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Top 3 SEO Mistakes Made on Property Management Sites

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not as sexy to talk about as social media. But the reality is that the best and fastest way to increase leads and decrease costs is to make sure your site is optimized properly. Here's some marketing steak to go along with the sizzle. At this point, the cat is pretty much out of the bag that website drive-bys turn into leads for Internet Listing Sites. Is this happening to you? Here’s how to tell: Type in the name of your community and then the name of your community followed by the city and state abbreviations. If you see organic and paid search results ahead of your website, it's time for an SEO tune up. Below, find three major SEO mistakes I find on property management sites that limit their ability to rise to the top of search results when people type in their community name . . . and how to fix them. Tune up your title tag. The title tag populates the title bar, which is what you see at the top of your browser window. In addition to being a vitally important piece of the SEO equation, title tags are also used as the heading of search engine results. If you don't have the name of your community as well as the city and state abbreviation in your title tag, it will be almost impossible to show up before your ads on ILSs. Having extra words (e.g. the name of your property management......
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Mobile-Friendly Websites In Demand

Is your property website mobile-friendly?Nielson reports that the use of mobile devices to browse the web increased 34% from July 2008 to July 2009 (56.9 million). Are you alienating these users from viewing your website? If prospects pass your office and attempt to see more property information from their phones, will they be able to do so?Why is a mobile site so important?The rapid adaptation of the mobile web is leaving many companies behind.  Although Nielson projects that the majority of mobile phones by 2011 in the U.S. will be smartphones, many companies aren't making the investment in mobile websites.   eMarketer predicts that by 2013, nearly 50% of mobile phone users will access the mobile Internet at least monthly.All companies should consider making the effort to establish a mobile site that is easy-to-use on the go. Mobile research is not only used by Generations X and Y, even seniors are increasingly using the Internet. According to Focalyst over half of Americans ages 62-71 online. With the increase in smartphone sales, it won't be long before seniors start using mobile devices for browsing the Web. Why not make it as easy as possible for prospects to learn more about your property?From rent research, to maps and directions, there are many opportunities for you to engage your audience where your competitors do not.Here are some tips to make your website more mobile-friendly:Many people use their phones for finding directions, be sure this option is clearly visible and user-friendly so you don't miss a walk-in opportunity.Phone screens are small, space is a commodity.......
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Episode 19 - The ILS Conundrum

This may come as a shock, but I've been thinking. After the Rent.com debacle, I started thinking about the ILS models in general. I've shared some of my thoughts about ILS's in a MFI discussion (click here) before, but here are some more ideas and I want yours please. Tell us what you want to see. How do you want to see the ILS's change?

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMXtv5SG-7U 444x350]

As seen @ Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd

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Putting the Cart Before the Horse

How did we get from search engines to social media? It's been a long journey.We know that the fastest way to improve your search engine rankings is to pay a couple of thousands of dollars to a Search Engine Optimization consultant to tell you how to clean up the title and description tags and content on your page and to get your webmaster to follow through. The second investment you make is to build unique and compelling content. That's what we did for customers in 2005.We know that getting inbound links helps search engine rankings. We used to write press releases and put them on sites like prweb.com, or if we had the budget, prnewswire.com. We also wrote unique content and put them on sites like articlecity.com. This was called PR and article marketing, respectively, and that was so 2006.We believed that providing information about moving resources and local business information would be a great amenity for residents. We launched cartandhorse.com and then followed up with a property-specific version with 5000 business reviews, called eRetriever, in 2007. We got 160 properties to sign on in the Philadelphia metro area, but it didn't take off nationally... and the service was free.cart/horseAnd now, we're doing exactly the same things with Respage, only this time the content management system is called a blog and we're syndicating through sites like Twitter and Facebook. In 2009, we call it Social Media Optimization and Social Media Marketing. But has the concept really changed?Back then, the cart was......
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What's So Special About Free Rent?

  In a recent seminar at Columbus Apartment Association, Kate Good, National Speaker, Marketer and Creative Consultant for the multifamily industry, gave a speech regarding the current effects of the economy on the multifamily housing sector.  I read pieces of the speech and was enthralled by the data collected by Ms. Good and the points about the changing face of the renter.  However, one of the observations, the increase of specials and concessions offered in today's market was very concerning.  .  According to Ms. Good, approximately 70% of communities nationwide are offering concessions, everything from one month to four months free.  You can view this blog written by Chrissy Wills at http://kategoodblog.blogspot.com/.I have spoken to many people in the industry and found they are divided about specials and concessions offered by communities.  I guess you can say they are "necessary evils".  I say this because renters are researching communities more effectively now than they did even five years ago.  As prospects click on the homepage for apartment communities they are immediately greeted by pop-ups about free rent.  Now, I am seeing the internet coupon used.  By the way, I think internet coupons are a smart way to track traffic.   Without specials and free rent, some potential renters are skipping the community altogether.  It's the WIIFM effect.  In my opinion, giving away so much free rent undermines the integrity of the pricing scheme at the community.  Why not re-evaluate the rent scheme and compete with your competition on market rent instead of......
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Use Local Content to Your Advantage

