Real estate

Piloting Your SEO Strategy to Outperform the Competition Multifamily Real Estate News

In multifamily marketing, visibility is everything, so how you develop your SEO strategy can make a big difference in the effectiveness of your marketing plan. Multifamily marketers should regularly test, monitor, and supplement their SEO tactics to ensure they are consistently driving traffic to their website pages. The starting point of an SEO strategy is research – analyzing what your audience is looking for and using it to deliver exactly what potential tenants are looking for.

“The goal of SEO is to make your real estate website easier to find for online searches, by targeting unpaid organic traffic, which results in more qualified website traffic and leases,” explained Billy Wilkinson, CEO of threshold agency. Once you know what your potential tenants are looking for, use it to your advantage. In addition to neighborhood-specific searches, you also need to consider modifiers prospects may use in their search. These include phrases like “cheap apartments” or “cool lofts,” said Mike Whaling, founder and president of the digital marketing agency. 30 lines.

In the summer of 2021, Catalyst launched a digital marketing campaign for The Harper, a new community in Franklin, Tennessee. SEO-specific milestones for the campaign included 2,897 new users to the website via organic search, 86 contact form submissions, and 66 phone calls. Image courtesy of Catalyst Marketing

High ranking on SERPs

The goal is to have a high ranking on the search engine results pages (SERPs). From there, your site can receive quality traffic that will most likely convert into a rental request. “If you’re not on the front page, you’re not getting any attention,” said Tim McCormack, vice president of media and analytics at Bigeye Tuna Agency. “Most clicks go to the top three listings in organic results.”

There are several ways to rank a search. Text, images, videos, and map results all contribute to your rankings, provided you optimize them. For example, your images should always include alt tags and your content should have a meta description, while you can include a city guide with relevant keywords on your map pages.

In search results, individual properties compete with SEO websites. One way to rank higher is to optimize for areas where apartment listing websites don’t perform very well, such as targeted queries for a specific type of apartment. “Studio near me” or “Two bedrooms near me” are good examples of targeted queries from prospects who are about to make a decision, according to McCormack. “You have a better chance of breaking through because their research is more defined.”

The Keyword Roadmap

In the keyword world, short-tail keywords are usually three words or less and have high search volume and higher traffic, but these queries are broad, which means not all traffic will be not high quality. Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are more specific, which helps them drive more targeted traffic to your website. Although the visitor volume is lower, visitors will spend more time on your website because you provide more relevant results for their targeted search.

Using Google Trends can help you identify the most searched keywords and phrases, but it’s not the only research you should be doing, as search engines regularly change the way they index sites. website. According to REACH by RentCafe e-book, SEO: 4 Reasons You Can’t Just Set It & Forget It, “Good SEO means constantly monitoring your website to ensure it complies with ever-changing rules.”

Best Practices

Because SEO is an ongoing initiative, multi-family marketers must regularly track and monitor search volume and trends to ensure properties remain relevant. Catalyst uses a detailed dashboard to measure user behavior and changes in search rankings. Image courtesy of Catalyst

Not all content is created equal, and ultimately you need to highlight what is most applicable to your community. According to Christy McFerren, president of Catalyst Marketing, “Looking for words that have high relevance and less competition have a better chance of ranking,” McFerren said, clients are often looking to build a traffic base, and she recommends creating new content around words. secondary keys. “When optimizing for keywords, start with your home page, content headers, and top-level pages, such as floor plans,” she said.

While a broader selection of terms casts a wide net, it’s helpful to identify the terms you need to focus on for on-page SEO. An older community, for example, might have queries for the specific property name, but a new or renamed property won’t, so your particular property needs will determine which player you start at.

A comprehensive SEO strategy can also help your community compete with nearby properties. Any distinctive aspect of your property, such as floor plans or unique amenities or programming, should be part of your strategy, noted Gretchen Walker, central agency manager at Reach by RentCafe. “If some of your apartments have fireplaces, but your competitors don’t, that’s an opportunity to jump on them to optimize the website,” she said.

Page load time can also hurt your SEO performance. In multifamily especially, most websites are designed with scrolling images or videos of apartment interiors and community amenities. These are usually displayed prominently on the landing page and can cause the page to load slowly. “You can still have those big images, but make sure they’re in the right formats and loaded in a way that’s compatible with page speed,” McCormack said.

stay local

SEO metrics to track and analyze include organic sessions and organic leads, metrics that directly impact your cost per lead and click-through rates. Image courtesy of 30 Lines

It’s important to regularly monitor your page’s performance to see where you’re at, according to the REACH by RentCafe e-book. On-page SEO increases visibility to improve your organic search rankings, but with local SEO, you can focus on consumer behavior. The language describing neighborhoods may change and areas may become popular. “You have the ability to rank for it if your content is right for you,” Whaling said.

McCormack recommends creating content around key things in your neighborhood, which he says is great for search engines because they can provide more localized results. Marketers often update existing website content and add new pages to gain search volume for specific queries. “Every page on your website is an opportunity to be discovered,” Whaling said. The more pages that match users exactly, the more likely you are to show up for searches with specific topics or tastes. Blogs and in-depth articles are a good way to create website content that might be more frequently searched in certain markets.

You can also create dedicated pages for really specific queries. For example, The Collective apartments in Washington, DC have a dedicated page for “DC Apartments with Peloton”, which helps that property rank higher for this search. Companies also replicate the format of apartment listing websites and list all of their communities in a neighborhood or city on a single page of their business website rather than on separate pages. “If you’re a company that owns 10 properties in Denver, it really doesn’t make sense to try to have those 10 properties competing for ‘apartments in Denver,'” Whaling said.

The important thing for marketers to keep in mind is that SEO is not a one-size-fits-all process. “It can take up to two or three months to see the impact of the optimizations and changes we’ve made,” McCormack said. Depending on the type of community, you should make your adjustments before peak rental seasons to maximize your visibility during those times.

Read the October 2022 issue of MHN.