5 Signs Your Apartment SEO & Content Marketing Are Failing (And How To Fix It)

Alex Middel
April 26, 2016

By now, a lot of apartment marketers are utilizing SEO to get renters to their website. A few have even given content marketing a try. Since these tactics are still fairly new to the multifamily industry, measuring their success has been a challenge.

You might assume that just because the phone is ringing, whatever you’re doing is working. However, do you know if those phone calls are a result of your apartment content marketing or SEO? Or are they just people who drove by your community on their way home from work?

Instead of making assumptions and guessing whether or not your multifamily SEO and content marketing are working, pay attention to these five trends. If any of them sound familiar, it’s a sign that your website might not be bringing in as many leads as it could be.

Knowing what’s not working isn’t enough. We’ll also show you how to fix each of these issues and turn your content marketing and SEO into revenue generating machines.

1. You’re Not on the First Page of Google

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if your site isn’t on the first page of Google, you’re losing out on over 90% of the search traffic you could be getting.

Study after study have shown that the Click through rate (CTR) of the top three spots on the first page of Google are significantly higher than any other position.

For instance, this case study from Advanced Web Ranking showed that the sites on page two and three of Google only receive 5.59% of the clicks.

 ranking position CTR

Now, getting on the first page of Google can take some time. However, if you’ve been at it for several months and can’t seem to get past the second page, something isn’t working.

How to fix it: There are several different factors that determine where websites rank in Google. However, the two biggest ranking factors are content and links pointing to your website (backlinks). Therefore, the best way to increase your rankings and push past the second page is to analyze your content/on-page SEO and try to get more backlinks.

Start by making sure your target keywords appear in your meta data and within your content. Read our guide on competitive analysis to learn how to steal your competition’s keywords and outrank them.

For backlinks, the easiest thing to do is look at the sites ranking on the first page and emulate their strategy. Use a tool like Moz or Backlinkwatch.com to look up their backlinks, then try to get the same sites to link to you!

 competitor backlinks

2. Organic Search Isn’t Your Top Traffic Source

Unless you’re running paid ads of some kind, the top traffic source for most multifamily websites is either organic search or referrals. Organic search visitors are people that find your website through search engines like Google and Bing. 'Referral Traffic' is made up of visitors that come to your site from other sites, examples being Facebook, Apartments.com, Craigslist and others.

You can see where your traffic is coming from using Google Analytics. In your dashboard, go into Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels.

 Google Analytics Traffic Sources

If your SEO and content marketing are effective, you’ll be pulling in a lot of organic search traffic because you’re ranking highly for a variety of keywords.

How to fix it: In addition to the first tip, a common issue could be that you don’t have enough content, or aren’t targeting enough keywords.

Many apartment marketers make the mistake of being too shallow with keywords. This limits the amount of search traffic you can get.

Instead of sticking to the obvious keywords such as “apartments in philadelphia”, implement long tail keywords.

Long tail keywords are phrases that are typically 3+ words long, highly targeted and specific. They don’t get searched as much as broad terms, but there are a lot more of them. In fact, long tail keywords comprise up to 70% of all search traffic!

 Long tail keyword traffic volume

There are a variety of ways to find long tail keywords. You could use a tool such as Long Tail Pro or Ubersuggest.

Another option is to do a Google search for a broad term, then scroll down to the “searches related to” section of the results. This will give you ideas for related keywords that are a bit more targeted.

 Google Related Searches

Lastly, you can target local keywords that aren’t necessarily about apartment rentals. Creating blog posts about the city in general or local businesses is a great way to get traffic from people who may be interested in the area but aren’t specifically searching for apartments just yet.

BONUS: Read our guide, 7 Types Of Blog Posts That Will Attract Apartment Hunters, for more content ideas.

3. You Don’t Have a Social Media Following

One of the key signs of effective content marketing is social media activity. Are people sharing your blog posts? Do you get Retweeted? Are your Instagram posts getting engagement?

Multifamily social media marketing can be a powerful tool to brand your community as a go-to source for people looking for an apartment in your area.

Do a mini-audit of your social media accounts. Some of the things you’ll want to look at are:

  • Followers: How many followers do you have?
  • Engagement: How many likes, shares and comments are your social media posts receiving?
  • Activity: What type of content are you publishing?
  • Competitors: What’s working for your competitors?

Some social networks like Twitter give you a great amount of data.

 Twitter Analytics

You can also use social media management tools like Sprout SocialHootsuite and Buffer to get even more data.

If you don’t have a great social media presence or you feel there’s room for improvement, it’s time to make some changes.

How to fix it: This will vary case to case. The best way to start is to compare your brand to your top social media competitors. See what they’re doing that you aren’t. Some common issues are:

  • You’re not posting frequently enough.
  • Your posts are too promotional.
  • You’re not interacting with other users.
  • You’re targeting the wrong audience.
  • You’re not providing value.

Once you’ve identified the problem, make changes to your strategy and monitor your progress. It might be helpful to consult with professionals. Social media marketing can be extremely time consuming, so having a team set you up on the right path will help you avoid wasting time and money.

4. Your Traffic is Increasing But Your Leases Aren’t

When your traffic is increasing, but the number of leads and leases aren’t, there’s a disconnect.

So what’s happening? Often times it can be a problem with your website’s design such as not having a call to action or some sort of technical issue.

However, the problem could also be that you’re not attracting the right type of renters for your apartment community.

Maybe your website is ranking for keywords like “cheap apartments in Baltimore”, but you’re actually a luxury apartment community. When people land on your site, it’s not what they were expecting so they click out without contacting you.

How to fix it: Look at the keywords people are using to find your website. You can find this in Google Webmaster Tools under Search Traffic > Search Analytics.

 Google Search Analytics

Even if you aren’t actively trying to rank for certain keywords, Google might still show your site because it feels it’s relevant. As a result, you attract the wrong type of renters.

You can fix this by making sure everything about your site appeals to your ideal renter. If your community consists of luxury units, include keywords like “luxury apartments in [city]” in your meta titles and descriptions, and within your content.

 Luxury Apartment Optimization

This makes it easier for Google to determine what searches are most relevant to your website. It may not completely eliminate the problem, but it’s a step in the right direction.

5. You Can’t Attribute Any Leads to Your Website

If you don’t have any type of tracking setup, you can’t accurately attribute new renters to your website or a specific content marketing campaign.

It’s not uncommon for apartment marketers to completely ignore tracking, and just look at incoming phone calls. But you have to remember that people can find your phone number through any number of ways.

When you set up tracking, you can see the exact path people are taking to on your website to get to the contact form. This allows you to see what pages or blog posts most of your traffic is converting from.

How to fix it: You can do basic tracking by setting up goals in Google Analytics. Here’s a helpful guide to get started.

 Google Analytics Goals

From Failure to Success

If you aren’t seeing the kind of return from your apartment content marketing and SEO as you’d like, look out for all the signs above.

Increase your chances of success by contacting us to learn how we can take your multifamily content marketing to new levels!

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