your profiles show up online is to have links to them everywhere. When you make a YouTube video, post links to your main profiles in the description. When you share any digital marketing, post the profiles that you want to be found in there somewhere.

Links are what hold the internet together. The more links you have going to your main profiles, the easier it is for people to find you. Those links will compound and increase the presence of your “hub” as well. This is what makes your hub the first link people see when they search your name.

You can take it one step further and update your spreadsheet every time you add a link to keep track of your link profile. A link profile — or, in other words, a collection of links that point to a certain destination like your website — can be powerful tool in helping you expand your online footprint.

5. Google your name periodically

When is the last time you Googled your name?

If you really want to know what people are finding out about you online, go check it out. You may be surprised by what you find. See anything on the first page that you need to update?

I make it a habit to Google my name at least once a quarter — just to know what’s out there. The results don’t change very often, but when they do, I want to know about it.

Another tip is to set up a Google alert for your name so that you’re notified any time someone posts something about you in an article or publication. When I ran a brokerage, I made sure to also set up a Google alert for all of my agents as well. That way, if something was said about them online, I would know about it.

Make an alert on your phone to check in with your online presence periodically. This will keep you from forgetting about it and letting the internet have its way with your name and business.

Final thoughts

If you need the inspiration to get your online profile more polished, try Googling someone you would expect to have a good presence online. Notice which pages show up first, and make sure you have profiles on those accounts. Do this with multiple people. You’ll be surprised at how many different results come up for different names.

If you have never taken the time to update your online presence, don’t be afraid to start now. It’s never too late. You don’t need to be a tech genius or know any coding to do this. You may need some patience as some websites have terrible back-end interfaces, but stay with it.

Once all of your profiles are set up, it doesn’t take much time at all to keep them current. You can do this!

Andrew Fortune is the owner and managing broker of Great Colorado Homes, Inc. Connect with him on Facebook

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