SEO (Search engine optimization) is important to the online visibility of any business. However, for property professionals, SEO is vital as it has a direct influence on keeping your apartments rented and, ultimately, cash flow. A properly optimized website is essential to growing your property management brand as well as attracting new tenants to your properties. Proper use of SEO can improve your website’s ranking in the various search engines, including the powerhouse, Google. However, SEO methods are constantly evolving and there’s a lot of old, outdated SEO information floating around on the Internet, so you need to keep current!
Here are seven SEO mistakes to avoid in 2020.
1. Using Keywords That are Too Broad
Property professionals know their keywords relate to having a property for rent. However, you need to be careful not to use keywords that are too broad or competitive. By doing so you risk your website being buried in millions of results, and equally as important, you are not considering user intent.
When your SEO strategy includes very broad or “trophy” keywords, you miss out on potential renters who are searching for an apartment in your area. The content on each property listing should be specific to the region or city your available units are located in, right down to the neighbourhood level. Targeting local searches will really help bring in more visitors.
2. Overlooking Key On-the-Page Elements
A page title tag is the text that appears in search engine results as well as a browser tab. It tells both users and search engines what particular page is about. Create unique, short and informative titles for each page on your site. If you try to include too much information, Google may show only a portion of it. Your homepage and About pages a perfect spot for branding (e.g. “Acme Property Residential: Calgary’s Best Property Management Company”) but your other pages should focus on the specific content. (e.g. “One-Bedroom Apartments for Rent, Toronto”).
While a meta description is no longer a factor in Google’s algorithm, it is perfect to help convince search engine users to click through to your website. A page's description meta tag provides a summary of what the page is about. A meta description is a sentence or two that often shows up as the snippet for your page in search engine results, depending on the user’s query.
Any images should have alt text to briefly describe the image. This is good for people with accessibility issues, as well as for SEO. The image description should be short and accurate, for example. “Two-bedroom apartment in East York, Toronto.”
Also, heading tags (H1, H2, etc.) define the importance of the headings on your page. They help create a hierarchical structure for your content, making it easier for users –and Google– to navigate through your document.
Lastly, write your content for humans first, and search engines second. Your content should be appealing to your target renter. Spammy techniques like keyword stuffing hurt your credibility with potential tenants and also kill your rankings.
3. Putting Text in Images Rather Than on the Page
We’ve all seen it, a gorgeous picture of a property with text that describes the apartment. Like something out of a magazine. It may look pretty, but if text is part of the graphic, it is not readable to search engines and you are missing out on good SEO juice. Search algorithms look for text and can't read the text inside images. Always remember, content is king, and you need to have words on your page to get indexed.
4. Your Site Takes Too Long to Load
Page speed is a measurement of how fast the content on your page loads. It’s an important part of the user experience as pages with a longer load time usually have higher bounce rates and lower average time on page. With more and more people using mobile devices to look for apartments, property management companies that do not optimize their websites so they load quickly on smartphones and tablets will be left behind the competition. (That’s why property management companies benefit from Property Vista’s professional website templates and automated content integration.)
Additionally, page speed (and overall site speed) is a known factor used by Google’s algorithm to rank pages. Slow pages mean that search engines crawl fewer pages and this could negatively affect your indexation. Use this handy tool from Google to help determine the speed of your website.
5. Viewing SEO As a One-and-Done Task
Many smaller property firms view SEO as a one-off activity. This "set it and forget it" tactic is akin to expecting a car to drive forever on one tank of gas. Even with good on-page and off-page SEO, your website will not be optimized in perpetuity. You need to continually work on your website by adding highly relevant content about the communities you serve, your properties and your property management services.
6. Your Site Isn’t Mobile-Friendly
A responsive, mobile-friendly website is a must. Websites designed for desktop only are not fun to browse on a tablet or mobile device. You have to pinch and zoom and scroll in all directions. When a site is mobile-friendly, none of those problems exist. A mobile-friendly property website will have scalable design elements that ensure a very straightforward main navigation and display better on small screen sizes. Refer to this guide from Google on what makes up a good mobile experience.
7. Having Broken Links
Broken links are not only annoying, but they can also hurt your SEO efforts as well. Google simply will not rank sites that deliver a poor user experience. Recent studies have shown that many sites have problems with both internal links (links to elsewhere on your own website) and external links (links from your website to another website).
Internal links play huge role in your website’s wellbeing — from its crawlability by search engines to the ranking authority distribution between a website’s pages.
To avoid a negative impact on your SEO, you should periodically check for broken links on your entire website. You can use Google Analytics or one of many free online dead link checkers.
How Property Vista Helps
Make sure your company and property websites can be viewed on any device with our responsive template design. Property Vista also offers professional SEM and SEO services to maximize your online reach. See pricing and arrange a demo here.