In the Digital Age, developing a marketing strategy for your business can seem like a daunting, complicated task. Between navigating the fast-paced online landscape and adapting to the public’s aversion to traditional advertising models, promoting your business is no longer a black and white pursuit. But with nearly 80 percent of all renters turning to online searches to find potential options, an online strategy is now essential for successful marketing.
To increase your community’s visibility on the Internet, maintaining a consistent blog is one of the strongest and simplest strategies your business can use to effectively bolster your online marketing reach. Not only does it adhere to the golden rule of marketing for multifamily housing in that your community is your strongest asset, but also by highlighting news, events, and special announcements, your blog posts act as a digital amenity, providing a service that is attractive to both current and potential renters—and with an effectively optimized web page, your blog can be just as beneficial to your marketing efforts.
Just like your marketing website itself, your blog needs a well-focused SEO strategy. Optimizing your posts for search engines like Google can positively impact your overall online presence and help your business rise to the top of Google’s search results. To harness the full SEO potential of your community’s blog, there are a few fundamental components that can make or break its marketing capability. As long as your blog meets the following guidelines, you can effectively influence search engine rankings, increase your website traffic, and capture more leads.
Valuable Content is Priority #1
Your blog must first be a resource before it can be an effective marketing tool. Providing valuable content to your current residents and prospects should be the foremost focus of any community blog post. With posts that inform your readers of special events such as local festivals or community celebrations, residents are more likely to engage with your content and, in turn, enhance your online presence with click-through rates, or CTR.
It's all about quality over quantity. Sure, we all want to build more pages on our website, but Google crawls recognize the difference between spam and relevant, high-quality content. If your blog isn’t up to Google’s standards, there’s a chance the new page will not be indexed. Additionally, if you don’t craft posts that perform a digital service for your residents, your community’s blog will fall short of your marketing goals, preventing you from establishing trust with promising leads AND Google.
Use a Focused Keyword Strategy
We can never say it too many times: a focused keyword strategy is vital for optimizing your blog’s SEO. As long as your main site adheres to the proven SEO tactics for apartment communities, you can use your blog to further bolster your SEO tactics.
For each blog you publish, focus on your most relevant keywords (i.e. your community’s name and “apartments in your city/state”) and make sure they are featured in your post’s H1 tag, title tag, and meta description. These are the main sections that Google evaluates when determining the relevancy of your content, and the right placement of these targeted, specific keywords will give you the strongest marketing reach—just be careful not to “keyword stuff.” Google’s algorithms will easily recognize your ploy to outsmart them and label your website as untrustworthy.
You can also use keywords in your blog’s content, but make sure they don’t appear unnatural or forced. Usability and a good reader experience is always more important than any short-term resolution; you want your readers to return to your blog in the future.
Use One Domain with Responsive Design
Making sure your blog is properly hosted and mobile-friendly is crucial for strengthening your SEO. If your blog is hosted on a different domain than your marketing website, Google will view the differing domains as two separate entities. You can differentiate with URLs like blog.domain.com or domain.com/blog, but to utilize your community blog to the fullest, it is critical that your blog lives on the same domain as your website.
Responsive design is just as important for optimizing your blog. Your site needs to respond and adjust when viewed on different devices. If your business is still using dedicated sites for different platforms, such as a desktop version and a mobile version, your clicks are being divided between two URLs, splitting the full benefits of your SEO. A blog with responsive design will centralize your post’s clicks with one URL that is viewable from any device, allowing Google to easily recognize your blog's value and rank it accordingly.
The value of responsive design may not seem massive at first glance, but it is quickly becoming essential for modern businesses. Mobile devices were used for over half of all online searches last year, and that number is expected to grow. Search engines have recognized the importance of all those valuable search queries being done on mobile devices—Google, for instance, now takes note when a user performs a search from a smartphone and displays the mobile-friendly website results first. With responsive design, Google will rank your website higher than your non-mobile friendly competitors by default—a strong advantage for your SEO.
Blog readers like consistency. Whether you post a blog monthly, weekly, or daily, it is important to develop a steady publishing schedule. If your renters know when to expect new content, your posts will feel well established, easily accessible, and a part of their routine.
In addition to a user-friendly experience, sticking with a dependable posting schedule will strengthen your blog’s SEO, and your overall marketing reach as well. This is where all the previous guidelines come together: by frequently posting fresh, relevant content on your blog—which shares the same domain as your marketing website—you’re effectively producing more indexed pages to be picked up by Google’s crawlers. The more blogs you post, the more visible you become to search engines, which will translate into higher rankings.
Sites like Google are notoriously tight-lipped about what their algorithm looks for when gathering results, but if there’s one thing we know for certain, it’s that search engines love fresh content. By publishing content consistently, your blog provides new material for Google to index, and with those all-important keywords included, your domain’s visibility increases on search engine results pages.