A good online listing for your property is a must, but make sure you prioritize which listings you create.
Google My Business is far and away one of the most impactful listings you can generate for your property, and the process is relatively straightforward.
Why list it in Google first and not the litany of property listing websites out there?
Simply put, Google is the world’s largest search platform…for everything. Other sites may be more targeted, but Google will always drive greater volume.
A well-produced listing in Google My Business will increase the visibility of your property in Google Search, Google Maps, and Google+ – three massive platforms used by the vast majority of your potential prospects.
To help you take advantage of this powerful resource, we’ve created a step by step guide that walks through what is required to build your profile and how to go about putting it together.
Step 1 – Go to the Google My Business Page
Google has changed the format and layout of their business listings service several times in the last five years, so if you’ve done this before but it’s been some time, things have moved.
Go to www.google.com/business and click on the “Start Now” button located at the top of the page.
Make sure you are logged in to Google with the email you want to associate with your property listing first. If you are not logged in, Google will ask you to login.
If you are logged in with a personal account, you can switch which account is active by clicking on the icon in the top right corner and choosing the Google account you want to use.
Step 2 – Search for Your Property
Before creating a listing, Google guides you in searching for your property to see if it is already listed in their Maps database.
If the address is already in the system, you can select it from the dropdown after entering the address.
If it is not yet listed in the database, you’ll be able to add it by clicking on the “None of these match: Add your Business” link that appears below the search box.
Step 3 – Add Your Property to the Database
You will now be prompted to provide your location details.
Make sure these are all accurate to the physical location of the property, as well as the format and address listed on your website.
Enter the name of the property, the country, street address, postal code, city, state, and main phone number.
You will also be prompted to enter a category for your business. There are several relevant categories for property and you can find more in Google’s official documentation here.
If you have multiple properties you want to list at the same time, Google also has a bulk upload tool available at business.google.com/manage.
There will either be the above menu on your Manage Locations screen, or if you’ve already entered one property, click on the Red plus icon in the bottom right corner and there is an option to upload a bulk file with all of your properties listed in it:
Google provides a template you can download in .CSV or .XLS to make this process easier.
Just transfer your property details into the layout they provide and upload the file back into the system to automatically add all of the properties to their database.
Be careful not to accidentally change the format as it is important they match up.
Your finished spreadsheet should look like this:
Step 4 – Verification of Your Property
Once you’ve added your property to the system, it will appear in your Manage Business Locations menu.
It’s not quite ready for publication yet, though. First, Google needs to verify that you do in fact operate this location.
To verify your contact details, you have two options.
If you’ve previously verified your business’s website with Webmaster Tools, you can be instantly verified in Google My Business, but if you have not yet done so, you’ll need to use the postcard verification option.
Google will mail a postcard with a short code on it to the address you’ve just entered to the system.
You can continue setting up the profile in full, but it won’t be verified and published until you have received that code and entered it into the system.
Step 5 – Google+ Setup for Your Property
This is an automatic process now. Google creates a new Google+ page as soon as you’ve created your new location.
From this listing, you can manage all of the information related to your business including property photos, images, contact details, and website URL.
Take special care to update your Google+ profile as much as possible.
This is a powerful tool that will not only link to your listing in the Map results, but appear in search as a standalone listing.
It allows you to showcase the photography you have of your property, add information about rentals, provide additional links to related websites or social media accounts, and interact with potential prospects who have questions.
It can also be a common repository for comments and reviews people leave for your property so it’s important to actively manage your listing to avoid missing these reviews and to ensure they are properly responded to when they come in.
When you are done, your property listing will appear in Google Maps search the way you’ve formatted it, complete with website URL, photos, street view data from Google’s database, videos you’ve uploaded, and a link to your Google+ profile, as well as any reviews that have been made for your property.
Step 6 – Manage Your Listing
It’s important to keep your listings as up to date as possible.
These are powerful resources that can be leveraged to build traffic to your website, build rapport with previous and new prospects, and generate real interest in your property.
If there are new photos taken after renovations or updates, add them to your Google Business listing, if your website URL changes or contact information changes, update it as soon as possible.
By taking full advantage of this resource, you can benefit from a powerful tool that will generate increased exposure in Google while generating increased organic traffic.