Black hat, cheating, search engine sniffing. Whatever we prefer to call it, there is a clear line between web marketing strategies that are meant to enrich user experience, while diversifying web presence, and others meant to fool a search engine.
These sinful strategies can be quite damning to an apartment community’s web marketing campaign. So to help you resist the traps and snares, here are Se7en search engine optimization (SEO) no-no’s to avoid at all cost:
Mirroring: Creating multiple apartment websites with the same content seems like a great way to get multiple spots on a search engine results page. Unfortunately search engines are programmed to discover such vanity and punish it.
If you own more than one URL, the correct practice is to redirect all URLs to your desired prime domain.
Scraping: Scraping is the envious practice of taking content from one site, copying it word for word and posting it on your community’s site. It does not matter if the other site gave you permission to copy their content; search engines are programmed to detect duplicate content across domains and punish the younger (or newer) website (assuming the newer site is the copy).
Keyword Stuffing: Including a lot of variations of keywords throughout your apartment communities’ web content is a great strategy. However the gluttonous practice of stuffing content with too many keywords is detrimental to the user’s experience, and search engines are programmed to find and punish this specific tactic.
Undue focus on Keyword Ranking: Focusing on search rank isn’t always bad; however making it the sole key performance indicator (KPI) is the wrong way to go, because it’s easy to start lusting after better positions at the expense of other important KPI’s.
Here’s why it’s dangerous:
- It might tempt your marketers to use black hat strategies, sacrificing site health to achieve higher ranks
- It incentivizes web managers to track keywords for the sake of tracking keywords, and lose perspective on your property website’s purpose (otherwise known as limbo)
Ranking first in Google for low search volume terms like “Apartments with trees” is success under an unbalanced strategy, which will prove ineffective in increasing occupancy in the long run.
Poor online etiquette: Imagine if a property manager gets defensive and starts shouting at a resident in the leasing office. Now imagine if that verbal onslaught was recorded for anyone to watch when they were researching your property. That’s what it’s like when social and directory content managers respond with wrath to online reviews.
It’s advised that if the review is unfair, mean spirited, or vindictive that the social or directory content manager contact the service’s support line and request removal of the review. Not every negative review is mean spirited, so it’s not appropriate to request removal of all negative reviews.
Negative reviews that are fair should be addressed with respect, appreciation, and real consideration for site-level improvements and policy changes.
Cloaking: If you take a paragraph of content and change its color to match your site’s background so it’s hidden, you are guilty of cloaking. Similar to keyword stuffing, cloaking is a greedy way to throw keywords on a page. Though this tactic doesn’t impact user experience (because they can’t actually see the text), search engines are programmed to find them and deal out punishment.
Doing Nothing: Perhaps the worst thing apartment marketers can do to negatively affect online presence is to be slothful and do nothing. Without tracking property web statistics, committing to keyword research, and submitting to online directories, your management company’s online presence will eventually diminish.
Successful online search marketing takes real effort, planning, and execution. Monthly checkups on site health and performance, along with new initiatives to develop content and branding are a must.