TurnSocial screenshot on UrbaneApts.comIf you're like a lot of us, you're working hard to extend your company's web presence beyond your website. You're probably using blogs, social networking sites, and more.By the time you're done (if that's even possible), you might have dozens of websites that house content and/or spark conversations about your company – Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Yelp, etc. This is a good thing. Casting a wider net gives you more opportunities to get/stay in front of current and prospective customers, and content from peers is always more powerful than romance copy from marketers. However, while this might make your business easier to find, it creates another problem as your brand's online presence becomes increasingly decentralized. How can you show off your brand's personality and your social media prowess to someone who stumbles upon your website from one of your ILS ads? Many websites and blogs now feature that standard row of social media icons that seems to scream "We're one of the cool kids, too!" These aren't bad, but they don't really tell the visitor much, other than the fastest way to leave your site and play on Facebook. There is also a number of companies that want to aggregate the content of other brands (like yours) to give their users a full view of what people are saying about your brand. So what am I getting at? [Warning: Blatant sales pitch ahead.] We want to provide marketers with an easy way to share social media content with visitors to your website,......
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Building Your Online Brand - #4 / Episode 15 - Building Content

Creating content is a beast. I wrote a guest post on the Firebelly Marketing blog a few weeks ago about how it is so challenging to create the content. What's it take? I have a few thoughts. This is part 4 to Building Your Online Brand and Episode 15 all in one.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0w7vhwYvjY 400x300] 

as seen @ Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd

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Some Thoughts (a change from the original title)

The term "Web 3.0" is not new as people have been discussing the concept for at least the last 3 years. Arguably, Web 3.0 hasn't truly been defined yet at this point either. However, I've read about many that define it as the evolution of online information and how it is collected, shared, and found. Numerous definitions point to the "Semantic Web", while others have different opinions on what Web 3.0 looks like or if it will ever be a term used to define anything. From what I can tell, the concept seems to all revolve around search and how it continues to become more dynamic. Whether it's breaking down silos and using open APIs from Twitter and the upcoming Google Wave or utilizing Mobile and Geography as it is relevant to an individual or group, Web 3.0 is more than blogging, being on facebook, or hyper-targeting. It's about making information more fluid. As we explained in our "Building Your Online Corporate Mullet" presentation, using the online "Web 2.0" social networking tools can be a means for building search results.  While many view these tools as ways to market, build relationships, or connect, we must all also understand that using keywords and brand names is critical for search today and as the Internet evolves.  Websites like Rentwiki.com are built off of this concept of future search and socializing their site.  Tackling the web can be a daunting task for many.  As I have done for J.C. Hart and Eric Brown has......
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Building Your Online Corporate Mullet

Yesterday was a lot of fun.  Realpage was very gracious to invite us to speak at their 2009 user conference, and we ended up having standing room only for our presentation.  Very humbled for the excellent turnout and kudos to Kate Good and Lisa Trosien for recommending our session during their presentations.

When thinking of what to speak about I somehow immediately thought of this concept my good friend Duncan Alney, with Firebelly Marketing, had been brainstorming about, The Corporate Mullet.  It's a metaphor for your business and how wearing some business up front and a party in the back is a great way to build a brand and relationships offline and online.  We focused on building the corporate mullet online specifically for the apartment industry, and used case studies from Urbane Apartments, J.C. Hart Company, and some non-apartment industry companies.  Below is our slide show sharing some of our data.  If you have any questions about our presentation please feel free to write a comment or email me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your day.

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Is Social Media Stretching You Out?

Let me preface this post by saying that I wrote about half of it a week ago and decided to sleep on it to see if I was just in a funk or if my thoughts have changed. Some recent readings have allowed me to make some revisions and additions so I can let ‘er fly. I will apologize up front for the length of the post, but it is what it is. No video this time, just The Apartment Nerd in black and white. Enjoy.Recently I have felt super stretched for the time to dedicate to blogs, twitter, email, and just my regular job and personal life. It’s been frustrating to not read blogs that I used to somehow find time to read and comment on, and to find myself getting buried in emails that require my attention but don’t get the immediate response they probably deserve. Then, by chance, I saw a tweet this weekend by Jeremiah Owyang*. He linked to the most recent post on his Web Strategy blog speaking to the scalability of humans. While he references how difficult it is for his peers online and in the blog world to scale what they do as they grow and do more, I think we can look at this as an example for why online Social Media and Social Networking is so challenging for anyone.A couple weeks ago Lisa Trosien had an interesting post with "Maybe It Should Really Be Called Social NOTworking?" After commenting, feeling the way......
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