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November 05, 2010

posted by: Carissa Drohan-Jennings

How Important Are the Keywords "Apartments for Rent"

“Apartments for rent” is possibly the most popular keyword among landlords today and most landlords use it when optimizing their pages.  They do this for a good reason.  That keyword phrase is perhaps the most popular keyword phrase used by renters when searching online for an apartment.  So what will you face when trying to compete for this set of keywords?


Going After “Apartments For Rent”

If you’re a landlord trying to market your apartments in a large urban center like Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver and you want to go after the keyword term “apartments for rent” then you’re looking at some fierce competition. The truth is, if you’re marketing in any major city, you’re going to be faced with a large number of other landlords fighting over the same set of keywords.  This will make it very difficult to rank high in the search engines, but it’s not impossible.  By using a combination of keyword focused writing, external backlinks and internal link structure, you can increase your positioning within the indexes.

For those landlords who don’t have the staff or time to commit to building up content or backlinks there are still two alternative solutions to generating increased traffic. 

1. Changing the Order of Your Keywords

Rearranging your keywords or using different sets of keywords will increase your exposure in the search engines. For example, optimizing various pages to target both “apartments in Toronto” and “Toronto apartments” will ensure you will be seen when both variations are typed in to the search box.

2. Chasing the Long Tail  – “Studio Apartment for Rent in Toronto”

You can also try to optimize some of your pages with less popular keyword phrases that are more descriptive.  This strategy is referred to as the “long tail”, and it is used to describe the targeting of less-competitive keyword sets, rather than the hugely competitive broad keywords.

Take the example “apartment for rent in Toronto” versus “Studio Apartment for Rent in Toronto”.  The first set of keywords may derive 30 percent more searches per month, but it is also highly competitive to rank upon.  The second set of keywords has less competition, but a decent amount of searches and therefore is easier to rank upon.  This provides the perfect opportunity for you to focus a select number of pages around that set of keywords.

This strategy can be used with numerous secondary keywords and the cumulative result is a healthy volume of monthly traffic. 


“Apartments for Rent in Cambridge”

Good news to all those landlords in the secondary and tertiary cities, you’ll be facing less competition for your keywords. This means you may be sitting on a goldmine of opportunity and it may be easier than you think to reach the top pages of the search results.  All you need to do is focus on your onsite optimization efforts.  If you structure your pages properly using the “city + apartments” in all the key places then you’ll probably reach the top of the search results fairly easily.  Just write and organize your pages around your desired searched term and then use the page like a landing page that directs visitors to your listings.


“Apartments for Rent” Is Still Important

Regardless of all of this alternate advice, it is still important to optimize for “Apartments for rent”.   If you choose to target any of these other keyword sets, do so using alternate landing pages on your website.  These pages can be anything such as a blog post, an article or a secondary listing page.  Just make sure that if you do a secondary listing page that you don’t duplicate your site content.  The engines will ding you for that.  Be careful to structure it like a unique page.