Lasso guest blogger Meredith Oliver of Meredith Communications shares how to set up your home building business for local search success.
You’ve put a lot of time, effort, and expertise into designing your homes, floor plans, and communities. You’ve hired the best salespeople and trained them well and you are now ready to start marketing your project to potential buyers. And while this might be an overwhelming undertaking, luckily digital marketing makes this process easier than you may think. But, where do you start?
Google – The Traffic Juggernaut
Most experts agree Google is still the number one traffic driver on the web, with Facebook is a close second (if you are willing to do paid/sponsored advertising). Marketing on Google used to be as simple as the choice between paid ads, known as Google AdWords, and organic listings achieved by optimizing your site, known as Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Today, there are many opportunities to be found on Google in addition to Google AdWords and Organic Listings, including the Knowledge Graph Panel, the Local 3 Pack, and Rich Answers. How well are you taking advantage of these additional listing opportunities?
Focus On Local Keywords and Listings
At Meredith Communications, we believe all home builder SEO is local SEO. Unlike products and services that can be purchased by anyone, anywhere, new home construction is available only in a fixed location. As a result, marketing for home builders and for new homes on Google must be a very focused and targeted effort. Potential home buyers searching to find their dream home in their chosen city/state want their Google queries to reflect said destination and will likely use very specific search terms to find what they want. Therefore, not optimizing your home builder website for specific locations puts you at a disadvantage and likely places your direct competition ahead of you.
For example, if you are constructing homes in Houston, TX, it would benefit you to optimize your site for keywords such as “homes in Houston TX” or “new homes in Houston, TX” to target potential buyers wanting to relocate to that area. But, go too broad with terms such as “home in Texas” or “new homes in Texas” and you will likely be lower in the Google SERP’s, pushing home builders with more targeted optimization above you. As a result, your website performance will likely suffer resulting in high bounce rates, low times on site, and low pages per session and over time your organic rankings will drop as Google will potentially perceive you to be an unverified, non user-friendly website.
Google My Business is the Key to Local SEO
Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool to manage your business listing in Google Search and Maps and is the key to a robust local SEO strategy. Luckily, if you had a Google Places and/or Google+ Pages account, Google automatically converted those accounts to a Google My Business account. In that case, you need to login and update your information. If your business has been open for several years, you probably have a GMB listing, and you need to claim it. If your business is new or you’ve never done any local marketing on Google, the first step is to claim and verify your GMB listing. Setting up and optimizing your GMB account will increase your listings’ visibility within Google’s Local 3 Pack, Google Maps and organic listings. To get started visit https://www.google.com/business/.
Optimize Your GMB Profile
Google compares the information on your website to your GMB listings. Inaccurate and/or incomplete info kills your local SEO efforts.
- Fill out the GMB listing completely. Provide as much information as you can and try to get to 100% complete. Make sure your NAP, name, address, and phone number are filled in and correct. Select a category of service. Remember, competitors can edit your GMB listing, so regularly log into your GMB account and review/approve suggested edits.
- Add photos, videos, and virtual tours. Rich media will increase user engagement with your GMB listing. According to Search Engine Journal, businesses with photos on their listings receive 42 percent more requests for driving directions on Google Maps and 35 percent more click-throughs to their websites than businesses that without photos.
- Create posts. Write posts for the GMB listing. Think of the post as a mini-ad that shows up on your listing. Add an image, call-to-action, and a link to your post. Post about upcoming events, sales promotions, grand openings, and new models. Posts stay live for seven days, and you can set reminders in the account to write a new post.
- Manage and respond to reviews. Do not ignore your reviews. Ignoring them, especially bad reviews, will not make them go away. The best practice with all reviews, good and bad, is to respond in a timely, professional manner. For the definitive guide to responding to online reviews, check out Jay Baer’s book, Hug Your Haters. Baer walks you through the art and science of responding to reviews on all of the review platforms.
- Add local SEO keywords to your GMB listing title. Instead of your business name, use “New Homes in Raleigh” or “Custom Home Builder Raleigh.” Yes, it’s on the spammy side of SEO, but it works (for now) and helps with those local searches.
For more help and tips on GMB, visit the official support center.
If you need more information or education on local SEO, Google it! Better yet, YouTube it! Many SEO thought leaders are producing written and video content on the topic that you can learn from for free. Make sure to limit your search articles or videos posted in the past year, or better yet, past month to get the most up to date relevant tips.
Good luck with your local SEO efforts and remember when it comes to home builder SEO, all SEO is local.
About the author…
Meredith Oliver is a sales and marketing strategist who specializes in home builder marketing. She is the founder and creative director of Meredith Communications, a digital marketing agency for home builders. She is the author of 3 books: Click Power, FANtastic Marketing, and FANtastic Selling available on Amazon.com. You can learn more about her at MeredithCommunications.com, and you can follow her fabulous high heel shoe collection on Instagram @MeredithsShoes22.