The Local Search Guide for Estate Agents
How and where Estate Agents need to be listed in the UK.
Challenges estate agents face in local search
Most people move home infrequently, so, when the need does arise for someone to look to buy, sell or rent a property, they may have little to no experience of working with the estate agents serving their area. The local online presence and reputation of the estate agent is therefore crucial.
When people search for “Estate agent + location”, how and where you appear in local search is influenced by many factors, but two of the most important are the local listings sites where your agency is listed and local customer reviews. Your website may look great, but what people find elsewhere may have more influence on whether they pick up the phone and call.
This article outlines the unique elements that influence how and where an estate agent appears in local search and what can be done to improve search performance.
How to list Estate agents
Local search is dependent on consistent Name, Address, Phone number (NAP), Category, Content and Customer Reviews being consistently listed in LOCAL online directories and citation sites. (See bottom of this article for estate agency local listing and local citation sites).
Estate agents need to follow these simple listing tips:
Name: list your business name as it would appear above the door. For example, “ABC Estate Agents”
Ensure that the name is consistently listed everywhere. Do not be tempted to create a different listing with different keywords such as “ABC Property Management”. Choose one name and stick to it. If you have changed the name or taken over the premises of a previous estate agent, then be sure to look for the old names and either remove those listings or change the names accordingly.
If you provide different services at the same address, for example, Sales and Lettings, be very careful how you list this. It is possible to list different business services at the same address, but there must be clear NAP distinction between them. Our blog “how to solve the problem of multiple listings for estate and letting agents” provides some valuable insights in dealing with this challenge.
Address: Your address is extremely important as it is a major indicator that you are local. It needs to be listed consistently. A problem for long established estate agents is that addresses can change very subtly, for example, different listings appear with slightly different street spellings on address formats, or the postcode may have changed. Check your address with the Royal Mail Postcode checker then use that in the listing sites.
Phone Numbers: Use the same telephone number in all listing sites. Do not use different numbers for different sites; this will only confuse search engines. Use the same number on your website branch page and highlight it in micro-format. If you have changed your number, you need to find and update the sites that list the old one.
Opening Hours: Incorrect opening hours are a dissatisfier, so keep them up-to-date. Although most listing sites provide opening hours, the only ones that really matter are Google My Business and the primary property listing sites.
Category: Unsurprisingly, you need to be categorised as an “Estate Agent” or “Letting Agent”. Most sites, including Google, provide additional categories such as Commercial Property Agents, Apartment Sales and Lettings, Holiday Home Letting Agency etc. Only use these if relevant. Focus on your main category.
Content: Most listing sites provide space for a business description, images and weblinks. Use these to their full potential by adding branding and key-word rich content that focus on your services and area. Avoid stock images, instead use location-specific images, for example of areas that you serve and of the team.
Customer Reviews: Customer Reviews associated with your specific address in Google My Business can influence local search performance and customer purchasing decisions.
Unfortunately, you don’t need to ask unhappy customers to write a bad review; aggrieved estate agency customers can go out of their way to write detailed negative reviews; however, you do need to encourage happy customers to write good reviews in your Google My Business listing, Facebook and other local review sites relevant to estate agencies.
Testimonials on your website are useful, but they do not influence your local search performance, and they won’t be read if people have been put off by poor reviews elsewhere first. It is therefore crucial that you monitor, respond and fix issues highlighted in negative reviews. Reviews on listings are permanent. They can grow or undermine your local reputation! Embrace them!
Local Listing strategies for Estate agents in the UK.
There are hundreds of local listing and citation sites in the UK alone. However, not all are useful or relevant to estate agents. So how do you decide on which listing sites to use?
We have grouped the listings below for you into Distributors, B2C Generic and Estate Agent specific sites, B2C Generic and distributors:
Estate Agents specific sites naturally perform better in local search results for “estate agents + location”. You should set-up and manage your NAP listing on these sites and, where possible, enhance it with content. In no particular order, these are:
Note: Some of these estate agencies listing sites may require you to pay for the listing or related service.
‘Distributors’ are important sites that feed NAP listing information to multiple sites. By updating these sites first, you will see some of the downstream directories updated over time.
These sites are:
- Central Index
- Local Data Search
- Royal Mail
- Dun & Bradstreet
B2C Generic sites list different local services including estate agents. They vary in quality and usefulness; however, these are some of the main ones that estate agents can claim and manage;
If you’ve put the effort into claim and manage your listings, be sure to check them periodically. Unmanaged listings can change and eventually lose their content and value.
By managing your NAP information in the right places and encouraging customer reviews, you will improve your local search performance and increase the number of places that people find your information online.
If you are an estate and letting agent grappling with local search you will find this article useful too:
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