Marketing Best Practices
How many customer journeys begin with Google? Even if the final transaction is completed offline, the journey to a decision usually starts at the search bar.
We all know the challenges and dedication involved in a worthy commercial real estate SEO strategy, but there is a quick win many owners and property managers are ignoring that can help your properties establish their own online presence and convert more visitors.
One of the best ways to make a good first impression, and ensure your property listing gets search visibility is to create a Google My Business for your property.
Google My Business (also known as GMB) is a free service to promote local businesses online. It helps people instantly identify search results that are relevant to where they are.
With a business profile, your business will have an online presence in Google Search and Maps — this allows you to respond to reviews, post photos, offers, and add or edit your business information as and when you need it.
By having a business website on Google, when people go to learn more about your properties, the information is there in a clear, prominent, and professionally presented way. It’s a win-win.
The main advantage of creating a Google My Business listing is the added visibility it gives your property.
With a Google My Business profile, you can assure that your listing will appear in the first half of the front page of Google as well as Google Maps – in a dedicated business listing.
This added visibility also comes with credibility. It instantly tells your visitors that they are in the right place and that you offer the service they are searching for.
A GMB profile can also help with your wider SEO strategy. A verified and optimized Google My Business profile stands a greater chance of being in the top search results of local businesses and it can also contribute to your overall website rank.
This is because Google’s local search results are based on “relevance, distance, and prominence.”
Your Google My Business account provides social signals to Google that contribute to these factors. Google sees the profile of organic traffic to your site, people can leave reviews, and you can add crucial business details such as website, contact information, and opening hours. It also helps Google understand your business. By creating this account, you are speaking the language Google understands, clearly and consistently.
What’s more, it’s free and easy to set up. So, now you’re ready to create your GMB account, here’s what you need to do to get started:
First, go to www.google.com/business and click on the “Manage now” button located at the top right-hand corner 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 log in.
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.
Before creating a listing, Google guides you in searching for your property to see if it is already listed in the Google 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 listed in their database, you’ll be able to add it by selecting “Create a Business with this name” and fill in the relevant information.
You will be asked to choose the name of the company, category, location, and contact information. This is a very important step given that it will help your tenants or visitors find your building in Google Search. This is a mandatory step.
You will be asked to add a location where customers can go to, this can be a store, an office, etc.
Furthermore, you will be asked to add a location where you offer your services. This step is optional but it is highly recommended you fill out this information since it will help you attract interested tenants or investors.
Once you have entered your location, you will be asked to provide contact information to show to your visitors. This is very important to help provide better customer service and overall experience.
Finally, you will also be asked to verify your business by post. For any business/ property you wish to list, you will be asked to verify it. This step is not mandatory and you can fill it in later on.
After the verification, Google will ask you to fill in some additional information in relation to your business.
You will be asked to add a company description. This will enable customers to have a quick overview of the business/ property.
Another important feature to consider is adding photos of your property building to your listing. This helps customers have a more detailed view of your property and help you generate trust and credibility.
Finally, in order to complete your property listing, you must verify it. You will be able to keep updating specific details about your property, but these will not be displayed publicly until you have been verified.
If you have multiple properties you want to list at the same time, Google also has a bulk upload tool available.
Go to the Main Menu and select “Add business” and select Import businesses.
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:
Once you have added your property to the system, you will be able to view all the information related to your listing in the “information” option on the left-hand side of the page. Here you can edit specific details such as phone number, add a company description, add photos, and much more.
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.
You can also request a bulk verification for 10+ locations.
Google will mail a postcard with a shortcode on it to the address you’ve just entered into 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.
Once created, it’s important to keep your listings as up-to-date as possible. Offer the option for users to message your business directly, add a description for a richer, and more engaging listing, and add up to date photos to convert more impressions into clicks.
These are powerful resources that can be leveraged to build traffic to your website, build rapport with tenants and investors, 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.
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