Content Makes a Difference in Multifamily SEO
In a 1996 essay, Bill Gates looked into his cyber crystal ball two decades ago, he predicted that content would become king on the young Internet. Some in the information business will argue they’ve mastered the Internet to the extent that Gates referred. But in other realms, content is very much royalty, especially as it relates to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) performance.
Optimizing your Apartment Website for SEO
Good content on an apartment’s home page can translate into big bucks in the form of new rents and retention, says Stephanie Daugherty, Digital Marketing Advisor for LeaseStar. The more relevant information about a property for prospects to see, the more likely a visit will be scheduled.
“When we start to see a consistent drop-off in organic traffic during an SEO campaign, I like to recommend re-writing the home page,” said Daugherty, who works with property management companies to generate greater web presence. “After a while, your content gets stale, and Google is always looking for new fresh content. They like to see information being updated, and they like to see that content is relative to that property, and to the message your brand is trying to show.”
For a website to perform well in an organic search, content should be robust, relative and well-written – usually about three paragraphs per description, depending on the property. Highlighting amenities or unique features will set it apart from the competition, she says.
It’s good practice to include information about floor plans and amenities that visitors will see on the first page. Also, link keywords like “one- and two-bedroom apartments” to inside pages, in this case, the floorplan page. Properties that have descriptions of the floor plans and amenities pages or things of interest in the neighborhood generally see upticks in organic traffic, Daugherty said.
“That really helps with your site’s bounce rates, so people aren’t leaving the site after just being on the home page,” she said. “They stay engaged, moving around through that content to other pages on the site. Having content that is relevant, that is well-written and provides a lot of information is important to make sure that Google gives your site authority.”
Also, it’s important to update content about every three to six months, or when things change at the property, such as with a renovation. The longer content sits unchanged, the less likely the site will show up in searches.
“Search engines want fresh content and to see that you are staying relevant as best practices change,” Daugherty said.
Here are six things properties can do to provide robust content on their websites:
1. Include Internal Links
Links on the homepage to other pages on the site are important to Google. For example, in a description about amenities, include a link to the amenity page. External links are also good, as long as they are to websites that have good domain authority in Google’s eyes.
2. Make Information Relevant
Your content needs to be relevant to your property and area. “You don’t want people to be misled by what amenities you actually offer,” Daugherty said. For example, a description on the home page mentioning wood floors throughout that is not mentioned or is contradicted by saying carpeting throughout on the floorplan or amenities page may make prospects and Google confused about what you really offer. “It’s about keeping consistent, relevant content.”
3. Content Should Be Well-Written, Easy to Read & Consistent
Clearly and concisely write content and focus on accurate descriptions. The more information a prospect has, the more likely they are to look further. Also, descriptions on the home page and interior pages that are linked should be consistent. Do not make type too small or large.
4. Keep it Fresh
Update content when there are property renovations or even changes in the neighborhood that cater to the demographic. “Google looks at your website as your brand,” Daugherty said. “Internet Listing Services don’t always get updated when things get renovated. Things change, especially amenities. You can say that in your home page content.”
5. Avoid Excessive Use of Keywords
Stay away from what’s called “keyword stuffing”, overuse of certain words to try to capture searches. Google no longer favors word repetition, Daugherty said. What Google likes is to sift through content that reads like a book. Keywords should fit well with the website’s SEO keyword strategy relative to common industry references, words that prospects and residents will use to find the property.
6. Have a Call to Action at End
At the bottom of the homepage, include a call to action, something that asks the reader to contact the property or fill out an information request form. Good content helps sell leases, Daugherty said, and it should provide an opportunity for the prospect to make contact.
“What Google likes to see is ever-evolving, and it’s becoming more focused on user experience,” she said. “It’s the person coming to your site having a good experience while they are there.”
Because the nature of SEO will continue to change and adapt to the online behavior of consumers, it is important to get an SEO expert working on your behalf. When it comes to making your website is optimized for search engines, ensure your property isn’t left behind.
Your prospects are searching for you.