Since I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like free advertising, I wanted to encourage all of my fellow real estate entrepreneurs and professionals to take advantage of Google Places.
Google Places provides businesses with an online profile that can appear in Google search results for your type of business as well as Google Maps. For example, if you do a search for “Austin commercial real estate companies”, this is what you’ll see.
Try different searches and see how businesses show up on a pretty little map on the top. Searches such as:
“sell a house fast in (any city name) ”
“buy (any city name) real estate”
“buy (any city name) investment properties”
“(any city name) realtors”
You get the point. I bet you can think of some phrases that would be very relevant for your specific real estate business. Phrases that when people type them in, you’d want your business to show up in those local listings at the top of the search.
So with Google Places you’ll be able to add the following basic business information:
- Name of business, address, phone #
- Company website
- Service areas and hours of operation (optional)
That’s all good, but here’s where it can be even more interesting:
You can have up to 5 and they must be on YouTube…sky is the limit here. You have an opportunity to provide some quick content-rich videos that will bring people to your website, blog, or squeeze page. Warning: according to Google it can take up to 6 weeks for videos to appear in your listing…not sure why it could possibly take that long.
You can have up to 10…you don’t have to just do boring pics of your office space or company logo. Logo is fine, but take advantage of the other pics to provide useful information, marketing materials, etc.
Pretty cool feature. As real estate entrepreneurs we can have coupons too! Here we have an opportunity to provide coupons for referrals, coupons to get any creative “extras” you can provide as an incentive to buyers and motivated sellers.
An advanced feature in Google Places is tags. By adding tags you can highlight your listing. It will actually show a little yellow sticky tag next to your listing on the map and you’ll get yet another chance to highlight those things about your business that you want potential clients (buyers, motivated seller, private investors) to see. This costs $25/month but is a completely optional feature and they do provide a 30-day trial so you can give it a run.
As you can see, Google has provided yet another free tool for business owners which I think is pretty cool. You may ask, how can I ensure that mine shows up at the top of the list? I don’t have the answer to that question, but if anyone has some insight, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
As an aside…you did realize that Google Voice is now publicly available to everyone right? Personally, I didn’t know this at all until a few months ago so I figured I’d share in case others were in the dark. Google has several tools that are helpful to us as real estate investors. Here are some links to previous BiggerPockets blog posts you may want to check out: