With a majority of buyers and sellers starting their home-buying journey online, agents often ask how to get their reviews to show up in search results when someone Googles their name. The search engine giant is, of course, very secretive about its algorithm, so there’s no telling whether an agent’s Facebook reviews or testimonial page on their website will even rank in the top 10 organic results.
You can’t expect consumers to dig deep for information, either. In fact, a majority of people don’t even navigate past the first page of search results. Google has essentially trained us to expect the most relevant sites to appear highest.
Knowing this, the best real estate for your reviews are as high up on page 1 as possible. The good news is that agents can get Google reviews prominently displayed on that highly sought-after first page, and you don’t need to climb a mountain to get there. But you do need to unlock a special Google feature to get access.
This feature is called a Google business profile, and it shows up on the first page of search results—at top of mobile and in the right column on desktop. You’ve likely seen them for restaurants and other local businesses, clicked through photos and read reviews, without realizing that it’s something you could take advantage of as a real estate agent. Once you have a business profile set up, you’ll be able to generate reviews that appear on that profile.
How to Get a Google Business Profile
The process isn’t complex, but it is time-consuming. To allow you to take ownership of your profile, Google first needs to verify that you are who you claim to be, and that your business address is valid. To do this, the company will mail a postcard to your office with a unique verification code and further instructions. Snail mail can take as long as 14 days to arrive, unfortunately.
Once you’ve received Google’s postcard and followed the outlined steps, you can begin building your profile. It’s very important for SEO—and to see actual results, like generating leads—that you fill out your profile completely. This includes your category, contact information, hours of operation, business description, images, content posts and, of course, reviews. You won’t be able to submit reviews yourself, but you should immediately start requesting them from former clients and others who can vouch for your work ethic.
The real key here is regular maintenance. Imagine creating a Facebook business page and then never posting a status or new photos. Those who view your page would assume you’re inactive on the platform and, possibly, no longer a practicing real estate agent. Google assumes the same if you don’t update your business profile on a regular basis. The search giant doesn’t want to show its customers information that is outdated or irrelevant. That makes maintenance just as important as fully completing your profile.
How Agents Can Get Reviews on Their Google Business Profile
Once you’ve claimed and verified your account, you should start soliciting reviews immediately. It often takes people days to get around to writing a review, so in the meantime you can begin filling out your profile.
To request a review, you first need to claim a short name through your account. Then Google will generate a unique URL that you can share with others to leave you a review.
How many reviews should you aim for? Research shows that consumers need to read at least 10 positive reviews before trusting your business. Aside from generating these initial reviews, there are two other things to keep in mind: responding to reviews and regularly requesting new reviews.
Google found that “businesses that respond to reviews are 1.7X more trustworthy than businesses who don’t (76% vs. 46%).” The fact that Google has shared this stat also indicates that it looks favorably upon businesses that respond to reviews. If consumers find these businesses more trustworthy, then it’s in Google’s best interest to favor these profiles whenever relevant.
Adding new reviews regularly must be part of your profile maintenance plan, as it drastically impacts your ranking in search results. Our internal data for the Google business profile we manage through Homesnap Pro+ shows that, on average, agent profiles that have at least one new review in the last 90 days will generate 300% more views, clicks and actions than those that don’t have recent reviews.
How Homesnap Can Help
We recognize that claiming and managing a Google business profile is quite a process, much like maintaining a presence on any social media platform. That’s why the flagship service of Homesnap Pro+ is centered around this Google feature. As a Google Premier Partner, we are able to bypass postcard verification and claim agents’ accounts online, most often in as little as 24 hours. Our team will then fill out all profile fields and optimize the content to improve search result performance. Since Homesnap is connected to your MLS, we use your verified contact information, listing images and other details straight from the source. We will also regularly publish new posts to your business prfoile, including your new listings and deals.
With a Homesnap Pro+ membership, agents are able to use our One-Click Review Tool. Instead of going through the process of generating a unique link in Google, we make it easy for you to request reviews right from the Homesnap Pro+ dashboard. This service will also alert you when new reviews are published so you can read and respond to them. We also give you tools to help you minimize the impact of any negative reviews.
Free up your time with the professional Google Business Profile management service trusted by tens of thousands of agents. Learn more about Homesnap Pro+ membership today.