In an industry that is decentralized and local-buy-design, Local SEO can make a significant difference in the number of leads generated. With 90% of home searches starting online, Builder Marketing Managers need to think about how to differentiate at the "point of search". One very cost-effective way to do this is to ensure that you are optimizing your website for Local Search. Model Home GPS is a Local SEO product packaged and sold by Builder Promotions for the New Home vertical. We deliver Model Home GPS with our Digital Partner, Gotcha Mobile Solutions. I had the opportunity to interview CEO, Chris Jenkins this week. He has both real estate and digital experience. He speaks directly to the challenges of the New Home vertical and the reasons why Local SEO is a no-brainer for this industry segment in particular. We are excited to be sharing his insights about the potential to build traffic at your models and compete against resale product. Marketing Blueprints: Why is Local SEO important for new home builders? Chris: New home builders have an advantage over resellers when it comes to local, primarily because the new home builder is pushing their brand that is their style of homes. Resellers have to get agents and agents then have to get customers. Home builders can focus more on their brand, the services they offer, the style of their homes, the market or type of customer they target, etc. A solid local SEO program can deliver this message much clearer for a new home builder than for a resale home. Every business that has any kind of online presence needs a good local SEO program. It is no different than saying every business needed to be listed in the Yellow Pages 10 years ago. Local SEO is all about taking control of a company's name, address, and phone number (NAP). If the company does not do this, then they are leaving it up to the masses of aggregators and directories to do it, and believe me, they get it wrong most of the time. Consistent NAP is foundational for a business’ online presence. Besides this, Model Home GPS, which is powered by Gotcha LocalSEO, is super robust. It not only handles the control of a company's NAP, but it covers many other areas as well. First, we go beyond NAP and also push out expanded content. This means we collect up to 45 additional data points about a business and push them out to our directories and sources - i.e.,; content such as services provided, bios of team members, videos, photos, events, etc. We also push content out to the major aggregators and are instrumental in setting up a verified Google+ page, Apple Maps, and more. In addition to that, we provide analytics. Clients can log into their dashboards and view traffic and activity related to their Model Home GPS program. The program also provides review tracking from approximately 12 review sites so Builders can see new reviews and manage them appropriately. Marketing Blueprints: Why should Marketers ask a lot of questions when they purchase Local SEO services? Chris: Just like any type of marketing service when it is fresh and new, many companies will get on the bandwagon to sell them and make profits. This is fine except that, for end-buyers, it becomes increasingly difficult to tell which is better from one to the next. We understand this dilemma. We have been in the SEO game for many, many years now and work very closely to Google through our AdWords association as a Badge Partner. I mention this because Google's advertising program relies on their search algorithm. So we are trained experts at understanding how search works and why. Because of this, the size of our company, and our knowledge of what our competitors can do, we have the advantage of being able to make our program more robust. We can go deeper into our ability to truly help a business rank higher in search results. This delivers a much stronger foundation to attract prospect calls, website visits, and Sales Center tours for New Home Communities. Marketing Blueprints: Why are images important and how can Builders leverage this? Chris: A picture is worth 1,000 words. Need I say more? The home builder industry has known this for a long time and spends time and money on capturing beautiful and inviting images of their products. We can help by providing additional exposure to these images through our program. One SEO tip: make sure the names of your images are “keyword” relevant. This means the names of the images mean something. “img_22323.jpg” holds zero value in the SEO world whereas “Plantation-home.jpg” is much more valuable. Marketing Blueprints: Google+ - does it matter? Why? Chris: Google’s eco-system is super huge! They see over 100 Billion searches a month, Youtube receives the equivalent of 685 years of video viewed monthly, Gmail, Google Play Store, Android, Google Drive, and so much more are part of this eco-system. Google+ is a vital part of the local search system and therefore, needs to be set up correctly. We do that for Model Home GPS clients. Marketing Blueprints: Can you talk about how people can measure results? This isn’t as cut and dry as we’d like it to be. We offer analytics that will show exposure and clicks from certain directories to your business profile. We show how your business may be showing up for certain keyword search phrases related to your business category. But the sheer amount of actual calls, foot traffic, web traffic, etc. that you may receive as a result of our program can be tough to measure 100%. What we do know is that approximately 80% of the businesses on our program say they notice improvement and more business as a result of what we do for them. But remember, the digital marketing game covers much more ground than you may think and to actually have a high performing website or digital marketing program you need to spend money and cover many different areas. For example; have a great local SEO program, excellent on-page and off page SEO for your website, maintenance on your website, an AdWords campaign, social ads campaign, and any number of other options available to market your business online. In today's highly charged and fragmented digital world, the top businesses are investing in multiple areas of digital marketing to ensure the most coverage that translates into traffic that then translates into sales. Local SEO is a digital staple for most enterprises, but for Home Builders, it's a necessity because being close to the local market is critical to attracting the right prospects for each new neighborhood in your portfolio. Thanks, Chris! We are excited about being able to offer a robust program with an affordable monthly fee ($149). Builders can test this program with a few models and track engagement before rolling it out to improve traffic at all their Sales Models, or just use it tactically to build traffic to new locations. Thanks for stopping by. If you'd like a quick review of your Local SEO results, give us a call, and we'll help you gain some visibility. Cheers! Leslie Bridges, Chief Blogger Marketing Blueprints is sponsored by Builder Promotions, Inc., an e-commerce company managing the marketing spend of branded products used throughout the home selling cycle for New Home Builders. BP Digital is a service line of Builder Promotions, delivering cost-effective, easy-to-purchase digital solutions that support the home selling cycle.