For the most part, Realtors generally do not have anything that can properly be added in the “Products” part of their Google Business Profile. To offer a “Product” on your Google Business Profile, because it is meant for retail businesses that are selling items, it must meet the criteria for the Google Shopping Ads Policy.
It comes down to this: If you are broker or Realtor that relies on optimizing your Google Business Profile for lead generation, you can’t afford to have your leads shut down, for any length of time. As an SEO agency, that’s how you get fired.
Let’s get this out the way…
Everyone thinks that they can get around using real estate activities or services as Products on their GMB. Although you may see other real estate brokers doing it, it doesn’t mean that they wont eventually get popped by the Google Police.
You may not get your Google Business Profile suspended tomorrow, next month or next year, but it will come. Most likely caught up in a Google Algorithm Update that washes away with thousands of Google Profiles in a day.
These always get brought up, so let me answer these questions directly…
Although real estate is tangible, Google has specifically prohibited selling “real property” as a “Product”.
All Products added to your Google Business Profile must adhere to the Google Shopping Ads Policy, of which no real estate activities make the list.
Although real property can be bought and sold, Google has specifically prohibited offering real property as a “Product”.
“The good news is that Google provides Custom Services, Posts, Updates and Events that you can update with very little rules around them. Take all of the stuff you are risking suspension with by trying to squeak into a Product, simply make a custom business service and provide a well written description. Then schedule a couple posts around the topic, linking to the page on your website that references that service. Easy peasy.“
Dean Cacioppo, Founder of One Click SEO
But my Real Estate Coach says…
I am a big fan of many of the Real Estate Coaches out there. As a matter of fact, I was a Real Estate Coach back years ago. Not only was I licensed with the state to give Post Licensing and Continuing Education, I did a ton of sales coaching, public speaking for different Realtor groups and even helped write some of the mandated CE on technology a decade ago.
As a modern day digital marketer, many real estate coaches have found themselves speaking at length about technology. Today technology, SEO and social media play such a crucial role in modern real estate marketing; they are forced into it about as much as cold calling, holding yourself accountable, etc. <— their traditional role.
Do not get confused in thinking a great real estate coach knows more about ranking a Google Business Profile than an SEO agency that specializes in real estate SEO.
Although most do a pretty good job of getting the technical stuff correct, some Real Estate Coaches (yes…the big ones too) can sometimes get a little too far out of their lane. I have seen some give bad advice, even as a training, when it comes to some of the more nuanced aspects of modern digital marketing.
One example of this is attempting to leverage Products in their Google Business Profile. Although its great to make Google Posts (Updates) and you have a lot of flexibility there, Google Products are a different thing and explicitly prohibit real estate “stuff” as Products.
Important: Shopping policies regarding unsupported shopping content or mandatory item attributes do apply to products submitted through Business Profile. Other examples of policies that do apply include: Healthcare and medicines, dangerous products, and adult-oriented content.https://support.google.com/business/answer/10786874?sjid=3083407384644098160-NA
But I really want to!
I know, I know… Listings look really cool showing up on your Google Business Profile as a Product. It has a picture and everything! You can even put the price. Offering a free CMA in Products looks great too, as does Buyer Representation with a keyword laden Product Description. There are a couple things that can go wrong with that.
State, Realtor Board and MLS Regulations
Do you remove that listing from your Products when it sells or the listing expires? You better! Remember, Google Products don’t just go away after time. It is not like IDX where the property doesn’t show “for sale” any longer. Advertising a property that doesn’t have an active listing agreement will get you into deep doo doo with not only your state regulatory board, but your Realtor board and MLS (if it’s separate). What about price adjustments? Is the price you have it on your “Product” updated with the current price? It’s a minefield.
Loss of Use
The BIG reason to not do it is because if you are really doing local SEO for real estate, it is simply not worth it to risk losing your entire profile and starting over. Yep…all those reviews…all those updates….all those Services….GONE! You might get it back… if you are tenacious or have a really good SEO company, but you will never get the loss of business back while it was down.
But everyone else is doing it!
Yes, I know….Products show up really cool on your GBP and they let you put cool pictures and they don’t go away after time. And yes…I know that some of your competitors are getting away with it. The issue is if your Google Business Profile gets suspended, it can be devastating and may be a challenge getting it back. Or at least back to its prior majestic rank.
