“Are you sure he’s a mortgage broker?” I said to my husband as I clicked through links on the computer screen in front of me.
“All I see on his Facebook page are pictures of him camping and hunting. He likes beer, too.”
A friend was asking for a mortgage broker and my husband had suggested she contact a guy he played hockey with. The problem was that I wanted to send her more than his name, so I searched on Google for his website.
All I found was a Facebook page that didn’t make me want to refer my friend to him. In fact, because of his personal settings, I couldn’t even see where he worked, so I wasn’t even certain my husband had it right.
I didn’t refer him to my friend because he failed my Google test. Do you pass the Google test?
Let’s make sure you don’t miss out on business because of what someone sees when they Google your name. Firstly, can someone even find you when they Google your name? I would have passed along this guy’s website if I had found it, but I didn’t. Even if he has a website, it wasn’t showing up when I searched for his name. He didn’t have a complicated name either. The situation gets even worse if your name is hard to spell or difficult to remember.
You need to come up with a way to be remembered
A realtor friend of mine in Ontario has created a brand that makes it easy for people to refer him and remember him. He works in the market of Hamilton, wears a Hamilton Tiger-Cats jersey to all networking events, and calls himself ‘Mr Hamilton’. His website is MrHamilton.ca. It’s simple. His last name is tricky (Szeto), but Mr Hamilton is easy.
If your name is not easy or memorable, come up with another way for people to remember it and refer you easily. Then make sure they can find you if they type that into Google.
Secondly, what shows up when you Google your name? When was the last time you Googled your own name? Go ahead: try it right now.
What shows up on the first page of the search results? Is it you? If it is you, are you happy with it? Does it reflect your profession as a mortgage broker, or is it more obvious that you love craft beer? A personal touch is OK. In fact, a personal touch really helps other people connect with you, but they also need to be certain you’re the person they are looking for and that you are a professional.
If you aren’t showing up in the first three links when someone searches your name, then you need to do a better job of controlling your online real estate. If you do show up, but it’s not reflective of your ideal brand image, do everything in your power to change it or bury it.
You don’t have to be overly active on social media to take advantage of the opportunity it offers to control more Google search results. Grab your personalised URLs for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even YouTube if you create videos.
Create a professional-looking profile, and occasionally post something just so someone who searches for your name can find you. It’s better if they arrive at an active social media profile, but the most important thing is that you own your name and control what shows up under it.
Get control of your online real estate
If this is too much for you right now, that is OK. Focus on getting control of your online real estate, and make sure it reflects who you are as a real estate agent. Make sure that is the image showing up. Thirdly, do people connect with you easily from what they find? This means two things – can they physically find your contact information, and can they see themselves as your client?
There’s a lot more to cover when it comes to creating a website that connects with clients, but you’ll want your picture to be on the front page, as well as your contact details and some information so they know if you can help them.
Ask friends and colleagues what they think when they Google your name. Is it easy to find your contact information? Do they quickly get a sense of who you are and the kind of service you offer? If you have access to private lenders, do you make that clear? If your primary focus is first-time home buyers or real estate investors, are you clearly connecting with that person when they land on your website?
Think about who your ideal client is. What are they going to want to see when they search your name? Is that what you have available online?
After you pass the Google test and you’re better set up to connect with your clients, set an appointment in your calendar for every 30 days to Google yourself again to ensure nothing has changed. Clear the cache on your computer or do it from different computers to check. Google is dynamic – the results are always changing, so you need to make sure you’re showing up with the right message for your past, present and prospective clients.
This is a slightly amended version of an article written by Julie Broad, Amazon #1 Best Selling author. It has been shortened to make it suitable for web publishing.