Local SEO is crucially important for all local business owners, especially vacation rental managers. If people in your city are searching for your business and can’t even find you, how are all of your potential guests outside of your city supposed to find you? They can’t, and you need to fix that! Local SEO is the process of ensuring potential guests can find your business when they search for you locally and streamlining this process through a few easy steps. First, you need to check for an existing listing. Let’s assume you own a property management company in Park City. You would Google “Park City vacation rentals.” If your company name showed up on this list, you’d be good; if not, you need to make some changes.
You want to be sure that when people are making these city/state specific keyword searches, your company is showing up on the first page of results in both the Organic results and Local, or what is also known as the “Snack Pack.”
SNACK PACK & ORGANIC
There are two different kinds of results on the front page: the “Snack Pack” and the “organic results.” The top three results that can be seen in the screen shot above are commonly referred to as the “Snack Pack,” the sweetest and best results you can find on the internet. Just kidding, not necessarily. But it’s pretty sweet for the business owners whose site is in the Snack Pack, because now people get to see their site first. Below the Snack Pack are the organic results, and we are all familiar with the various SEO tactics that must be implemented in order to increase your ranking on these. Now the most important question: How do you get your site in the “Snack Pack?”
GETTING IN THE SNACK PACK
You have to sign your business up with Google. First, type your phone number into Google and verify that the correct business shows. Once you have done that, here are the steps you must follow to get your business registered locally:
a)Go to Google.com/business
b)Select “Get on Google”
c)Sign in or create an account
d)Type in the name of your business
e)Add your business
f)Fill in your business details
g)Wait for Google to send you a post card
It will take a little bit for Google to send you the post card, so in the mean time you can optimize your listing to attract more visitors. A few different ways you can do that are:
a)Adding visually pleasing images
b)Having the correct hours of operation of your business listed
c)Putting a description that adequately describes your business and also contains a few important keywords
d)Most importantly, ensuring your business is listed under the correct category.
Being a vacation rental manager, your categories should be: vacation home rental agency, property management company and/or condominium rental agency.
CITATIONS (GOOD ONES)
Once you have done all of the aforementioned and Google has recognized your business, you can start to strengthen your local presence. The first way you can do this is by building citations.
A citation for your company is a way for Google to verify your business, and it can be as simple as a mention of your company name, phone number, or address. A citation does not have to include a link and is most commonly accomplished by putting your site in a directory. Since we are focusing on being “local” today, instead of getting your site in a directory that is more general and doesn’t have a specific focus, rather try and get your site in a “local” travel directory.
Manually doing this can be very time consuming, and there is an easier but more expensive option. You can pay for your business to be added automatically & synchronized to several listings through these sites:
WEBSITE TITLES & HTAGS
Once you have registered your site locally through Google, you need to make sure your site itself has updated city/state tags in your title tag, your H1 tag, and your content. Simple additions such as this have been known to significantly help organic results.
ADDING SCHEMA MARKUP
You want Google to be able to understand your website as easily as possible. When you add specific markup tags, you are letting Google know where your address, phone number, business name, etc. are on your website. This can be done very simply by going here:
b) Choose lodging
c) Fill out information and C/P the code to your site
GET QUALITY REVIEWS & HELP PREVENT NEGATIVE ONES!
Last but not least, and an important factor in the Snack Pack ranking system is getting reviews. Everyone loves reading reviews; it makes your business look better and attracts potential new guests. They let Google know that people were satisfied when they worked with your business. Good reviews are great, but no one likes to deal with having bad reviews. A great tip to promote good reviews, but also accept bad ones, is by having a “review business card” that you leave on every nightstand in your properties. If you can train your cleaning service to leave a business card such as the one below on every nightstand, you have a higher chance of hearing from people who have enjoyed their vacation, thus more good reviews.
The goal is to have the domain on your business card lead guests to a review page with a simple (Y/N), or thumbs up and thumbs down, that asks if they enjoyed their stay. An example can be seen in the screen shot below. If your guests push the thumbs up, they will be taken to a further review page where they can leave a positive review on a directory of your choice (Google or even VRBO!). If they say no, then they will also be taken to another page where they can voice their opinions, but instead this message will be sent directly to your email, so you can figure out what went wrong during their stay.
SMALL STEPS, BIG RESULTS
These may seem like simple tasks, but if you are able to thoroughly and successfully complete all these tasks, it will help your site. There are other strategies to Local and additional work to be done; we will be contributing further articles to elaborate on such strategies. Keep an eye out and we hope you enjoyed reading this article.