Archives For SEO

People are often surprised when I say they need to stop stressing out about search engine optimization (SEO) because it may not even be right for their vacation rental marketing strategy. It’s true that MyVR offers powerful vacation rental property management software, and it’s true that websites are one of the key features. But there are plenty of very good reasons to have a website even if SEO isn’t a core part of your strategy.

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For many larger, professional property managers, SEO isn’t just a good idea–it’s a necessary piece of their long-term strategy to diversify and take control of their business. However, the SEO decision for most smaller “mom-and-pop” owners is not so clear.

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Fish with big eyesLaunching a new website for your vacation rental business is an exciting event…that can quickly deflate when nothing seems to happen. Where are the website visitors? Where are the new bookings?

Like building a business, generating web traffic takes time; over time, there are a lot of different ways you can improve your search engine optimization (SEO) — where you show up in search results — and make it easier for people to find you.

But for now, you just need your site to show up! Continue Reading…

"Links by clips" by Keith Ramsey (CC BY-SA 2.0)If you’ve researched how to market your vacation rental online, you’ll be familiar with search-engine optimization (SEO) — the process of influencing the many factors that can impact where your website will show up in search results.

Some of this must happen on your actual website, something called on-page SEO. But SEO also considers how other websites connect to your page, called off-page SEO. One important part of off-page SEO is called link building.

What is link building?

Link building is the progression of having more websites to link back to your page.

“The web was built on links. Links drive traffic and they boost rankings. They are how we tell a story,” Julie Joyce explained on Search Engine Watch. “They are how we point people to things we want them to see and how we navigate through the endlessness of the Internet.”

Getting more websites to point back to your site matters; each link helps signal what your page is about and whether or not it’s credible.

Search engines use complex algorithms to decide which web pages are relevant to which topics. The more credible websites that point back to your property’s website, the higher the potential for your website to rank higher in relevant search results and the more likely that potential guests will visit your site over a competitors. Continue Reading…

A heron looking out over the lake, Herons View at Mallard Lakes

Herons View at Mallard Lakes

When it comes to taking a critical eye to your vacation rental, whether you’re considering your rates or assessing the best way to market your property, being objective can sometimes be a challenge.

“By far, my favorite feature is the private outside shower,” Pat Luftman enthused about her lakefront vacation home. “When I brought my friends down, however, one of them said ‘You couldn’t pay me to take a shower in this shower!’ She preferred to use the indoor shower instead.”

Luftman owns Herons View, a townhome at Mallard Lakes in Fenwick Island, Delaware. She says the feedback received from friends was valuable as she started her vacation rental, helping her realize that others may feel the same way. Continue Reading…

We’ve talked about making your vacation rental website more search engine friendly, so it shows up when people are looking for a vacation rental in your neighborhood. Adding great content, using relevant keywords, and ensuring your information is up-to-date in local directories are all factors that can help improve where your property will show up in search results.

However, a recent review by search engine optimization experts Searchmetrics shows that — while these elements matter — they don’t top the list of things search engines look for.

What does? Social media.

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Promoting your vacation rental online boils down to one thing: You want to be found by people who will want to book your place. Listing directories are an important part of marketing plans; having your own website is another.

"Flower shop on Google Maps", photo by Lars Plougmann on Flickr. Used under a CC license.Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process that helps make your website as visible as possible in search results on sites like Google, Yahoo and Bing. In previous posts, we’ve talked about

Local search adds another layer to your SEO efforts; you don’t just want your vacation rental to show up, you want it to have top placement when someone searches for properties like yours in your geographic area.

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More than 7 in 10 travelers do their travel planning online according to Google, and if someone is looking for a vacation rental in your neighborhood, you want your property to show up at the top of the list.

"Search!", a photo from Flickr by Jeffrey Beall. Used under a Creative Commons license.Getting to page one of search results takes ongoing, dedicated work — and in travel hotspots, competition for those top places is fierce. Some of this work, called search engine optimization (SEO), is out of your hands. For example, attracting links from reputable websites indicates to search engines that your website is trustworthy, too; getting those links takes time and effort, with no guarantee that they will ever come.

Improving your search results doesn’t exclusively rely on other people, however. There are things you can do to make your website more search engine friendly — called on-page optimization — that are straightforward and completely within your control. Continue Reading…

Google Plus badgeIf you follow the ever-changing world of social media and online marketing, you’ll know that people have a love/hate relationship with one network in particular: Google+ (also referred to as “Google Plus” or “G+”).

Publicly launched in September 2011, it has more than 343 million active users – not an insignificant number, but one that people like to debate: How many use it regularly? Who is using the site? Some people say it’s practically a “ghost town”, outside of the early-adopter techie crowd.

As with most marketing questions, it’s not whether something works for everyone but whether it might work for you. And, despite its detractors, Google+ has managed to keep the buzz going with a set of features that is smart and increasingly impactful on your overall marketing strategy. Continue Reading…

inquiry formOnce you have your vacation rental management process figured out, it’s time to start getting guests through the door. With the growth of social media and the omnipresent Internet, marketing isn’t what it used to be — and it’s changing all the time.

As you start moving forward with your marketing plan, here are some terms you’ll likely hear, particularly when it comes to your website and online promotional activities.

Keep hearing a term that’s not on this list?  Please post it in the comments section below.

Analytics — the numbers you use to measure progress and results, and watch for patterns. For example, you may keep track of your web conversions, like the number of website visitors who send you an inquiry. Or, you may use this information over time to monitor whether the number of visitors to your website peaks at particular times of the year. (See also Conversion Rate.)

Auto Responder — an email that is automatically sent when someone sends you a message or inquiry. They can be a great way to deliver better customer service and help connect people quickly with important information about your property.

Call to Action — a word or phrase that encourages your reader to take a particular action, like “continue to reservation” or “share your review”.

Categories — broad topics used to group blog posts. For example, MyVR’s categories include “Contracts & Payments”, “Inquiries & Bookings”, and “Social Media”. (See also Keywords, Tags.) Continue Reading…