Why Citations Matter

Categories: Home Builder SEO, Internet Marketing for Home Builders, Local SEO
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This post was written by: Anna Chandler

Citation building is an important part of your Local SEO campaign, citations being both a key factor in ranking algorithms and another way for buyers to learn about you before they get to your website. But it’s also a little complicated – and definitely time consuming. Read here for our what, why, and how complete guide to citation building for home builders.

What citation building is. Simply put, citations are mentions of your business name and address on other websites. There’s a wide variety in the type of citation sources: the obvious, like the Yellow Pages, to the relatively unknown, like Fixr.com (for contractors). Some are ones you have to create yourself, like Zillow, while many are automatically (if incorrectly) generated for you. And some just include a name and address while others let you post a company bio, photos, even video. Arguably the most important citations are the really big ones, like Super Pages, and the very local, like your Chamber of Commerce or local Better Business Bureau website. Check out this long list of citation sources for examples.

Why citation building matters. Correct citations improve Google’s confidence about who, what, and where you are. The more sites that agree with your data the better you’ll do. In fact, Moz found that “other factors being equal, businesses with a greater number of citations will probably rank higher than businesses with fewer citations.” It’s also the case that buyers might find you on a citation source; searching through Yellow Pages, for example, or on your LinkedIn page.

With the long list of features most citation directories let you post, they really should be seen as mini-websites: virtual storefronts or online model homes that sell your brand before buyers get to your full website. Obviously if someone is searching for you we want to make sure they’re getting the correct information. And the more we can offer them (like photos or links to your Facebook page), the better.

How to build citations. It’s a very detail-oriented task. You’ll need to go site by site, and there are literally hundreds. Start by selecting the most important, or Googling your company name or phone number and see what comes up.

On each site, first search for your company name (and variations); if there are multiple accounts for you delete all but one. If none exist yet you’ll need to create it, but that’s a rare case. More often you’ll find a company profile and claim it. Usually that only requires creating a profile, but sometimes you’ll also need to verify that you are the appropriate business with a phone call or postcard.

Once you’ve claimed the profile, it’s time to flesh it out. First triple check that your most basic information (NAP – name, address, and phone number) is correct. Then you can go about adding hours of operation, a description, and more. It is very important that this information is consistent. A little variation like “Ave” or “Avenue” won’t matter, but accidentally typing (817) instead of (816) is going to hurt you.

That’s why we recommend keeping a directory spreadsheet. Write out all of the information you could possibly include, like business categories and a generic sales email, and just copy and paste. In this document you’ll also want to keep track of each citation website, the login credentials created for it, and a link to your profile. That way you can easily log in and check on it later. It often takes a few days for a citation to actually change after making edits, so you’ll need to work backwards and forward. In fact, go back and check your previous work on a routine basis – sometimes weird things happen.

While working, you’re not going to see an immediate effect. All of those third-party sites have to be re-indexed before the search engines notice the change, and then those all have to percolate together. Just like an organic SEO change, it will take 3-6 months at minimum to start seeing a difference. But if done correctly, you will see your Local SERP’s rise – and with it, the possibility for new lead generation.

Recent Site Launch: Creekmoor

Categories: Latest Site Launches
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This post was written by: Builder Designs

Creekmoor is a premier resort style community in Raymore, Missouri. It is a master-planned neighborhood that is designed around Lake Creekmoor and the 18 Hole Creekmoor Championship Golf Course. It sits on almost 1,000 acres, which makes it one of the largest residential neighborhoods in Kansas City.

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Some of the best builders in Kansas City are available to build your new home in Creekmoor. You can choose from C&M Builders, Dahmer Construction, JFE Construction, James Engle Custom Homes, King Building, Sallee Homes, Summit Custom Homes, or Wyss-King Homes.

Residents of Creekmoor enjoy terrific amenities such as golf, resident’s clubhouse, lake, swimming pool, tennis courts, fitness center, and more. There is sure to be something for your entire family to enjoy at Creekmoor.

The new Creekmoor website features a responsive design which allows the site to seamlessly transition between many different screen sizes. On their new site, you can learn more about the Creekmoor builders, view their available homes, or select from a wide range of floor plans to build. You can also learn more about their amazing golf course, and see some of the many stores and services nearby.

Creekmoor really is resort style living, at stay-at-home prices. Contact the team at Creekmoor today to find the perfect lot for you and your family.

