Improving your visibility online has never been more important in the world of apartment marketing. According to research by HubSpot, 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search results. That’s probably not very surprising for you—after all, how often do you find yourself scrolling even as far as the bottom of the first page? Real estate marketers today know that SEO is one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies because, when done right, it costs very little to implement, leading to low cost-per-conversion and increased traffic and leads.
So what can you do today to improve your apartment website SEO? If you’re not interested in hiring an SEO expert on our team, there’s still a lot you can do to execute your own SEO services to rank more highly on Google. Here are some quick and dirty tips that can help you get started and see results.
On-Page SEO for Apartment Marketing
On-page SEO is a collective term for the ways in which your website content—from page titles to headings to alt tags to meta descriptions to site maps and more—impacts your Google search rankings. There are lots of ways to impact your on-page SEO, and it all starts with a little research.
Use Keyword Planner
Use Google’s Keyword Planner to your advantage. This tool can help you do the keyword research that will be the first step to making informed SEO decisions. You want your site to use keywords in strategic ways so that Google will deem your website relevant when a user types out those same keywords in a Google search. But in order to select strategic keywords for your property, you need to know what people are searching for. That’s exactly what Keyword Planner tells you.
There are also popular tools like Semrush with similar functionality, but Google Keyword Planner has the advantage of being free to use, so it’s a great place to start.
How To Use Keyword Planner for Apartment Marketing
When you’re using Keyword Planner, start by typing in the search terms people might use when looking for an apartment in your area—your common sense is your best friend here. The tool will then return suggested keywords similar to what you entered, showing the search volume and competitiveness for the suggested keywords. You’ll want to target the least competitive keywords with the highest search volume. This is the quickest way to see more organic traffic.
However, be mindful of user intent when you’re choosing the keywords to target. Just because a keyword offers what looks like a particularly juicy opportunity doesn’t mean that users will actually click on your website in search results. Your website also has to be genuinely relevant to what they’re looking for. For example, it might seem tempting to attempt to rank for “apartmentfinder” but users typing in this search term will typically be looking for the website ApartmentFinder, which is bound to claim the first spot in Google results. Once they’ve made their search, there’s extremely little chance of them going on to click on your website, even if it claims the second position in the search results.
Always Leverage Local Keywords for Apartment SEO
You may have heard that local searches are more important than ever, and this is particularly true for real estate marketing. After all, location is one of the most important factors in a prospect’s housing decision.
For this reason, you should always include hyper-local keywords in your SEO strategy. Keywords like “apartments in [city],” “[city] apartments,” “[district] apartments” or “apartments in [zip code]” are usually great places to start. Sometimes, a keyword that mentions a particular landmark, employer, or school district can also earn high search traffic.
While you’re at it, it’s also a great idea to put your property’s street address and contact info on the footer of every page of your website and make sure that your address and contact info is also on your property’s Google My Business page. This helps your website capture more local traffic by letting Google know exactly where you are.
When In Doubt, Learn From Competitors
You can also use Keyword Planner to see what keywords a competitor’s site is ranking for. If you’re like most apartment communities, you probably have a competitor just down the street with comparable amenities and solid SEO. While you might be frustrated knowing you’re losing business to them just because they show up higher in search results, they are also the perfect example to learn from. Put their website domain name into the Keyword Planner and see what comes up. Remember to go after the keywords with higher search volume but lower competitiveness scores—this could help you beat out your competitors and see lots more organic traffic.
Place Keywords in High-Impact Areas of Your Site
Now that you know what keywords you want to target, it’s time to put them all over your site. But there are areas of your site that will offer higher impact than others, so before you go slapping keywords throughout your site, take a second to plan things out.
When Google indexes a site for search, it pays particularly close attention to page titles, headers, and alt text on images to determine what your page is about. When you can, incorporating keywords in these areas can have a higher impact on your ranking than putting them in the body copy. That’s not to say you shouldn’t put them in body copy too, just don’t neglect the sections of your site that offer the highest SEO impact.
Add a Blog to Your Apartment Website
Adding a blog to your apartment website is one of the easiest ways to expand your SEO opportunities. That’s because the more words and the more pages your website contains, the more space there is to incorporate those keywords.
Including keywords in your page titles and headers is great, but these areas represent precious little real estate on your website. To provide more opportunities to enhance your SEO, you need more space to incorporate keywords. But nobody likes a cluttered homepage and absolutely no one wants to sift through a bunch of paragraph copy while they’re just looking for a list of amenities.
That’s why adding a blog is a great way to have your cake and eat it too. You can preserve the streamlined usability of your main site while still incorporating plenty of copy where you can drop in those keywords without seeming spammy. Try writing a post about the top restaurants near your apartments or the best ways to keep your in-unit laundry machines running smoothly. You’ll find it easy to drop local keywords into this kind of content, plus your residents and prospects can genuinely benefit from the information.
Posting fresh content to your blog consistently also makes Google’s algorithm happy and makes your site more likely to rank highly in search results. That’s because it prioritizes fresh content to ensure it’s providing up-to-date and hyper-relevant results for its users.
Add Video to your Apartment Website
Google’s algorithm likes websites with content that sees high engagement. That’s why it tends to favor websites that include video as part of their user experience.
Video offers the opportunity to communicate a lot in a short amount of time and users love that. A user is a lot more likely to watch a 1-minute video than to read through your paragraph about all your top amenities. Since Google’s mission is to connect users to content they’ll find valuable, it tries to deliver sites that offer great UX, and video is just part of that equation, but a powerful one.
Wondering how you can incorporate video on your website? A virtual tour is the perfect place to start. An impressive fly-over video that acts as the hero image for your homepage might also be a great option.
Whatever video assets you implement on your site, always ensure that they have a full description and meta data included. This is necessary to tell Google what the video is so it can index it properly.
Improve Your Mobile Experience
Most apartment websites are built first for desktop, then optimized for mobile, which is a fine strategy. But with more than half of all internet traffic now coming from mobile devices, it’s essential that you don’t skip that second step. It’s bad UX, and Google will fault you for it.
Having a responsive site—i.e. one that looks great on a variety of screen sizes, including mobile—will not only make users happier (which leads to more conversions), it will also help you rank more highly in Google’s search results by showing Google that your site can provide a great experience. While ensuring your site design is optimized for mobile, it’s also important that you minimize load times for your site. A slow-loading website will result in high bounce rates—especially for mobile users—which hurts your SEO rankings.
Off-Page SEO for Apartment Marketing
Off-page SEO refers to the ways in which content elsewhere on the internet (i.e. not on your site) can impact your website’s Google search rankings. While you have less control over these factors, there are still steps you can take to improve your off-page SEO.
Manage In-Bound Linking
In its effort to deliver relevant and up-to-date search results for its users, Google takes cues from other pages on the internet to determine how credible and how current your site is. Social media pages and reputation management sites are likely to comprise the majority of in-bound links to your site, so this is what Google will pay attention to.
To enhance your off-site SEO, ensure that all these pages list the correct URL for your site so that Google sees these in-bound links and deems your website that much more important. It’s also worth ensuring that these off-site pages are up-to-date with the same phone number, address, office hours, and other information listed on your website. This further demonstrates to Google that your site is credible and current.
Invest in an SEO Audit
If you’re doing all of the above already, or you’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, an SEO audit can help you identify what’s contributing to your SEO woes. There are lots of SEO experts out there who can help, and we’re one of them. Our SEO services range from a simple SEO audit to full-service SEO overhauls and SEO blog writing. If you’re interested, you can learn more by viewing our SEO product slick or chatting with a team member today.