If you have used Google at all over the past 12 months, you will have noticed a new map appearing in the search results. The reason for this is that Google’s aim is to bring you the most relevant results for what you are searching for, right down to a local, geographic level.
The Google Map, or Google Places results, within Google Search Results are triggered when a user searches using a geographic identifier such as “Melbourne Real Estate Agent” or “Gold Coast Estate Agent”. Google takes that search, and scours it’s Google Places listings for the most relevant and geographically close result.
So now you know how and why it works, but how do you get your Real Estate company at the top of the list, and start getting more phone calls, enquiries and website traffic for these hyper-local consumers?
Now is the time to learn 7 quick tips on how you can use Google Places to attract new local clients to your business:
Use your REAL Business Name
It can be tempting to make strategic adjustments to your business name to include extra keywords. In recent months, Google has really clamped down on this, so ensure you list your real business name, with minimal additional keywords.
- Real business name – “Ray White Real Estate Adelaide”
- Google Places listing name – “Ray White Real Estate Adelaide”
- Don’t use “Ray White Home & Commercial Real Estate Adelaide, SA”
Ensure your business information is spot on
In it’s effort to present the most relevant information to users of it’s search engine, Google is obsessed with accuracy. Within your Google Places listing, ensure the following business information is filled out completely; business address, Email, fax number, telephone number and website.
Some other things to note:
• Always use a local phone number, and never your 1300 or 1800 number
• Never use a PO Box address or you will have your listing removed
• For your website URL, point this to your contact page which already contains all of the corresponding details in your listing.
Get your business categories right
Google allows you to select up to 5 categories that your business falls under. You can either select the Google suggested categories, or if none are appropriate, you can list your own.
The best strategy here is to choose two of the Google suggested options, even if not exactly right, and then choose the remaining 3 of your own.
The most important thing is to ensure you list all 5.
Make your business description stand out form the crowd
Google gives you 200 characters to explain exactly what your business does. Make sure you include the top relevant keywords and business terms.
Highlighting achievements such as ‘Award Winning’, ‘Top Salesman’, ‘Best Clearance Rate 2010’, will work perfectly.
Use Photos and Videos
With your local listing, Google allows you to add photos and videos to your listing. Insert images such as your logo, a photo of your real estate office, photos of agency partners and awards.
For video, some great options include customer testimonials, or a company promotional video.
By using great imagery and video, you are putting your listing one step ahead of the competition by creating a more interesting listing.
Service area of retail location?
When you are specifying the locations you service, Google allows you to select either an area within a certain distance, or simply outline that your customers need to come to your location.
The one flaw in the Google system is that businesses that select a specific location rather than an area, tend to rank better.
So, choose a specific location.
Get more reviews
Reviews and testimonials are always important both online and offline. Google Places is no different. Google uses reviews of your business as a factor in determining how trustworthy your business is, and where it will rank you in the Google Places listings.
Encourage your previous clients to spend a few minutes leaving a review for your services on your Google Places page, it will help your ranking, and help you convert more of your potential customers online.
Google Places is a great tool for getting more targeted local customers. Typically as they are highly geographically targeted, they tend to also be more relevant users and convert at a much higher rate.
The above points are a great start for your Real Estate business, or any business for that matter, but like anything, it just takes time!
This article was submitted by our guest blogger – James Richardson
James Richardson is director of Optimising an SEO, PPC, Web Development agency based in Melbourne. He has worked in the Online Marketing industry for the past 7 years, and has helped over 500 businesses achieve more success with Google”