As many of you already know, the apartment industry experiences change often. Whether it’s a change in ownership or management, apartments change almost as often as Google’s search algorithm.
But how often is your website marketing an afterthought to a recent acquisition or change of hand?
Understandably, some things may be lower on your priority list when getting your new property on its feet; however, asking these questions too late in the process can create more headache than it’s worth in the end. Not considering the following questions first can hinder SEO efforts down the road. Be sure to ask yourself these vital questions when ready to remarket a newly acquired property:
Does a website currently exist? It may seem like a no-brainer to start here, but it’s worth a quick Google search to see what is already out on the web for your property. This is an important step in determining whether or not you’ll need to start from scratch or if you’ll need to start asking the past owner or management company for the correct login credentials for the domain or assets for the website (logos, floor plan files, etc.). The main reason here is that you do not want to be unknowingly competing against yourself on the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) by having an old website still lingering on the web somewhere. If at all possible you’ll want to reuse this domain. Chances are the existing domain has been indexed by Google several times and has had some time to build up backlinks to and from other places on the Internet. My vote is to always reuse the old domain if you still have access to it. Which leads us to our next question…
Can I access the domain? Before the property changes hands completely, you should ask the previous management company if they have login access to the domain (URL). A lot of the time I’ll see instances where “John Smith” was the original domain owner, but is no longer with the company and has failed to pass this vital information on to his colleagues prior to his departure. In most cases, you’ll more than likely need to start with a brand new domain. Unfortunately, this can lead to a duplication issue by having more than one website for the same property. This leaves prospect’s lost and confused as to which is the “real” website, referring to outdated pricing and information. You may be missing out on leads altogether because prospects are trying to contact the old PMC instead of you.
Similarly, search engines will struggle with this same issue of authenticity.
Search engines like to bring users to the most accurate information possible.
If the old website cannot be taken down, you’ll be competing against your own property for coveted spots on the SERPs.
In summary, best case scenario – you can reuse the original domain and pass whatever “link juice” already exists to the new website; however, if your website does need a new domain, remember to update all instances of the old URL to the new everywhere on the web: social media , local business listings, and ILS listings. Then start building up that great content to help “dilute” the older domain. Creating a new domain for an existing property website potentially creates more problems and confusion, so if possible, put in the work ahead of time to track down and keep the original domain name for your apartment website.