SEO for property management: Your questions, answered!

Feb 1, 2022

Property management SEO title with headshot of Gretchen Walker and Esther Bonardi

Watch quick videos to get answers from search engine optimization expert Gretchen Walker and vice president Esther Bonardi

How well do you understand SEO for property management?

If you’re like most people working in property marketing or operations, you probably have a sense of what it is and maybe even why you need it. But you might struggle to define and prove its value to stakeholders at your company.

This video guide is for you! Meet SEO expert Gretchen Walker, who has helped hundreds of communities optimize their websites and improve their rankings. She answers your top property management SEO FAQs, so you can become even more confident discussing this critical aspect of search marketing. Guiding the discussion is Esther Bonardi, adding valuable input from her perspective of vice president of REACH.

Can you really prove the value of SEO?

Proving the value of SEO is entirely possible and should be standard process. With lead tracking, attribution, machine learning and automation, we can now track the entire renter journey. All the way from their first search to them leasing an apartment. We’re able to report on the cost per prospect, the cost per lease and return on ad spend because of technology and advancements within our industry. 

What does a typical day look like for an SEO specialist?

The daily life of an SEO specialist boils down to a few critical objectives:

  • Talking to our clients to make sure we understand their goals.
  • Reviewing trends and making data-driven decisions to better update and optimize client sites.
  • Staying on top of SEO trends. Has Google shifted their algorithm lately? Are there new best practices to consider?

Why is ongoing SEO the best strategy?

SEO is like a relationship between your website and search engines. Like any relationship, it takes time and consistency to build trust. Part of that trust is built on the consistency of the information that you’re providing on your website and across the internet.

For example, your name, address and phone number should be consistent. But well-intentioned internet users can go in and change that information, sometimes incorrectly. You have to be proactive with search engines, telling them “yes, this is right” or “no, this is wrong.”

This continual building of trust and respect between your website and search engines takes time. It takes constant effort. And it really pays off in the long run.

You can start and stop other marketing efforts. Maybe you reduce PPC spend or pause an ILS ad if you’re fully occupied, but that SEO piece, that ongoing relationship between your website and search engines, is paramount to your online leasing success. 

How do you find the best keywords?

To find the best keywords to optimize your site, it’s important to utilize your tools, especially Google Search Console and Google Analytics. You have to look at the traffic and see what customers are doing on your site. What are they searching for that leads them to you? And which queries are most likely to convert?

SEO is never set it and forget it. You must continually optimize your site for the keywords and queries that bring the best traffic. 

What’s the difference between branded and non-branded searches?

Within search, there are branded and non-branded search terms. Branded search terms are going to be somebody searching for your property name. Non-branded search terms would be somebody searching for apartments in your area or neighborhood but not using your brand name.  

Those are two very different ways to search. In a branded search, that user knows about your property already. In a non-branded search, that user is still shopping around.

With basic SEO, your website is going to pull in branded search terms, and that’s great. But with good property management SEO, you will get traffic from non-branded search terms too. In fact, in a recent study, we found that well optimized sites get 50% of their clicks from branded search terms and 50% from non-branded search.

If you’re not running SEO on your property websites today, how many of those non-branded search term leads are you missing out on? 

How do you assess SEO performance?

When we’re talking about property management SEO, the health of a website is determined from a combination of sources. The organic click through rate is one number we look at it. How many times has your website showed up in search results, and how many times has somebody clicked through to visit it? Generally, we would say a successful click through rate is 3%, and I know that sounds low, but for organic search, it’s actually really healthy.  

The next piece that we look at is how are prospects engaging with your website? Are they viewing multiple pages? Are they entering their information and actually turning into a lead? All those pieces are important, because it would be great if we had a 10% click through rate from organic, but if none of those people convert, you’re not actually targeting the right people.

We also run Lighthouse audits. How fast is your page speed? Are there other areas we can improve?

By combining these data points, we can make sure your SEO brings in the right people and provides them best user experience and the right content.

Can I do my own SEO?

It is possible to optimize your website yourself. But you have to be proactive. Oftentimes when SEO is done in house, once the main setup pieces are completed, there’s no ongoing strategy. There are no updates that happen as algorithms and search trends shift. Eventually, you’ll see a marked difference in SEO success. 

The power of being with an agency and having a team of people to understand algorithm shifts and different tests that are happening is one that is immeasurable. Being able to look at all the different tools and metrics in one place is powerful. We can continually test new strategies and put into practice what works.

Why work with an agency like REACH by RentCafe for SEO?

So why do you need professional SEO if this is something that’s possible to do in house? What benefits do you get from working with an agency and having a professional SEO expert optimize your sites?

These are important questions to consider. There’s a scalability issue here. With an agency, you get so many benefits, the biggest one being that an agency has big data to guide strategy. At REACH, we’re working with so many people in the multifamily industry and only the multifamily industry. Not only do we have the data for your property, but we understand the industry trends that are happening across the board, allowing us to make data-driven decisions that help you.  

Having a property management SEO expert at the helm of your efforts is a game changer. This is what we do all day, every day. We’re not trying to multitask. We’re not trying to also lease apartments. We’re all SEO, all the time.

You get a dedicated SEO rep to be able to talk to and swap ideas with, discuss strategy, really understand the data and why we’re making the recommendations that we do. It’s a huge time saver.

Watch the extended video

Get even more property management SEO tips from Gretchen, including how stay on top of business data syndication and optimize your Google Business Profile.

Now do you think you know SEO?

We hope you feel a little more confident discussing SEO for property management. If you still have questions, we have answers.

Learn more about our SEO services or schedule a free consultation.

Geneva Ives

Geneva Ives is the manager of marketing content at Yardi. She leads content initiatives for REACH by RentCafe. Writing may be her first love, but data is a close second. Geneva is based in Santa Barbara, California.

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