April 13, 2017
Mobile Search & Its Impact on Properties
What’s the one thing most people have with them or within their reach at almost any given moment, 24/7? If you guessed their mobile phone, you’d be right. We’ve reached a tipping point: At this very moment (in fact, from 2014 onward), mobile devices outnumber people on the planet.
In a short period of time, mobile technology has transformed the way we work, play and manage our daily routines. And now it’s changing the way people search for apartments and how search results will be displayed.
A Little Help From My Friends (Siri & Cortana)
Voice search is on the rise. A full 20% of search queries on Google’s mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches. According to SearchEngineLand.com, in 2015, 60% of smartphone owners used voice search, with 41% of those survey respondents having only begun to use voice search in the previous six months.
Voice search may still be nascent, but there’s every indication that its presence will continue to get louder. What does this mean for property management firms? Simple: It’s time to adapt.
When businesses optimize their websites for Google search, they usually start by enlisting Google AdWords Keyword Planner to identify which keywords are most frequently typed in. That’s all well and good for keyboard-based searches. But users don’t tend to speak the same way they write.
When at a desktop, or using text search on a phone, search phrases tend to be short and terse. “Apartments Toronto” might be entered. Yet people talk to Siri and Cortana like a friend: “Hey Siri, I’m looking for a two-bedroom apartment in downtown Toronto.”
Studies show that the average renter will view 20 properties online but only visit three in person. That means you must ensure that your property shows up at the top of their voice search results. The best way to do that is to feature content that reflects the way people talk as well as how they type. You might want to build blog posts around these more conversational keywords.
Remember that mobile searches tend to have a strong local search intent (“Cortana, find me an one-bedroom apartment to rent in the Annex”), so ensure there is optimization around the name of the city or town, as well as sought-after neighbourhoods.
Mobile-First Results: Make Your Website Future-Friendly
Most voice searches are done using mobile devices. For your website to turn up in voice search results, it’s a given that it must be mobile-friendly.
In fact, Google announced back in November that it’s experimenting with mobile-first indexing:
“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile first.”
Very soon, there will be a switch from a desktop-first index to mobile-first results. Property management companies will need to put a priority on creating websites that are highly responsive to mobile. This includes options for finding, viewing and applying for available apartments.
Raise Your Voice-Search Profile
With sophisticated, interactive software popping up in mobile devices everywhere, you can expect voice search to become an increasingly popular alternative to text search. If you want to gain—and retain!—competitive advantage, the smartest thing you can do for your property management business is to develop a mobile-friendly website, complete with content that corresponds to the way people speak.
Property Vista offers mobile-friendly websites that can help catapult your property to the top of voice search results. To learn more about what our mobile applications can do for your property management firm, sign up for your free account today or give us a call.