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SEO Tips for Your Property Management Website

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As you begin to build your professional property management website a key component of your new online marketing strategy is making your website easy to find on the Internet. To do this, you need to effectively position your brand in search engine results like Google; this strategy is referred to as SEO, Search Engine Optimization, and is as important as creating your website.

Imagine all the effort you spent inputting content to make your website look beautiful and attract the right renters, only to have it all go to waste because people can’t easily find you online. The good news is, there are simple and effective ways to boost your visibility online in search results, while simultaneously improving related marketing efforts with social media and rental advertising.

This article provides guidelines as a starting point to begin your SEO for your property management website. SEO requires constant monitoring to ensure your website stays visible in search results, as long as you take simple steps regularly you should not have a problem maintaining your position online. It takes a little more work up front and will continue paying off into the future of your business.

To fully understand the point of your SEO needs, effort and results, let’s set up a relatable scenario.

Imagine you own a rental business in Portland, OR. You want renters in Portland to find your website when they enter this search term into Google “available rentals in Portland, Or” or “property managers in Portland”.

When an online searcher attaches a specific city or location to a search query the page that pops up on the search engine ranking page is called the Local Search Results.

Goal: Get listed for Portland, OR local search engine results.

Optimize Information on Your Business’ Website

Your website’s content contains the most important information for letting Google know your relevancy to the search query.

Here are things to do optimize your website content:

  • Domain name: Create a domain name that reflects your business type and location.  Example: choicepropertymanagementportland.com
    • For more information about domains and to register a free domain name go to this article from Rentec Direct : Free Domains and Website Hosting for Property Managers
  • When you design your website, add keywords to each page that identify your business, its services and its location.
  • Include your business’ name, address and phone number to each webpage, not just your homepage and contact page.
  • Beyond highlighting your rental business, include information about your local area as well to your website copy. This will associate your business with the nearby vicinity and more importantly give your post entail renters valuable information about the community they may choose to live. For example, note what section of town you have rentals in and what parks, restaurants, and area attractions are nearby. Not only will this added info help improve your website copy for new renters, it will also boost your search visibility as a local business.

Improve Your Business Listings on Local Websites

One of the best ways to boost local SEO is to ensure the availability and consistency of your business’ listing information across third-party sources. Google and other search engines constantly scan these sites to develop a stronger understanding of your business and location.

If your business isn’t listed or the information is incomplete or inaccurate, you risk diminishing the value of how your business is ranked on search engine results.

Here are things to do to take control of your local business listings:

  • Important local business listings include Yelp, Facebook, Google Business and Yellowbook.  If your business is already listed and has a profile on these sites, make sure you “claim” the listing and that the business name, address, phone number are posted and accurate. Update all the information and delete any duplicate listings or pages.  You may find you need to contact the site owner in order to take control of the listing.
  • Improve your listing to include photos, hours, contact information, your website address and a business profile of the services you offer.
  • Make sure your listing is attached to relevant categories so it can be properly optimized and correlated with your industry.  For optimized property management listings, include categories and keywords like rentals, real estate, property management and the city or location you service.

Create a link strategy

Links that point towards your website or direct people away to other related content play an important role in your SEO strategy. Relevant links to and from your website establish authenticity and credibility to your website and show search engines how you relate to the location and industry you are trying to rank for. Make sure you only focus on links that are relevant to your industry as to not damage the credibility of your website.

Here are actions to take to ensure a good link strategy:

  • Create a directory of community resources like great nearby restaurants, stores, and community attractions, that you can link out too. This establishes your website as truly local to the community you want to rank for and provides your renters with valuable local information.
  • Talk to local business to see if they will give your tenants a discounts for services that they will promote online and link back to your website.
  • Contact the local Chamber of Commerce and city to be linked to on their websites as a resource for new residents to find housing.
  • Ensure all your vacancy advertisements that are syndicated to rental listing sites include a link back to your website.
  • Find industry related blogs and offer to write a guest post with a link back to your website. (If anyone wants to write for the Rentec Direct Blog, contact Kaycee for the guidelines).

