In our series of How to…. blogs, we are going to take you through some of the fundamentals of getting the most out of your website and how to maximize the potential returns from it. This week, it’s how to maximise your SEO efforts for your vacation rental agency…..
If you’re anything like us, you’ll open your inbox every morning to a wave of emails promising “first page of Google on a budget” or how a marketing agency has a “special relationship with Google” and can get you a better return in the organic listings. But the truth is, you don’t need to have a budget, small or large, or a falsified bond to the search giant, you simply need to follow a basic set of rules and practices.
The Google algorithm looks at over 350 different factors on your website to determine how relevant it is for a particular search, and thus in what position and on what page it is returned for that query. But with a few changes and a focus on the rules of the game, you can easily start to see a rise in the prominence of your site.
Of the 350 factors, the three most important go get right from the very beginning are content, inbound links and internal links. In the last two years, Google has made significant changes to the algorithm which orders its search returns, which has caused some sites to flourish and some to plummet from the face of the first page. These changes are dubbed as Algorithm Updates by Google, and always given odd names by the online community. The last two major updates were Panda in 2011 and Penguin in 2012.
Panda was focused on targeting sites that used content that could be found on other websites on the web, it assigned one “Author” of the content and all others who had identical content to that were downgraded, with some sites reporting an 80% loss in their search visibility. Penguin was more focused on inbound links, how many you have pointing to your site and the quality of them. It also targeted keyword-focused URL’s, so for example “holidayrentalagency-italy.it” would start to rank better than “johnsvenitianchoices.it” if other criteria on the former also gave them reason to be bumped up the search returns.
So what can you do to make your site get better results?
It’s worth giving some real thought to your content strategy. Get a list of phrases that you want to rank well for (and be realistic, if you’re a small agency in Paris then ‘holiday in Paris’ might be a little ambitious) and then create landing pages around those keywords (this is very easy to do on a Kigo website) with the phrase within the body of the copy around 4 to 5 times and the page title as the phrase itself. It’s important that all the content on your site is unique, if it’s not you will not see an improvement for those pages. Start giving more information about the area that you are promoting property for, make your site a rich resource for users to learn about the places they can visit, profile local attractions and points of interest, point out restaurants and bars guests can visit. The more your site offers in terms of content, the better the user experience for your visitors and the more Google sees you as a website of value.
These are links coming from other sites than your own. It’s important to have a number of these pointing to your site. Think of them like votes of confidence, a link is a way of one website passing credibility to another, pushing its users to look at something else that they think will be useful to them.
Another thing to consider is the profile of your inbound links. PageRank is a value given to every site on the internet by Google (the Chrome plugin PageRank Status is really useful for finding this out for each site) and the sites that link to you should be of varying page rank. You should essentially have a pyramid of links, a few links from high PageRank sites, more from middle PageRank sites and many more from lower PageRank sites, ideally, but it’s best to start off with the lower numbers of higher quality links first. It’s also worth noting that links should always come from relevant websites, so something within the travel sector or closely related to it.
Internal Link Structure
It’s also important to make sure that the landing pages you create are not just standalone attempts at getting visibility for that phrase, but part of an interlinked web of rich content for the user. So make sure that your pages link out to each other where relevant and show to Google just what a great resource you site really is. Obviously, you will want to be careful if you have optimized for conversion already, as you won’t want customers drifting too far from the conversion funnel, but your landing pages should, ideally, contain links both for SEO and usability purposes.
So there are three key elements to get right from the start. It’s not too late to get this started even if your site has not had much done to it so far, and you will really see a difference once you start. Google is focused on its users, so if you’ve got a website full of rich, interlinked content, with reinforcement of other sites through links, then your site is in a great place as a start. A whole industry has been born out of this topic, and there are so many other elements to consider, but these key three components are a crucial place to start when looking at vacation rental website marketing. We might just cover the other elements in future “How to…..” guides…….
Are you on the lookout for a new vacation rental website fully optimized to aid your SEO efforts? Kigo can create one with the best vacation rental software & channel manager on the market today to help you to manage your online presence. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the phone (Spain) +34 512 702 105 ‧ (France) +33 1 84 17 04 18 ‧ (USA) +1 (786) 292-0030
Download our overview of SEO services.