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Why Online Business Listings are Critical for Home Builders

Why Online Business Listings are Critical for Home Builders

Your business information is everywhere on the internet. Whether you like it or not — and no matter if this info is correct or riddled with errors — you will find listings for your company on search engines, mobile apps, social media sites and dozens of local directories.

It’s pretty easy to see why these listings are important to retail shops and restaurants: They want foot traffic. Apps like Google Maps and sites like Yelp lead customers directly to their front doors.

But why do business listings matter to home builders? You probably don’t want homebuyers dropping by your office unannounced. You have your own website to list model homes or promote open-house events when you do want clients to visit. Who cares if your company is listed on a bunch of other random sites?

Customers care. And you should too if you want them to find you.

Online directories are today’s digital version of the phone book. A few years ago, you wouldn’t dream of not listing your company in the yellow pages, even if you preferred other promotional channels. Now, it’s no longer enough to list your business in one phone book. You need to be listed in all the phone books so that clients who are looking for a home builder can find you, no matter what website or app they’re using.

Where do all these websites get my info?

The first time you searched for your own business name on Google you probably found dozens of results for websites you had never heard of. If you clicked on a few of these, you might have been horrified to see that the info about you was inconsistent or just plain wrong. Where did all these listings come from?

Many local directories get their listing information from third-party data brokers. These brokers, in turn, get their data by scraping public records (such as secretary of state filings, licenses or other government documents). Needless to say, this info could be old and outdated. Even if you’ve tried to fix it at some point, your listing might be overwritten by incorrect info the next time a directory updates its database.

The solution? You need take control! (This is good advice in life and in business listings.) You can claim your listing on most directories, correct the info and lock your listing to prevent further changes.

Of course, you don’t have time to create an account on dozens of websites. No one has time for that. So, you need to be selective.

Start by updating your listing on the most important websites. Google My Business is the biggie (more on that below), and Facebook is by far the most important social media site. Yahoo Local and Bing Places are also critical. For home builders, contractors and other home services pros, the industry listings on Manta and Angie’s List are important too.

Why is Google My Business such a big deal?

There’s no question that Google is the 800-pound gorilla of the internet. It handles more than 60 percent of web searches in the U.S.! Chances are, your homebuyers will access Google to look for a builder, whether they use a desktop computer, smartphone or one of Google’s many apps.

The good news is, getting your business info on Google is a relatively straightforward proposition. When you claim your listing on Google My Business, you can add all of your contact info, web address, operating hours, a description and other info about your business. You can even add photos of your model homes, floorplans, interiors or other examples of your work.

Best of all, your Google My Business account will be used to populate all of Google’s platforms, including Google Maps, Google search and Google reviews. You can update your profile once, and let Google do the rest.

You can manage up to 10 locations from a single Google My Business profile. This is key if you have model homes or if you operate in multiple subdivisions. You will want to create a separate location for each, with their own operating hours, so homebuyers can easily find your model homes on Google Maps. If you have more than 10 locations, you’ll need to use Google’s Locations dashboard to manage them.

Business listings are the unsung heroes of SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, should be a priority for your business website. When a potential client searches for a home builder, you want your site to rank highly on Google search results. Getting traffic to your website is your chance to tell your story, show off photos or video tours of your homes, collect lead information and start to build a relationship your prospects.

Your web designer or marketing manager is probably using SEO techniques to get Google’s attention: using the right keywords, writing strong content and making technical tweaks under the hood. But did you know? Claiming your business listings is another great way to boost search results.

When search engines like Google determine if a website is authoritative and worth ranking, one factor they look for is the number and consistency of citations. In other words, when your business information is correct everywhere it is listed, it indicates to Google that your business is reliable and legit.

Many of these business listings will also appear in Google results. In addition to your own website, the search results page will include your listing on Facebook, Manta, Angie’s List and many others. Who knows which of these links your potential clients will click on?

That’s why it’s so important to make sure your information is correct on all of the important online directories. No matter what app or website homebuyers are using to find a builder, you want to make sure they find you every time they search.

Brian Lindamood is Director of Content Marketing for Manta, one of the largest online resources dedicated to small business. Manta educates, coaches and empowers small business owners to succeed on their own terms by helping them compete, connect with customers and grow their businesses.

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