Encourage and Respond to Online Reviews

User reviews build your business’ reputation in the industry, influence buying decisions and also help with SEO. Engaging with your online reviews, whether positive or negative, provide SEO benefits by showing your activity and relevancy online

  • Encourage your renters and owners to leave reviews about their experience with your rental business. The more positive authentic reviews about your business, the better your business will appear in search.
  • If you notice negative reviews are being posted about your management or properties, make sure to respond to them and truly evaluate if you need to change your practices.  If the reviews simply come from a negative, angry renter you should still acknowledge their concerns and try to mediate. If the reviews are justified you should consider doing something about the problem.
  • Review sites include Yelp, Google+, Google My Business, Facebook and others. Let your renters and owners have the option to post on whatever platform they are most comfortable with.  Don’t harass people for reviews, they should always come naturally to prove authenticity.
  • Never post fake reviews.  You will be discovered and you could lose your visibility in search and your credibility in the industry overall.

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Include Social Media in your Online Marketing Plan

Social media is becoming a vital role in modern day marketing.  Since social media is already an online platform, you need to attach your new website to your social media accounts. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram and Pinterest are a great way to be found online and engage with your potential renters and audience.

  • Share property photos, renter tips, discounts, promotions, inspection updates, and community events on your rental business’ social media pages.
  • Develop a social media strategy that involves regular posts and engagement. The more followers and engagement your receive, the higher your pages will appear in search.

As you will see, a lot of SEO requires a big effort up front to design a website with relevant copy and content related to your location and industry. After a website is created, in order to appear high in local search results you need to engage with your residents on review websites and seek available links to and from your website.

SEO is an important part of any business’ marketing strategy. We will continue to provide helpful articles and SEO tips specific for property managers and landlords so your business can stand out online and attract the best renters.

 

Credit to Kaycee

Kaycee manages marketing and media relations for Rentec Direct, bringing a unique perspective to the world of property management and proudly shares industry news, products, and trends within the community.

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Tech Secrets from Rising Real Estate Stars

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Online reviews aren’t just for restaurants; they are equally useful for real estate marketing. They also happen to be Kimberly Sethavanish’s secret weapon.

Sethavanish, a salesperson at Century 21 Alliance in Santa Rosa, Calif., has gained three listings from clients finding her positive reviews on Yelp. After each transaction, Sethavanish asks her clients to share their experience with her services and, for the most part, they are happy to help. And best of all, these highly persuasive online reviews are free.

“If you’re not putting yourself out there, you’re not able to be found. That’s worse than anything else,” says Sethavanish, a member of REALTOR® Magazine’s 2016 class of 30 Under 30.

For this year’s 30 young entrepreneurs, technology and online tools are a way of life in their business, keeping them connected to clients and organized at the office and helping to smooth out any bumps in the road to a successful transaction.

We asked a few of the 30 Under 30 honorees to share the tech tool that keeps them on track. Here’s what we found:

They’re Paperless

In addition to online reviews, Sethavanish is also a fan of DocuSign because it helps cut the response time in her hot seller’s market. “I’ve seen it make or break a sale,” she says. “With DocuSign, you can get your counteroffer in before someone else does.”

Several other 30 Under 30s also attest to the benefits of electronic signatures.

Shari Anhorn, CRS, GRI, team member and broker-owner at Brokers 12 Inc. in Minot, N.D., has been using DocuSign, a REALTOR Benefits® Program partner, since 2011, putting her among the first agents in Minot to use electronic signatures.

“This is rural North Dakota, and to be able to have a seller or buyer who is two hours away sign a document from afar is tremendous,” she says. What’s more, many of her clients are military personnel who have to purchase property sight unseen, and DocuSign has eased the process, Anhorn says.

But some 30 Under 30 members are careful not to assume every client knows how to use even the most basic technology.

The market that Diego Espinoza-Martinez, salesperson with Keller Williams Realty-Tulare in Visalia, Calif., serves is largely agricultural and heavily impoverished. While he uses DocuSign with some clients, it’s not always appropriate, he says. Instead, Espinoza-Martinez takes the time to learn his clients’ comfort level with technology and then decides on the appropriate tools for the transaction.

Another tool for going paperless is Genius Scan, available through both the App Store and Google Play. Wade Corbett, CRS, GRI, salesperson with Keller Williams Realty in Raleigh, N.C., is an avid user. “I scan a business card and import it into my database. That way, I don’t have to carry around a bunch of cards,” he says.

Genius Scan can be used to scan forms, receipts, or a multitude of other real estate documents from your smartphone. Save the images as PDFs and email them on the go. You can also export the files to your cloud service of choice, such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

Alexander Parker, also a 2016 30 Under 30 honoree, creates property folders in Dropbox for his clients, where they can share pictures, maps, and other relevant documents. Parker, salesperson with Lord & Stanley Realty in Tallahassee, Fla., is also rarely without his iPad so that he can access files anywhere and look them over with clients in the field.

