Google My Business for Local SEO: A crash course for Realtors


Heat Level: Mild

Bottom Line: Want to “show up on Google” in your service area? Here’s how to put your Google My Business listing to work to show up higher and more often in local searches for real estate agents or brokerages.

Do This: Make sure you have your Google My Business listing claimed, then use its free features to improve your local SEO.

person uses google maps on phoneGoogle factors in location when choosing search results, but also the relevance and prominence of each listing.When you search for something on Google, you usually want it “near you.” If you search for “best pizza shop” you’re going to get results local to you, not halfway across the United States.

Likewise, when people Google “best real estate agents” or “reliable property manager,” Google is going to show them results nearby. This is called a local search. What comes up? A map!

The results on this map are based on Google My Business listings. We’ve written about these before, and how to set them up or claim them. Take a quick break to make sure you have one (and have access to update it).

Now, why do some businesses show up higher, bigger, or more often on this map? There are three local search signals: relevance, distance, and prominence.

Reviews and Star Ratings

There’s no escaping it - reviews are crucial. Not only do your clients want to see good reviews, but Google wants to see them too! Google favors businesses with more, higher ratings. So brush up on your review acquisition strategy. Every happy client should be asked to leave a review. And this isn’t a one-and-done thing. This is an ongoing mentality - make it part of your regular client relationship management.

What you don't want is a sudden influx of 5-star reviews, then nothing for months. This will look like you bought positive reviews and look suspicious to users and to Google.

We’re not sure if Google factors in replies, but users certainly do. So when you get a good review (and especially if you get a bad review) take a few minutes to respond. It shows you’re live and active.

Complete and Accurate Info

If you leave your GMB info incomplete, you might as well have an empty storefront. Google wants all of the details. Go into Google My Business, and select “Info.” Fill out as much as you can, from your service area (could be cities or states), to your website and services. Then go to “Photos” and upload your logo, headshot, and any other high-quality photos you want. The more you give Google, the more you’ll get back.


When Google did away with Google+, they rolled over the posting feature into Google My Business. So you can add mini posts to your Google My Business Listing. Use these features to showcase recent listings, announce open houses, share a recent blog entry, post about holidays… whatever you’d post on any other social media platform. Being active with Posts makes Google happy, which boosts your local SEO.

Questions & Answers

One of Google’s newest features is called Questions and Answers. It’s a space designed to let the public ask and answer things like, “what’s the best sandwich to order” or “is this place good for birthday parties”. In the real estate industry, people might ask questions like, “do you have any upcoming open houses” or “do you work in my neighborhood”.

Anyone can answer the question, but the business owner leaves the official answer.  You’ll get an alert at the email address used to manage your Google My Business account any time someone posts or answers. 

Now, Google released this feature with very few guide rails, so keep an eye out. A disgruntled former tenant, or a confused person who has never actually worked with you, can post and you have very little recourse to get it removed. So the best course of action is to respond as quickly and accurately as possible, knowing that this is a public conversation. If something is really off-topic or violates Google’s terms, you can flag it for removal.

Bottom Line

A complete and active Google My Business profile isn’t just about helping Google. It also helps the people who are researching you or your industry. Also, the same logic applies to all other search engines like Bing and Yelp. Show up and contribute to the platform. 

Still not showing up? Focus on your website. Outside of your GMB info, Google also looks at your domain’s authority, backlinks, quality, and reputation. Of course, that’s why you hired a reputable local web agency, right?

Kate Rekrut self-portrait on Mount Washington
Kate Rekrut is the Director of Marketing and Product Development at Joyce, Inc. in Pittsburgh, PA.
Kate's current work with ListingManager bridges the gap between her advertising agency experience and a lifelong passion for HGTV. When she's not skimming the web for new marketing stats, Kate enjoys cooking, crossfit, and dance classes.

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