In my last article on internet marketing for estate agents I introduced PPC or Pay Per Click advertising using Google Adwords to put your business at the top of search results.
Today I’m going to be explaining how you can use Google Places to do the same thing – but for free!
The fundamental aim of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is building your website’s credibility in a way that Google sees fit to place it at the top of its search results for a given phrase. For example if you are an Estate Agent in Knightsbridge and you think you’re customers are looking for estate agents on the web by typing in ‘estate agents in knightsbridge’ then you want to be top of the search results for that term – don’t you?
Luckily for small businesses Google has changed the way search results appear in recent years and we now see videos, news and other types of media streams within search results. One introduction is Google Places – essentially the information about busiesses or places stored on Google Maps now finds its way into search results – and generally ABOVE natural search results for ‘localised’ searches (like ‘estate agents in Knightsbridge‘).
So a Google Places entry can put you at or near the top of search results and help clients find your website in this way. But Google Places results will display a number of estate agents in your area, and you want to be top!
Here we go again – more optimisation to get to the top of search results. Read on to find out how (it’s easy).
Firstly - do you have a Google Local listing? If not create one here. If you do, have you claimed it? This means you identify yourself as a representative of the business so you can edit the listing.
Second, add information to your Google Places business listing. This will not only help Google decide to place your business higher in the search results but it will increase the number of visits from customers who instinctively click the business listings with more information. The more photos and videos (yes videos) the better.
Third, reviews. Yes its a dirty word in many quarters and many business owners shudder at the thought of disgruntled customers (yes at some point every business will have one) ranting about a poor experience online. But you have lots of contented customers too – right? Why not ask them politely if they’d submit a positive review of the experience and let other potential customers read about how great your service is?
I hope you enjoyed this basic introduction to Google Places, of course there is more to it than this but for now – go and claim your listing and add information!
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We were delighted to read an article in Property Week on friday about online property marketing referencing The Big Property List:
‘Piggy backing on google…the latest nationwide listings portal’
Read the full Property Week article below or if you’re a subscriber you can also read the Property Week article online.
In my last article I commented that commercial property portals were a poor relative of their residential property family. However, I would like to clarify that the reason for this is not necessarily the portals themselves, more the fundamentals of economics – supply and demand.
The principle users of these portals are surveyors, many of whom still make great use of traditional networking and are well connected within their respective market places. There is little need for these professionals to view the interactive capabilities of a property on a website when they will frequently be aware of the property having spoken to the agent in the past or attended a property launch there to know of the offering available. In addition the key information on the deals that are on offer will come from communications with the agent marketing the property as the factors that influence such a deal are many and subject to complex negotiations.
Many commercial property deals are done “off market” and no amount of property portal advertising will change this. However, the important point and lesson is with the next generation. There is a growing feeling that the use of the internet in commercial property is improving as that younger generation, who have been exposed to and grown up with the internet, move up to the higher echelons of property companies. As this demand for new technology develops, it is thought that the complexity of that on offer will be also improve and the pricing which is also seen by some as a barrier, will reduce accordingly.
One such example is the laser scanning of buildings in 3D. Such technology allows a fully interactive, virtual, three dimensional property to be explored by the user at will. The detail and level of accuracy is remarkable. However the costs are currently prohibitive and the memory required makes website hosting a near impossible nightmare.
With the possibility of technology that can truly add value to property marketing its adoption by property professionals will improve and this is also true of the use of social media. It is thought that the two go largely hand in hand.
There is nothing wrong with the traditional methods of property transactions but you are either part of the revolution or against it. Those companies and surveyors who do not engage with the new IT platforms could well find themselves left behind by it. The Twitter/LinkedIn/Facebook world is here to stay and intelligent use of these mediums could prove highly lucrative in the future. Commercial property will never be at the cutting edge of technology but it cannot avoid the technological developments and those who embrace the potential will reap the rewards.
Author Biography: Tim Denny is a regular contributor to The Inside Edge. He is currently a Commercial Property Asset Manager for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and has an extensive background in commercial property.
LinkedIn – Tim Denny
Twitter – @tim_denny
Estate Agency is changing. The world is changing. No matter what your stance or perspective you can’t disagree with this basic premise.
However for those at the forefront of the online migration the pace may seem faster than to those Estate Agents whose business model has remained more or less the same for the last 10 years. For those bringing up the rear the greatest changes will be the use of an online property portal to reach buyers – probably Rightmove and no other – and the use of email instead of fax and post.
I sat in an Estate Agent’s office a few months ago and asked what a secretary was doing – she was entering property details in triplicate – to three seperate systems. It doesn’t take A level maths to work out that a 66% time saving could be made by the introduction of a smarter system.
One of the simplest online advertising tools for an Estate Agent that doesn’t want to rely solely on Rightmove for it’s online marketing is Pay Per Click.
Essentially Pay Per Click (PPC) is a form of online advertising where you set a budget of say £20/day and your advert is displayed all over the internet – normally alongside search results (for example in Google) and on other websites that relate to your subject. When a user clicks on your advert and is redirected to your website, you pay for that click. Hence the name Pay Per Click.
The most favoured system is Google Adwords – a very clever system which a new user could set up and use in just a few hours, but that has the tools and features that an advanced user requires.
In our next article in this series we’ll show you how to set up a basic Google Adwords Pay Per Click online advertising campaign in a few simple steps.
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