How many times do you check Google each day?
It’s really easy to pick up your laptop or mobile phone and get on your browser and search Google, the world’s most popular search engine, for a service near your specific geographic area. It’s second-nature at this point.
That’s always how it’s been, right? Well, no. Google has been around for 24 years now, and it’s gone through SO many changes — none more important for the industry of real estate than the rise of “near me” searches.
What is a “near me” search?
A “near me” search is a keyword that Google users enter into the site to find a product or service that is near their location. Most people turn on location services in-app (for things like Google Maps) and on desktop too, so Google has the ability to create a much more geographically sophisticated and relevant search experience.
Look at this chart. It shows how much people searched for “real estate agent near me” from 2004 until now, 2019. It’s on a markedly upward trend.
Why does this matter for real estate agents?
Now, homebuyers can find you through Google’s geographic databases. This is an absolute game-changer! As a real estate agent, you should be monitoring the trends. Sometimes we tend to think our modus operandi is the best and only way to do things. But technologies are always changing and “near me” searches are a perfect example — a few years ago, as you can see in the chart above, Google shifted its strategies so its search algorithm is much more focused on geographic relevancy. That makes Google an absolute must for advertising. It’s not only important to add another revenue stream for your business, but your digital marketing presence will actually take a big hit if you’re too casual about advertising on Google.
Okay, how exactly can I show up in “near me” searches on Google?
That’s a brilliant question, and we’re glad you asked. The best way is to get a Google My Business profile. A Google My Business profile is a service that Google offers local businesses — real estate agents very much included — to get them a slice of real estate on the site. Take a look:
This is what a proper Google business profile looks like. Notice how professional and noticeable it looks. It’s an immediate wave to your prospects, telling them you’re a serious, tech-savvy business that can get the job done.
Google My Business profiles allow you to showcase the most important information (like hours of operation, phone number, website, etc.) alongside photos (ideally a nice headshot of yourself) to your prospects. It’s a great way to take advantage of your resources, and it’s one that’s become more popular and necessary by the day.
How else does that connect to “near me” searches, you ask? Take a look at this screenshot.
If someone were looking for a real estate agent in Albuquerque, this is what they’d find. Those three listed there have the best, most filled out and most reviewed profiles.
The first three results get 61.5 percent of the clicks, so it’s really important to get yourself there. If you properly manage your profile, you can grow in ranking and get to the top of those “near me” search results. With the right amount of effort and marketing help — via outsourcing, perhaps — you can easily get yourself there.