Using Google+ As a Real Estate Agent
The following article is written by David Amerland who is one of the foremost experts on the subject of search engine optimization (SEO). David Amerland is the author of ‘The Social Media Mind’ and the best-selling ‘SEO Help’, ‘Online Marketing Help’ and ‘Brilliant SEO’. His books on online marketing, SEO and the social media revolution have helped thousands of entrepreneurs build successful online businesses. When he is not busy writing he advises companies and start ups on social media strategy and gives talks about the social media revolution on the web. He maintains his own blog at http://helpmyseo.com where you can find practical SEO and social media advice and spends more time online than is probably healthy. You can follow him on Google+ or Twitter @davidamerland.
There are few industries in the world that quite share as many challenges when it comes to online promotion as the Real Estate one. The busy realtor who struggles to carve up enough time to spend with potential buyers and sellers and still run his business, also has to contend with the demands made by the transition of marketing from traditional to digital.
There is a paradox here that must be addressed. While for most industries the transition from offline to online means greater opportunities and an increase in ROI due to the efficiencies achieved through the web, for the real estate industry as a whole it presents a real challenge. Real Estate, a proposition that is hyper-local, has to, somehow, also work on a global scale. Homes being sold in Texas may find buyers in Idaho. Villas in Florida can be bought by holiday home seekers in Britain.
Those looking to relocate from one State to another, or even one country to another, have to be able to find what they want outside their own search bubble. The realtor is expected to have a powerful presence in local search, achieve high rankings in global search and still run a business that has no regular hours and is plagued by a volatile target audience.
For realtors the only answer to the challenge represented by ‘online’ was to either specialize and hyper-localize in terms of both sellers and buyers in which case the issues raised by the complexity of being found through search became somewhat easier, or to put enough time and money into the digital part of the real estate business and hope the ROI worked. Either way the solution required curtailing the ability to work properly by either committing to a smaller, deeper part of the market or a greater expenditure of money. Both choices come with inherent risks.
Now however, there is another way.
The power that lies in “connecting the dots”
Google+ is frequently called in the media “Google’s Social Network” but it is a lot more than that. It is a set of powerful socialization tools that allow the creation of social signals right across the web. In order to quantify this a little let’s look at what is also frequently mentioned in the media as the “competing social network” to Google+ – Facebook.
The listing of a villa for sale in Florida posted on Facebook may get a little bit of interaction with some of those who see it, it may get re-shared a few times, particularly if it is a spectacularly appointed or expensively priced villa, but its finding a buyer has about the same chances that traditional, one-off print advertising offers or worse as at least the latter can lie around for a while the former will get buried in the stream within a couple of hours or so.
The chances then of the right person seeing it, at the right time, with the right mindset, are so slim that they hardly do justice to the effort involved in posting it. Now look at that same listing posted on Google+. The data is indexed by Google. The search engine notes that the listing is for a villa in Florida. It sees that those who interacted most with the listing come from Britain. It notes that the person who posted it frequently blogs about villas, engages in posts about real estate in Florida and interacts with realtors and clients who are based in the State.
The next thing you know a potential buyer doing a search on Google for moving services to Florida sees, in the suggested results on Google search, the name of the realtor who sells villas there. A different person using Google’s UK index to look for “luxury homes in the US” also sees the name of the realtor selling villas in Florida. And, if the realtor has done his homework and linked his G+ account with his website, they also see, each time, a thumbnail of his picture next to the suggested content that appears on Google search.
What has happened here is that by creating a breadcrumb trail of activity the clever realtor has engaged Google search to act as his personal real estate billboard, complete with publicity picture, when it’s relevant to the search query.
No more time wasters
The key here is relevance. Search only works when it creates what is increasingly called, contextual value. There is little point in having your real estate listings show up on a search for Florida someone is carrying out as a school project, for instance. Here Google+ and Google become almost synonymous in purpose and the bridging link is data. But the gift is not just granted, you need to work for it.
The data you input in your Google+ profile, the connections you make, the interactions you have and the posts you place there are all part of an increasingly visible digital footprint that begins to define ‘you’ as an entity in Google’s search. That means that what you do and how, locally and globally begins to now make sense the way humans would understand it and machine search, in the past, didn’t. Which also means that you are then more likely to have a targeted audience in Google search than ever before.
If all this sounds like you can finally begin to achieve more in the digital world, in real estate, with less it’s because that’s exactly what it is. The caveat is that you will need to invest time in a content creation plan that will, in its totality, help create as complete a picture of you and your business as possible, link your website to your Google+ profile and behave online with the authority and expertise and generosity of advice and engagement that you do offline.
Do all this and suddenly the job of being a realtor will begin to sound a lot less demanding than it currently is. The time for using Google Plus For Real Estate is here! If you are a Real Estate agent reading this article don’t get lost in the shuffle! Google Plus can be a Realtors best friend if you know how to use it properly!
If you are in the Real Estate industry whether is be a Realtor, mortgage broker, or home stager make sure you join the Google Plus Real Estate Community. There are great discussion daily on a wide variety of topics related to Real Estate and how you can grow your business!