November 18, 2014
ALL search efforts begin on the company website. A structurally sound website will amplify all of the search efforts discussed in this document. A bad website will reduce the effectiveness and increase the cost of all advertisement and search efforts. Hire a company familiar with property management to build the company site. The company website should be well designed and match the company’s offline branding. It should be responsive to work flawlessly on all mobile devices and desktops to include the properties for rent section. It should be fast and use minimal HTML coding. The home page should have well positioned CTA’s (Calls to action) for every different type of customer. Important pages should be properly tagged for relevance for key search terms in the market. Photos should be original and properly tagged. Videos should be properly tagged, linked, and transcribed if appropriate. Sales and contact pages should have web forms to increase conversion. SEO is an attention to detail undertaking. The more items a company executes correctly, the better the rankings.
Consider the following items in all aspects of a property management website build:
Go Responsive – According to Wikipedia Responsive Web Design (RWD) is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors) . Mobile traffic now exceeds desktop traffic. Do not build a new website that is not responsive. Google specifically stated that they are looking for responsive design in websites, and that’s a good enough reason for those looking to compete in search.
Use Clean HTML Code – Clean code is another way of saying use as little HTML code as possible to accomplish the goal. Search engines reward the use of less code, and pages load faster, another critical SEO factor.
Use Original Photography – Buying stock images or taking photos from other sources online will not help a company’s SEO efforts anymore. Only original and exclusive photography counts toward SEO score. Make sure that the company owns the images and uses them only on the company site.
Interactive “Widgets” – Presenting others’ original content is usually a big waste of time for companies looking to gain search rankings. The major exception to this rule is the use of interactive widgets. An example of an interactive widget is any integration of address data with Google’s mapping API. If users spend significant time interacting on the site, usage data increases. Examples for property managers include: Area data widgets, rent vs. buy calculators, pro-rated rent calculators, new listing widgets, etc. Repackaging others’ content into interactive experiences is the only time a company should use non-original content for search purposes.
Consider Conversion and Usage Data in all Aspects of a Website Build – What users do on a site after they arrive is one of the biggest factors in search algorithms. Users that visit a site and leave right away probably didn’t find what they were looking for. Search engines will penalize the site with lower rankings if this trend continues. Users that visit a site and consume lots of content, look at multiple pages, watch videos, and fill out forms likely found what they were looking for after hitting the site. Search engines will reward these sites with better rankings. Site design and build go hand in hand with usage data and conversion.