By Julie Broad
“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 suggested she contact a guy he plays hockey with.
The problem is I wanted to send her more than his name so I went to Google to find 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.
First, 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 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’ll 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 Tigercats 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 and refer you easily. Then make sure that they can find you if they type that into Google.
Second, 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 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 personalized 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.
If someone else owns your name online right now – especially if it’s the .com or .ca version, get creative with your branding and then buy whatever URL you can get that fits for you (like MrHamilton.ca). Do your best to optimize your web pages for your name, mortgages, your city and mortgage broker, and then watch for your full name becoming available. JulieBroad.com was used by a psychologist in Australia for a while, but I kept checking back every month or so and after a few years I was able to grab my name.
There is more to showing up on the first page of Google than this and we can get into search engine optimization (SEO) another day. For now, here are three things you can do to boost your results for your own name. First, ensure that your name and key word show in the URL of your main site. For example, if your website is NanaimoMortgageBroker.com then you also want at least one page that is NanaimoMortgageBroker.com/YourName. Second, you need to create some lengthy (more than 1000 words) high quality content on your website that contains your key words in the first few sentences. Additionally, in that post, ensure the key words show up in the H1 tag on that page. The “H1tag” is the largest heading on your web page and tends to be the heading at the top of the page. It only takes a few carefully placed words on a high quality content page for Google to start giving you your rightful place at the top.
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 that is showing up.
Third, do people connect with you easily from what they find?
This is meant in two ways – 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, 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.
Julie Broad can help you get more done in a day and have more influence in everyday conversations. She’s an Amazon #1 Best Selling author, has published over 400 articles online and offline and is a sought after speaker on real estate investing and having more influence. For monthly webinar training and more impact and influence tips visit HaveMoreInfluence.com.