Local search is becoming a critical part of the real estate process, including for rentals. Local SEO was the top tactic for all businesses, according to the 2021 State of Marketing Report by HubSpot. It beat the use of strategic keywords, and even mobile optimization, for top priority and it’s only going to continue to be a critical part of business optimization and digital marketing.
For property managers and landlords, local SEO is a must. Investing in this optimization will immediately help improve your visibility and increase your revenue when you do it correctly. You’ll be happy to know that even though search engine algorithms and best practices are updated regularly, the same basic tenets apply to local optimization that always have.
Make sure people know you’re local and not some multi-national real estate conglomerate or trying to rent properties in a different city or town. Invest in a local phone number, if you don’t already have one, and make sure that your business name, address, and phone number are both on your website and in other instances online. That leads us to our first tip.
This is a rather small detail to some, but it’s a huge ranking factor for local SEO. Your name, address, and phone number (NAP) need to be presented in one single, consistent format, across every single instance online. The way you list your business citation, as it is also known, needs to be identical from your website to your social media pages, business directories, and so on. A single inconsistency could cost valuable points, so be sure to include this in your SEO audit and update all listings accordingly.
You don’t have to start from scratch with local optimization. Sure, there will be some content that you will be creating new, but first, you should go through your existing content and online presence to see where it stands with local optimization. You’ll find ways to include keywords, use tags and headers, and quickly see where you need more localization. If you’ve got content or listings that are on par already, that’s less work for you in the long run.
Once you’ve reviewed your existing content and come up with a list of necessary changes, you’ll want to develop a strategy for making those changes while also developing the rest of your local SEO strategy.
While “Company + City” might prove to be a high-ranking keyword for you, it’s not something to assume and just do—local optimization means more than tacking a location onto your keywords. Just as you researched to find your original keywords, you now need to do local keyword research to see what people are searching for to find companies like yours.
Consider terms like “near me,” which is a phrase that has grown exponentially in popularity for local searches. Sure, it’s not an easy phrase to work into your content, but when you do, you’ll be sure to rank better and get the attention of the people who are looking for you.
If you live in an urban area or a community with several different neighborhoods, list those as keywords in your content, too. Some renters might just search for apartments in Portland, but others will search for apartments in Arlington Heights or Northwest District rentals (two popular Portland neighborhoods, for those who don’t know).
In the same vein, do you have property near major attractions or landmarks? These elements can become part of your local keyword optimization, helping further home in on the many ways you can ensure that your listing appears in search results. After all, especially in large cities, providing more focused listings with neighborhood or location details will ensure that people know exactly where a property is located so they can determine if it fits their needs.
Recently renamed from Google My Business, the Google Business Profile is an essential part of local optimization and authority building. You need to claim your listing, fill it out completely, and utilize tags, headlines, and other areas to add in local keywords and increase your search rankings. The same goes for local business directories—either those that focus on your location or rental properties. Make sure that you get listed in as many reputable places as possible.
And take note of the term reputable. You can’t just go get listed in as many places as possible and get improved local rankings. Some business directories or websites are less-than-reputable and getting involved with them could actually damage your reputation. Not only that, but if it looks like you’re focused on quantity over quality, Google will deduct points, too.
Reviews are going to be an integral part of your local SEO strategy. The keywords are not nearly as important as building your business as a reputable, reliable property management or rental property business. Google cares far more about how good you are than how popular you are based on popularity alone. Anyone can master the local keyword part of things—but are you actually providing value, substance, and a reputable authority to your clients and visitors?
Of course, once you’ve got local SEO on your side, you’re probably going to see an influx of leads to inquire about the properties that you have for rent. To manage them, you need to start with a 24/7 answering service to ensure you never miss an opportunity. A partnership with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai gives you that and so much more. Our team can also assist with lead qualification and intake, appointment scheduling, and even building your outreach campaigns in the first place.