[Video] Marketing Academy Secrets: How to Optimize Your Website for Local Search
By Seth Price
In the second episode of our “Marketing Academy Secrets” series, we uncover some tips and tricks for optimizing your real estate website for local search.
Real estate is basically a local business, and right now what has evolved with Google, Bing, and Yahoo! is this ability to target or hyper-target based upon geolocation. And making sure your site is set up appropriately makes it more likely that you’re going to be discovered when someone’s in your neighborhood or in your town and is searching for the things that you offer.
So the first thing you want to do is think about the keywords that are appropriate to your market and appropriate to your locality. You also want to make sure that you don’t try to choose too many. What happens with search engines is that they’re tying to determine whether you have any real relevance to a search term that’s geographically focused. And if you’re all over the place, they can’t tell whether you’re an expert. They, like your consumers, are trying to determine who’s an expert in a particular area.
When conducting keyword research, you should be trying to choose keyword phrases that have some geographic relevance but that aren’t too competitive. For example, we’re based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, right next to Boston. If I want to compete for “Boston real estate,” that’s going to be a little costly and probably difficult to do in the short term. But if I want to focus on “Kendall Square condos,” that might be a little more possible for me to attain. So you really want to think about the keywords that your customers are actually searching for and if you have a product to offer within those results.
The next thing to focus on is having your business show up in Google+ Local, as well as Bing Local and Yahoo! Local. And basically, these are directories that allow you to have your business name, some information about your business, photos, videos, and a link to your website. Now, the key here is that your business name, address, phone number, etc. need to be consistent across all of those platforms, otherwise it confuses the search engines.
So, the first one that I would focus on is Google. And all you do is go to Google’s Places for Business website at google.com/placesforbusiness and that will give you an option to sign up. It’s going to require that you have a Gmail account or a Google Apps account and then you’re going to need to set up a Google+ account if you don’t already have one. Don’t worry, they’re really simple to do, but they’re mandatory.
Next, you’re going to enter your business information: name, address, and phone number — and then they’re going to send you a verification card to that mailing address. That’s so they know that you’re not a fictitious business. Once you get that card, it’s going to have a PIN on it. You go back to your account, enter that PIN, and then you’re a verified business. Now you can do all of the things that are necessary to make your page unique and really interesting. Add videos, add photos, and start getting reviews from customers that can show up in search.
This is the way that local discovery is evolving and you really need to be on these platforms so you can be found by your customers.
Is your website optimized for local search? Have you gone through the process of setting up a Google Places for Business account? Let us know in the comments section below!
Published on August 16, 2013
Written by Seth Price
Seth is a brand and marketing strategist with 20 years of digital marketing experience. He’s a founding team member and VP @Placester, author of the bestselling small business marketing book, The Road to Recognition and host of The Craft of Marketing and Marketing Genius podcasts. As a speaker, writer, and marketing workshop leader, Seth brings levity, mentorship, and a dose of reality to the businesses and entrepreneurs he coaches.