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September 13, 2023

This Genius Idea Will Fast-Track New Business Local SEO // Local Marketing Insider #067

A wonderful example of aligned incentives and digital + analog working together in harmony.

Hey! Welcome to Local Marketing Insider where 11,000+ local marketing professionals get better at reputation strategy & more with insights delivered 2x a month.

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Last week I was taking my first peek at a new thing in property management, the Revyse Community, and a post caught my eye:

“This SEO hack will get you to #1 on Google Maps faster.”


Some quality marketer jazz hands with this title. But, ok. Fine. I’ll read.

If you’re in the multifamily industry, you probably know the post’s author, Sydney Weber.

Her premise is very clever - it’s called the “Neighborhood Passport.”

A wonderful example of aligned incentives and digital + analog working together in harmony.

And lucky for us, she’s given me the okay to share with you today.

“There was NO WAY I could ever compete with the big ILSs for keywords like apartments,” 

Sydney writes. 

For LMI readers outside of property management, ILS = Integrated Listing Site (i.e. Apartments.com, Zillow, CarGurus, AutoTrader, etc.)

At the time, she was responsible for marketing a new apartment complex in Portland, OR - Meetinghouse.

Starting from scratch with a limited budget, she had to find a way to outmaneuver big players like Apartments.com.

“I figured if I didn't have money, I'd invest time. If I'm going to invest time, it needs to be worthwhile. I decided on SEO.”

Specifically, the one place high in search results free of ILSs - Maps.

Solid strategy, but…SEO takes time.

How she fast-tracked organic SEO is genius.

After getting core GBP optimizations in place - profile content, reviews - she focused on backlinks.

She created the Neighborhood Passport Program. 

The premise, Meetinghouse has set up a directory of deals where local businesses promote a deal to the community’s 200+ residents in exchange for a backlink to the community website. A win-win.

Quickly, backlinks went from 0 to 15.

“My domain authority shot up, and so did my rankings on Google Maps.”

The program made the local news and industry pubs.

Nice, Sydney. Nice.

Breaking down Sydney’s offer:

Your customers win… 

They get exclusive access to discounts at businesses relevant to them.

Partner businesses win… 

They get free marketing to a relevant group of customers.

You win...

By establishing your business in local search with backlinks, bringing visibility and more customers.

Fun fact: Originally, the project used a “paperback passport,” modeled off the real thing. 

At the time of the paperback, the program was limited to Meetinghouse residents. 

Today, it’s digital and open to the public.

“You don’t have to live at Meetinghouse apartments to become a passport subscriber or even live in Sellwood-Moreland to unlock coupons. We only require you love Sellwood-Moreland.”

In the theme of lease-ups, we just released a customer story profiling the Terra Group and its success in launching new buildings with help from Widewail. Shoutout to our client & friend, Alberto ✌️

If you've made it this far and are in automotive, we've been soft-launching our extensive report comparing the performance of Invite to automotive reputation benchmarks. Get it before anybody else here.

See you in 2 weeks - Jake, Marketing @ Widewail


Jake Hughes

I’m the Director of Marketing here at Widewail, as well as a husband and new dad outside the office. I'm in Vermont by way of Boston, where I grew the CarGurus YouTube channel from 0 to 100k subscribers. I love the outdoors and hate to be hot, so I’m doing just fine in the arctic Vermont we call home. Fun fact: I met my wife on the shuttle bus at Baltimore airport. Thanks for reading Widewail’s content!

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