Technology has changed much of what it means to operate in the real estate industry.
From automation and property management to artificial intelligence and natural language processing, landlords must now cultivate a varied digital skillset.
One of these skills is search engine optimization, or SEO. SEO is the process of managing and improving your online content to increase site traffic and search rankings.
As a landlord, your primary online content is your listings. While paid ads will certainly improve your visibility, SEO focuses on how you can attract views on your listings organically—through quality, volume, and variety of content. If Google’s algorithms detect that your listings and other rental content meet these criteria, you will achieve higher rankings and ultimately receive more rental applications.
Here’s how to leverage a few basic SEO principles to increase your rentals’ online visibility and grow your business.
Target a Local Audience
No matter how your properties are listed, you’re most likely to attract applicants in your local area. Your properties should be findable by anyone, but it’s not helpful if your listing appears for a renter looking for an apartment across the country.
Instead, you want to target local renters. You can do this by using local keywords, or words/phrases that a renter looking for properties in your area might use.
Use the names of specific neighborhoods, landmarks, universities, or school districts in your listings. These local keywords are less likely to be used by other landlords, so you can be sure your listings will appear if a renter searches for them.
Consider this example. A renter searches Google for “apartments in Cleveland” and receives hundreds of search results. Your property is unlikely to be noticed among pages and pages of listings. However, if that renter searches “Cleveland apartments near Case Western Reserve University,” the results will be much narrower. By including the local keyword, your listing will be among the top few that the renter sees.
Reduce Inaccuracies and Duplicate Listings
Search engine algorithms prioritize accurate, novel content. Content that seems uncredible—such as blogs with inaccurate information or duplicate listings on the same site—will not have high SEO.
Inaccurate content will also confuse your renters. You want to appear as credible as possible, and this means carefully proofreading your work.
You can give your listings the best chance by regularly maintaining them. Ensure that you haven’t posted duplicate listings on the same site and check for consistency across sites.
Listing syndication is a helpful tool for consistency. Offered by most property management software platforms, listing syndication lets you write one listing and post it to multiple sites at once. This way, you can be sure your listings are up-to-date and accurate across the internet.
Promote Your Online Reviews
Positive reviews increase tenant engagement, improve visibility, and encourage potential renters to apply. They also influence your search rankings and SEO.
Highly rated companies with hundreds of reviews rarely get flagged as illegitimate. Google and other search engines prioritize sites with four or five stars and a high volume of reviews.
One way to increase reviews is to ask your current residents to post feedback on Zillow, Facebook Marketplace, Yelp, Apartments.com, or another site where you list your properties. The more recent reviews you collect, the higher your content will be ranked.
Increase Content Volume and Variety
A high volume and variety of content equals means high exposure. The more content you can write (listings, blogs, etc.), the higher you’ll be ranked.
If you’re new to digital marketing, start by setting a few goals for content creation. Then, track important metrics over time—website traffic, clicks, average time spent on your page, etc. These metrics will clue you in on which platforms to expand on and help you generally develop a strong brand identity online.
It’s also important to write varied content. Google’s algorithms are smart enough to tell what’s high-quality, new content and what has been copy-pasted across the internet.
Lastly, don’t forget to include backlinks in your online content. Link your users back to your site or landing page to ensure easy navigation from your listings to your rental application.
Before you can sign leases and move in new tenants, your rental business needs a digital presence. The better content you can create, the more renters and applications you’ll attract. Understanding even the basics of SEO will help your search rankings and rental business grow.