Want to increase your new business enquiries by 25 per cent? There’s a way that’s often overlooked by most businesses, including estate agents and mortgage brokers – And you can do this ‘hack’ for free.
Google My Business
Yes, the ‘hack’ is actually Google My Business. This is the map pack that appears in local search results and usually includes three relevant businesses. So, if I’m searching for an estate agent near me, three will appear. Each will feature information on their services, reviews and their contact details.
Some of you may be saying you already have one of these listings. But does it rank in the top three for your local area? And are your analytics showing that the listing is actually converting?
Why 25 per cent extra business?
I conduct a lot of search engine optimisation work for one particular estate agent.
Using my optimisation tools I can see that Google receives around 3600 local searches within that specific city every month. As a result of my work, their Google My Business listing now ranks as number one whenever a search is conducted for ‘Estate Agents [City]’.
Their listing actually converts well – In the last month they received 898 actions. This means that 898 people either visited their website, called them or requested directions to their office – Approximately 25 per cent of all searches in one month (or 24.94 per cent to be exact) interacted with their agency. (October 2019).
Not bad to say that Google My Business is free to use!
Follow some of the steps below to improve your listing. All too much? Talk to me to see how I can help you potentially gain 25 per cent more enquiries.
How to optimise your own Google Business Listing
So we’ve established that you can potentially increase your business enquiries by 25 per cent every month. But how do you do this?
Be prepared; there’s a fair amount of work involved.
Optimising in simple terms
Below are some initial steps which need to be taken and you should see some improvements when you follow the below.
Want to ensure you rank as high as possible? You’re likely to need to follow the advanced steps too.
Create your listing
Those who don’t already have a listing will need to create one via Google My Business. You’ll need to have your business verified which is usually done by post. They will send you a small postcard with a code and this needs to be entered into your listing dashboard. This usually takes around 5 working days so ensure you do this quickly.
Fill out every Google business section
Google My Business rewards profiles which are filled out to the max. This includes:
- Categories (start typing your main business category, ie. Real Estate, and Google will suggest categories. Choose all that apply.
- Address (if you don’t have an office you can choose a service area which is where you will travel to).
- Opening hours
- Phone number
- Opening date
- Store Code (this is for your internal use so fill it in with whatever you like).
- Labels (choose relevant keywords you think people will be searching for, or use the Google Keyword planner to find more).
- Videos take anything from your YouTube channel and paste the link). If you don’t have any videos then I’ll touch on this later.
Photos are also key. Add as many photos you can and put them in each relevant section. There are sections for interior, exterior, at work, team and much more. Continue to add one a month to impress Google.
Tip: Upload images that were taken in your offices on a smartphone with location services turned on. Google like to see photos that have been taken close to the business address.
This is really important. Get as many reviews as you can.
If you haven’t had many clients at this point then ask friends or family who you have provided services for in the past. Ask them to include relevant keywords. If you are an estate agent, ensure they include words such as ‘estate agency’ ‘valuation’ ‘property’ and the name of your local town or city.
Don’t create Google accounts yourself and add fake reviews. Google can detect this and penalise you for it. It’s unlikely your rankings will recover for a long time.
Don’t worry if all your reviews are not 5 star. Google also favours mixed reviews, although if all are bad then you could end up appearing further down the rankings.
Once you start to conduct more business then why not send out a thank you email to your clients? Include the shortened URL to your Google My Business listing and ask them to leave a comment along with a 5 star review.
Google My Business now lets you add posts to your listing. The best posts to include are ones that relate to the key services you provide.
Go to local business directories online and enter your business details. You may get a call or email to confirm your business actually exists.
The tip here is to ensure every detail is the same as your Google Business listing. This means that the title has to be exactly the same, as does the phone number, website address and more. Any discrepancies will lead Google to lose trust in your listing and rank you further down the page.
To start you off you can visit:
Advanced GMB hacks
So you’ve filled out all the relevant information on your listing, you’ve asked for reviews and you’ve created citations on other websites. What’s left?
Embed in your website
Some of the major things including integrating your Google Business listing into your contact pages. Just search for your business and click the embed symbol to get a small snippet of code. If you don’t know what to do with this then talk to your web developer – or me!
This is a bit more complex. It involves writing specific code to help Google understand that you’re a local business. It’s hidden behind the scenes of your website but the Google crawl bots still pick it up and understand more about where you are based and what you do. This is a complex feature. Again, speak to myself or your web developer.
Want to know more?
This handy roadmap details everything explained above and a little bit more. Follow the steps on your road to improving your business listing.
Google is the ultimate decision maker when it comes to ranking both websites and Google My Business listings. Whilst all this information has been proven to work in the past, it is not guaranteed to push your own listings up the rankings.