Recent Site Launch: Stone Bridge Homes NW

Categories: Latest Site Launches
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This post was written by: Builder Designs

Stone Bridge Homes NW is an award-winning homebuilder who builds all across the Portland Metro area and through Oregon and Clark County, Washington. Kelly Ritz is the President and founder of Stone Bridge Homes NW. Her company’s homes are built with the highest level of quality and customization. Their homes are a great combination of a spec home and custom home. They give the owner just enough control over all the details that really matter to them.

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Stone Bridge Homes NW currently builds in The Parks, Hidden Hills, Reed Pointe, Eagle Crest, Timberline Hills, Arlington Heights, Crosshaven, Pacific Crossing, Regency Estates, Erickson Farms, Miller Point, Northwest Crossing, and Brasada Ranch.

Their homes range in many styles and sizes. Whether you need a six bedroom home for your growing family, or a smaller three bedroom home for the seasoned empty nesters, they have you covered.

These happy homeowners said, “We bought from Stone Bridge Homes because The Parks community was lovely and close to our work and because we could make changes to our floor plan. We not only completely modified the master bath, but we also took out a bedroom. Eric Shephard was our Stone Bridge Homes Construction Liaison and he was absolutely fantastic. He worked with us through the entire process and made sure we got the home we wanted.”

The new Stone Bridge Homes NW website features a responsive design. This allows the site to seamlessly transition from desktop to mobile or tablet! On their new site you can find a neighborhood you’re interested in, view their available homes, or check out a specific floor plan. We thoroughly enjoyed working with the team at Stone Bridge Homes NW, and we know you will have just as great of an experience building with them.

Google My Business: Connecting Home Builders and Home Buyers

Categories: Home Builder SEO, Internet Marketing for Home Builders, Local SEO, Social Media
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This post was written by: Anna Chandler

Google My Business: the new tool to connect home builders with home buyers. Rolled out by Google yesterday, this streamlined service is their newest way to link company to client and it’s really a can’t-miss.

Google for Business screenshot

A lot of the features are already in your Google+/Local page, but Google My Business does a great job of combining and clarifying their uses. From your page, you can:

And more.

Updates made to your page will add the same information to Google Maps, Google+, and organic search results, so it’s now a lot easier to manage the details. It’s also why setting up a page is so important: those results are splashed all over Google. You’ll need one to get the Local result you want.

Google is pushing hard for their environment to function as a storefront to searchers and buyers. Your Business page is more and more likely to be the first view a home buyer has of you, especially if they’re still in the research stage. (Like searching for “new homes in Oklahoma City” without yet knowing the URL for Ideal Homes.) First impressions are everything, so we want your page to pop.

The good news: If you’ve been using Places for Business or a Google+ page, you’re already updated; just log in to check it out. The other good news: it’s really easy to set up a Google My Business page. Read Google’s announcement post or contact us for help.

The virtual storefront is important enough on its own, but don’t miss out on the the brand new Insights reports. An analytics report for your Google+ page, track visibility, engagement, and audience to see who’s looking, who’s staying, and who might be interested in buying. Tailor your content by knowing what posts get the highest level of engagement. Track page views over time and see what demographic is looking for you. The service also integrates with AdWords Express.

There is, of course, already an app for it.

As a home builder you know how important it is to woo buyers over with amazing photography, easy contact info, directions to your model homes, and testimonials from other homeowners. That content is key to your internet marketing and we build all of it into your website. But Google has quietly been changing the way people first see you. More and more, it’s right on the search results page – we need to sell home buyers on clicking through.

To do that we want to make sure they’re getting the right impression (and the information they need) wherever they start. Google My Business is the best way to make that happen yet: free, easy, and set up in an afternoon. If you’re investing any effort in internet marketing or SEO, make this today’s priority. It’s absolutely worth it.

Perfecting Google+

Categories: Home Builder SEO, Internet Marketing for Home Builders, Local SEO
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This post was written by: Anna Chandler

Google Local searches are all about first impressions. In a few seconds home buyers want to determine:

Do you offer what they’re looking for?
Are you a reputable company?
Will they benefit by giving you a call?

Your profile only has a few minutes to meet this discovery, evaluation, and study process. But the good news! It only takes a few minutes to optimize your page and check in on it afterwards. Let’s break down these three steps to make your Google+ Local page the best it can be.

