While boosting your Google pagerank is one of the best ways to promote a real estate website, the process can also be difficult and take a few months before giving you a result. One way to immediately draw traffic, however, is to use Google advertising.
Through the Google Adwords program, you can set up ads to be displayed when potential customers search certain keywords or phrases in Google. You get to set your own budget and only have to pay when visitors actually click your link.
As part 6 of our 8-Step Guide to Build and Market a Killer Real Estate Website, I’ll once again be using my father’s real estate company, Lake County Realty, as an example. If you’re interested in learning about organic Google ranking, you can take a look at the previous article. Otherwise, read on for an overview of Google Adwords.
How Google Ads Work
If you have ever done a search on Google.com, you have seen Google’s Adwords program in action. Google ads run at the top and side of the organic or “free” search results. They look like this:
Running Google ads is one of the easiest ways to quickly drive traffic to a website. It is also one of the most effective.
In order for your ad to show, you bid against other advertisers for specific search terms.
So, for example, if I want an ad for my father’s real estate website site to show when people search Google for “Lake Gaston Real Estate”, I can do that. If I want my ad to show when someone searches for “Real Estate”, but only if they are within 20 miles of my father’s business, I can do that too.
Best of all, I only have to pay for the ad if someone clicks it and visits my father’s site.
Think about this in comparison to traditional advertising. Who is more likely to be a potential customer for my father? Someone who has seen a TV ad for his business, or someone who is searching Google for “Lake Gaston Real Estate”?
How Do I Get Started?
The first step is to create a Google Adwords account if you have not done so already (it’s free). In previous lessons I showed you how to use adwords to help pick a website domain and to find which keywords you should try to rank for. Now we’ll be showing how to use one of the main features of Adwords: Pay-per-click advertising campaigns.
Before you dive into these tools, however, you first need to narrow down your strategy and, subsequently, decide which keywords you want to rank for. For example, do you want to attract buyers or sellers? Do you want to hone in on a particular city or neighborhood?
It’s better to get specific for 2 reasons:
- More specific terms are less competitive, and thus they cost less money to advertise on
- More specific terms means you’re closer to your target audience. For example, if I advertised my father’s website every time people search “Homes for Sale North Carolina,” I would be picking up (and paying for) visitors from all over the state – not just the Lake Gaston area where my father specializes.
With this in mind, you’re ready to start using the Google Adwords Campaign tools. Click the “Campaigns” link on the top menu and then select “Create New Campaign.” From here you can refer to our Google Adwords Guide for a rundown on what each of these terms mean. We’ll also explain how to write an ad, launch an ad and evaluate a campaign over time.
Before doing anything else to market your website, start with Google ads.
As you start down the path of marketing your small business’s website you are going to be bombarded with options. You can spend time and money blogging and building links to your site to try and rank naturally in Google’s search results. You can focus on converting visitors from social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Or you can run ads on websites your target clients read.
These are all viable options that should be explored at some point. In fact, in future articles, I am going to show you how to do all those things. The problem with these options is that they take time to work. Also, what works for some businesses using these channels, will not work for others.
On the other hand, there is no business I can think of that wouldn’t benefit from having their site show up when people search Google for their service. Getting started with Google ads is easy, and you can start seeing results immediately – you don’t have to wait months for your pagerank to rise organically or for your social media fan base to grow. That’s why I recommend, that before doing anything else to market your website, you start running Google ads.
The Bottom Line
To get started with Google ads, you can sign up for a free Google Adwords account here. You can also refer to our step-by-step guide to Adwords for a more detailed overview of how to set up campaigns, write ads and monitor campaigns over time. For the next lesson, we’ll take a break from Google and show you how to start driving traffic from social media.
We asked 50 experts for their best real estate marketing idea. Click here to see what they told us!