When most people think of SEO and website optimization for the holidays, they think of e-commerce and retail websites gearing up for the holiday shopping season. While this is, indeed, a very busy time for digital marketers, it is not the time for non-retail businesses like apartments and multifamily housing to let their hair down and take a break (sorry). In fact, there are some very important aspects of your online presence that you must take a look at and update during this time and Digible is here to help guide you through this process. Ready? Let’s go!
As one of the first places a business might appear in search results outside of paid ads, a thoroughly maintained Google My Business Profile is paramount to success in the age of zero-click searches.
At the top of our to-do list is your GMB business hours - are they accurate and up to date? Do they reflect changes in your hours of operation from now through Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve and other important holidays that often see businesses close or change to limited, or expanded, operating hours. This information is extremely important because GMB and Maps are often the first places a person will go to verify office hours for a business. Update all your hours though January, at a minimum, and through the first half of 2021 if you can. 51% of those surveyed responded to a recent BrightLocal poll stating that incorrect opening hours listed online damages or decreases their trust in that business. Not only can searchers who see inaccurate information lose trust, Google appreciates accurate information, and knowing that you’ve added holiday hours to your profile lets google feel confident in the fact that you are actively managing your business online. Trust is the “T” in the E-A-T equation we hear so much about in SEO, and a high trust rating lets Google feel good about serving your listing up in search results. And, at the end of the day, all we really want is for Google to serve us up in the SERPs as often as possible.
Ok, I can hear you saying that your hours aren’t changing during the holidays so you don’t need to update anything. Right? Well, sorry to disappoint you but the answer is no. It’s important to go in and list holidays as open if you are actually open on those days so Google doesn’t presume you are closed.
Google posts were first released in 2016, and since then, it amazes me that most businesses aren’t integrating them into a routine marketing practice. In a recent study by Whitespark, Allie Maregeson reported that only 28% of businesses have ever shared a Google Post and Google posts are not an ongoing strategy for 96% of businesses. That is a huge amount of untapped potential. Google posts live in a highly visible section of the SERPs and are searchable when on a business profile. So why not take advantage? This is free promotional space on one of the most powerful online platforms. So definitely take advantage! Posts allow you to showcase different types of content, including:
What’s New (quick topical posts)
Offers & Specials
Any one of these post types will help you showcase current specials, community events, local news, available units and floor plans, community and apartment amenities, and more!
What’s New posts stay live on search for seven days, but events and offers stay live until an end date which you specify when creating the post. Be careful with COVID-19 updates however, as these tend to push your other posts down and out of the way. It might be worth using the What’s New post types for COVID-19 protocols and posting them weekly so that your events and specials can still shine bright. Be thorough and post holiday open house information in an Events post, or a Fall Move-In special in an Offers post. Keep residents and prospective residents up on your latest and greatest amenities through What’s New posts. Digible recommends posting once a month or seasonally for Offers and weekly for What’s New post types for the best exposure.
Don’t forget to put your best foot (or photo) forward by adding new images to your profile regularly. This includes seasonal imagery. Google looks for businesses that update their profiles and add fresh content. Seasonal photos give prospective residents a feel for what the property is like all year long and gives them an immediate connection when they see a picture of their potential new home as it might look right now. Give your property a full portfolio of summer, winter, spring, and fall imagery - if you are in a seasonal location. Pull in your new residents with amazing photography, it really does have a profound effect on visitors and encourages them to book tours (in-person or virtual) to see more about your available units and the surrounding community.
Once you have your GMB profile all tidied up and ready for the holiday season, you will want to do the same for your website by making sure you’ve added in your holiday hours, specials, and events to prominent pages, to potentially curating holiday-themed content for your residents.
If you added holiday hours to GMB, you also want to follow through and update your holiday hours on your website’s contact page or the page where you have your business hours listed. 80% of searchers lose trust in local businesses if they see incorrect or inconsistent contact details online. That’s a lot! In the same poll, it was noted that 71% of consumers had a negative experience because of incorrect local business information found online. Why frustrate your potential new renters? Make it easy for them to find you, contact you and visit your property.
If you have a blog, consider adding information about events for residents hosted at the apartment complex. You can bolster the impact by adding event schema to the blog which can end up showing as a knowledge card in search results. The triple-whammy of effectiveness in SEO - have a blog with a knowledge panel result and a corresponding GMB event post all tying back to your website and discover how effective a quick GMB post and a little schema code can be!
Other blog-worthy topics to consider during the holidays are locally focused pieces helping people find places to shop, unique restaurants to visit, and fun events happening in the neighborhoods near your apartment complex. Keep this type of content extremely hyper-local, this helps tie influential geo locations to your website by mentioning other known businesses and hot spots in your content. Feel free to link out to great recommendations. Locals will appreciate the information and this type of content is highly shareable which generates potential backlinks to your site when others link to this information on their social media profiles. A win-win for everyone! Handcrafted gift ideas for hard to shop for family members, community events to keep an eye on, nearby plays, symphonies, concerts--with social distancing guidelines and mask requirements listed--are great topics that can generate a lot of interest and help Google and site visitors understand your connection to your local surroundings just a little bit better.
Many apartment websites have pop-ups and calls-to-action blocks announcing their current leasing incentive or move-in special, but specials can make great blogs or pages on the website as well. A blog or page allows for more textual content, which means more indexable content for Google, Bing, Yahoo and all the search engines to play with.
If you created a page that discussed move-in specials for the new year in-depth with quality images, a short video, and a GMB post that teased “What’s To Come in 2021!”, imagine the click-throughs that type of situation could generate! Be authentic and highlight what makes your property special, unique, and better than the apartment complex down the block! Accentuate your strengths and give people a reason to visit your property in person.
Feeling a little overwhelmed? No worries, we gotcha! Our SEO team is ready to help answer any and all questions and will help your gear up your property’s SEO efforts for the holiday season. Hit us up today!