Guest Blog: The Power of Your Website
- Jun 24, 2009
We are all familiar with the web and have heard all the stories about young entrepreneurs becoming fabulously rich by building amazing sites and selling products through them. Some examples include Amazon, Zappos, and today’s social media darling Facebook.
Every property is a business and just like any other business you need to promote it. The best and most efficient source to advertise your business is through the Internet. Unlike traditional print advertising, your website need not cost a lot to advertise through. Essentially, your website is a tool to take and use as your advertising vehicle in various sources like Google AdWords, banner ads on popular websites, and through email marketing such as Constant Contact. But if you do not want to spend money to promote your website (which I do not recommend) you have another option.
You may have heard of the term search engine optimization (SEO). It is the fancy term used by every out of work graphic designer and webpage specialist to try and hook you into paying them big bucks to “optimize” your site. I can tell you from experience that 95% of the people looking to “optimize” your site are not aware of what they are doing.
Your goal should be to build a site that can stand alone by itself and optimize itself. So if you are currently using a template-based system on which your properties site was built upon you’re in trouble.
Three things have to happen for you to have a good site that will be searchable by Google and the other search engines. 1) Domain name 2) Strong keywords inside the pages of your site 3) Receiving backlinks
Let’s look at each of the three points. Let’s assume that your property called Windmill Terrace and it is located in Encino, CA. Let’s also assume that the website to your property is www.wtencino.com . The name of this site is terrible for your property. The reason is because when a potential renter is looking for an apartment on Google they are very committed to a geographic location. What query might a renter queue into Google? How about ‘Encino Apartments’. This search term is highly searched for renters looking to live in Encino, CA. My suggestion for the owners of Windmill Terrace would be to change the domain name of their property to be www.EncinoApartments.com or www.apartmentsencino.com. By doing this the #1 key of importance is satisfied from an SEO perspective: having a searchable domain.
Keywords laced throughout the pages of your site are important. Keywords that are focused on amenities and conditions of the property are important because this is what renters will be queuing into search engines. I recommend that you have a heavily key worded article at the bottom of your home page. When someone types in a phrase in the search bar of Google and your website has several of the words in that phrase or matches it exactly, Google should recognize this and put you more towards the top of the sites they display in your search results. Keywords in the title tags of each of your web pages are essential. The headlines of sites that you read on Google, well those headlines come from the title tags.
Backlinks are a vital component of a good SEO campaign. Essentially heavily laced key worded articles are written (200 to 600 words) and submitted to at least 20 of the top article directory services. Other services then pick up on your article and create what are known as backlinks pointing to your site.
You can do the writing yourself or pay to have it done.
When a term is keyed into Google, it searches all the sites with that term in it. It then categorizes the sites that you see in the results on several factors but one main one happens to be backlinks. If my property’s site has 10,000 backlinks for the term ‘pet friendly’ and my competition has 1,000 for the same term, then my site gets ranked higher.
There is no silver bullet with SEO. I’ve given you some important snapshots. Getting your site ranked high is incredibly important when renters are looking for somewhere to live. You should want your site to be number 1. For fun go to Google and queue in ‘apartment energy consultants’ and see what you get. If you would like assistance with your site and SEO please let us know.
(Scott Yahraus is the president of Apartment Energy Consultants. Apartment Energy Consultants is the governing body that certifies multifamily properties as being “National Green Apartment Certified” visit them at http://www.GreenRetrofitter.com, 818-854-6850, or email Scott directly at Scott@GreenRetrofitter.com)