This week on the Fourandhalf blog, we are talking about results and how quickly property management companies can expect to see them. This is one of three blogs we are doing on this topic, and today we will concentrate on SEO. Many property managers are asking when they’ll get to Page 1 on search results. If you’re on Page 85, you probably feel like no one is finding you and you want to move up. We have some insight and tips for a few different ways you can get better SEO.
SEO is Like Training for a Marathon
SEO is like a marathon. When you decide that you want to be a marathoner and you want to win that race, you’ll begin training. That training will help you blow past the first 75 percent of people easily because you are serious about this. You’re not just a dilettante anymore, you’re a competitive marathoner, but passing those last 25 percent of people will be tough, they are working hard to be in front too. Keep this in mind with your SEO. You’ll get some great results at the beginning; getting from Page 8 million to Page 10 will happen fast. That will be easier than getting from Page 5 to Page 1.
Google Adwords will get you on Page 1 right away. That’s the way Google works. They want your money so if you’re willing to pay them, you will get to that coveted spot on Page 1. In the average geographical area, the budget you’ll need is about $500. Spending anything less will not get you the placement and leads you’re looking for. This is expensive, but it’s reliable, and a valuable shortcut.
Tip: Get Professional Help
Hire someone who knows what they’re doing to help you with the Google Adwords campaign. If you want to be on that front page and you want to show up more often and have it cost you less, you’re going to need to hire someone who knows how to connect you to the audience you’re looking for. Specify whether you want to reach owners or tenants because you don’t want to market to both. A company that has experience with property management is a huge plus.
Another shortcut is Google+. Creating a business page and connecting it to your website will help your website traffic and you also have a chance to show up on Google pins. If you’re in the right location, you can get there almost immediately and it’s free. When your Google+ page is connected to your website and you get it verified, you’ll boost your SEO.
Tip: Keep it Local
Set up your company on Google+ as a local business. Make sure you mark off that you serve clients at their own location. Then, you’ll be found in a whole region. They’ll ask how many miles away you serve, so maybe you’ll put in 25 miles. This tip is very important because it will help you get found in all the areas you’re trying to reach, instead of being focused on your address.
Those are the quickest ways to get to the front page; let’s look at the surer but slower methods:
Optimize your Website
Your website has the largest effect on your SEO. You have to make sure you are mentioning what you do and where you do it. So let’s go straight to the tip: localize your website. You might have a spectacular site but if you do not mention in text on your front page that you do property management in a specific area, you’re not going to be found when people search. So be specific and mention Austin property management or Portland property management on your home page. Do not mention property management on page one and then on page three mention that you serve Austin. You want to bring those search terms together. “Austin property management” should be in your title, in your company description and a couple of times on that front page of your website. Maybe put your address at the bottom of your front page as well. Also – don’t think an image will work! I see this so often. Pictures can’t be read by Google’s computers – since it’s a picture, not text. So, a header image with the city skyline and your logo says nothing to Google, and will help keep you off of Page One.
The Problem with Backlinks
Backlinks will quickly get you moved up but they can also suddenly get you moved down. Fake links will give you a temporary boost but then your site will get black-holed by Google. Real links are great, so if you give a talk for some organization and they announce it on their web page and provide a link to your website, that’s very helpful. But if you hire an SEO company who provides links to help your website rank, you might get on Page 1 for a short period of time, but in the long run you’ll really be hurting yourself. Google considers that a “Black Hat” practice, and they actively seek out and punish those who use that method.
Tip: “SEO” isn’t like a condiment you sprinkle on your website to magically make it rise. An easy way to tell if an SEO company is using backlinks to help your website rank is if they don’t need access the site itself. True SEO optimization takes place on the site, usually at the code level. If a company doesn’t need admin access to your website, and they’re telling you they can get you on Page 1 of Google results, they’re using backlinks.
Content marketing is outstanding for adding that extra spice to your website to help it rank. Everything you write in a blog becomes searchable. It’s basically a way for you to add pages to your website without hiring a web designer. Write about property management and again – add your location. So your blog about evictions should be a blog about evictions in Austin. A blog about tenant screening should be about tenant screening in Portland. Localize your content. It will help you over time because Google wants to find pages with good content that’s associated with a good search term – in your case, property management. Google also serves local content over unlocalized content. Your video on evictions will be served – all other things being equal – over another blog from somewhere else.
Link YouTube Videos for Extra SEO Value
Your tip here is to shoot a property management video blog in addition to the text, and host it on YouTube. Google owns YouTube, and you have a chance to show up for the YouTube video, as well as written blog itself. Remember, Google owns YouTube. So, be sure to include a link to the blog, or if it’s not a video blog, but rather a vacancy video, or any other kind of promotional video, link to your Home Page in the Description!
Your social media sites can be a boost to your SEO. But you have to link your website – not just to your Facebook page or your Google+ page in the settings – but also to each post. Always include a link in your posts. When you announce a blog in a Facebook post, include a link that goes directly to that blog article. If it’s just an announcement of a birthday, anniversary or vacancy, link to your company’s home page. These links will bring you credit
“Likes” on Facebook help your SEO a little, but Google+ is where the real opportunities lie. +1’s and followers of your page get you more SEO credit than similar activities on Facebook. After all – and you know what I’m going to say here – Google owns Google+.
Reputation management will help your SEO a bit, as long as you are linking to your website. In certain markets there’s a chance that Yelp will show up higher than your own page. So make sure you have a Yelp page.
People are looking for property managers on Yelp every day. Often, people are going straight to Yelp to find property managers instead of searching on Google. So, make sure you get those 5 star reviews. How do you get those 5 stars? You ask. You have to ask. Yes, some people will only use Yelp to complain, but that’s a problem for all property managers. Remember that you’re not trying to beat the 5 star restaurants around the corner. You’re trying to beat the 2.5 star property managers around the corner. Just ask for those reviews. A company with 4 stars will get more leads than a company with 3. That’s why your ratings are important.
The Secret Factor: Google’s Algorithm
Google’s algorithm is a mystery to just about everyone and it’s responsible for bringing you up in SEO and dropping you down. There are things we do know about it and things we don’t know about it. Google will go in a few times a year and make an update to the algorithm and you will shoot up or drop down depending on how it corresponds. All you can do is stick to the basics. Google is doing all it can to give their customers relevant results to their searches. Make sure your page tells what you do and provide a quality experience for viewers, and you will come out ahead in the long run, no matter what happens in the short term. Google is trying to find You. Help them.
So, How Soon Will I See Results for my SEO?
So back to our original question – how soon until you see results? With Adwords, you’ll see SEO results right away. When you use Google+, you’ll also get results very quickly. Your website, content marketing, and social media efforts will often take months to show a significant change. Reputation management may not bring your webpage to the top of search results, but on its own can get you found right away. All of these SEO efforts add up and help you bubble up to the top but you have to remember it’s a marathon – not a sprint.
This is a complicated subject and that’s why we’re happy to talk to you more about it. If you have further questions or you’d like a little more information, please contact us at Fourandhalf – Internet Marketing for Property Managers.