4 Great Takeaways on SEO & Non-Paid Advertising

A conference was held for the CFAA, Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations, in Vancouver BC. I was a part of the guest panel for one of the sessions discussing “SEO and Non Paid Advertising”, along with Jeremy Jackson (VP of Marketing from Killam Properties) and Peter Doma (Operations from Effort Trust). This session was put into place because it is found that many property management companies do not have a marketing team and have very limited time and experience to really optimize SEO and grow their marketing effectiveness and output.

In our session we discussed many different matters, and for your interest, I thought I would fill you in with what some of the most popular questions were:

 

1. Google Places

 Google Places is a great way to obtain advertising about your site without having to pay for it. During this session we covered the process of acquiring the Google Places information:

  • Process by post card
  • Process by phone number
  • Mass submission process

Find out how to use SEO with Google Places

Part of the challenges our panel and audience members shared in getting a place were:

  • When you have many buildings and staff, who are not familiar with the value or importance of getting the Google Places set up, then it can take much longer because of the verification process.

Some alternative strategies that were used to overcome the challenges of Google Places verification include:

  • Use a summer student
  • Hire a company who can do this work for you. Jeremy from Killam Properties shared that his company decided to use an organization who could get this done quickly and easily with the right connections.

Why should we bother with Google Places?

  • This is where I shared that one of my clients had a very difficult experience, where a tenant in their building acquired the Google Places and had full control of the content and moderating of the details for that apartment building. So it is of great value to get the proper people managing your Google Places instead of someone living at your building. Don’t let this happen to you!

 

2. Tagging Your Images for SEO Value

Tagging your images seems like an obvious solution, but often little details can be missed.  Peter from Effort Trust was sharing the importance of going back through their site and properly tagging all of the photos, alt tags and descriptions for SEO benefits.

Tagging the Photos

  • Most photos have a file name that is generated by the graphic designer or website developer. The naming of the image is often set up to benefit the organizing of the images and putting together the website. For example, most companies have a logo on their website and the photo file name is “logo.jpg” or “company_logo.jpg”.  These file names provided to the website developer help in maintaining the website, but hold little value for SEO, as the word “Logo” or “Company_Logo” do not have any significance as keywords for your organization. Instead, we recommend that you use proper keywords. Take our website as an example. Our website URL is www.leadmanaging.com with the keywords of “Lead Managing”. For us, it is important that when people search for the terms “Lead Managing”, we provide as many appropriate tags as possible to deliver the information to retrieve our site when Lead Managing.com is searched. So for our logo, we used the photo file name “lead_managing.jpg”. Please note, that it is important that there are some rules on how you tag properly and please be sure that you use SEO strategies that are not going to penalize you for using tags or other methods incorrectly.

Alt Tags

  • Alt tags are provided for the purpose of providing information when the photo is not available. This would then provide an alternative way of specifying what the image is or what it’s trying to explain.
  • Below is an example for you:

 

3. Social Media

There was ample discussion about the value of social media. From the group’s experience, there were 3 key items that attendees and guest speakers agreed upon. First let’s define what we mean by social media. For our group’s discussion, we were all aware that there are areas for users to post and share reviews about property managers and landlords.  However, should the company set up a platform to engage and respond to users? What social media networks should a company get involved in? Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest? Which social networks drive leads to convert into leases? Here are some great takeaways on social media:

  1.  Social Media is a discipline, and it takes consistent effort. If you are going to get into engaging online users and using social media then you need to be present. There is nothing like having a platform to get users engaged and then not responding to them in a timely manner. Work on having a structure or routine to manage your ability to respond to your web media. Even better, work on setting realistic expectations for your social media. If you know that you can only respond 3 times per week, wouldn’t it be wise to say to your online community that you will be posting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays? That way your audience is not getting frustrated with your response times. You can always leave a number for a call or text and an email in case someone needs prompt attention.
  2. Social Media is a huge directory. As important as it is to engage your users, your social media networks need to be used to boost up your SEO. It is important that your social media efforts support your linking strategy and support your SEO efforts. Specifically, your site name, address and contact information need to match your other sites including your website, Google Places and much more. This is a much larger topic!
  3. From the clients that shared, they found that social media was best used for current tenants, and had little impact on acquiring leads and driving high quality traffic that converts to leases. As a result, be clear on what your goals are with your social media. If your goals are to have a Facebook account because your competitors do, then you may want to think twice. Instead, have a laser focused strategy that you want to implement and measure to determine whether it is worthwhile. If you would like to follow our strategy on what our online marketing strategies are, how we are implementing them, why we are doing them and how we measure them, then click here to follow us! You will see and receive regular updates!

 

4. Website Audit

In going over your website, there are fundamentals on what you should or should not be doing. We collectively came up with our own list, and here are some items you should check:

Does Your Content:

  • Contain links with appropriate key words?
  • Have clear headlines?
  • No spelling or grammar issues?

Is Your Overall Layout:

  • Clean with plenty of white space?
  • Rich with relevant images?
  • Mobile friendly?

Does Your Call to Action:

  • Have more than one call to action above the fold?
  • Have a call to action below the fold?

Are you heightening SEO by:

  • Having your keywords focused on the key topic for that one page?
  • Naming photos using your keywords and properly tagging your images with alt tags?

Are you promoting your social media accounts by:

  • Having the social media icons linking directly to your accounts?
  • Placing them above the fold and making them clearly visible?

If you need a thorough web site analysis, it is really important to track your metrics so that you can measure and improve your website performance. Are you looking to improve your personal performance at work? Set some clear goals on your business metrics and focus your efforts on your advertising with the article: Goals Make Dollars and Sense, as it may help you out!

Darren Henry