Why is it so hard to get my community on Page 1 of Google? Why doesn’t anyone click on my organic listings? Why does Google change its algorithm so often?
While the questions about SEO are infinite, the answers are often cryptic. Google doesn’t share much about its algorithm for good reason – sharing would cause abuse. However, there are tips and tricks that can help.
What to Consider When Starting Your Own SEO Program
- SEO is not a replacement for advertising. It’s true that prospective renters are more apt to click on an organic search result than a Google ad. But often the first or second link on the search results page is from an internet listing the community paid for, not a community website. According to Slingshot SEO, 28 percent of organic clicks go to the first and second links and only 7 percent go to the third link.
- Inventory matters. Put yourself in the position of an apartment shopper. If you do a search for Atlanta apartments, you expect the search engine results to show the sites that have the most Atlanta apartments and the most relevant information first. That’s what Google’s algorithm is thinking. Unless you have dozens of communities in Atlanta or a huge site loaded with relevant content, your community website probably is not going to make the top two spots. Internet listing services will likely own those first few spots because they have dozens of Atlanta apartment communities as well as expansive information that’s relevant to potential renters, such as blogs and social sites. According to Slingshot SEO, 75 percent of users never scroll past the first page of search results. If you can’t get on the first page, your chances of a click are very small.
- It’s not free. As the great economists like to say, “there are no free lunches.” SEO takes time, a lot of time. You have to research SEO practices or hire a vendor, identify keywords, incorporate them into your copy correctly, monitor your placement, rework your copy to get better placement, continually develop more copy, change your site copy regularly, start a blog to increase the amount of copy and more. In short, SEO is more of a “slow burn” than a “quick fix.”.
- You need an expert. Whether they’re on your corporate team or a vendor you hire, an expert is a necessity. Google changes its algorithm constantly. The expert’s job is to figure it out and provide guidance on how to adjust your copy to improve your placement on the search engine results page. Without an expert, it will take significantly longer to adjust your copy to meet Google’s new requirements, which can also result in penalties or lower rankings on the results pages. That means lost leads and leases for months at a time.
Having the answers for SEO is the holy grail of internet marketing. If you choose to embark on it, be prepared to spend significant time and money on it. But don’t divert resources from internet marketing tactics that work.