There are plenty of new and developing tools and tips that apartment communities—or businesses of any kind—can use to optimize their online search results.
Better known as SEO, Google clearly dominates this space, as Martin Canchola, co-founder & CTO for Apartment SEO, shared on Thursday at the Multifamily Social Media Summit held in Napa, Calif.
It’s always about providing more, deeper and unique information about the property to improve its search ranking, he said. The optimal opportunity to provide this is via a community’s Google Business Profile listing, previously known as Google My Business.
Those listings should include links to schedule tours, links to community website bots (which can assist visitors with answers to easy questions about the property and to schedule tours) and links to a community’s micro-sites, he said.
Even using text from positive resident reviews in the listings will improve rankings, Canchola said. These also can be a part of long-tail searches.
“Having your community ranked in the top two to four spots on the Google results page is really the holy grail, but also being among the top 20 overall listings is still very good because you will likely appear on the first ‘page’ of listings,” he said.
Online Reputation Carrying Greater Weight
A community’s online reputation, Canchola said, is taking on greater significance in rankings.
“You can spend all you want on keywords for searches, but if your online reputation is failing, that investment probably won’t be worth it,” he said.
Recently, apartment community listings are showing up like “hotels,” in Google’s mind, indicating 24-hour operations, he said. The workaround for this is to categorize the community as an “apartment complex,” even though the word “complex” is taboo in the minds of most apartment marketing wordsmiths because it has a negative connotation.
“Google sets its rules and we as an industry just have to follow them,” Canchola said.
Emerging Factors for Search Results
Another factor in apartment listings that is gaining in importance is Google’s company online verification process. Canchola said it’s important to include documents that “show proof” of ownership to help improve the property’s status.
Posting video continues to be a top technique to improve search results. Canchola said that conducting ad campaigns for the community through YouTube is beneficial because it’s both effective and cost-effective given that YouTube is owned by Google.
He also suggested that including your community through platforms such as Scribd and SlideShare can boost ratings, simply because it’s “one more thing” to be included on and not many apartment communities are on them. “This will lead to more back-links for your site; and those are very valuable according to Google’s search algorithms,” he said.
Canchola also pointed to search engines DuckDuckGo and Apple Maps as up-and-coming search platforms that apartment marketers should be aware of because they are both growing their audiences.