1.) Discovery: Do you offer what they’re looking for?

You want to make sure you’re reaching your targeted audience. Use the Category options on your Google+ page to specify what your business is: custom home builder or new home builder. These categories are pre-determined by Google, so use the description to describe services beyond them. If you build luxury custom homes or maintenance-free town homes mention it – this is a snapshot of your entire expertise. For instance, Builder Designs is in the “Website Designer” category but in the description specifies that we create “highly professional and completely custom responsive home builder websites”.

Builder Example: Ideal Homes (an Oklahoma City OK home builder) has a great Google+ profile for their Valencia model home:

Ideal Homes G+ page, a great example of internet marketing for home builders on Builder Designs

2.) Evaluation: Are you a reputable company?

A lot of factors go into your buyer appeal: brand awareness, professionalism, customer service, creative design – but for buyers not yet familiar with you, their main and immediate source is going to be what other buyers think about you. A builder with 10 positive review is going to beat a builder with 5 positive and 5 negative, but it’s the curious situation that a builder with a low rating will likely be called before a builder with no reviews. Buyers want to know what they’re getting into, and in this age of internet marketing that’s way more about your social media presence and other customers’ impressions than some official marketing jargon. More reviews, more buyers calling.

Builder Example: Stone Bridge Homes (a Portland OR home builder) has (justifiably!) earned some great reviews on their Google+ profile:

Stone Bridge Homes G+ page, a great example of internet marketing for home builders on Builder Designs

3.) Study: Will they benefit by giving you a call?

Our shopper has determined that you can build the type of home they need and that other buyers like you. Is that enough to push them into giving you a call? Not necessarily. In the research stage buyers are looking for why not to choose you – and we want to make their five second glance so compelling they just have to click through.

What makes a Google+ page a sell? An interesting one. A good profile has:

The hours you’re available and how best to contact you.
Professional photos. The homes you build are the most important, but profiles of team members and city views are great too.
Video. Buyers love virtual tours and customer testimonials, it lets them explore right from their phone.
The latest news. If you don’t have the bandwidth to include Google+ in your regular social media, you still want to check in monthly to see what’s happening and share big announcements.

Builder Example: Royal Oak Homes (a Raleigh NC home builder) has a great video page on their Google+ profile:

Royal Oak Homes G+ page, a great example of internet marketing for home builders on Builder Designs

The more friendly, approachable, and active your profile is, the more likely you are to make that sell.

Local SEO is a game changer. It’s changed search results as a reflection of how people are searching, and no internet marketing plan for home builders can ignore it. The great thing about Local SEO is that it can all be done for free. But is a time-intensive process to set up and monitor, so if you’d like help or to know more, please contact us here.

Royal Oaks Homes: Homes That Move You!

Categories: Latest Site Launches
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This post was written by: Builder Designs

Royal Oaks Homes is a dedicated and passionate building company with over eighty years of combined experience. They build new homes around Fayetteville and Raleigh, North Carolina. Many of their referrals have come from existing homeowners, which is an extremely high testament to the level of quality they put in every home.

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Royal Oaks Homes currently builds in Bella Casa Parkside, Bella Casa the Estates, Carriage Heights, Chandlers Ridge, Forest Springs, Forest Springs Townhomes, Grays Creek, Parker Pointe, Plantation Pointe, Rockbridge, Southern Oaks, The Colony at Lexington Plantation, The Gate at Lexington Plantation, The Manors at Lexington Plantation, The Peninsula at Amberly, The Village of Lexington, and Whetstone West. Grays Creek and Bella Casa Parkside are not currently available, but are coming soon!

In the Bella Casa the Estates community you will find a great range of floor plans available to choose from. The Lattimore comes with six bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a two-car garage. It offers some terrific optional features like an extended owner’s bath, screened porch, grilling deck, or three-car garage.

If you’re looking for something a little smaller, the Trent is perfect for you. It comes with three bedrooms, three full and one half bathrooms, and a two-car garage. It features terrific amenities like a front porch, stainless steel appliances, second floor laundry room, and more.

We always enjoy working with the team at Royal Oaks, and building their new website was no exception! Their new site features a responsive design, and clean and modern look. You can learn more about their communities, view their unique floor plans, or check out the available homes.

Contact Royal Oaks Homes today to get started building the home of your dreams in North Carolina!

