8 Things Every Apartment Marketer Needs to Know About SEO
It’s obvious that Google plays a huge role in getting potential leads to your site, but what’s less obvious is how Google ranks your community’s site against your competitors. Here are some things to keep in mind when planning out your community’s SEO strategy.
MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION
When you search for your community on Google, what does your site look like in the search engine results page (SERP)? Google crawls through your site to make sure that the content you provide is relevant for the specific query entered. One simple way you can do this is by optimizing your Google listing with a good title and description for your page. While having the name of your community in the title and description may be fairly obvious, it is also important to include what types of properties you are providing and where you are located. It’s surprisingly simple, but will give your community a major boost in the SEO department!
MAXIMIZING YOUR CREATIVE
Developing your website isn’t solely about making your website pretty and cool -- if only it were that easy! It’s important to remember that aesthetics and content must work together to achieve your desired goals, namely your SEO goals. If you haven’t already, take a look at your competitors’ websites. That’s precisely what we do when we come up with a strategy for your community’s SEO. First, we’re thinking about search terms that a lead might use to find your site and how that might compare with a competitor’s. Next, we identify the keywords that are important and incorporate them into the copy of your site. Try to keep things user friendly, and don’t just pack your copy with as many keywords as possible. Not only does that hurt the user experience, but Google will penalize you for trying to “game the system”. Google doesn’t like cheaters much.
GAINING A REPUTATION
Remember those big clunky phone books that contained all the businesses in the city into one handy place? Well now that place is the Internet, and there are dozens of phone books that you can enter your community into. And you should enter your community into all of them. Yes, all of them. The more sites that contain your name, address and phone number (NAP) and are linking back to your site, the better. Your NAP signals that you are a part of the community, and the links legitimizes your site to Google.
BLOGGING FOR FUN AND PROFIT
Hyper-local content is a good way to reach out to your audience, and can send signals to Google telling it that you are a part of the neighborhood both as a business and the culture. Reach out to restaurants and other local businesses around your community and see if you can develop a relationship with them. This could lead to a mutually beneficial relationship where you can link to each others sites and recommend each other’s businesses. Think of your neighborhood like an ecosystem where you all have your place in helping one another survive and get ranking higher in the food chain that is Google’s SEO ranking!
EARNING FIRST PLACE
Just because you are the best doesn’t mean that everyone else knows it. A generic search for “apartments near me” isn’t guaranteed to make someone look at your listing and rent with you, if only! You can improve your chances of appearing in the “3-Pack”, also known as that little map with local listings that sometimes appears in SERPs, by creating a Google Business page with your local contact information. This can help if your site isn’t appearing on the first page of search results just yet.
CULTIVATING A COMMUNITY
Always remember that people searching for your community could also be looking at your pesky competitors. Edge them out of the front page results by creating a Google Business page and making sure that Google knows you are the best. This means reaching out to happy tenants and asking them for reviews on Google, Yelp and other sites to develop a coveted reputation on the Internet. Make sure it’s a good one.
Yet again, such a simple step, but making sure your contact information is consistent across all of your communications is sure to boost your SEO. This means having the same NAP listed all over the internet. You should use a local phone number instead of an 800 number whenever you can to increase your local authority. It can be tough to have consistent information out there on the web, especially when you track leads through varying phone numbers, but it will definitely help your SEO in the end.
WE CAN’T ALL BE PERFECT
While you should try to get as much of this done as you can, don’t get too down if some of it isn’t possible. If a service is telling you that there aren’t enough keywords in the right places, or that a description isn’t long enough, don’t feel obligated to change it if you feel it doesn’t fit your goal or message. You still have to do you! Google is constantly evolving to be more intelligent, and odds are it will be smart enough to understand what you are trying to achieve.
Remember that it takes a while for the effects of your SEO to kick in. If you aren’t on the front page of results immediately after implementation, it doesn’t mean what you’re doing isn’t working, it just means Google is still working to affirm your authority. SEO takes time and patience, a virtue that will help you in all aspects of life!