MLSs need to protect their brand

by Victor Lund on February 3, 2011

Real Estate agents and brokers somehow believe that the keyword “MLS + CityName” is an important search term to drive qualified visitors to their website. According to the WIN Reports by WAV Group – these agents and brokers are correct! The search term MLS+cityname, like San Francisco MLS is very popular – and this is true of every metropolitan area that we study. The reasoning is also sound – the MLS has the most accurate and complete listing data on the internet and it is a great place to find a qualified agent. Why wouldn’t a consumer want to start their real estate search there?

Part of the WIN Reports coaching involves providing suggestions for URL structure. Using the recognized name of the MLS is always a sure bet. It does not sound sexy and does not have highbrow marketing sizzle, but MLSListings.com and TheMLS.com are outstanding domain names for search engine optimization. Smart agents and brokers know this and they try to siphon this traffic with banner advertising and search engine optimization strategies that include trying to win the keyword MLS in their local area.

There is a new threat to this strategy that MLSs need to take action on now before an agent, broker or third party website does.. Meet Google Places – a free solution if you take advantage of it. You can protect your MLS brand.Google Places show up at the top of the page for Keywords that match Places. The MLS is a Place. You will need to create a variety of Google Place accounts depending on the geography of your area. Using CLAW MLS as an example, here is how you do it.

1. Create a Google email account – this is the cornerstone of everything. You will need to create an account for each keyword that you want to protect and use a number of phone extensions.

2. Set up a Google Place for your real Name – like CLAWMLS at your address in Beverly HIlls. Once configured, the Google Automated Phone System will call you to give you a pin. This will happen for each place you set up. Put in a description that highlights – MLS property search, Licensed real estate agent search, licensed real estate broker search. Point the google place directory listing to your consumer facing website.

3. Set up another Google Place for Beverly Hills MLS – different email address, same physical address, different phone number. Slightly different description, Rince and Repeat for Malibu MLS, Brentwood MLS, etc. Hit all of the top city names that are in your coverage area.

Some other Cool Features of Google Places

1. They provide you with a QR code

2. You can see analytics on the traffic they send to your website

Here is what happens if you dont do it – go to Google and search San Diego MLS and you will see the following results – note the results for Places. None of these Google Places are for Sandicor – the San Diego MLS – they are occupied by savvy brokers and agents who are focusing their SEO strategy around the MLS keyword.

Check out the image below if you do not want to do the search yourself. But you should do the search – search your name and see who is scraping traffic by leveraging the term MLS + cityname in your area.

 

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