Good SEO reminder here.
With the advent of Android and i-Phones, it's becoming more and more important to be sure that you have your name in the local results of Google, Yahoo and Bing. You don't even have to have a website to get a local or "Places" page on Google, but it goes a long way towards giving your website authority in their eyes when you do. I have one personal website with a page for rentals that doesn't rank in Google yet, but shows in Yahoo and Bing Local on all the searche phrases pertaining to it. I get a considerable amount of traffic from the two of them even without Google. So all three are important.
For those who aren't aware, Yahoo is now officially using Bing's results as their organic search results. If you combine Yahoo and Bing together, the two of them can be almost as important combined as being at the top of Google itself. I've found that doing a detailed and optimized Bing Local page helps to rank organically in Bing - which now means you'll rank in both!
Ranking in the local searches can be easy if you're in a small area, or hard if you're in a metro like Atlanta or Miami. You are also somewhat limited to the physical address of your office. Although Google is now allowing some businesses to opt out of an office address and rank for service area, a real estate agent doesn't usually fall into that category. Then again, if you work primarily out of your home, you can use that instead of a business office. It's probably a little bit dangerous to publicize your home address in that way, but many do, including myself.
If your office (or home) is located in a small sub-city outside of a main city, it's going to make things difficult. So my first piece of advice, feasible or not, is to have an office address in the main city that you want to be found listed for. One smart guy in Myrtle Beach actually went out and rented small office spaces in various places so he could have multiple entries and appear to have multiple businesses. I'm not saying that's the way to go, but it's interesting that ranking in those top Local "boxes" can be lucrative enough to make such an expensive and drastic course of action worthwhile!
But let's assume your office is in the city, and you want to get found in the 3 Local searches to improve your website traffic and get more buyers. Here's a VERY simplified guide to making it work.
Building Your Profile
The most important thing to start with is building a very detailed profile on all three Local searches. Fill in every category. Use your search terms in the "category" fields and the product fields. List your specialties like: "Carolina Heights Homes For Sale" or "Acme Condos For Sale". Mention "Your-town MLS" in a field somewhere unless you are in one of those areas with a nasty Board that won't let you use the term "MLS". In most cities, "Your Town MLS" is a pretty important search term.
Be sure and add photos to your profiles. Add as many as you have or as many as it will allow you to add.
Try to put your city in the business name field. I suggest using "Jane Smith, Boston Real Estate" or if you're doing an agency page, "C21 Smith Group Boston". You have to be very careful, and they will refuse to approve anything that sounds spammy.
If you've been considering creating an LLC for yourself, this is a great time to do it, and you'll be way ahead in the game if you name your LLC using your search terms in the company name. "Jane Smith Boston Real Estate Co" is going to be a big help to you for a long time to come if you're lucky enough to get it!
Google just enacted a new field that is really good. Towards the end under "Details" they have a place to add extra services or information. It's a two-columned field, and now they allow you to enter a "service" (or search phrase!) in the first column, and the URL to your matching inside page on the second column. They make these a link on your profile, with the clickable part being your "service". Sweet, isn't it?
Bing Local also allows you to list 5 or 6 of your inside page URL's with search terms and even photos to go along with them. It is by far the most complicated and detailed of the three profiles, but I think they consider if you go to that much trouble to fill it all out, then you must be legitimate.
Last but not least at all...you have to get reviews on these after you build them - preferably from customers, but if nothing else, you can always get business associates, family members, and friends to do a review for you. The more reviews you get, the higher you will rank if all else is done correctly. This is the hardest part of all, but probably the second most important. They will also pull in reviews from other profile pages such as City-Search, InsiderPages.com, and MerchantsCircle.com. The more profiles you have on the internet, the better off you will be.
Hope this helps someone to understand and utilize Local Search as it's becoming more and more necessary for your sales and business!
If you are considering a Traditional or Short Sale of your home in Phoenix, Scottsdale or any location in Maricopa County Arizona, you owe it to yourself to talk with Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty to determine whether Tony and Suzanne Marriott are the best real estate Brokers in the Phoenix and Scottsdale metropolitan area to help you with the Successful Sale of your home.
Tony and Suzanne have personally Listed, Sold and Closed more than a hundred Short Sales with the highest list to close rate in the Phoenix Metro Area!
Tony Marriott - Chief Executive Officer - Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty
Suzanne Marriott - Chief Learning Officer - Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty