Free advertising for Real Estate sector using Google Base
Are you in the Real Estate industry? Do you run a housing related portal? Than read on, because Google is now giving you more opportunities to advertise your properties on Google Maps and Google Web Search using Google Base.
What is Google Base?
Google Base is a place where you can easily submit all types of online and offline content, which we’ll make searchable on Google (if your content isn’t online yet, we’ll host it for you). You can describe any item you post with attributes, which will help people find it when they do related searches.
Google’s own explanation is pretty good, essentially Base is a portal where you can provide information and data on your leasing or for sale properties, Google can take this information, which may or may not be available on your website and display it in Google Maps and Google universal search. Note: Google base is not a new search product in itself, it simply acts as a information collection point.
Google is only displaying housing results in Google Maps for the following countries; ( img 1 )
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- United States
Real-estate results can be viewed by anyone using Google Maps simply by turning on the “Real Estate” feature in the ‘more’ menu. ( img 2 ) Each listing is represented as a marker point, which is expanded with a thumbnail and basic property information when clicked on. ( img 1 )
Real estate results may also appear in the future under the Product Search Onebox ( img 3 ) in the organic search results, which is currently only showing consumer products. The architecture is there for Google to do this already, its just a matter of time and legal issues ( which has been a problem for Google of late ).
How to get your property listed using Google Base
1. The first thing to do is make sure your market area has real-estate feature enabled in Google maps, do a search in Maps and check that there are other listings in your city. If there is not, most likely Google has not implemented this in your City, in which case it might not be worth while going ahead.
2. Do you use an SEO company? or have an in-house IT person? Work with them in using Google Base, as it can be tricky for the non IT person.
3. Sign up for a Google Base account if you haven’t done so. ( Note: you don’t need a Google Merchant Centre account, just Google Base )
4. Read the following articles by Google to get familiarized with how Google Base works.
- http://base.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=66779&hl=en ( specific to housing feeds )
- http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/base/browse?hl=en ( Google Base Discussion Forum )
5. If you or your SEO / IT staff can’t understand how to implement the technical side of Google Base, you will need to hire a professional to get the job done right. Google is very picky when it comes to structuring your text / XML feed, so you have to get this process done right.
6. Submit your listings to Google Base ( img 4 ). Check the status of your feed in your Google Base dashboard regularly.
While I have made it sound pretty simple in the 6 short steps, the trick is to get the technical side of things right and running autonomously . If you have your own data-base of properties on-line, it’s worth investigating using the database to automatically generate the XML feeds, which will give Google the freshest data.
With Google Maps becoming a very popular search destination and Google Maps data been delivered to most mobile devices, the opportunity to capture leads using the Google Map service is enormous. With the quiet season of real-estate approaching, why not spend the down-time developing this strategy instead?
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