I saw an ad recently from a popular real estate app stating the “traditional agent website is dead and a Google business listing is your new home page because people go to Google for answers. If you don’t have one, you could be missing out on valuable traffic.”
If you upgrade to the PRO version of their app, they will create and manage your Google Business listing content.
They employed the “fear of missing out” technique.
There’s no need to pay a premium for any company to do this for you. It takes minutes. Many companies prey on real estate agents because they think we are rich or can’t be bothered with handling our marketing.
For some, this may be true, but I’m going to show you how easy it is to set up and maintain your listing. Nobody can connect with your audience better than you.
If you don’t already have a Google Business listing, you can easily set yours up for free here. Then, check out my step-by-step guide to optimize it here.
The traditional real estate agent site isn’t dead nor is it for any other type of business. A Google Business listing is essential but doesn’t guarantee that you are going to show up on the first page or amongst top results in a local search. You will compete with companies who pay to appear there or are creating high-quality content regularly.
The content third parties create is usually generic and duplicated across the web. That doesn’t help you. Your audience wants to hear from you and to create unique, and high-quality content is your chance to demonstrate your value. Provide your customers with an experience they can’t get anywhere else, and they will love you.
Yes, 97% of people go online to research businesses on Google, but they also turn to Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other search engines. This is the beginning of a conversation. Your website is the continuation and should convert that viewer into a customer.
Despite my love for the Google Business listing, your website is your bedrock. It should be professionally designed and used to generate leads and sales.
According to a Google My Business Help thread on Tuesday, June 13, 2017:
“One of the most common actions people take when exploring a Google listing is to go to the website.”
Blue Corona found that 30% of consumers won’t consider a business without a website and Research from Moz localexplains in full detail why a site is more important in 2019 than ever before
Much of the online world is leased land; one policy change can affect what you can do from day to day. Google and other platforms will do whatever it takes to keep your attention on their platform. This is one of the main reasons they offer various tools and web services, not for your benefit.
Even website platforms like Squarespace are leased. They are great for beginners and, but I recommend WordPress. You can create simple, free websites if your budget is small and when ready, upgrade to a more robust site and hosting without changing platforms. I use SiteGround for web hosting, and BlueHost is well respected too.
If you have a proper website, you own it and control the contents. Nobody can take it away from you.
Here’s what your website can do that a Google listing can’t:
MLS IDX so customers can search for listings. This keeps them on your site longer, and they will most likely check out your blog and other features.
Posts on Google expire after one week. Your blog posts stay on your site as long as you want them to. Your content can rank on in the search engines if you create in-depth, unique content for your audience. Write in a conversational tone, speak to them, and don’t fixate on keywords. Add images and videos. Tag them properly to help with SEO.
You have their undivided attention. There are no ads and distractions to pull them away from your content. If you have valuable resources on your site visitors will spend more time there. The longer they stay, the better your chances of them contacting you.
Before you shell out your hard earned commission check, research an offer and challenge yourself to see if it’s something you can do on your own. Don’t be fooled by anyone telling you they will get you on the first page of Google right away. Organic SEO is a long term play and takes work. In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to take charge of your marketing.
Google business listings are a great way to maximize your presence and allow potential customers to experience your business. This free tool will increase your visibility on Google and help you manage your business across the search engine.
In this post, I am going to walk you through the various sections and show you how to complete them. I will also touch on the psychology behind specific features, so you understand why they are essential.
Before we begin, please conduct a Google search for businesses like yours. Look carefully at the results. Familiarize yourself with what their listings look like and if they are utilizing all of the features. Take a screenshot of the results for reference later on.
We will discuss the importance of this in a few minutes.
Have you created or claimed your listing yet? If not please take a minute and create oneor follow the steps to claim your business. Mobile users can download the app from the Google Chrome Store.
Otherwise, log in to your google account, scroll down to “My Business,” and you will see your new homepage that looks like this:
This feature debuted last year and is similar to what you would create on Facebook and other social platforms.
Between 100-300 words, you can create offers, promote events, provide a sneak peek behind the scenes, a day in the life of your business, or write microblog posts to engage your audience effectively. Think about how you can give potential customers something of value here.
I like to educate them on a specific topic. The more you do this, the better your audience will get to know you and your expertise. Delivering valuable information is how you position yourself as an authority in the marketplace and reinforce your value.
Try to avoid over-promotion. The 80/20 rule is always an excellent guide. Share 80% informative and educational content and 20% promotional. Give more than you ask.
As we shift more towards a mobile-first world, you will notice that the posts are in card form and optimized for mobile viewing. The jury is still out on whether or not these posts will help your SEO, but anything that gets more eyeballs on your business can help in my opinion.
