In a rapidly developing digital age search engine optimisation has become increasingly vital to marketing success in all industries, and the property industry is not exempt from that. Although knowledge of SEO can be quite poor amongst the decision makers in the property world, it is finally beginning to be recognised for the key role it plays in effective online marketing.
WHAT IS SEO?
Search engine optimisation is the process by which your website and its content is optimised in a way that search engines will rank it higher in online searches. It is not a specific science, so do not let anybody tell you they can guarantee you certain rankings with certain search engines.
It is not a trick or a type of online voodoo. You cannot trick search engines into ranking you higher for online queries that you are not particularly relevant for. Nor can you shortcut your way to the top with what is known as blackhat SEO techniques. Not only does this not work, but search engines will now actively demote your sites ranking for doing so as it no longer trust the relevance of any of your content.
Good SEO is also not just a case of building your website, labelling and headlining it all properly, then leaving it to float out into the online sea. When left alone to gather dust, your website will simply sink down the rankings. To help it float as close to the top as possible you need constant work, regular, fresh and relevant content should be a high priority, as is sharing that content through a wide range of methods including guest blogging and social media. For our top 10 tips for effective property SEO, click here.
Paid SEO refers to paid search results, which are usually the results you see at the side or immediately at the top of the search engine.
Organic SEO refers to the results the search engine produces in its main body, which change almost everytime even if you make the same search. Organic SEO is the one which requires more time and effort, but in return gains more clicks and a lower bounce rate.
WHY DOES PROPERTY MARKETING REQUIRE SEO?
Increasingly, people’s first port of call for any question is to consult the internet, and this is just as true when looking for new property as it is for anything else. This is not to say that people do not still use agents to help them through the process, they do, but it is now very common for that step to come after an online browse.
Potential occupiers and tenants will now search online to see what kind of options there are out there for them, and then often get in touch with the relevant agents afterwards. As a result, it is vital that not only is your property online but that it is easy to find online, which is where SEO steps in.
Given the ease of which people can put things online these days, the competition to be found is getting bigger and bigger every day. With this in mind, people have also become far more skeptical of what they see online, whilst page one of a search engine is often packed with results, many people look to ignore all the paid ads, and often want to avoid the mega sites with thousands of properties that require them to enter lots of details and register emails etc.
What they do want to engage with is a website that is solely dedicated to the exact kind of property they are looking for, and therein lies the importance of having your site ranking as highly as possible for searches that are specifically relevant to your property (number of bedrooms, location, etc).
Without this, given the fact that the vast majority of people do not go beyond page 2 of a search, the money you have invested into a beautifully made website will not be doing as much for your site as it could be. If the only people who are able to find it are people who are already aware of what it is and can therefore search directly for it, then your website is a totally ineffective marketing tool in terms of raising initial awareness of the scheme.
It is undoubtedly still a helpful tool in further selling the scheme to people who are already aware of it, as it will help build on the brochures, email campaigns or printed ads that have gained their interest in the first place, but you will be wasting the chance to make first contact with a huge percentage of your potential target market.
Considering that the amount of regular internet users out there will surely outnumber the amount of people reachable through printed media or paid email campaigns, it would be a huge opportunity to miss if you did not use the internet to try and make first contact with potential tenants and occupiers.
It is also worth noting that printed ads and email marketing can only appear in a certain place, at one particular time, where as being high on search engine results is something that will put you in front of your target market 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Once you have been able to gain this position online, your website then becomes a fantastic place for public interaction, especially for the bigger projects and schemes, and can be used to push forward and promote all creative content, news and advertising material that comes from the project as it develops at no extra cost.
It is easy to see therefore why we believe search engine optimisation has become so important for modern day online marketing of property. For us, it has become just as important a jigsaw piece as the branding, brochure, creative ideas and even the website itself.
In essence, it means you can literally let your target market come to you, your site just needs to allow them to do that.
For our top 10 tips on what is involved in effective property SEO, click here