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Welcome to The Local Search Economy

Google My Business (GMB) is upstaging your community website. This spells trouble for a few reasons: 

  • You’ve invested (and continue to invest) time and money in your website.
  • Users form first impressions based on your GMB profile, then decide whether to visit your website.
  • You depend on your website to generate leads and leases. 

So, what’s going on? 

Things change rapidly in a digital-first world. Google introduced GMB in 2014 and since then has steadily evolved the platform and its localized search algorithm. GMB is now a critical part of local search for any business with a physical location and an ideal solution for apartment marketers. 

Consider the following six points:

  1. GMB is Free. Setting up a GMB profile for a physical location is free and helps ensure your communities can be found on Google search and Google maps while prospects are actively searching. 
  2. The Rise of Zero-Click. 65% of Google searches end without a click to another website, with users' queries resolving directly from the search results page. Prospects can call, get directions, view your offers and other info, right from your GMB profile. Catch prospects where they are and provide them with what they need to choose your community.  
  3. Google is (Still) Eating The World. Google dominates the global search engine market share, handling more than 92% of all search queries globally. And Google's local search algorithm favors signals from GMB profiles that are complete and consistently updated. Optimizing your GMB profile is your pathway to local search success.  
  4. Traditional Search SEO is table stakes. While helpful to your business brand and website at a national or global level, traditional SEO falls short when it comes to local search. When devising a local SEO strategy, pay special attention to the unique set of ranking signals Google uses for local search results.  
  5. GMB is Disrupting The Status-Quo (Read: paid advertising). GMB community profiles are a low cost/no-cost source of qualified website traffic and leads. For this reason, marketers are reevaluating their advertising spend. With the average apartment marketing spend being: $1,500/month for search marketing or $2-2.37 for Google PPC ads, the free alternative starts to look pretty darn good. 
  6. Reaching the Next Gen Renter: Connected practically from the cradle, 90% of Gen Z use the web multiple times a day and nearly 40% start their apartment search on Google. At 65 million strong, this cohort has incredible buying power.

Final Word

“Google is the new homepage” – Mike Blumenthal

GMB is quickly becoming the best way for apartment marketers to gain a competitive advantage and generate qualified leads, cost-effectively.   

So, what's the catch? According to the industry, the number one challenge is the time and effort required to update and manage GMB profiles. This is intensified by the ongoing labour shortage and subsequent increase in the responsibilities of corporate marketers and site teams. The good news however, is that there are plenty of educational resources, software and services to help alleviate or eliminate the effort. 


References: 

* Source: SimilarWeb Study
** Source: Searchengineland Study
*** Source: RentCafe Research

 
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thank you for sharing this and putting it all in laymen terms. This is valuable information and absolutely accurate. Our teams are charged with updating their property's GMB every 7 days. Our marketing department takes great lengths to explain what kind of posts to place in the space of GMB, however, this additional information will likely be very beneficial to share with our onsite teams, explaining the WHY. Thank you again, I loved reading this!

  Brittney Nelson
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

How much do you all pay a 3rd party vendor to post on Google weekly?

  Dana
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This is a fascinating article! I have been a Google 360° Virtual Tour photographer for the past seven years and have heard many times by multi family properties that they have virtual tours on ther website but not on their Google and Google Maps listings (GMB). I have stressed to many properties that the very first thing someone will see on Google is their GMB page and not their website, FB page, Twitter or any other platform. I have also stressed to get a Google 360° Virtual Tour of their properties on their GMB listing because it will be seen more by people than on a website which will create more interest and more engagement for the property. Some do have them but a lot still do not. I have also asked many of them to make me a manager on their listing so I can completely optimize it for maximum performance on Google and Google Maps and keep it optimized, but most times they say that their marketing team takes care of that. According to this article, this not the case. Well if after reading this article, you would like to talk about GMB and Google 360° Virtual Tours, let me know. [email protected] - Brad

  Brad Gamson
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Very timely article Michelle! Well organized and thought provoking. Google 360° Virtual Tours are quickly becoming part of an Apartment Management Team's greatest asset in the day and age of Virtual Leasing. Especially when the Tours can be simultaneously integrated into not only the website but also the (GMB) "Google My Business" listing. Definitely a much needed asset and upcoming strategic planning for 2022 and beyond.

AJ
[email protected]

  AJ
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

We've also noticed that social media marketing can be very effective for property managers.

-charles

  Comment was last edited about 8 months ago by Brent Williams Charles Holloway

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