Know Your Customer

How SEO Benefits Holiday Homes

Your website exists to help potential guests find your property. So how do potential guests find your website?

Well of course there are many ways. Through social media posts,  perhaps from printed business cards or flyers that you have prepared. Or maybe you have other online agencies or business directories that will direct interested people straight on over to your website. The greatest opportunity available to you though is from people using Google or Bing to search for their holiday home. This later option is what we are going to focus on here.

Realistic Expectations

Owners Websites will only offer you realistic expectations and achievable solutions to improve your Search Engine Performance. Many ‘specialist’ Search Engine Optimisation ‘experts’ adopt different practices.

Please take the time to read  this article before making a decision on choosing someone to improve your Search Engine Performance. We’ll also cover how people are searching for Holiday Rentals online and what can be done to optimise your website accordingly. You can broadly identify your potential website visitors as ‘Implusives‘, ‘Browsers‘ and ‘Bargain Hunters‘ as we explain below:

Group 1 – Impulsives

Some people don’t have time to spend searching. They will be happy going to the first agency they find on Google, scroll through the accommodation options available, won’t question the booking fees and leave having made their booking in one brisk transaction. 

Group 2 – The Browsers

Others recognise the first five listings on Google as advertisements and consequently ignore them, starting their search half way down Page 1, clicking through to Page 2 or 3 of Google clicking in and out of properties they might be interested in. They may be shortlisting properties rather than picking the first one that looks of interest.

Group 3 – Bargain Hunters

And then there are the savvy bargain hunters – the go compare generation. Those that use the agencies to find / shortlist properties and then spend a little time making further searches to see if they can get a better deal by booking direct and cutting out the booking fees.

How do I appear in front of ‘Impulsive’ customers?

The “easy” (and expensive) way to appear in front of these customers is to run an Google Adword campaign – basically pay Google to promote your site.

To organically appear towards the top of Google requires a basic understanding of how Google ranks websites. In simple terms:

Google ranks every website with a score loosely based on trustworthiness. This score is called Domain Authority. A website like the BBC and Google itself for example will have very high scores as they are visited by millions of people, have existed for many years and have lots of other (relevant and reputable) websites linked to them.

Conversely a brand new website with no other websites linking to it, with no visitor history will start off with a zero Domain Authority (DA). As the website gets older, receives more visitors and gains links from other websites, its DA score increases enabling it to slowly climb up the search rankings.

You can influence the growth of your DA score by promoting your website on social media. You can also hire a PR company to promote your holiday rental or advertise in an online magazine article for example in order to build quality links to your website. 

Choosing A Specialist

If you already manage a website for your Holiday Home or any other business for that matter, no doubt your email’s inbox, or spam folder, will already have been approached or even bombarded by messages from SEO “Specialists”. 

When you read between the lines of these emails they all seem to say things like this

  1. “Hello. I am unbelievably friendly”
  2. “I don’t know anything about you, your company or who your customers are”
  3. “I can get you on the first page of Google”
  4. “The reason why I don’t tell you my company name is because if you ‘Googled’ me you wouldn’t find me on the first page of Google”

Hopefully you won’t have already chosen one of these enthusiasts to manage your SEO for you. Below we’ll explain how their promise to get your business on the first page of Google actually works

“The First Page Of Google”

Without wishing to appear pedantic, it is of course rather obvious that there is no one first page, there are an almost unlimited number of first pages all depending on whatever it is you are searching for.

So when speaking to your SEO expert make sure you are both on the same page! If you want to rank highly for “affordable Peak District Holiday Cottage” for example, this will require some effort from your expert. This is because these are competitive keywords meaning there are other businesses already optimising their websites for these searches.

Your expert’s promise may not be to get your Holiday Home ranking on Page One for these keywords. Instead, how they intend to achieve their claim of getting you to Page One is by optimising your website for more obscure keywords – words so obscure that people may not in fact be using them! So expect something along  the lines of being on Page One for someone searching exactly for “charming low priced Holiday Home in Buxton”.

Hmmn… you might get the odd visit but we imagine more people would be searching for affordable Peak District Cottage somehow.

Whoever you choose to manage your SEO, make sure you can talk to them, find out who they are and agree an achievable approach. Your expert will need to be using sophisticated SEO software, so make sure you ask them to demonstrate that the keywords your Holiday Home is to be ranking highly for are actually being used in the real world.

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