Note from the editor: Please welcome AG’s newest writer, Marty Martin who is well respected in the SEO/SEM industry and is accomplished most notably in his work with higher education, government and business clients. Marty shares our sentiment of being the “anti-consultant” in an environment where everyone’s a “guru” or a “ninja” and his passion is evident in all of his writing. Marty is a licensed agent but has for many years been devoted to the advocacy of businesses as he helps to implement cost effective SEO/SEM strategies. Please welcome him in comments.
Search marketing is more than just SEO
First of all, as a local real estate agent, if you don’t know about the Google Local Business Center, you owe it to yourself to get in there and figure it out.
In a nut shell, when potential customers are searching Google Maps for something like “real estate” or “homes for sale” when viewing their town, neighborhood, etc. you can have your agent profile, name, address, website, address, phone number and more all show up in a handy pop-up. For free. (And honestly, what real estate agent’s heart doesn’t leap at free advertising?)
So what’s new?
Prior to the last week, only businesses with fixed locations were able to add a listing to the Local Business Center, so as an agent, you had to either use your broker’s address (and compete with all the other agents at that location) or use your home address (which is kind of awkward if someone comes driving through your neighborhood looking for a business at your home).
Enter “Service Areas”.
Now, for us service industry pros, we can select a physical business location or even better, a circular service area from a center point (think city center plus a 30 mile radius) or a list of cities or zip codes. Brilliant.
Now more customers can find you
By picking one location and creating a service area or adding a list of zip codes or cities served, your Google listing is not restricted to showing up based on one physical location. The end result for you should be your listing showing up in more local map searches. And if you throw your website into the listing, some more exposure there as well.
Other features for the uninitiated
With Google Local Business Center, you can also add coupons to your listing (examples might be a free credit review, free home inspection, free title insurance policy … be creative to catch the users eye).
You can also add to your free business listing:
- Up to 5 videos
- Operating hours
- Service area(s)
- Payment options (not really applicable to agents)
- Up to 10 photos or images (why would you add your portrait and logo?)
- And other “Additional Details” (this is a good place to add some key words ;o)
Get started: Add your own free business listing. Folks, this is so easy a caveman could do it.
One small thing to watch out for
Some folks have reported a problem with Google merging multiple business records of businesses using the same location and updating the same day. So if you’re using your broker’s address, you might want to wait a few weeks until Google irons out this small wrinkle. (or just switch to your home address).