Making your brokerage part of the local community creates a new avenue of exposure and lead generation. Local agencies have unique benefits which, unfortunately, they don’t always emphasize in their marketing messages. If you think you can’t compete with larger brands in your niche without going broke, you might find these tips on how to build local real estate brands handy.
In today’s digital landscape, local real estate branding is a smart and relevant option. It expands business reach, boosts company profile, strengthens digital presence and positively affects the bottom line.
We use to think branding is something only large companies can afford. But a local brand can reach its audience on a more granular level rather than through a million dollar advertising budget.
Let’s break down the most important things you can do to start building your own local real estate brand. Specifically, we’ll focus on local SEO techniques in connection with branding to see how a brokerage can outrank the competition.
2 basic areas to focus on
1. Branding and local search
Branding manifests itself in many ways. One of the most important online ones is some kind of social proof. Social media, customer reviews, check-ins, backlinks – all of this signals a local real estate brand is a well-recognized business.
According to a survey from Moz, these factors account for around 50% of the overall local ranking factors. This means covering these areas in your online strategy works both for local SEO rankings and branding since the two are closely intertwined.
Additionally, this has everything to do with reputation building. The process is similar to big brands in a way, but local brokerages only focus on a better geographically defined audience. Thanks to their close links to the communities they serve, agents can actually create better brand messaging.
2. Branding and consistent NAP
Large brands are serious about consistency with their visuals like brand colors, logos, fonts, etc. For local real estate brands, it’s important too, but there’s also another thing to remember about.
Name, address and phone number (aka NAP) is your basic profile information. It’s crucial that it’s the same everywhere online. Otherwise, search engines won’t see you as a trustworthy, credible vendor and you’ll find it hard to rank high.
To some, NAP may seem like too small a thing to worry about that much. However, according to Moz, inconsistent and outdated NAP info is among the top 10 negative local SEO factors. This is one of those instances you can’t ignore and hope for the best, but tackle it head on and fix asap.
Remember that your NAP should be consistent with your Google My Business contact info. Also, your business category on Google should echo the keywords you’re using on your website.
So key takeaways for local real estate brands are that they have to:
- boost the brand image and local SEO rankings by getting more social proof like backlinks and reviews;
- ensure the business profile is up-to-date, accurate and consistent everywhere on the Web at all times.
As you can imagine, taken together this is a powerful strategy to speed up your SEO success and start outranking larger brands that are dominating search results.
Now let’s see how you do that.
1. Get citations
A citation is any mention of your business name, with or without the link pointing back to your site. It’s a powerful vote of confidence for your local real estate brand. Research shows that businesses with more citations rank higher than the ones having less, provided other factors are equal.
We have a detailed post explaining how to get more citations for your brokerage here: Struggling with Your Local Real Estate SEO? Ramp It Up with Citations
2. Earn reviews
When judging a local business on its reviews, 60 percent of customers say the overall star rating is the No.1 factor they pay most attention to. Moreover, 51 percent of customers select a local business if it has positive reviews.
There’s a variety of review websites you should get yourself listed on (some may not be available in your area, though). The most noteworthy are, of course, Google reviews. Other great places are Yelp, Tripadvisor, etc.
If you need a simple roadmap to getting plenty of customer reviews, use this guide: Real Estate Agent Reviews: Are You Missing Out the Crucial Ingredient?
3. Engage via social media
First of all, make sure you’re consistent across all of your social media profiles. Select the same business category, re-check your NAP and add your brand visuals. That done, start sharing your blog updates and listings across your audiences and re-sharing great posts by others.
You may use the same business descriptions for every social media account (the same is true for any third-party website. SEO experts believe this doesn’t involve any duplicate issues).
[Related post: Social Media Marketing for Realtors: How to Stay on Top in 2017]
4. Create locally relevant content
Creating local content is an excellent online marketing technique for brick and mortar businesses servicing particular areas.
First of all, it boosts local SEO and helps you beat large property portals which usually dominate search results. You naturally cover all the keywords you’d like to rank for so there’s a better chance to outrank portals.
Second of all, it’s a perfect way to promote your area at large. You can educate potential clients on the questions they’re interested in. When someone searches about the best schools in your area and your post pops up in top 10, more traffic arrives that gets you associated with this particular area. It can then translate in higher overall local rankings.
5. Use local language
When creating your content and neighborhood landing pages, you should use local lingo and abbreviations to show you’re closely linked to that area. Of course, the main benefit of this is using the language your audience speaks which could lead to higher engagement.
Each locality has its own landmarks, sports teams, schools, facilities, amenities, etc. that should be mentioned in your content where it suits the context. Also, when writing about them, remember to include links pointing to these websites. Outbound links are important too.
[Related post: How to Find Hyperlocal Real Estate Keywords for Your Website]
6. Target local publications
Last but not least, try to earn backlinks from local resources. This is yet another way to show search engines you’re all about this particular locality. According to Moz, out of the top-50 search results for roughly 1,500 keywords entered into Google, 99.2% of the websites listed had at least one external link.
Local link building strategies are quite easy to implement. It’s much easier to come to terms with other local businesses or non-profits than outreach to a national newspaper that receives hundreds of pitches every day.
If you’re not sure how to get more local backlinks, use this guide: SEO for Real Estate: a Definitive Guide to Local Link Building
While reaching out to local publications, remember to contact smaller communities within your niche market. These often have their own publications so it’s another good source for you to get a citation or a backlink.
Branding and local SEO rankings go hand in hand. If you want to rank higher, you must gain at least some social proof that your brand is delivering quality services. This proof manifests itself in the form of reviews, social media activity, backlinks, check-ins, testimonials, etc. Together, they signal that your local real estate brand can rival large networks and portals and urge search engines to rank you higher.