The Year of the Author

Categories: Home Builder SEO, Social Media
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This post was written by: Anna Chandler

Internet marketing picture from Builder Designs is an internet marketing and web design company for home buildersContent is king. Fresh and engaging content is the best way to attract, sell, and rank well – which is nothing new, good content has been “the secret” to SEO since search engine optimization began. But there is a new aspect, and it’s definitely something you want to know about: 2014 is the Year of the Author.

As a home builder you know how important trust is. And just as you want to establish a good relationship with your buyer, Google wants to provide you trustworthy search results. (Not spam). Trust is a big part of search engines’ algorithms. They rate older sites higher, for instance, and rate down sites that have really shallow content. Google has figured out a whole new way to establish trust, which is authorship.

Authorship establishes a real presence to blog posts by associating your Google+ page to a post you wrote. That association tells Google “this is someone who cares about what they write”, and tells readers “this person is a credible source of information.” Let’s say you’re researching the home builder market – which article will you click on, Sandwich Expert John Smith’s or NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe’s?

So SEO is no longer just “create good content”. It’s “create good content as a trusted author”. This is how authorship affects your SERPs:

Users click. Once authorship is established Google automatically pulls data in (via a rich snippet) for every post. That will be an author image, title, and blurb, which you can see in this example here:

Goolge Authorship example of Anna Chandler at Builder Designs, an internet marketing firm for home builders

And readers are much more likely to click through a result with one of these snippets, iAquire found.

Google ranks. Google really cares about their G+, and you have to have a good profile to set up authorship, so that’s more power to their own site. They send power back. A large percentage of high-ranking sites use Google authorship, and using it has helped lower-ranking sites move up.

Buyers care. Now that your article is high-ranking and super clickable, more buyers are reading. But that’s not all they’re doing. They’re seeing you and your company as a credible source of information. You are the person who knows about financing a home, creating a custom design, moving to the city they dream of. You are knowledgable and caring, a real face to a company. Now they trust you.

Since this is all a relatively new facet to the Google algorithm, now is the prefect time to verify your authorship and beat out the competition. Follow that link for Google’s instructions, or give us a call and we’ll help you set it up. Google authorship is a powerful new tool in the home builder internet marketing kit, and we want to make sure you’re taking full advantage.

Prime Development: Johnson County’s Home Developer

Categories: Latest Site Launches
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This post was written by: Builder Designs

Clay Blair founded Prime Development in 1966. It started as a consulting and land acquisition company, but responded to the growing population of Johnson County, Kansas. Prime has developed projects across the retail, apartment, and residential areas of building.

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Prime Development currently develops in Prairie Point in Olathe, Bluestem in Overland Park, Canyon Creek in Lenexa, Persimmon Pointe in Olathe, Polo Fields in Overland Park, Prairie Brook in Olathe, and Tallgrass at Wilderness Valley in Johnson County.

Their communities are developed all across Johnson County in terrific areas to raise a family in. They work with top of the line builders to ensure that all of their neighborhoods are exactly where you want to live.

Prime firmly believes in giving back to the community that they work in. They have donated the land for the University of Kansas Edwards Campus in Overland Park and the land for the Blue Valley School Outdoor Science Center.

In the 2014 Spring Parade of Homes, Prime is happy to be showing 18 homes from four of their communities. There will be nine homes from Canyon Creek, five homes from Polo Fields, three homes from Persimmon Pointe, and one house from Sunnybrook Villas. Stop by any of these communities to view their Parade of Homes entries between April 26th and May 11th.

We thoroughly enjoyed working with Prime Development on their new website. Their site features a responsive design, which allows it to be seamlessly viewed on mobile or desktop screens. We know that building or living in a Prime community would be a fantastic choice for you and your entire family.

See What’s Being Said: Google Alerts and your Internet Marketing

Categories: Home Builder SEO, Local SEO
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This post was written by: Anna Chandler

Every minute of the day, Google receives over 2 million search queries. And there are always new results to feed people: the amount of data being produced online every day is pretty incalculable. With all of that it’s hard to keep track of every mention of your company online. But monitoring your internet presence and online brand is absolutely required for a healthy future. With 9 out of 10 home buyers starting their purchase online you need to know what they’re seeing and what they’re saying about your business!

