We explain exactly what SEO is, why it matters for property managers, and what you can do to improve your own property management SEO.
- SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
- SEO is the process of improving your website so it will rank higher on search engines.
- Property managers need to monitor and improve their SEO in order to have their websites rank higher, be more visible to searchers, and attract more leads.
- Some of the improvements property managers can make to their SEO include posting consistent, relevant content to their blog, ensuring their website copy is optimized for the keywords/phrases they want to rank for, and managing their online reputation.
- SEO is a process, not a product, and takes time and effort to improve.
A lot of our clients get contacted by companies claiming their website needs “better SEO,” and they offer to fix it – for a price. But what exactly IS SEO? Why does it matter for property managers? And how can you improve yours?
We want to explain what property management SEO really is, what it isn’t, and what it means to you.
What Is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process of improving your website so that it will rank higher and get more traffic from search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.
A search engine wants to find the most relevant information for its searchers. For example, if a searcher is looking for “San Francisco property management,” the search engine is looking for the most qualified, trustworthy and reputable companies to list first. But it can’t talk to you directly, so it uses clues on your website to determine how high your website or page should rank.
Property management SEO clues can include things like:
- How closely the content on your website matches the searcher’s keyphrase,
- How highly your company is rated/reviewed,
- How many other websites/pages have linked to your website,
- If your company has supportive pages on social media, and
- How recently your website was updated with the most relevant information
Images, videos, sound, and standard English are not easily parsed by the programs that the search engines use to decide what your page is all about. Most website design companies design for beauty and user interaction, and often neglect the background processes that cause their sites to be found in the first place.
Property Management SEO Ranking Factors
Like we said in the beginning, SEO is a process, not a product, so no one can guarantee moving your website to #1 on Google. BUT, you do have control over many factors that influence SEO, and through careful research and effort, you can improve your ranking over time. Let’s briefly break down some of those important factors.
Keywords & Headings
In the old days of property management SEO, there was a practice called “keyword stuffing”, where website builders would add a particular keyword that they wanted the website to rank for as many times as possible onto a page. The result was a webpage that was difficult to read for website visitors, but favorable to search engines like Google.
As search engine algorithms improve, “keyword stuffing” has become a thing of the past, and has even started hurting website ranking.
Think of the way that Google reads your website now as a newspaper. Google bots want to scan the headings of your content first, to get the gist of what the page is about. And then Google scans your paragraphs for keywords and phrases to make sure that it supports those headers.
Fresh Content and Blogs
Search engines want to present the most relevant, recent information to its searchers.
They are on the lookout for websites with consistently fresh content. A great way to do this is with consistent blog posts about topics that your clients are searching for — for example, “What Does a Property Management Company Do?”, or for your tenants, “How to Pay Your Rent Online.” Regularly putting up relevant content like this is a great way of continuously improving your property management SEO.
For more on creating great property management website content, check out this blog!
Backlinks, Internal links and Social Media
If you are shouting your content into the void, but no one is backing you up as a legitimate business, you’re much less likely to rank.
Creating social media accounts with links back to your website is an easy way to start to build that supportive network.
Search engines also look at how long users stay on your website — if users are jumping on, but immediately jumping off, that’s a red flag.
Internally linking between your pages is a good way of keeping users on your website, for a longer period of time.
Reviews & Online Reputation
Search engines also look at your reviews to determine your ranking — how many do you have? And how highly ranked are you? This is why incorporating your online reviews onto your website is so important for property management SEO. We did a blog about online reviews and SEO recently if you’d like more info on that.
Image Tags & Titles
“Reading” an image, for search engines, is tricky — so they rely on image alt tags and titles with the keywords you’re hoping to rank for to determine whether the image is relevant to the content you’ve posted around it.
Adding image tags and titles also improves your website accessibility, which can’t hurt your ranking.
How Long a Property Management Website Has Been Live
One of the crucial factors for SEO is time. How long a particular URL has been around to be crawled by search engines can play a role in how you are ranked. This doesn’t necessarily mean that brand-new URLs won’t rank as well as older URLs – remember, this is just one factor of many – but it’s important to keep time as a ranking factor in mind when you are making decisions about updating your website.
We go into further detail about SEO, time and property management websites in this blog.
Why Does SEO Matter for Property Managers?
For property managers, SEO is crucial. Your searchers are typically looking for property management based on their location. This means that it’s very important that your website is optimized for the area, or areas, that you are targeting.
For example, imagine Google has a user looking for “Santa Cruz property management”. One website has great content, excellent reviews, but hardly mentions “Santa Cruz” at all. Another website might have comparable content and reviews, but is very clearly placed in Santa Cruz. It’s much more likely that this website will rank higher than the other.
How To Improve Property Management SEO
Improving your property management SEO takes time and patience. There are actions you can take to improve your SEO right now, but because one of the crucial SEO factors is time, it can take a while — 6 months, or longer — for the results of your labor to be seen.
This is why SEO is an ongoing task that you should be dedicating time to on a consistent basis.
Fourandhalf has spent years researching and creating search engine optimized websites for property managers. Browse our blogs for SEO tips you can start today, or give us a call to find out how we can help you with an SEO overhaul.
If you remember nothing else from today’s blog, remember that property management SEO is a process, not a product.
It’s the process of improving your website so it will rank higher on search engines. And this is vital for property managers, so that you gain more visibility and traction in your area.
SEO is not an end goal. It is a means to an end, not the end itself. Your goal should be related to growing your business, like having more tenants paying rent online, getting more prospects visiting your website, increasing your lead generation, etc.
In our opinion, the most important function of SEO for property management companies is to attract more leads and contracts to your business. It doesn’t begin and end with being ranked Number 1 in property management search results. Being Number 1 doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get more contracts than Number 2 or 3, etc.
A lot of the companies that show up as Number 1 on search do not have websites that engage, so they have trouble attracting and closing new business, despite their search position. Keep your eyes on the prize, and don’t get distracted by SEO companies’ promises of higher ranking.
Got SEO questions? Send us an email, or give us a call.