Millennials and Generation Z, a bulk of renters today, have been getting smarter before making decisions online. Whether they are looking to purchase electronics, household items, cosmetics, or rent apartments, their online shopping behaviors are one and the same. And, what’s the typical action? To research the item on Google.

Let’s say a prospect goes to Google and types in a broad phrase (also known as a keyword) “apartments for rent in Indiana”. First, they’ll see a few ads pop up. But, before you consider Google display ads, there’s something you should know. Only 15% of consumer traffic clicks on an ad while 85% scroll past ads to click on results – that’s why you need to optimize your website so you show up after these ads (and it’s usually cheaper to go this route)!

Eventually, that phrase a prospect typed in earlier could turn into something like “RealApartments in Indiana” (that’s a made-up community FYI) if a community optimizes its online reputation effectively (i.e., its website, ratings, social media sites, Google My Business, etc).

What Is Online Reputation Management?
Reputation management is an essential part of the process of understanding your data. Consistently monitoring your online presence will set the stage for your marketing plan moving forward. If you’ve been doing this, great – keep it up! If it’s a bit unfamiliar, check out this awesome resource to learn more about multifamily reputation management 101.

Once the prospect clicks on “RealApartments in Indiana”, they might look at a variety of things – reviews, your Instagram, your pricing, and layouts. And, bam! They find a layout and pricing they like so they decide to schedule a virtual or in-person tour. Congratulations, the marketing and leasing team at RealApartments did everything right!

But, what if they hadn’t optimized their website, social media sites, Google My Business, or asked for ungated reviews (residents weren’t incentivized to leave a review)? This lead would have never come in! This is why top-of-the-funnel marketing is important and shouldn’t be overlooked! After all, 67% of all clicks go to the first five organic search results on Google.

How to Improve Your SEO Strategy (Tactical Ways)

There are a variety of techniques for tackling your SEO so your community ranks high on Google and other SERPs. Here’s where to get started.

  • Use the right keywords in your web page copy. There’s a reason I talked about the specific keyword above “apartments for rent in Indiana.” And, it’s because that’s how prospective residents are searching apartments on Google today. Me included! I’m a renter and that’s the exact keyword I typed in on Google a year ago (I promise I’m not being biased or saying I speak for everyone…if anything I’m advocating for more communities to bid on keywords that make it easier for prospective residents, like myself, to find you)! Use keyword research tools like SEMrush or Moz to help identify the right keywords for the right demographic. Here’s a shortlist of popular real estate keywords.
  • Ensure your site is mobile-friendly. Why? More and more consumers are using their phones for research and purchasing decisions! Not convinced? Look at our playbook that dives into the data around Millennials and Generation Z’s purchasing behaviors. Also, Google is clear about the fact that having a responsive site is considered a significant ranking signal by its algorithms.
  • Optimize your website. Once you’ve identified the right keywords and made your website more user-friendly, it’s time to add keywords in the right areas that serve your prospective residents’ queries. It’s important to update this every so often as searches change. In addition, make your website more engaging with video content sprinkled throughout web pages.
  • Don’t forget to fill out meta tags. This is another area that could use those keywords to help boost your website’s ranking on Google and other SERPs.
  • Respond to reviews! And we’re not talking about a copy-and-paste kind of review, we challenge you to level up and send a video thanking that person for a nice review or even a poor review. This doesn’t just show the person that you care, but it shows prospective residents you care if they come across your response during their research. Reviews matter now more than ever – remember Millennials and Generation Z do extensive research before purchasing nowadays!

Making intentional marketing decisions at the top of the funnel will impact the bottom of the funnel. Start getting in front of the right prospective residents! After all, you can’t lose a lead that was never there in the first place! Download our video marketing playbook to help generate more ideas and strategies for your communities.

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