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Using Google MyBusiness to Improve Real Estate Agent’s Local SEO

Have you ever wondered how to more effectively get your name in front of buyers and sellers online?

While there are undoubtedly many avenues to do this, one of the most effective ones is via a Google MyBusiness (GMB) listing. GMB listings are free to anyone with a Gmail account and are relatively easy to set up. In this post, Lindsey Cox, our in-house SEO specialist, will walk you through how to most efficiently set up your GMB listing to improve your personal marketing strategy. 

Setting up a GMB profile is easy. 

Simply visit the Google MyBusiness homepage and follow the prompts to set up your profile. To confirm your listing, they will ask for a valid mailing address and mail you an activation code in 5-7 business days. There are certain areas that may require more consideration during your GMB setup than others. 

“Should I give my brokerages address as my business address, or should I use a service area?”

Well, that’s depending on your immediate goals. If you are primarily interested in serving the area in which your brokerage is located, use the brokerage address. When people in your area search specific keywords, you will begin to appear in those local searches and will be placed slightly higher on maps than someone with a service area. However, if you are looking to expand your presence beyond the immediate area, a service area selection is better for you. While you may not appear as high on maps for certain areas, you will appear on searches for a wider area. Through consistent effort, your ranking can climb in either of these scenarios, so don’t necessarily let your starting point deter you from choosing which option is best for you. Similarly, you can always change this setting if you change your mind. 

“What should I do to make my listing stand out?”

Google offers options to denote your business with certain “badges”.  You can find this in the “Info” tab under “From The Business”. This addition by Google gives consumers more information on a business and, in some cases, aids the business in generating more clients. If any of these options apply to you, I highly recommend including them in your GMB profile.  

Another way to make your listing stand out is by populating the listing with photos. Photos keep clients on your profile longer and generate more views. More views over time will improve your rank. Photos also give customers a glimpse into you and your brand, potentially giving them more confidence in your services.

Getting former clients, vendors, and colleagues to leave you reviews is another fantastic way to make your listing stand out. It’s not often that I see a real estate agent’s GMB profile populated with lots of reviews. Usually, there are only one or two. Reviews give a consumer confidence in the product or service they are choosing. By having people leave thoughtful and comprehensive reviews, you will improve your local SEO and lend more credibility to your brand.

Though these three strategies are great ways to make your listing stand out, it is important to fill out your listing in the most detail as possible. 

“What other tips do you have to help me improve my local SEO?”

One strategy I recommend to all of my clients across industries is to utilize the “Posts” feature on your GMB profile. Posts acts kind of like a social media feed for your business and is displayed on Google when people pull up your listing. It is a great way to show off recent accomplishments and keep consumers up-to-date. It also allows you to include a call to action button. If you have a website, try to utilize the buttons that will redirect people to your website- more website visits improve your ranking. If you don’t have a website, just include the “Call Now” button. 

We hope that these tips have helped you boost your Google MyBusiness listing and overall local SEO.

Lindsey

Lindsey owns StratCat SEO and has been providing local businesses with affordable SEO solutions and websites since 2020. She also works as the office manager for HD Showings! If you ever have any SEO questions, feel free to call our office and ask her!

May is Stroke Awareness Month

You may be shocked to learn that about 1 in every 6 people will experience a stroke in their life. 

A stroke is a medical event that occurs when something blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a vessel in the brain bursts. Warning signs of a stroke are sudden weakness of the face, arms, or legs, confusion, slurred speech, vision problems, and dizziness or loss of balance.  Strokes can vary from mild to severe as can their outcomes; some people can recover fully from a stroke with no long-term implications while others may die as the result of a stroke. 

Via the CDC

There are ways to identify if you are at risk to have a stroke and limit your risk.

The following conditions put you at an elevated risk for strokes: high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, high red blood cell count, high cholesterol, obesity, cardiac abnormalities, older age, prior history or strokes, hereditary factors, being biologically male, and high temperatures.

Some things you can do to lover your risk of strokes include: maintaining a healthy body weight, avoiding alcohol, avoiding drugs, avoiding smoking, regular exercise, a low-fat diet, and regular monitoring of your blood pressure. 

Via The American Stroke Association

Recently, Amy was asked to photograph a Azurion 3 F15 machine at the VA Hospital near USF. 

This highly advanced machine provides superior imaging of the blood vessels in the body, which aids in identifying vascular abnormalities and clots. Being able to identify these abnormalities and clots early can give practitioners the ability to begin preventative treatments and protocols early on and avert the risk of the patient having a stroke. Though we normally stick to real estate photography, stepping outside of our normal workload is always fun, especially when we get to learn about incredible new medical devices!

