Like technology itself, search engine optimization is a constant work in progress that twists and contorts with each new innovation. But some SEO best practices remain the same as tech continues to chug along.
Those who strike the balance of meshing existing methods with evolving concepts will have the most success in their SEO efforts and draw the most users to their websites. Here’s an inventory of what hasn’t changed – and what has – on the SEO front.
What hasn’t changed
Google’s overall goal is the same as it has always been: to find the best content to answer a user’s question. While Google constantly modifies its algorithm to find those answers, the overriding objective of providing the most relevant answers should always be the primary tactic when constructing an SEO strategy.
Fundamental practices should never be abandoned. That includes using ALT attributes for every image, designing compelling meta descriptions & title tags and writing with keywords for optimization. When incorporating keywords, remember that the practice is only effective if the keywords are incorporated into relevant content in a way that doesn’t feel contrived.
Make certain that your site has an updated security certificate. Nothing is more off-putting than landing on a site that gives you the message: “there is a problem with this website’s security certificate.”
What has changed
While Google’s primary objective of finding the most relevant answers remains unchanged, the tool has become more adept at perceiving a searcher’s true intent. That puts the onus on the industry to understand the renter journey as thoroughly as possible and to provide the detailed answers users are searching for. The next step is to optimize community sites with those answers, and to understand the progression of what prospective renters might ask after questions Nos. 1 and 2.
Device-centric optimization is key. In the past, websites were designed to look sharp on a desktop. Scrolling through sites on a mobile device was awkward because they were meant to look best on a larger, more rectangular screen. But a transition has occurred in recent years and now sites are more commonly designed to look best on mobile devices first. Part of that effort includes a scroll format (think Facebook style) where content continues to appear as a user scrolls down, rather than requiring users to click through several different pages. Today, more than 50 percent of web traffic is mobile, so optimizing sites for mobile searches is critical to success.
Voice is trending upward for search as a whole. And while this feature has yet to be fully scaled within multifamily, more than ever, searchers aren’t even typing into the digital keyboards on their mobile devices. They are using voice commands to search for “two-bedroom apartments in Glendale.” Apartment operators can remain one step ahead of the curve by keeping their listings optimized for voice search. Additionally, many technology providers are integrating with companies like YEXT to prepare for the future of voice search in the multifamily industry.
Like developing a new apartment community that deftly incorporates the history of the neighborhood with deluxe new-school amenities, SEO is a balancing act. Those who properly blend old with the new will achieve the best results.