SEO Written by 0

Are you subletting your apartment? Looking to sell a unit within a condo community? Or maybe you’re a property manager in charge of online marketing and outreach.

No matter which camp you fall into, one thing is certain: You’re going to need to know search engine optimization (SEO). SEO is basically an ever-shifting set of best practices that determine how prominently your online presence (such as the apartment community website) turns up in search engine results.

For example, if you manage a gorgeous community in Lowell, Massachusetts, potential buyers and renters might be Googling “apartment for rent Lowell.” You probably already know there’s a lot of competition, and you need to make sure the company website, related blogs, and social media presence appear on the first page of Google results (preferably within the first three).

Studies show that most people don’t often look beyond that first page.

SEO to know

Start by knowing your key words and phrases, which can change on a regular basis. You probably already have a good idea of keywords such as “Lowell apartments for rent,” so create your own list and then head to Google Analytics.

The Keyword Tool there is free; you simply plug in a key word or phrase and are presented with a list of the most popular sets of words that resemble it. Do this weekly, because they change.

Another tactic is to check out your competition’s sites (simply by Googling them) and seeing which keywords they use. Don’t plagiarize, because duplicate content is considered a “black hat trick” and you’ll be punished for that.

But you can organically pepper those prime keywords into your content, make them your own, and reap the benefits. When you or update the website, remember that every (key) word counts.

Design responsibly

SEO isn’t all about keywords, though; it also entails the quality of your entire content, including an absence of ads (those read as spam), download times, quality of internal and external links, and your click-through rate.

This means you want to make sure that when people find your site, they’ll stay on it to explore. They’ll often click out if the landing page doesn’t jibe with the link they clicked on, or their device doesn’t mesh with your website’s design.

“Responsive design” is vital. What that means is your website works well and loads quickly on any device or platform, whether it’s Firefox vs. Chrome or the latest HTC smartphone vs. a five-year-old Galaxy.

A great web designer knows how to test for responsive design, maintain it, and make sure your site “reads” well according to SEO algorithms. It doesn’t do any good if the perfect apartment seeker lands on your site, but it’s too difficult to read on his or her smartphone.

What you can do today

A great SEO campaign doesn’t happen overnight, although you can speed up the process considerably if you hire a professional agency. What you can do right away is run a free Google Analytics report and find out where you’re performing well and where you need work.

You’re going to learn that some pages have slow or no traffic, so you need to figure out why. Is the content poor, does it take forever to load, or are the links broken?

Start probing your site one page at a time and honestly assess the content (which includes text, images, and videos). Unless a professional SEO writer created your content, it probably needs work.

Check to see if you’ve been unwittingly engaging in any black hat tricks and address those problems first. Whether you’re running an apartment community site, personal blog, or e-commerce site, SEO matters and you can start improving it today.

 

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