Let’s say, you’ve just finished creating a professional website for your holiday rental.
You’ve purchased a unique domain name – seabreezeholidaycottage.com – and completed all the necessary setup so it’s linked to your new website.
Then the moment finally arrives when you hit the publish button, it appears online and you get ready for an influx of enquiries.
But they don’t come…
You turn to Google and discover that when you type seabreeze holiday cottage into the search field, your website is nowhere to be seen.
Have you done something wrong?
In fact, many holiday let owners make the assumption that the minute they publish their new website it will appear online instantly.
And it does, but only when typing the domain name into the browser address bar.
You have to remember that the internet exists without Google. The problem is the majority of people now use Google to access websites even if they know the website address.
Typing seabreeze holiday cottage or 2 bedroom cottage Newquay into Google at this early stage will not display your website.
Not yet anyway.
So how long does it take for your website to appear in search results?
It can take several weeks for new websites to be indexed by Google and Bing.
Which shouldn’t come as a great surprise given the sheer volume of websites being published to the World Wide Web every single day.
It takes a bit of time for the search engine bots to find your website, trawl through it to discover what it’s all about, and then position it appropriately in the search results.
And even once the website has been indexed by the search engines, there are no guarantees that it will appear within the first few pages.
So what’s the point in having a website if it won’t appear high up the search results?
We didn’t say it won’t appear on Page One of Google, just that there are no guarantees, particularly without putting in a little effort first.
For example, the search term 2 bedroom cottage Newquay brought back 150,000 results.
That’s is a lot of pages competing for prime position.
But if you’re prepared to put the effort in, you could see great rewards over time.
What do you need to do to maximise the effectiveness of your website?
- Speed up the process of Google and Bing indexing your new website
- Optimise your website for Search Engines as best you can
- Get links pointing to your website from other relevant websites
- Spread the word
1. How to speed up the process of search engines indexing your website
Don’t wait for the search engine ‘bots’ to find your site. Tell them it’s live and ready to be ranked.
2. Optimise your website
Find the best keywords and place them naturally throughout the content of your website, and the site’s SEO section – page titles, meta and alt tags.
A mistake many people make when it comes to choosing the best keywords is not carrying out proper keyword research.
Instead, they simply pluck keywords out of thin air.
Going back to our earlier example of a 2 bedroom cottage in Newquay. You may assume your best keywords must be newquay, 2 bedrooms, cottage and cornwall right?
As we discovered earlier, those keywords bring up 150,000 results and not all of them will even be particularly relevant.
A lesser known fact is that unless you put the search into quotation marks, search engines will bring back results for each of those words individually i.e. results for newquay that could have nothing to do with accommodation will also display.
Putting the same search into inverted commas brought back just 2 results. But, unfortunately your potential guests are unlikely to carry out their search in this way.
So instead, it’s important to do thorough keyword research to come up with longer phrases that include your accommodation’s unique selling points. These are called “long tail keywords”.
Once you’ve found them, make sure your entire website has been well optimised.
Just remember to place your keywords naturally within the website content. Mix it up a little too – don’t use the exact same phrase in the exact same way.
Stay natural, readable and provide value, and Google will like you.
Once your site is fully optimised you should see your website gradually increasing through the rankings for relevant search terms.
Do the research, get the results.
3. Get links pointing to your site
If you’re trying to market a holiday let in a very touristy area where competition is rife, you may find that optimising your site alone won’t cut it.
In which case you’ll also need to concentrate on getting some links pointing to your website from other relevant websites.
In fact, everyone should do this, regardless of where their property is located.
- Every link that points to your site from a relevant website acts as a vote in the eyes of Google. The more ‘votes’ you have, the better your site will rank in the search results.
- Every link placed on another website pointing to yours has the potential to send traffic direct to your website.
So build up your links by speaking with local businesses, adding your website to the signature of any relevant forums you’re a member of, or finding free (or paid) directories to add your business to.
4. Promote. Promote. Promote.
Want people to find your website and help spread the word?
Send it to them!
No business can afford to sit back and hope that people will stumble across their website by chance.
All businesses know that they have to do their own marketing to make that happen.
Your holiday rental business is no different.
Share your new website address with friends, family and colleagues.
Share it on social media channels. If you’re not active on any, get active now!
If you hang out on any relevant forums, add the website link to your signature – not only will that drive more traffic to your site, but it gives you that all-important vote from Google.
Talk about your holiday let to local businesses. Reciprocal promotions can only benefit the entire business community.
Everywhere and anywhere there’s a marketing opportunity use it to your advantage.
So why might your website not be appearing in search engine results?
- You’ve not carried out comprehensive keyword research
- You’ve over-used your keywords in an unnatural way, in order to try and “game” the search engines. They will generally pick up on this and devalue your website.
- You’ve forgotten to update the SEO sections of your website with your keywords
- There’s too much competition for your keywords and not enough links pointing to your site
- You haven’t done any self-promotion
What not to expect from your holiday let website?
Instant visibility on Page 1 of Google without doing a single thing other than clicking the publish button.
What can you expect from your holiday let website, if done well?
A marketing asset that will increase in value and bring huge rewards over time, with a bit of effort.
The more you put in, the more you’ll get out.