Lindsey

 

Article by Lindsey Cox of HD Showings and StratCat SEO & Digital Marketing

Recommendation for LRE Foundation Repair

I own a home built in the 50’s. I call it my Frakenhouse. If you have ever owned an older home then you know, there is always something that needs to be tinkered with. 

9 years ago I had the foundation leveled by a local company that is no longer in business. They did a good job and since that was the first time I had ever been through the process I was pretty happy. 

This summer I started noticing the house was starting to shift. Again. Since this was now my second rodeo I was more particular with the company I wanted to do the work. Here comes my shameless plug for LRE Foundation Repair. 

They were FANTASTIC from start to finish. Literally everyone that I came into contact with in the company was friendly and experienced. Even the crew working under my house on a sweltering summer day had a great attitude.  

It took a day and a half and not only were they tidy, they delicately leveled the house without cracking the walls, disrupting door jambs etc. AND I have a warranty. Amazing. 

They will not be the lowest estimate you get, but they will be the team that can get it done right.

LRE Foundation Repair

Things to Know Before Moving to Florida from a Floridian

Florida is becoming the hottest real estate market in the US. 

Not only are natives on the move around the state, but a recent influx of out-of-state buyers has many new people calling Florida home. This article acts as a sort of “heads up” to new residents.

Florida is unique and has so much to offer. We love our state and hope you do too!

There are alligators everywhere.

Lakes? Yes. Canals? Yes. Ponds? Yes. Slightly deep puddle? You better be careful. In Florida, it is safest to assume that every body of water has a gator in it and act accordingly. It’s not an unusual occurrence to have gators end up in pools, retention ponds, and other unlikely places. If you encounter a gator, DON’T FEED IT. Feeding gators removes their natural fear of humans and, as a result, makes them more dangerous. Large gators will be relocated by Florida Fish & Wildlife if they are too close to residential areas.

Pro tip: don’t walk your dogs close to lakes- many have lost beloved pets to gators popping out and grabbing them. 

The mosquitoes are huge.

During the summer in particular, the mosquitoes get really bad.  A lot of us native Floridians invest in citronella candles, bug spray, and screened porches for this reason. Don’t be alarmed if you see a truck driving slowly in your area spraying insecticides off the back- those are the mosquito trucks and they help curb the crazy summertime boom in the mosquito population. 

Termite coverage on your home is essential.

In Florida, it’s not “if” you get termites, it’s “when”. Even with a termite and pest provider, Florida homes are almost guaranteed to acquire some of these destructive pests at some point or another. Get yourself a good termite provider, never miss an annual inspection, and keep an eye out for the signs of a termite infestation

You might need flood insurance.

We are a low state, and many areas are just slightly above sea level. Homes located in certain flood zones are often required by insurance companies to get flood insurance on their homes. Flood insurance is not cheap, so it is an important consideration prior to purchasing a home in Florida.

Don’t wait until the last minute to buy supplies or evacuate for hurricanes.

Natives like to joke that we don’t get out of bed for anything lower than a Category 3, but it is always prudent to be prepared. Hurricane season runs from June through November.  Many storms develop, but not all of them make landfall or maintain their hurricane force winds when they make landfall. However, any storm can potentially cause a lot of damage and should be taken seriously. Stock up on hurricane supplies such as water, flashlights, batteries, and non-perishable foods at the beginning of the season as opposed to right before a hurricane hits- it will save you a lot of frustration when preparing to ride out a storm. Similarly, if you plan on evacuating, plan to do so a few days ahead of time. Florida is a peninsula and the only way out is to drive north. I-95 and I-75 often experience significant backups in the days and hours leading up to a strong storm, so have a plan for you and your family to leave a few days ahead of time. 

Don’t forget the sunscreen!

They don’t call us “The Sunshine State” for nothin! As amazing as it is to have bright sunny days, the UV rays can cause significant damage to your skin and even cancer. Be sure to keep sunscreen on you and lather up! 

Pro tip: Keep sunscreen in your car and use a daily moisturizer with SPF in it! 

Keep an umbrella on you.

Florida is known for unexpected showers, particularly in the afternoons. Keep a little umbrella in your car or bag so you don’t get caught in the rain!

Your air conditioner is now your best friend. 

Your new best friend needs routine checkups and service so that you don’t get caught sweating through the summer. A/C units are one of the most important investments you can make for your Florida home! 

