Vacation Rental SEO: Notes from SMX for the Vacation Rental Industry


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Amber Leto Mayer, founder of TravelStorm and Rezolution recently returned from the SMX Advanced Conference in Seattle, the #1 search engine marketing conference in the world, and she shared her experience in an informative webinar on July 26, 2010. With the newest information from Google, Bing, and many others, Amber Mayer combined her 10 years of experience as a vacation rental property manager, with her marketing and technolgy expertise to compile and condense the wealth of information specifically for the Vacation Rental Industry.

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Vacation Rental SEO: Notes from SMX for the Vacation Rental Industry

  1. 1. SEO/SEM Update Google Caffeine, The Firehose and Finding your Cowbell
  2. 2. Topic Overview <ul><li>Google Caffeine </li></ul><ul><li>The Firehose </li></ul><ul><li>All Things Bing </li></ul><ul><li>Do you “Like” It? </li></ul><ul><li>Get Some Cowbell </li></ul><ul><li>Outlook Social Connector </li></ul><ul><li>Google Places Updates </li></ul><ul><li>YouTube Ad Changes </li></ul><ul><li>InfoGraphics </li></ul><ul><li>My Favorite Sources </li></ul>
  3. 3. Google Caffeine <ul><li>Google will update and index web pages 50% Faster </li></ul><ul><li>Caffeine indexes web pages on an enormous scale. In fact, every second Caffeine processes hundreds of thousands of pages in parallel. If this were a pile of paper it would grow three miles taller every second. </li></ul><ul><li>Caffeine indexes everything – web pages, video, images, news, blog posts, Facebook Page updates, Twitter updates, press releases and more! </li></ul>
  4. 4. Google Caffeine
  5. 5. Google Caffeine What this means for you as a Vacation Rental Company: <ul><li>Links to your Website are even MORE important than ever! Quality Links, not Link Spam or Free Directory Insertions! </li></ul><ul><li>Fresh Content on your Website is Vital to retaining your search positions </li></ul><ul><li>Proper Site Structure with static URLs, Keywords in your URL, Title and Keyword Research that not only includes your main keyword focus, but the latent semantic keywords as well. </li></ul><ul><li>Search Engine Rankings will fluctuate much more often because Google is updating the rankings daily! </li></ul><ul><li>Participating in the Social Sphere is no longer an option – it is a REQUIREMENT and a vital SEO strategy </li></ul><ul><li>Adding Reviews, News, Blog Updates, Photos and Video to your website are key to keeping up with the Caffeine Update. </li></ul>Link Building Tip : Start doing interactive Press Releases that include newsworthy notes, photos, videos, and Social Marketing Links!
  6. 6. The Firehose <ul><li>What’s Here? </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Google Buzz </li></ul><ul><li>FriendFeed </li></ul>
  7. 7. The Firehose What’s Here? Question and Answer based Forums on any website that has a structure where the Question is the top of the thread and the Answers follow! Should you allow a FORUM on your Website?
  8. 8. The Firehose What’s Here? Press Releases and News Stories! Notice that the URL for the story does not show!
  9. 9. Bing: Have you Decided? <ul><li>Testing Began July 21 st ! </li></ul><ul><li>This means it is VITAL that you log your rankings on Yahoo Search right and do the following “check-ups”: </li></ul><ul><li>Submit a Bing XML Sitemap </li></ul><ul><li>Sign up for Bing Tools </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure that your Robots.txt file is the same for Yahoo and MSN/Bing as soon as possible. </li></ul>More Bing Distribution! Bing will now be a choice for Apple/Safari product users along with the existing choices of Yahoo and Google, but Google will remain the default Engine behind the Safari Search interface. Market Share vs. Google
  10. 10. Bing Social Vertical What’s Here? Trending Topics: Hot Topics on the Social Circuit, IE: Lindsay Lohan, etc. Summary: Public Updates/Shared Links Public Updates: Twitter Account and Facebook Profile/Pages Updates Shared Links: Top Links on Twitter & Facebook on a specific Topic
