Q and A: How do I rank well for a term like ‘apartments’ ?

QuestionDear Kalena…

I’m on the verge of starting an apartment mega site mixed with social networking kind of like Rent.com meets Myspace, where people can list property for rent, etc.

I need tons of traffic and was going to start this off strong by targeting the keyword “apartments”. I have heard from many people to go more targeted but I need the massive traffic as I will be running Adsense as well. What would be the perfect way to tackle this?

I currently have someone writing 1,000+ articles with the keyword and derivative of it so I’m set in that arena.

Thanks again and any help would be greatly appreciated.


Hi Cathy,

The first challenge any SEO faces isn’t how to improve the rankings of a website, but more-so how to manage the clients expectations.

While I acknowledge the need for massive amounts of traffic for your website to work effectively, it’s also important to remember that taking-on very generic keywords and wanting to compete with highly authoritative websites will take a lot of time and money. There is no cheap or easy way to accomplish this and if you don’t have a substantial (and really, that’s my polite way of saying HUGE) marketing budget covering a mix of both online and offline advertising along with the patience of a Tibetan Monk, you’d better stop reading here.

At the time of composing this post, there are roughly 181,000,000 sites indexed by Google.com for the word apartments. Rent.com has over 9,000,000 inbound links. The number one site ranked for the term ‘apartments’ has over 11,000,000 inbound links and the sites in the other top 5 each have well over 100,000 inbound links (all according to Yahoo’s Site Explorer).

So the first challenge will be finding a way to attract over 100,000 good quality links.

The next challenge will be the age of your website – each of the top sites in this niche have been around for over 10 years. Google looks at the age of a site as a sign of trust and authority, so if you setup a brand new website on a brand new domain name, it could take years before Google even considers your site in the same league as the sites you’re targeting.

Google’s Traffic Estimator tool suggests that advertisers are paying up to $3 per click for the word ‘apartments’ and the recommended daily budget (as suggested by Google) to achieve the maximum number of clicks through their PPC system would be approximately $39,820. This would bring you anywhere between 21,819 – 27,364 click every day.

So if that’s the amount of traffic you’re hoping for – it’s simply a matter of putting aside $1,200,000 a month on Adwords.

Now the Yahoo! and Google data above is bound to change and should only be used as a guide, but based on this information, it clearly indicates that a few thousand keyword-rich articles and a well optimised site isn’t going to cut it.

My advice would be to focus on more specific keywords (perhaps targeting different locations), try and create a range of viral/linkbait articles that will help generate slightly higher-than-normal link quantity while building relationships with other prominent (and industry-relevant) sites to get the link quality in there. To utilise social media effectively, you should also start to build an online profile within some of major networks and start creating genuine connections with people through comments, guest blogging, submitting other great articles (not written by you) etc.

Be prepared to pay for some online advertising through systems like Adwords and banner advertising or sponsorship deals with other high-volume sites. And although I probably shouldn’t be endorsing offline advertising on an SEO blog, you should also use mainstream media to gain greater exposure for your brand.

If you consistently roll-out great content, focus on managable keywords, form the right partnerships with the right websites, be prepared to put in the time-and-effort with social media and embrace the old adage “you have to spend money to make money”… in a few years time, you might be in a better position to try and tackle the major players.

If all this seems like too much hard work… maybe making money online isn’t for you.

Hope this helps!

Peter Newsome
SiteMost SEO Brisbane

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