 

Article by “Florida Woman” Lindsey Cox of HD Showings and StratCat SEO & Digital Marketing

Things Real Estate Agents Wish You Did Before Listing Your Home

Before listing your home, it is important to get things done in order to present your home in the best light and fetch top dollar.

However, there are many things that agents wish you would do before listing your home for sale that are not always obvious. In this post, we ask several agents what their tip is for sellers prior to listing. 

“Preparing your home for a 4 point inspection. Any home that is 20 years old or older must have a four point inspection for insurance purposes. It makes for a much smoother home inspection and overall transaction if the seller prepares in advance by taking care of any obvious 4 point issues. Examples of recommended repairs to do in advance would be fixing any plumbing leaks, covering exposed wiring, verifying your AC and heating operate within temperature range, etc. “

Crystal Brady, Homeward Real Estate

“De-Home the House! It’s harder for a buyer to imagine themselves living in a house when you have pictures of the whole family tree all over the place. Especially when you you have Great Grandma Sally’s clown collection displayed in the family room! De-clutter and put most personal belongings in storage.”
Anelys Quintero, Out Fast Realty & Investements

“Before listing your home, make sure to deep clean, de-clutter and organize as best as you can; It will make a big difference when it comes to showings. First impressions are lasting impressions!”

Tiia Cartwright, Cartwright Realty

“One of the items I see potential sellers look past or forget to address when putting their home on the market are “new & bright” smoke detectors/carbon monoxide devices.  We often see new counters/baths/kitchens/flooring – and “old or yellowing” (which were once white) devices in the home.  Besides the aesthetics of fresh and clean devices, they serve a more important aspect – Safety!   The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends homeowners change these devices out every 10 years.  Many of the homes I see, have ones older than this in them!  Check with your local licensed contractor for more safety advice & installation!  Many recommend smoke detectors in specific bedrooms & combination smoke/carbon detectors in the main living areas of your home!  A bright & fresh device can do more than just look great too!”

Charlie Bodine, RE/MAX ACR Elite Group

“I ask the sellers, if they would buy their home if they saw it for the first time themselves, I wait for the answer.  If it is no I ask what would it take to make you want to buy it. Then we start from there.”

Natalie Anthony, Keller Williams

Lindsey

 

Article compiled by Lindsey Cox of HD Showings and StratCat SEO & Digital Marketing

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning Stainless Steel

When preparing for a real estate photography appointment, it is important that your stainless steel appliances are clean and streak-free.

However, it is important that you do not damage your stainless steel surfaces when attempting to clean it up. In this post, we will go over the Do’s, Don’ts, and offer some methods for when it comes to cleaning stainless steel. 

Do’s

  • Do use a microfiber towel for cleaning your stainless steel. This fabric is gentle on the surface and aids in a streak-free finish that will show beautifully in listing photos.
  •  Do wipe with the grain of the stainless steel. This will not only aid in preventing streaks, but will also make removing residue easier. 
  • Do use dish soap, mineral oil, or Windex to clean your stainless steel. These cleaners are strong enough to adequately clean your appliance while still being mild enough to prevent damage.
  • Do use specially formulated stainless steel cleaners to polish your appliances and restore their shine. 

Don’ts

  • Don’t use scrubby sponges, steel wool, or other scratchy sponges to clean your stainless steel. This WILL LEAVE SCRATCHES, and they will be very visible in your listing photos.
  • Don’t use random household cleaners to clean your stainless steel. Some cleaners, such as bleach and ammonia, will damage the surface of the steel and leave unsightly markings that cannot be buffed away. 
  • Don’t let stainless steel air-dry. Air-drying leads to streaks, so it is best to wipe excess cleaner off of your stainless steel with a microfiber cloth. 

What are some safe ways to clean stainless steel?

  1. A simple solution of dish soap and water will effectively clean your stainless steel without leaving damage- just be sure to grab that microfiber cloth to get the job done!
  2. Products such as Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner make cleaning stainless steel a breeze. They offer products conveniently packaged in spray bottles or as pre-made wipes, which make cleaning quick and easy. 
  3. Spray your appliance down with white vinegar and wipe dry with a microfiber cloth. Then, put a small amount of olive oil on your microfiber cloth and wipe it into the stainless steel WITH the grain. This cleans your appliance while also giving it a beautiful shine.

We hope this post will better help you in preparing for your real estate photography session!

Lindsey

 

Article by Lindsey Cox of HD Showings and StratCat SEO & Digital Marketing

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