Why Should CRE Care About Google Search?

by 16 Jul 2012

Believe it or not, so many of the blog posts I write come from actual conversations had with property managers, leasing professionals and brokers that I engage with daily. Today I had mentioned to a colleague that I utilize Google Alerts on key phrases and terms about properties or other subject matter to see that Google has found it! It is my own double check of Google Search. In one particular case, I mentioned that one of the alerts I was tracking produced zero results. That was a red flag and warning to me about this particular search and I was watching it. I was shocked because if you are marketing a property in the right places using the right methods, your goal is for that property or company to be found by Google, which in turn helps your customers find you as well. The end goal is to be on page 1 of Google Search. Yes, that is what I am saying, page 1. If you are not on page 1, there is a slim chance your property, listing or company will be found, hence the goal! Think about it, how many times do you go to page 2?

Here is my take on why as professionals, charged with marketing various assets and properties, it is our job to be sure, when we search, our client or property DOES come up in Google Search, and I do not mean page 1,345,678, I do mean on page 1!

I am a property professional by trade and I am not someone who drank the Google kool-aid and I am not talking about anything high tech, it is common sense, which is exactly what SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is about. I am trying to simply remind folks in property management or leasing that each and every single inch of real estate is unique. That is the first lesson of understanding the common sense of SEO and how it can apply to your success in marketing real estate and making sure you and your properties come up on page 1 of Google Search. What that means is that if you dig deep enough into the recesses of your creative mind you can create or fashion a phrase or term, or name or address or feature that can act as your headline and/or URL in whatever property, company or asset you are marketing.

Once you have created the theme or name or headline, that name must be locked to that property like a heat seeking missile. Make sure every opportunity, flyer, listing site, email subject line, Tweet, Facebook  post, Google+ or Linkedin status, has that same headline or name. Make sure your headline is a unique descriptor for the property and is a search term or keyword phrase that is already used in Google Search, along with your unique words. Do not become oblivious to URL links. Notice them and work with them so they do the heavy-lifting for you.

So how do you do that and what are some choices?

Well the first thing is to prove that your headline or keyword phrase is viable and logical for that particular scenario. Simply pose as a customer you are targeting and search for your subject matter. For instance, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and actually do a Google Search to find the property. In other words, what would be searched to find you or that property? If your property is office space, it is not okay to just say office space, but to add more to it. Remember, you want to stand out from the crowd and be as accurate to what someone would really search for about that property.

For instance:

~geography
~zip code
~submarket
~neighborhood
~size
~floor
~building type
~use type (medical for example)
~near XYZ

Once you type in that phrase or term, what comes up? That is exactly what your customers or end-users see as well! If your post or headline or marketing campaign is well crafted and is unique to your property, space, client or company, and you have a variety of online presence, your customers WILL find your property and you will give that client the most exposure possible. Remember, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ (especially) are open to the public in search. If you use other companion tools like, paper.li (newsletter of your Twitter stream) or you belong to open groups or if you have a Google+ page for your business or property, all of that content is open and in the web media stream. It is also being picked up by others who “Share” it and make your message move even more through the stream. That is the name of the game and that is why you want to keep your headline consistent for that particular campaign. Of course, if the headline is not working, you need to adjust. Just keep trying different combinations until you find what works best for that audience.

Do you want new business or no business?

Now if you turn the tables around to the building owner’s side, the most important point I want to make is to the property owner who is looking to hire a property manager or leasing agent or broker and to the property manager or broker who wants new business!! How well can you find the property manager or leasing agent or broker? Just do a Google Search. If they are doing their homework and doing some basic SEO and outreach, you will find them. If not, that should be considered a red flag because, depending on their property type, the customer is not going to find their product when they search! Also, it means they have not set up a Twitter site, website, Google+ page or Linkedin profile, nor do they contribute to sites appropriate for their property segment type. Those are huge Bozo, no-nos.

In other words, if multi-family, there are places where apartments would be marketed and there are sites for retail, office, industrial, land, etc. when doing your research into what firm you wish to hire, find out what sites are being used and check to see how well they present those properties. Have they included thorough information with appropriate keywords, keyphrases, images, maps and other elements that make your property stand out. How reachable are they via email, cell, office, skype, Twitter, etc.?

Today brokers, managers and leasing agents MUST use every tool in the drawer to market a property and there needs to be an awareness that the internet provides complete transparency to what you are really doing when promoting properties for sale or lease. As a broker, if you tell your clients what your marketing entails, it should be fairly evident when the client tries to search. That can also be the way to stand out in presentations for new business. If you do a good job and use common sense tactics to attract Google to your content, it will be very evident.

Verify and test your search campaign efforts. Don't believe everything you search!

Test your searches in different browsers and on different computers. Mix it up. The browsers and systems today are social content driven and insidious as they remember what we read, visit and do, that often times your searches are tainted with your history and your search is not really accurate to what a real visitor experiences in search. It is vital that you do the search on another machine or ask a colleague to search for your terms and phrases so you are not receiving friendly search results based on your history.  In other words, test, test, test.

Whether it is a website and unique URL for that property or inclusion on the top multiple listing sites, your property has to be found in the most appropriate and logical Google Search. As brokers, managers and leasing agents, our simple test of any solution we use is to do a Google Search. If you want to market your firm, yourself or your property, it needs to be your total and complete goal to come up on page 1 of a Google Search. The question I ask you is how many times do you go to page 2? If your answer is never or once in a while you understand what I am saying. It is vital today that you market to Google. If you do not market to Google you are not marketing online for search and today it is where most people look first when they want absolutely anything and everything, including their next commercial real estate transaction or site selection or hiring the next broker or property manager.

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