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The only way Google can know this, is if you tell it.
In our recent training sessions for holiday rental owners, we’ve spent a lot of time discussing Search Engine Optimisation (or SEO for short), and there was a common question asked...
SEO is how you tell search engines like Google (and to a lesser degree, Bing) that they should direct people to your holiday rental website - because it is the best place for information on the type of vacation properties that they are looking for.
We've compiled a series of articles on the most important actions that holiday rental owners and managers should undertake. Following this list will ensure you get the maximum number of suitable visitors to your site by making it SEO friendly ie, giving Google and Bing the information they need.
Then your Bookster website can do what it does best, convert those visitors into vacation guests. We’ll be going into these in more details in future blog posts.
This first article focuses on finding keywords.
You need these to tell the search engines (eg. Google) that your site is perfect, and to tell visitors that you have what they are looking for. It will take time - so be prepared to do a bit of research over a few days, or even weeks.
So let’s begin.
a. Consider what you may type in yourself.
You need to have a good idea of what people type into Google when they want to look for your type of holiday rental properties. These will be your 'keywords'.
Keywords can be short and snappy such as: 'holiday apartments', medium length such as 'holiday flats in Carlisle' and extend up to whole phrases (called Long-tail keywords) like: 'Holiday homes in Carlisle near the cathedral'.
You can find use a number of different methods to create a keyword list and depending on your technical confidence you may try just one or all of these methods.
Now you have your list, search for these words in your search engine (like Google), and see what websites show up. Perhaps you’ll see your site. Great!
Some of these companies will be your competitors. Spend some time on their sites to see how they used their keywords in their text and why Google has chosen to show their pages.
There are different ways to check this.a. Firstly, look the list of pages that Google recommends. Who are they? Competitors?
Now is the time to look at your holiday let website. Each page should be allocated with the keywords you want that page to appear in Google for so make a list for each page, starting with your homepage.
For my holiday let in Carlisle I have chosen:
My property near the castle:
All those beautiful photos of your holiday rental property, the local area, local events on your site, are not just there to look pretty.
Photos and images speak to your Search engines. They’re saying, "this is a page that has photos of properties in your area. It's important to people looking for a property in your area". But the only way Google can know this, is if you tell it.
Commonly people upload their photos but forget to change the name, so it’s left with whatever your camera calls it eg: DSC4116.jpg. This tells Google nothing.
So you need to name your photos.
All of them.
But it’s not only Google that reads photos. For those who view websites with no images or have disabilities, an Alternative text (Alt text) describes the photo.
And finally some of your photos would benefit from text underneath it.
Because sometimes people read captions.
So include Captions under some of your photos for extra impact (and don’t forget those keywords!).
Here’s the name we gave our homepage image:
You’ve got this far in your Search Engine Optimisation process? You’ve done amazing!
The keyword process to find SEO keywords for holiday rental websites is time-consuming; but absolutely essential to get people to your website via the Search Engines.
This is a moment to pat yourself on the back, before you make a start on the next stages:
If you're interested in SEO, and want to take it a step further, why not check out our new SEO Service for the UK.