In San Diego, Sarah Davis, SRES, broker owner of Davis Estates, takes her Surface Pro tablet to every client meeting. “I can take it to a showing and the buyers can sign a purchase order and send it to the listing agent while we’re still in the house,” she says. In California, agents are required to give a copy of the contract to the signer at the time it is signed, so she emails a copy to her clients directly from her tablet.

For software, she uses Microsoft OneDrive for Business, a secure cloud service, for all her transaction files. “It’s safer than email, and if my computer dies, everything is still in the cloud,” Davis says.

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They Work Hard at Staying in Touch

Connie Chung, salesperson with Vanguard Properties in San Francisco, considers herself old-fashioned when it comes to staying in contact with her clients. She prefers dinners and coffee meetings over informal emails. “I can see their facial expressions, hear the tone of their voices, and have them hear mine,” she says.

And when a client needs more attention — when they’ve expressed unhappiness with a property or have an issue that needs to be resolved — Chung says that writing an email is the last thing you should do. “I find it simplifies my life if I pick up the phone, so I can really hear where they are coming from and ask if we can meet for coffee,” she says. “A lot of times, meeting face-to-face takes away any discomfort for both parties.”

On the social media front, she engages with clients and her sphere predominantly through Instagram. “Recently, I was touring a new development. It was great to wear a hard hat and neon vest and post behind-the-scenes photos that a lot of people don’t usually get to see,” she says.

Corbett describes his database as the core of his business, so he uses Brivity, a cloud-based CRM, to stay in touch. “It helps me follow up better and makes me able to utilize my time better,” he says.

Honoree Rebekah Eaton, associate broker with RealtySouth-MB-Crestline in Birmingham, Ala., is always looking for meaningful ways to stay connected to her sphere. So she recently started using BombBomb, a service that helps users produce video greetings that can be shared via email or text. “I take a little time to record a short video saying, ‘Thinking about you.’ And then I send it on. Bam.”

They Prefer to Market in a Meaningful Way

Scott Steadman, a Windermere Real Estate agent in Draper, Utah, uses his real estate blog to tell the story of his clients. “I talk about the family who spent years gathering around the fireplace for birthdays and holidays, and how that room was the place where they felt whole,” Steadman says. “Pairing posts like that with social media always gives my followers a reason to come back to my website for more info.”

Consistency is also key, Steadman says, so he rarely lets more than a few days separate his posts, which cover everything from market trends to before-and-after renovation photos.

Brittany Barsky-Allison, team member with Wydler Brothers in Bethesda, Md., focuses on promoting her business on Facebook in a “fun, organic way.” She creates an advertising campaign for every one of her listings, and she often posts pictures with clients or of homes she’s toured on her personal and business pages. She celebrates each closing with a status update and is frequently “liking” and commenting on her friends’ statuses and photos.

“This has helped me to pick up referrals and create a sense of expertise amongst my peers,” she says. “Brokerages must continue to place more emphasis on the people in the real estate industry and recognize that people buy homes, not computers, robots, or smartphones. Technology strengthens our industry, but people are at the core, and we cannot forget that simple fact.”

Barsky-Allison uses Salesforce.com to track her pipeline and communicate with her sphere of influence. She sends out weekly and monthly emails as well as monthly market updates, and acknowledges the buy or sell anniversaries of her clients by sending a note or gift.

Customer service is a top priority for honoree Jessica Bean, salesperson with Century 21 Price Right in Lewiston, Idaho. That’s why she arms herself with data from NAR’s Realtors Property Resource® before every marketing or listing presentation.

“It’s one of the most integral pieces of my business,” says Bean, who will compare RPR’s detailed reports against her own research on comps as well as the assessed value of a property. The reports also help her make the case that presale updates can make a listing much more attractive.

Bean also notes that RPR can help her craft a competitive offer in the seller’s market that currently defines much of her area. She uses it to help buyers put themselves in sellers’ shoes, explaining how she’d use the RPR data to price the home if she were the listing agent on the property. And finally, Bean loves the fact that she can pull RPR up on her phone on the go: “I literally use it every day in my business. Man, it’s a lifesaver for me.”

 

Credit to Erica Christoffer

Erica Christoffer is a consulting editor for REALTOR® Magazine.

 

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