I had an email this morning from a client in NSW Australia requesting more information on a new website we were about to start build. It went….

“Hi Glen,

Thank you for your patience. It has been a busy week. The good thing we noticed about your websites is they rank really well in google search results. This is one of the attractions engage in the service you have offered to rebuild the website. Is this because of your linking or seo codes, words. Is it possible that by you rebuilding our website we will gain a better position on google, perhaps even on the first page of results for Accommodation in Nelson Bay or Port Stephens?  Is there any SEO included in the price?

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The point is that this client, as do many, see SEO as a commodity, something you just buy off the shelf which anyone who has gone down this path would totally understand isn’t true…

so in a very straight from the keyboard… here is my response.

Hi ……

This morning you would have received your SEO report, basically showing you have no search engine presence.

Search engine presence is an interesting phenomenon, its not just one element, its a combination and there is no clear cut answer other than to do as much as you can of all the possible things as good as you can but there is no magic bullet like there was in the early years of 2000.

seo_micIs there any SEO in the $price quoted for the website, short answer is yes and no. The website is setup and built in a way that should you do the correct things properly, SEO is included, if you don’t then the answer is no. You must go into each of your properties and enter the appropriate SEO info, Rental Meta Tags under the website TAB under properties at a minimum.

The age of your domain plays a role, “how long has this domain been live” Google seems to take great joy in penalising new business, this has been well documented under the Google Sandbox.

One thing I can assure you is you won’t rise up the search engines, that is google won’t lift your site up the search engines if there is no organic traffic going there ” what if people cannot find me how can they get to my site ” I hear you say.  It is probably worth mentioning at this stage that Google’s largest source of revenue is from Google Adwords , so frustrate the new client to the world of web into spending per click with Google.

This is where Genkan helps on several fronts;

1.  The enquiry email. 

You send the email to prospective guests, they click on the link, that creates regular organic traffic to your site. Using the Stayz PM solution is great here because you get regular enquiries by email which you can respond.

2. The booking manager

Again using the reminder emails and then getting your guests to book and pay online, you send them a link to pay or update their booking, creating natural organic traffic.

3. Surveys

Sending a emails post stay then getting your guests to complete a survey at your site,  creates natural organic traffic.

4. Email marketing campaigns

Sending email marketing campaigns to your database directing them to your website creates natural organic traffic.

Organic Traffic

So Google can now see organic traffic. What else are they looking for  ? 

They want to see people coming from social media places such as Facebook, what they are testing you on is “ are you a real business” 

A question for you … does using a hotmail or gmail email address indicate to google that you are a real business or a pretend ?  Does having a http ( non secure site ) indicate to google that you are a real business or a pretend where a https is possible.

Is your business trading name the same name that’s registered with the domain ?

All little factors but part of the test.

Ensure that you choose a website template that immediately convinces the new arrival to your site that they can do what they came there for. If they are looking for accommodation make sure they can see that they can search book and pay. Everyone is complaining about the OTA’s but what are they doing about it, 90% are playing into their arms and surrendering. Too many ( I believe ) are convinced having a site that looks like AirBnB will get them the same success. WRONG !! 

AIRBNB, STAYZ, HOMEAWAY & BOOKING.COM have already done the hard yards, they have the traffic and therefore they can build sites with this level of design.

Your website homepage design should have at a minimum  400 words in an order that creates relevancy. I can assure you that if I took my high ranking Thredbo Accommodation website and replaced all the words with a large picture I would be off page one in a week.

Google are measuring the time visitors to your site, stay at your site. Unfortunately sometimes the book and pay and surveys above” detracts this score because they only ( possibly ) visit one page and leave.

seo-jigsaw-882x480The enquiry email hopefully engages the visitor to your site and when they get to the property page have great photos that they want to see and watch all of, have a video walkthrough, floor plans that they can study. 

Mobile

Mobile devices, I am not going to rehash all the continuous facts and figures on the increasing usage of mobile. Of course its fact but there is a very conflicting argument here that no one really is in agreeance. My personal opinion and in our business of where the guest has to search, research, compare, book and pay that responsive mobile sites do not work. That’s my opinion. The answer is a fully functional dedicated mobile site that mirrors your website with all the corresponding content. Google might prefer a responsive site but if its a user nightmare experience .. whats the point ? It may pass all the Google insight tests but whats the point if it cannot achieve its goal and I havent seen any user benefit from a responsive mobile site nor have I seen anyone loose rankings by having a properly built mobile site.

All these elements contribute to the final answer which is will for my efforts lift my site up the rankings because  apart from Google testing you on are you a real business they are also testing your site on the relevancy of how it relates to a particular search term. If your site isn’t relevant to what the search term is, then your going no where.  So visitors staying at your site, property pages because there are great photos, all the information, YouTube, floor plans tells google the search was correct. Google want to be successful also.

Links is very debatable but I believe in it and have proven in very recent times that this is an important element. The easiest way is to find places/websites where you can enter your email/website and name at someones blog. Genkan has a blog, go there make a comment and you will get a link back to your website. Too easy but how many do it ?

The last is creating additional unique and interesting content that visitors to your site might share. This is tough and sometimes can go a long time with no reward but others are doing it, help them out, see www.moretonislandrealestate.com.au comment on the blog, or share it.

there is a community out there but most are too lazy or content to be working in their business rather than on it.

And that’s the secret, find time to work on growing the business rather than spending every hour possible in it. Use the Genkan tools to automate processes, take the opportunity to allow the ego to say, lets do it another way because this is the biggest hurdle facing holiday rental managers, go with the flow rather than swim against the tide. Far too many PM’s are stuck in their ways and won’t accept change or possibly a superior way of doing things.

After all we are a marketing business that does cleaning.

Glenn