As an example, many real estate brokers and individual Realtors stuff (padding in the real estate world) their Business Name on their profile with keywords. Some may just add “Realtor” or they may mention the city in their business name. Having keywords in your name is a proven Google ranking factor, I have done it myself. If the name of your business is Best Auto Repair — and someone Google’s “best auto repair near me” — you have a definitive advantage.
Although against Google’s guidelines, that policy was much more lax in years gone by and it looks like there may be a level of grandfathering those aged accounts that are not habitual offenders. Anyone with keywords in their business name needs to tread carefully on Google’s rules and don’t get suspended for something simply replaceable like Products!
If you do get suspended, you need to figure out why. They don’t directly tell you. To get your Google Business’ Profile active again — you may need to prove that is your name with documentation such as a business license, insurance or other documentation. BTW…we have a little trick for that, but you would have to contact us directly.
Can I just reverify my Google Business Profile?
Yes and No. If your Google Business Profile gets suspended, you can request that it be reinstated. Reinstatement depends on what you get suspended for. If you were to get popped for incorrectly using Products, you may lose that extra little something in your business name or you may not be able to get it reinstated at all. Even if you do get your GMB reinstated, you will have lost all of the lead activity for that time, which can be months.
Video verification is becoming much more popular today for verification (and re-verification) of Google Business accounts. You will need to be live on your smartphone with a Google representative, showing them your bricks and mortar storefront, with your sign and a door that keeps the riff-raff out. As a Realtor, did that make you pucker up a little? If so, you better be walking the line with Google’s guidelines.
Need to get reinstated?
Don’t be under the impression that Google is going to jump through hoops for you to get reinstated after you have violated their terms of service on the free product that they give you. You will work on their time and all that authority you have built with your your Google Business Profile will be dripping away.
Where does Google say that?
I’m glad you asked, here are a couple of things that are explicitly not allowed to be used as a Product on Google Business Profiles.
Labor, time, effort, expertise, or actions, which do not result in ownership of a tangible product. This includes any services sold bundled with physical goods. In accordance with our medical devices policy, test kits where samples are collected at home and analyzed in a lab are not considered services and are allowed on Shopping.
- Examples: Maintenance or repair services, accounting services, financial planning services, streaming content, online gaming currency, car repair services sold bundled with purchase of tires
Property not physically movable or which cannot be moved without being altered or destroyed
- Examples: Real estate, non-portable homes, plots of land
What can I do?
The good news is that Google provides Custom Services, Posts, Updates and Events that you can update with very little rules around them. Take all of the stuff you are risking suspension with by trying to squeak into a Product, simply make a custom business service and provide a well written description. Then schedule a couple posts around the topic, linking to the page on your website that references that service. Easy peasy.
Creating a custom service in your Google Profile:
How to add custom services to your Google Business Profile
- Go to your Business Profile.
To find your profile, you must sign in to the Google Account associated with it.
On Google Search, search for my business.
On Google Search or Maps, search for your business’s name and city.
In the Google Maps app Maps, at the bottom right, tap Business.
- Choose your Services
On Google Search, select Edit services. With Google Maps, select Edit Profile Services.
- Select the service you want to edit.
Be sure to use all 300 characters to provide a good service description
- To add a new service, select Add more services.
From there, you can create your own unique services. Make sure to get your keywords in those service descriptions
Am I just a goody two-shoes?
For those of you that know me well…that’s funny. But the truth is that our clients put their faith and trust in One Click SEO to grow their business online. We are tasked to generate new leads and brand recognition while providing a monthly ROI based on their digital presence. The LAST thing we need to do for our customers, who rely on their Google Business Profile for real estate lead generation, is get it suspended! Has it happened in the past…YES! We made it good and we work very hard to not go through that.
Some SEO agencies and freelancers will try and work the system. They look for easy, short cuts and try to exploit Google’s algorithm. In our two decades of high level SEO, I can’t say we have not been tempted. I can tell you from experience, Google will catch up. Remember not too long ago when everyone was getting slammed for thinly put together location pages? Not saying a local service company shouldn’t have location pages displaying your services, they just shouldn’t all be duplicates with the title city changed for every page. At least just their rankings tanked and they didn’t get suspended. No GMB suspension because that was on the website….not the GMB.
At One Click SEO we try and skate to the puck — we are working on what Google will be doing in six months… NOT putting our clients at risk for a temporary bump in traffic today.
We value the trust that our clients give us and are not willing to put that in jeopardy to make our job a little bit easier.