Google My Business- Best Practices for the Multifamily Industry

by Jun 23, 2020Blog, Search, SEO

Google My Business is an incredibly powerful marketing tool. Not only is it free to use, but it’s baked right into the one of the main traffic driver for websites on the planet, Google. Without too much effort, your listing can drive traffic, increase retention, and nurture leads all at the same time. We put together a list of basic steps to help your GMB listing to stand out.

 

Claim Your Listing

Claiming a Google My Business listing is arguably one of the most vital actions you can take on behalf of your entire online business. Without this crucial step, it’s almost impossible to ensure that the listing holds the correct information about your property. Typically, this requires a phone call to prove that whoever is claiming the listing is affiliated with the actual business. Google has additional detailed instructions on claiming Google My Business listings.

 

Take What it Gives You and Be Consistent

Google My Business lets you provide your prospects with a wealth of information about your community.  Make sure you fill out everything you can. 

  • NAPU (Name, Address, Phone Number, URL) is the bare minimum and MUST be consistent with what’s on your website, ILS’s, and other local listings.  Having “Blue Line Lofts” on your website and “Blue Line Apartments” on GMB will hurt your rankings in Google. If you need help on your other local listings, check out 30 Lines Local SEO.
  • Once your NAPU is ready to roll, make sure you’re adding images, videos, and any other media to make your listing pop for prospects and give Google more resources to crawl and help you rank.
  • If you have an SEO tracking number, that should be your main phone number, while still including the local phone number as an additional. Otherwise, your NAPU will be inconsistent.
  • When your “Business Category” is set to “Apartment Building”, you will rank better overall, with the exception of student housing. In this case, you want to make your main category “Student Housing Center” depending on what keyword you want to focus on.
  • Hours need to be treated the same as NAPU. Make sure they match your business office and what’s on your website.
  • Don’t forget to fill out your listing with Appointment Scheduler links, services (if your community provides any), and a service area which will help you show up on the map!

 

Update Frequently

Make sure someone at the building is able to monitor your GMB listing during working hours and you update your listing with new images, posts, etc. frequently.

  • Listing content should be thought of the same as website content. It’s extremely beneficial to update the images, videos, and copy on your listing every few months to ensure it gets crawled more often by Google.
  • “Special Hours” is hugely important for holidays and events. Stay on top of updating them. Prospects and current residents appreciate the heads-up.
  • Dedicate some manpower to monitor reviews (more on this later).
  • Posts are a way to get in front of anyone who finds your listing in search or maps with offers and updates (more on this later).

 

Push Renter Reviews

Although reputation and star rating is useful for every platform, Google tends to be heads-and-shoulders above others (even ILS’) in terms of the importance of positive reviews.

  • Most people who interact with your community are going to use Google at some point with regard to your listing. Whether they found you on an ILS, Googled the property, needed directions, or just needed to pay rent, most will go through Google at some point, meaning getting social proof here is of the utmost importance.
  • Not only is your star rating on GMB going to have the most eyes on it out of all your review tools, but because it’s so easy to find, it makes it that much more necessary to monitor reviews in order to respond to them (positive and negative).

 

Posts

Google Posts are a relatively new aspect of Google My Business. They are yet another tool in the digital marketer’s toolbox that can keep residents updated on property events, promote property specials, engage prospects, and more.

  • One of the low hanging fruits of Google Posts is the “Offers” section.  This allows properties to promote current specials upfront in Google for no extra spend. Utilizing these means that anyone who searches the property can see any current concessions. You can set start and end dates as well, meaning no extra worry that you’re showing an old special.
  • Other types of posts include Events, Products, and Updates. Typically, if nothing else is going on on-site, we advise clients to try and post a property update at least once a month to keep the content fresh and new.

 

Floorplans = Products

Since the Products section of GMB is no longer in Beta and can be seen by most accounts, it opens up an opportunity to provide shoppers with a better answer as they search through your account.

  • Each floor plan or floor plan type can become a product that links to the website so prospects can learn more about your property.
  • These can also be tracked individually with UTM codes to gauge interest in floor plans.
  • Note that there are still a few accounts that don’t have access to this tool yet, as Google continues to roll it out across their entire platform. So far, the best solution to activating Products is to sit tight and wait. Implementation has been slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Use Keywords Everywhere You Can

Google crawls your local listings just like it crawls a website, which means adding in rankable keywords is just as important in your Google My Business listing as it is on your website.

  • Examples include:
    • Use the word “apartment” after designating your floor plans
    • Include branded and unbranded keywords in your description 
    • Coordinate posts to include keywords that correspond to new website copy
    • Work keywords into review responses if at all possible (don’t sound like a robot though)

 

 

Track Your Performance

With any marketing tool, make sure you’re equipped to track your performance data efficiently so you can make decisions knowing you have the best possible information.

 

  • A lot of activity happens on your GMB listing that your website might never see. Direction clicks, map clicks, search appearances won’t get tracked in Google Analytics, so make sure you’re asking the right questions when you want to track GMB performance.
  • You can also use GMB natively to spot check performance in the “Insights” tab. There are also tools out there to bring this data into your day-to-day reporting. 

 

With a little bit of knowledge and elbow grease, Google My Business can be one of your top tier marketing tools online. And all for free. Maintaining this local listing can boost other digital marketing channels like SEO, digital reputation, and even pay-per-click ads.

Have questions? Let us know how we can help!

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