Search Engine Strategies Forum 2019
Multifamily search is nothing like “search one and done.” Research tells us that renters use a variety of search engines to find the perfect apartment, and that there are millions of them engaged in the process every month. How will your rankings capture their attention? At the 14th Annual Apartment Innovation and Marketing Conference (AIM 2019), which took place at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach on May 5-8, a panel convened to discuss location optimization, keyword best practices, leveraging and optimizing AI and more. Moderated by Christie Fleck Privette, Founder & Head of Two17 Marketing, panelists
- Lee Auerbach, Senior Vice President of Sales, Chatmeter
- Morgan Porter, Director of Digital Marketing, LMC
- Colby Hansen, Director of Digital Marketing, Security Properties
examined the methods by which property owners can “help” renters find that dream home.
Describing the panel as “SEO ninjas,” Privette entreated the audience to look at the session as “an opportunity to take home some real solutions.”
Hansen suggests starting with the basics, like Google. “When I started at Security Properties,” said Hansen, “the first thing I did was add analytics, and then normalized those over 70 communities that were consistently owned for two years.” Hansen began claiming the company’s business on Google My Business (GMB). Just by claiming the business listing on GMB, said Hansen, “we increased visits to our listing by nearly 400 percent. And,” he added, “it’s something everyone in this room can do.”
Also, searches themselves are changing. Chatmeter’s Auerbach noted that “near me” searches have increased by 900 percent. He recommends that the best way to assess SEO strategy is to do a deep-dive audit. For example: “Do your web sites have everything you want to communicate, like pools, facilities, a good maintenance department.” And then there’s your social presence. “How often do you publish? Is it relevant content?” Nothing, however, is instantaneous, said Auerbach: “It still takes sometimes up to 12 months to see positive results come out of it. And a lot of that is accuracy of optimization.”
LMC’s Porter agreed. “There’s so much data out there,” adding, “You can have data paralysis if you don’t dissect it.” Of course, while you are optimizing, Google might be evolving its approach, noted Porter. Maps, for example, “is shifting over to its own search engine. And for local searches, they’re starting maps.” Raising the stakes, Auerbach noted, is how device screens are shrinking, effectively narrowing search results: “On a desktop screen, you can see 15 results; on a mobile phone, you can see three.” Porter recommends going online to see how your search is showing up today. “Because if you’re doing it and someone else in the next room is doing it, they could be having a completely different experience.” Categories for SEO keywords are also evolving, “as we try to figure out user intent.”
The first thing to do, said Porter, is to make sure the company, from the Marketing Department to the C-Suite, is making decisions from the same data. “A gentleman from a large financial institution said that he couldn’t imagine making a decision without the data from his marketing department.” But to have a seat at the table, she said, “if we can figure how to communicate in the language they’re using day-to-day.” Porter’s answer was to create an internal webinar.