First, the basics. Understanding how Google and other search engines rank sites will help put a blog’s role in perspective. We’ll refer to Google for simplicity’s sake, but these rules apply to all search engines.
Google’s goal is to provide the best search experience for its users. When someone types in “baltimore md apartments,” it sorts through data from billions of web pages and displays what it thinks is most relevant. It considers web page text as well as elements like the number of title tags and anchor text links; their quality; how sites link to the page and numerous other factors, including data collected from previous user visits. Google’s ever-changing algorithm crunches all this data and presents the “best” search results.
When this was written, the organic search results for “baltimore md apartments” included pages from eight Internet Listing Sites (ILS), Apartmentratings.com and craigslist. Increasingly, we are seeing property management and community sites appear on the first page. In this case, pages from property management assets account for 50% of the second results page. (That said, many Respage customers are seeing 50%+ of visits coming from search engines. These searches are often for variations of property names, or for events, restaurants or subjects that we’ve blogged about.)
These results makes sense. A person searching for “baltimore md apartments” probably wants property listings. The best way for you to generate better earch engine placement is to regularly tweak your marketing site pages. Google seems to prefer dynamic sites, meaning sites that change frequently. Integrating your most recent blog headlines is the perfect way to make your pages more dynamic, and these updates happen automatically, with no work from you. In addition to helping with SEO, headline integration helps improve the end user experience by showing residents and prospects what’s happening at your community.
People will search for your name, and there’s tremendous value in capturing that traffic. If you’re paying for leads or leases, you don’t want to lose one prospect who drives by your community and searches for you online. ILSs get paid for generating leads and leases that result from drive-bys; maintaining additional web pages can help you cut out the middle man. Additional web pages can also help you close leases, as renters visit them during due diligence. Social media pages and blogs help you capture more of this traffic, and present your community in a different, more personal light.
How Respage Blogs Can Help
As a Respage customer, you can host your blog on Respage or on your own site — e.g., blog.mycommunityname.com. Some customers are concerned that they won’t build traffic to their own websites unless the blog is installed on their own domain. But we think it’s more important to measure overall traffic to your web assets, and to date, customers hosted on Respage are generating more inbound traffic — possibility benefiting from the size and popularity of the Respage site. That said, if it’s important for you to have the blog hosted on your domain, we can make it happen for a small additional setup fee and five minutes of help from your IT team.
Respage is a flexible and cost-effective source of blogging services. We write and post content on a community’s behalf, generating significant free traffic and supporting search engine rankings.
Further, Respage blog posts become a permanent part of our client’s web presence. Residents can reference the blog to learn about neighborhood restaurants and events, which is especially helpful to new residents.
Respage is designed as a full-service community building tool that helps you communicate and engage with prospects and residents through social networks. Although there are measurable SEO benefits, Respage is best used to complement your overall SEO plan, which should begin with regular changes to your marketing website and plans to generate links.