  • The Plan: To see everything published online about your company – and your competitors.
  • The Problem: The sheer speed and size of the internet.
  • The Solution: Why not let Google do all the work?

 

Set up a Google Alert. These are emails sent to you when Google finds a new result that matches your search terms, and you can use them to monitor anything on the Web.

Set up a Google Alert today in less than thirty seconds. Just go to google.com/alerts and add your queries. Definitely add your business name and website URL. For example, I’m tracking “Builder Designs”, “builderdesigns” and link:www.builderdesigns.com. That tracks any mention of the company, the domain name, and a link back to our site, respectively. (And yes, the quote marks and grammar there is important – feel free to steal those and edit as needed for your own Alert. Or contact us if you want help setting them up.)

I really recommend you set up an alert for your company name at minimum. Here’s an example of my Builder Designs alert:

Google Alert for Builder Designs, an internet marketing company for home builders

What does that let you do?

  • See what’s published about you online. Track everything from news articles to customer tweets.
  • Respond to positive reviews and questions. Show potential home buyers how involved you are every step of the way by immediately responding to questions posed online or thanking current buyers for a good review.
  • Respond to negative reviews. Handle how your company is perceived by thoughtfully and quickly responding to concerns or badmouthing.

 

You can set those email alerts to come once a day, once a week, or immediately as they happen. Google Alerts also let you specify the result type (news, video, blog, ect), region, and language. (The region specification is great for your Local SEO). Be sure to define whether you want “all results” or “best results”. I have Builder Designs set up for all results, but a mention of our phone number set only to best results, since that’s an unlikely search and I don’t want to waste time checking the results of other people’s phone numbers.

But Google Alerts isn’t just a great way to manage your online brand. It’s also the perfect way to keep track of competitors. Create an Alert for your top 3 – 7 competitors, tracking their company name and URL, and you’ll always stay one step ahead.

How does this help you?

  • See what’s being published about them online. If all references to “green building” or “energy efficiency” are about your competition, and that’s an edge in your market, you’ll know where to focus your Adwords or content blogging.
  • See where they’re focusing their efforts. If they’re drowning your potential buyers in Facebook ads, that’s good to know. So are any articles gaining them free publicity. If they have a good name for local charity involvement, maybe you need to better share your own volunteer work.
  • Read their negative reviews. If buyers are complaining about their lack of customer service or opportunities for customization, you know what to pitch.

 

Set an alert, sit back, and watch the information pour in. Now Google can deliver up-to-the-minute results about your name and your competitors’ activities. It’s the perfect way to manage your online marketing and keep close tabs on your local market.

See what’s being said about you. Your company’s future will thank you.

Simmons Home Collections: Your Tulsa Area Home Builder

Categories: Latest Site Launches
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This post was written by: Builder Designs

Since 1994, Simmons Homes has been building beautiful new houses throughout the Tulsa, Oklahoma area. Building a new home is a huge step in a person’s life, and their team will be right next to you every step of the way. They firmly believe in making customer satisfaction a number one priority, and will build your home as if it was one of their very own.

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They currently build in The Villas at Spring Creek, Oak Ridge Park, Oxford Court, Providence Hills, South Bridge, White Hawk Golf Villas, Stone Lake, Glenn Abbey, Breitling Village, Southern Reserve, Burberry Place, Eagles Landing, Lake Valley, Maple Glen, and Park Place at Preston Lakes.

There are dozens of fantastic floor plans ranging in all sizes and styles, so you are sure to find the perfect fit for your family.

If you are looking for more immediate moving options, they have almost forty great move-in ready homes available. Many of these houses are available now, and several are scheduled for completion by the beginning of the summer.

This happy homeowner said, “I wanted to take the time to tell you how much we appreciate Simmons Homes and the house that all of you built for us. All of the personnel we dealt with were always a big help! I can honestly tell you that we enjoyed the experience of building our home. You contractors and salespeople were all a pleasure to work with! Overall, I am very impressed with Simmons Homes’ emphasis on customer satisfaction, and it is evident that you stress this concept to your subcontractors. I would certainly recommend a Simmons Home to anyone and would consider building our next home with Simmons also.”

We thoroughly enjoyed working with Simmons Homes to launch their brand new website. The site features a responsive design, letting it transition seamlessly from desktop to mobile use. Contact them today to get started, and check out their new website to find a beautiful floor plan or available home in Oklahoma to make your own!

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