The jury is still out on whether or not these posts will help your SEO, but anything that gets more eyeballs on your business can help in my opinion.
You should note that your post will expire after seven days. It will still show on your page but not won’t be prominently displayed when your listing comes up in a search.
Here’s what it will look like:
Input all the details about your business and be specific, especially with the hours of operation and category. You can add more than one. If you have special holiday hours, include them as well.
Add your phone number, website URL, and an appointment URL if customers can book time with you online. You can add photos in this tab or choose to later.
NOTE: the public can suggest edits on your listing, and these changes may appear without you knowing. Check your listing regularly to make sure the information is accurate. You can always make corrections and submit them for approval.
There isn’t anything you need to do here aside from connecting your Google Analytics account, so your results appear on your dashboard. Pay close attention to the numbers on a regular basis. This data will help you make better business decisions based on factual information.
You will see how many unique visitors, page views, and new visits you had in a specific period.
I added a screen recording so you can see the various sections and what they mean:
We are transitioning into a data-driven world, and these insights help us understand what actions our potential customers are taking on our page, how they found us, and how we stack up against our competitors.
If you perform a search for your type of business in your target area on maps, you will see a list of your competitors. Click on each listing and see how you compare.
Look at the completeness of their page. How many photos and video did they add? Are they utilizing the posts feature? Do they have any reviews? If so, are they publicly responding to them?
By completing every inch of your page and taking advantage of all the available features, you will already be ahead of many other businesses in your area. I know this because I have searched for thousands of companies and was amazed to find how many are not.
Feedback is there for a reason. It tells us what is and isn’t working in our business. I know it can hurt when we hear negative feedback, but this is an opportunity to turn things around and possibly create a relationship that leads to more business and referrals.
Here are a few tips for soliciting reviews:
Ask people who have experienced your product or service.
Craft an email. Ask your customer if they would take a minute and write a testimonial about their experience with you. This next step is critical. Include the link to your Google Business page (and any others you want a review on). You are making it easy for them to write the review. The more comfortable, the better.
You won’t solicit all reviews. Random users can leave one any time they like. I find that most people write an unsolicited review when they have had a bad experience or an amazing one.
Some people think that too many five-star reviews will negatively affect you. I disagree. Anybody who takes the time to read yours can usually tell whether they are real or not. If you provide exceptional service, you deserve a five-star review.
Every time a review shows up, publicly respond and thank each person who left one. This action shows you value what they have to say and others will see that you care about your customers.
Remember, we want to build a word-of-mouth business and reviews are one of the best ways to do this.
You are making a relationship with your customers, and this process sets the stage. Your happiest customers are your best customers. Make them feel special.
So, how can you provide exceptional customer service all of the time? Respond to everyone quickly with a relationship building mindset. If you get a negative review from a customer, don’t immediately take the offense. Sit with it for awhile before responding to them. I learned the hard way in my early days by reacting rather than responding, and it never goes well.
This feature is a game changer for customer service.
A customer can message you directly from your listing on a Google search. All you have to do is turn the feature on, add your phone number, and customize a greeting. Similar to the Facebook messenger, Google will calculate your response time, and it will show in your listing.
If you answer quickly, you are more likely to receive a message from them.
If you take a day or more guess what happens? The majority of them will probably look for someone who will get back to them faster.
People want answers, and they want them quickly. In today’s world, we expect everything fast!
Photos and Video
First, add your logo, a cover image, and profile photo. They will also show on your Google+ profile.
Compile some of your best at work or behind the scenes images to give customers a taste of what it is like to be you and do what you do. If you sell a product, demonstrate it through video. Produce video tips or updates to educate the consumer. Remember that our goal is to be an authority in the marketplace.
I recommend putting as many photos and videos as you can but make sure they are a good representation of your business. By humanizing your listing and engaging with people you are making it easy for them to relate and get to know you.
When people are comfortable, they make better decisions.
Under the insight section, you will be able to see how you compare to your local competitors for the number of unique views on your media
Google offers you a free template website at no charge. It’s more like a web page and consists of the images and information you plugged into your listing. If you don’t have the resources and budget for a professionally designed website, then this might be a good option for you.
Create ads quickly with this feature. Google will walk you through the process. If you don’t have much experience with Adwords and how they work, do some research before creating your first ad. Check out the Keyword Planning Tool in your ad account and learn how to choose the best keywords and phrases for your ads.
We covered the various features and why they are essential. Google is the most significant search engine on the planet and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Even if this isn’t a game changer for your SEO, it shows potential customers that you have your hand on the pulse of your business and care. That is indicative of how you run your business.
What you learned here today applies to your website and social media accounts as well. If people like what they see in one place they will click through to your website and other profiles. We never know where our next customer is going to find us.