Two tips to get noticed on Google Maps and Yahoo! Local

At Inman News blog today, I discussed how local search has evolved into its own search product category because general search is inadequate in delivering local results. Although most consumers won't look for real estate on local search and prefer the standard real estate listings sites, real estate professionals should understand that their community network ("their farm") will adopt local search platforms like Google Maps, Yahoo! Local, Citysearch and Yelp to find local book stores, plumbers and wifi cafes. This translates into targeted hyperlocal marketing opportunities on these sites.

Yahoo!Local and Google Maps are still relatively virgin because both have been rejiggered to promote user-generated content in the form of reviews, commentary and personalized maps. On both sites, there are still very few reviews. Real estate professionals have the opportunity to develop an online presence at these sites while the competition is still light. Here are two tips:

List your business free in the new Yahoo! Local

Yahoo! Local upgraded last month to incorporate many of the Web 2.0 commenting functions that applications like Yelp, a local review site, provides to create dialogue, and simple concepts like a Weekend guide that are usually the province of online newspaper sites like SF Chronicle.

The major obvious difference between Yahoo! and Google is Yahoo's pedigree as an "internet portal" that provides top page access to a variety of general topics - finance, sports, weather. Yahoo Local Search relies on the same portal interface to browse through categories.

If you click on Yahoo! Local's real estate category and drill down to real estate agents, you'll notice the standard sponsored search on top, but also a list of agents that populate the "organic results" starting with (in San Francisco) Sylvia Damen. I've tried researching how the Local algorithm works for placement, and couldn't find a reason why Damen and the others on the top page would list so high. In any case, I would think that users would be looking more closely at the agent reviews to evaluate agents.

I believe at one time, the only way to get your business listed in Yahoo! Directory was to pay $299 for a listing. The main benefit is to create a link with Yahoo that would send traffic to your site and enhance search engine placement. With Yahoo! Local, you can now add your business listing at free. Hopefully the listing will get digested by Yahoo and presented as a search result.

Create Google user-generated content - specifically GoogleMaps

If you're registered, Google Maps automatically centers you on your specified home or office location, in my case San Francisco. I searched for "real estate agent". At the bottom of the left hand column of search results, note the See user-created content New! link. Clicking on that link directs the reader to a page of user-gen content, mostly from Michael La Peter, a Realtor in San Francisco.

(note that depending upon location or pc, different search results appear, this screenshot is my result)

Michael developed a Google Map called "San Francisco New Developments" that so far is the only user-generated Google Map being cited for the query "real estate agent" in San Francisco.

If you experiment with different queries, you'll notice the user generated content seems random, sourced from Craigslist and other feeds. If Google Maps prizes user-generated content like San Francisco New Developments, it's a great opportunity for real estate professionals to showcase their own Google Maps to display listings and market conditions.

Earlier this year, I wrote two pieces on how to develop your own Google Maps and embed them into your blog or website:

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  • 9/14/2007 9:19 AM Columbus Real Estate wrote:
    Good post Pat. Free and Easy ways to stay in front of consumers are always well received.
    I think you're right on when you say that targeted hyper-local marketing is where it's at.
    Reply to this

  • 9/14/2007 9:37 AM Terry Smith wrote:
    Hi Pat,
    Thanks for the insight and direction, always appreciated.
    Reply to this

  • 9/14/2007 11:45 AM Alfie La Peter wrote:
    That Michael La Peter sure is a smart fella. Great post. I've had good results with our Boise Condo page and we'll soon have one for new home subdivisions.
    Reply to this

  • 9/14/2007 4:13 PM wrote:
    Hello Pat,

    Great post. As the founder of a new real estate search engine who follows internet trends, I would like to add a valuable tip. You can also get you real estate business listed for free on Google local business directory. This will allow local real estate / offices to appear on the top "local business results" placed on the map, with address, phone and site info. Doing this will allow your site to appear when someone searches "city, state real estate agent" or "company" above the organic results and it's free.

    Here is the link for your users to add their real estate business:≷=US

    Good luck,
    Jessie B - Search Real Estate
    Reply to this
    1. 9/18/2007 9:04 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
      Thanks for the link to the Google business registration, Jessie!

      Reply to this

  • 9/15/2007 2:26 PM Hawaii Real Estate wrote:
    Wow, great information. A free way to promote your real estate site. I hope no agent in my area reads this post!!!
    Reply to this

  • 9/17/2007 7:38 PM Staten Island Real Estate wrote:
    It's actually not that easy to be added to the Google local results. We have submitted our site about 2 months ago, and it still doesn't show up in the local search results.
    Reply to this
    1. 9/17/2007 9:15 PM Pat Kitano wrote:
      There's not much information about how the Google Maps algorithm works (which in esence is Google Local). I was thinking there is so little user generated content on Google Maps that if you made a Google map, users might find it through search on Google Maps. If you search for "bay area housing market", and click on user generated content, my Google Map on the subject will appear.

      Reply to this

    2. 9/18/2007 11:02 AM wrote:
      Staten Island,

      You may want to add your companies address on the home page... will help you get indexed.
      Reply to this

  • 3/26/2008 7:50 PM Honolulu Real Estate wrote:
    This is a great tip for all realtors. I agree, more of us should be utilizing these type of interactive tools in our real estate sites.
    Reply to this

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