Crawlability, content and credibility are three major factors that contribute to ranking high within the search engines. Crawlability makes your property management website accessible to search engine spiders (bots), content makes it valuable, and credibility deems it relevant.
Rankings are the positions your site holds within the natural listings in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Better rankings typically lead to more click-throughs and site visitors, which is imperative no matter your search engine optimization (SEO) goals.
Rankings are important, but they only partially contribute to your final goal. The key in SEO is conversions. SEO conversions are not necessarily sales. They can be anything you want them to be – someone filling out a “contact us” form, viewing your available listings, or calling your office, for example. Your “conversion” should be something that shows people are engaging with you in an action that typically leads to customer acquisition or increased revenue generation. So make it easy for them to take that action.
For property management websites, your conversion metric might be inbound requests to view available apartments. If so, make it simple for visitors to see what’s available and to get in touch with you about specific units immediately and effortlessly. Prominently display your available units with descriptions that will drive your prospect to make an appointment, and include mechanisms to contact you through the website, email or phone.
A well-optimized property management website is one which is easily crawled by search engine spiders. Optimizing crawlability means your pages will be indexed in the search results and more easily found by potential customers. Search engine spiders are able to conduct only simple tasks like crawling text and following links. If a search engine spider encounters too many roadblocks (i.e., broken links), it will likely abandon your website, thus hindering your ranking capability. Poor crawlability also leads to a bad user experience. For example, a potential customer is likely to abandon your site if they cannot easily navigate the site or find what they are looking for.
Here are several tips that will contribute to your site’s ease of crawlability:
- Be careful not to block search engine spiders from pages that you want indexed in the search engines due to incorrect configuration of the robots.txt file
- Avoid broken links
- Keep content in text form as much as possible (search engines cannot “read” text that’s bitmapped into an image)
- Create keyword-rich URLs, titles, and meta descriptions
- Create descriptive image alt-tags to enable search engines to understand your site images
An effective method for improving your SEO rankings is the generation of lots of valuable content. According to Google, compelling content can influence your site traffic more than any other SEO tactic. Providing relevant content on an ongoing basis means you’ll have more content to be indexed by the search engines. And compelling content means that more people will be sharing your content, influencing the social signals that are becoming ever-more important factors to search rankings.
Create content for your target audiences – property owners and prospective tenants – not for search engines. Your content should show that you are an authority on property management, that owners should value your opinion and choose you to manage their properties, and that prospective tenants should look to your properties first when they’re in the market for an apartment. Don’t try to over-optimize your content, as Google has been cracking down on content that appears to be trying to “game the system” with SEO. Yes, you should identify keywords on which you want your content to rank. But above all, if you focus on truly useful, engaging and compelling content that your target audience will value, then your SEO results will tend to take care of themselves.
Another critical factor for improving your search engine rankings is external links pointing to your website. External links from highly credible websites tell the search engines that other organizations and people find your content valuable, thereby prompting search engines to deem your content relevant to other searchers. This leads to better rankings, and correspondingly, more traffic.
External links are difficult to attain. This difficulty has lead many companies to try to purchase links from other sites, but you must avoid doing this. It’s absolutely imperative that your external links are generated organically and out of the goodwill of the linking website. Never purchase a link. Google may penalize you or even remove you from their index completely in the case that they find you are purchasing links.
In addition to links, the search engines are factoring social signals into their ranking algorithms more and more. Google’s introduction of Google+ and the Google Knowledge Graph are representative of the search engine’s increasing focus on social signals as an SEO factor. The more active you are socially and the more your content is shared online, the better SEO performance you are likely to achieve.
The goal of your property management website is to grow your business. Exposure you can gain through effective SEO can help you reach that goal.