Depending on the source of your research, somewhere between 85% and 90% of people now turn to the Internet when shopping for business services. That’s why when it comes to reaching prospects, there’s simply nothing more important than building a strong Internet presence.
Here are six critical elements of an Internet footprint that will give you an edge over competitors:
1. Website optimization (SEO)
When owners search Google, Bing or Yahoo for someone to manage their properties, what determines what results appear first? Search engines rank results based on a number of constantly changing criteria. The more you understand and keep up with these criteria, and build or adjust your website accordingly, the better your odds of ranking higher.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is all about optimizing your website so that it appears as close to the top of the search results as possible when people search for property management. What the search engines look for foremost is relevance: does your website contain information that appears to match what the person is seeking? The search engine scans the pages of websites to identify language and elements that clue it in to whose content is most relevant.
Effective SEO makes sure the right language and elements are in the right places on your website, including not only text, but also things like titles and meta-descriptions. A website blog with regularly updated, useful information can also improve search rankings.
SEO gets technical quickly— that’s why savvy companies across all industries often enlist expert help to optimize their sites. The return on this investment in terms of generating leads can be huge.
2. Search engine advertising (SEM)
Even with a great SEO strategy it can take time to move up in search results. That’s where paid advertising on search engines, or “SEM,” comes in handy.
There are two kinds of ads you can run: those that appear alongside, below or above search results, and those that appear on websites that attract your target audience. The price you’ll pay per click is determined through ongoing competitive bidding for search terms, and terms people commonly search for cost more. Build a campaign that gets you the most leads for your money by determining which search terms are most cost-effective. Search engine research tools can help with this, reporting search volume and competition and price levels for various terms. And while it can take quite a while to move up in the unpaid or “organic” search results, you are able to pay more to have your message appear on the first page of results. As with SEO, it often pays off to have an expert help with SEM.
3. Social media
Social media channels such as Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn make up another important component of a strong web presence. And more and more, they’re becoming search engines in and of themselves.
Beyond this, a strong social media presence that’s strategically linked to the content of your website creates a synergistic effect Maintain a unified presentation of your brand across all your web-based promotional activities, including social media.
4. Fresh, engaging content
Maintaining an effective web presence is an ongoing commitment. This means publishing fresh, helpful content to your website and social media channels on a regular basis. On websites, this changing content usually appears in the form of a blog.
You want to be viewed as a leader in your market and a knowledgeable partner to property owners, and great original content helps to both engage prospects and increase search rankings.
Online reviews are the new “word of mouth,” and they’re play an important role in reaching prospects and new business. People routinely want to read what others have to say before choosing a product or service provider, and the major decision of where to live is no exception.
The most significant review sites are Google Reviews and Yelp. Don’t simply wait for people who admire your service to make the effort to write good reviews— it’s important to encourage them to share feedback. The stars that appear by your company name in search results influence your company’s reputation.
Links between your website, social media pages and third-party sites can also help improve your position in search results. There was a time when businesses simply created, traded for and paid for as many links as possible to influence the search engines. Search engine algorithms have been adjusted and made this strategy ineffective, and they now also penalize the cramming of important keywords into your website copy. There’s plenty of information on Google about what sort of link strategies do work – or you can consult with an expert.
The importance of a strong web presence in finding new customers simply can’t be overstated. But your competitors know this too, and they’re fighting for the same attention online that you are. That’s why it pays to invest the time and money to do it right. Interested in learning more? Visit us online to learn how Propertyware Digital Marketing will grow your single family business.