In a recent announcement, Google confirmed the launch of a new local search tool, the Knowledge Graph Carousel. You may have already noticed the bar on the very tippy top of your search results page (higher even than paid ads, interestingly enough) when looking for local restaurants, shops, events, or attractions. The implications for local searches involving your property are pretty substantial, so I thought I’d walk you through a few ideas that can help put your apartment website SEO on top of the game with this new tool:
- Google Plus – It’s time. You really can’t afford to ignore Google Plus any longer. Google has a very strong interest in driving users to their Google+ system or, as we affectionately call it, G+, and that means that claiming your local page, filling out as much detail as possible, and regularly monitoring its status is vital. It’s your classic quid pro quo…you play nice with Google, and they’ll reward you with better listings. (Same goes for Yelp and Apple/iPhone local searches.)
- A picture is worth…well, it’s hard to put an exact value on it, but it’s definitely more than 1,000 words. Make sure you’ve uploaded a variety of high quality property photos to your G+ account. Don’t skimp here…Google knows the difference between professional photography and smartphone snaps. Whatever you do, don’t use stock photos – it’s the kiss of death. Include a variety of interior, exterior, and neighborhood shots for best results, and use .png files if possible for better scalability. These tips will greatly increase the chances of showing up in Google’s new carousel tool.
- Consistency, consistency, consistency. Ever heard of the NAP score? It stands for Name, Address, Phone number and your SEO can get dinged every time an inconsistency shows up. So make sure your property info is the same on your website, G+ account, Yelp page, social media profiles, etc. Even small differences like “Ave.” / “Avenue” can knock you down in the listings…It’s best to establish a single standard and stick to it religiously across all accounts.
- A worthy investment. SEO and social media are no longer items that can be largely ignored or just taken care of in your leasing agents’ “spare time.” (Haha, hahahaha…ahem.) If you don’t already have an SEO/Social media manager on staff, consider creating a position soon. Even hiring a dedicated intern can help ensure that the tasks of keeping your accounts current, consistent, and relevant won’t fall through the cracks. And associating a single user profile with your G+ and Yelp accounts can boost authorship tags, impacting SEO even more. This is no time to skimp.
In a nutshell, you have a choice: act now, get involved, and invest some time and resources to your G+ and social media accounts, or float along with the status quo and watch your organic search results get pushed further and further down the page. It’s clear, isn’t it? Don’t be overwhelmed…most of the things you need to do require time and attention and a willingness to keep up (Google moves fast)…but not graduate degree-level expertise or millions of dollars. Keep following RentSauce for the latest apartment community SEO updates!