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How Much do Search Engines Matter to Apartment Websites

  • Post on January 11th, 2014
  • by admin
  • at Apartment Websites

Web and SEO analytics concept

Technology and business experts have long theorized that all businesses now need to have an online presence. With the online community growing larger everyday, and using the internet for more and more purposes, a business that doesn’t have some form of an online presence is missing a large piece of their marketing strategy. While many people think experts are simply talking about retail businesses, they are not. Apartment complexes also need to have an online presence. In fact, it is rare to find a community that is not online, or, at the very least, has an ILS.

How Renters Find ApartmentsWhile apartment communities are getting online in quick succession, not all of them have figured out exactly how to get other people to find them online. This is an important piece of the puzzle. After all, if you happen to have a website that no one is finding, it’s basically like not having a website at all. Getting your website, any website, recognized seems to be a mysterious issue online, and even experts debate about the most efficient way of expanding a digital footprint. Some argue that Facebook is the best starting point. Others believe that a cross-platform social media campaign is the best kick-starter. Some people believe that apartment community websites should be outsourced to an ILS. Then there is us. We believe something entirely different. We believe that search engines are the correct starting off point for any community’s traffic generation needs. In the past several years there has been so much focus on the world of social media that people have forgotten about the tried and true basics of search engine optimization.The Theory of Search Engine OptimizationSearch engine optimization is important simply because it is still how most people search for information. It is a method that so many people have used for so long that they are probably Googling things subconsciously right now. Think about it for a minute; how do you find your information online? Your answer probably includes some sort of search engine. You don’t jump to Facebook if you are looking for a plumber or a house painter. You probably start with Google or Yahoo!; those search engines then take you to a website or a Facebook page.

Of course there are exceptions to that. There are certain industries that thrive on social media because that is where their biggest audience is. For example, you might look for a restaurant using Yelp or Facebook. The housing market, however, is not one of those exceptions. According to a recent study all housing searches start on a search engine, not on social media.

Facebook is an outfit that suits business that have a lot of content to share, and apartment communities don’t have a ton of new content to share with users. Yes, they can share updates, or create memes, but beyond that, there is little evergreen content in the apartment community sector.

Another option is blogging. Yes, blogging is a great option for business that are looking generate organic content with usable information. Theoretically this could work for apartment communities. If you are looking to generate organic traffic, you can create a blog that shares apartment tips and tricks, community events and holiday information. Again this could work, but it is timely, and building up a blog’s clout can be a long and tedious process. You like don’t have the time and resources for it, and success can be hit or miss.

In the world of apartment communities, creating a search engine optimized website simply is more efficient and effective, than working tirelessly to build a social media presence. Don’t get us wrong, yes your community SHOULD have a Facebook page. Yes, it is important to update social media with information, but it should not be the cornerstone of your online marketing campaign.

Google 2The Numbers Don’t Lie: A Look at Apartment Community Web Traffic

With all that being said we went ahead and decided to test out the theory that search engine optimization is the best suited tactic for getting an apartment communities website noticed. We looked at hard data from a plethora of apartment community websites. We took the data from dozens of communities across the country and did a quick study. What we found proves that search engine optimization is the most important puzzle piece to web traffic for apartment complex websites.

First we looked at about 500,000 unique web visits. Of those unique hits, over half of the visits were from organic searches. An additional 100,000 hits were attributed to paid searches. Our findings suggest that about 70% of all traffic to apartment community websites is attributed to search engines. That number is pretty high, but there is more. Our software didn’t allow us to search direct traffic. So, the real percentage is probably slightly higher. Conservatively you could argue that about 75% of all web traffic to these websites came from search engines. That leaves just 25% to be spread across a gaggle of social media sites.

The Best Strategy for Apartment Communities

So, what does all this mean? Simply put, our research has shown, time-and-time again, that search engine optimization is still how most people find apartment community websites. Yes, there are business sectors that excel on social media, but apartment communities is simply not one of those sectors. That’s not a bad thing, though, in fact its a great piece of information to have. A strong SEO strategy, coupled with paid search advertising, can quickly and effectively put your community on the map.

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