You need a broker to legally operate as a real estate agent. Sometimes, your broker may offer you incentives to work on their team as one of their agents, and that usually means you are acting on their behalf to promote and build brand awareness.
If you work for a national broker brand, that gives you extra credibility. For instance, the logo of a well-known broker placed on your real estate business card can communicate a sense of stability and trustworthiness with new leads. While you have come to expect this positive association when working in person with clients and networking at events, you may be surprised to find things work a little differently online. Let’s dig into how search engines work to reveal why a broker’s big brand name does not always help your own brand.
How do Search Engines Rank me Versus my Broker?
Search engines rank their results based off of two primary factors. First, they look at the keywords you use to talk about your products and services. Secondly, they look at the number (and quality) of other websites that have links to your site’s domain. These links to your site are called “backlinks”. More quality content, keywords, and backlinks equal a higher ranking for you in the search results.
A broker may provide you with a web page of your active listings and on their primary website domain. If you already have one of these pages, you have probably noticed they feel pretty rudimentary and sometimes not very flattering. You may have access to edit the content and pictures if you are lucky, but you are usually pretty limited.
Even if you have a decent website platform with administrative access to edit your agent page, anything you do on this page benefits your broker’s website SEO, not yours! The reason is that your page lives within your broker’s website domain either in a folder or a subdomain that looks something like yourname.brokerage.com. So any keywords, content, and the time you spend all reside on the primary website domain of your broker.
On top of that, your subpage will not be on its own. It will be competing (for the same business) with all of the other agent pages on your broker’s website. With one page for every agent, a sizeable broker will have dozens or even hundreds of unique content pages that create keywords and backlinks to support their own SEO.
You Can Still Build SEO Apart From Your Broker
The great thing about being a real estate agent is that your personality (online and offline) is what makes relationships and wins business with customers. No matter which broker or team you work with, you are the one responsible for earning your client’s trust.
You will eventually build up enough of a referral base over several years that you will not heavily rely on marketing. Past customers will let their connections know that you are knowledgeable and trustworthy. Over time, customers and referrals will associate your friendliness, knowledge, and reliability with you or your small team – instead of just your broker.
Reinforcing relationships with trust applies to all small businesses, but it is crucial to keep in mind for the real estate world. Why? Because while the broker’s name may be important at first, your long-term strategy must be to differentiate yourself among the many other agents under the same broker brand. Otherwise, your would-be referrals will be lost or just go to the broker as a whole – even though you are the one that earned them!
Where to Begin
Start by building SEO strength just for you or your small team. This is not about benefiting your broker anymore; it is your personal SEO. You need a separate website and domain to have any shot at being found by potential customers through search engines. The good news with this approach is you own your website and can take it with you no matter what broker brand you work through.
So yes, it is somewhat helpful to have a page on your broker’s website when you are starting out, but as soon as you can budget for a personal real estate website, move in that direction to build a reliable brand that will benefit you for many years to come.