Recently, I finally got around to placing my Sonoma vacation rental in Yahoo’s business listings. Now, just 2 weeks later, if you go to Yahoo! and search for “sonoma vacation rental” – there I am, first page, on the map, with a link to my Sonoma Square Cottage website.
That alone is pretty cool, but what’s even better is that I’ve gotten inquiries from this one step I took – and it was simple and free. Getting ranked on the first page of a Yahoo! search is such a great success story, that I wanted to share with everyone how I did it.
Step One: Go to Yahoo! Local and sign up.
That’s it, only one step! But the basic point is that compared to all the work you do upgrading your vacation home, maintaining listings, communicating with guests, processing payments, etc., this is pretty basic step to take. And not only will it potentially increase business, but you will improve your chances of getting ranked higher in a major search engine.
Finding local businesses is one of the main reasons people search the internet. All the major search engines have directories of local businesses to make this easier. They complement business search results with a local map. This is why it’s so valuable: you don’t have to build your rank organically for some keywords, they just place you there for local searches.
In my case, I ended up on the map. The result?
- I increased my exposure
- Ranked higher in search results
- Automatically linked to my website
- Improved my SEO with a quality link
Bing Business Portal has a similar service – I show up #1 on the maps there and have received a few inquiries already. And, so does Google Places - where I show up 9th on the maps there, just shy of making the first page of a Google search.
One thing to keep in mind is that this won’t happen instantly. You have to use a physical address and there is a verification process. They want to prove that you actually own the home so they send you a postcard in the mail with a PIN code you have to enter on their website. Unfortunately, you can’t mail the card anywhere but your actual vacation rental address so if you can’t get mail there, you won’t be able to get verified.
Once you’ve been verified, if you want to you can hide your address on Bing and Yahoo! (in my case, I prefer that it’s visible so I show up on more searches), however, that option isn’t available on Google. Also, for Yahoo! and Bing, you must be in the U.S. at this point. Google offers local place listings for a number of countries so you’ll just have to check and see if yours is on the list.
Oh, and by the way (shameless plug for our company), MyVR will do this for you automatically as a customer – that’s how I signed up. Just log into your MyVR account, choose Promote and in 1-click we’ll have these submitted for you. Other customers have already been getting inquiries as well from these local listings. If you don’t have an account, check out our free trial.