  11. 11. Bing Social Vertical Depending on the Topic in the News Query – different tabs will appear!
  12. 12. Bing Maps <ul><li>Bing pulls most of their “Map” locations/listings from (this is why there are tons of “spam” listings on their maps right now. </li></ul><ul><li>Make SURE that you go into Bing Local and claim/update your listing. Once you have completed that and added your Website – the BOOK IT button will appear next to your listing on the maps. </li></ul><ul><li>Users have to download software to see the 3D View </li></ul>
  13. 13. Bing Directory Do this ASAP after the Webinar! It is a great way to build links – the Bing Directory does not “no follow” their links!
  14. 14. Bing – Adding/Verify Your Listing
  15. 15. Bing – Toolbox <ul><li>Focus: </li></ul><ul><li>Crawl, Index & Traffic </li></ul><ul><li>Key Highlights: </li></ul><ul><li>Browse through Bing Index to verify pages and directories that have been submitted </li></ul><ul><li>Submit URLs/XML Sitemaps </li></ul><ul><li>Identify Crawl Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Block specific URLs from Indexing </li></ul><ul><li>Keyword Performance </li></ul><ul><li>Inbound Links </li></ul>
  16. 16. Bing: An Aside Microsoft Senior Vice President Yusuf Mehdi EXERPT And what we did is, we said, “Let's really study what happens in search.” So, today, for most people now, you think, “Oh, search just happens like this: I sit down, I type in 2.8 keywords, and in milliseconds, I get an answer and I'm done,” and that's a search scenario. It turns out, it's not. We do a ton of data mining about query logs. This is all anonymous, and then we have to ferret it out. So, this is a bunch of work that came out that we figured out. But basically, you take an anonymous ID, you know, ID6975, whatever, and we look at all the queries that came from that ID. People skip in and out about what they're searching, but we ferret out what happens. So, here are two examples. One is someone types in at 3:04 &quot;family reunion Lake Tahoe&quot; and they search. And they spend two minutes on this site, Then they go to a large Lake Tahoe house again. Then they try &quot;retreat Lake Tahoe.&quot; Then they spend four minutes on a bunch of different sites there. One of those is a vacation rental site. Then they go &quot;retreat for rent Lake Tahoe,&quot; 11 minutes. Then they go &quot;large vacation home.&quot; Then they spend two hours browsing a bunch of stuff about Tahoe vacation rentals. There's a break in there. They come back again a little later, but again, &quot;large vacation home to rent.&quot; Then they have &quot;rental that sleeps 30,&quot; then &quot;Lake Tahoe rental for large group.&quot; And what happens is after four hours in duration, they've gone to 27 sites, and they've typed 13 queries, six of which are the identical same query stream. And you look at that and you say, “Is search perfect today?” You know, it's not. There's a lot of problems. And you realize, “OK, how can we make this better for people? And we mine these things, as Danny was saying, and we have so many examples. There are examples then of, like, the classic shopping example -- someone does a search; how often before someone buys? Take a guess. Let me ask you this way. What percent of people do you think from the first time they enter what we detect is a commerce query a purchase occurs two weeks or later? What percent would be two weeks or later? Anyone? Ten percent? It turns out over 40 percent of those purchases happen two weeks or later. So, think about that. Someone types in a query, they're not buying in that moment necessarily. In fact, 40 percent of the time they're not going to buy for a couple weeks. 30% Of Web Traffic
  17. 17. Bing: An Aside Does your Website Answer Questions & Help People Make Decisions?
  18. 18. Do You “Like” It?
  19. 19. Get Some Cowbell
  20. 20. Outlook Social Connector Download the Outlook Social Connector STEP ONE
  21. 21. Outlook Social Connector STEP TWO (ish)
  22. 22. Outlook Social Connector CHECK YOUR CONTACTS
  24. 24. Outlook Social Connector GREAT WAY TO GET TO “KNOW” WHO IS EMAILING YOU!
  25. 25. Google Places TAG IT =) Starting at $25/month
  26. 26. Google Places
  27. 27. Google Places
  28. 28. YouTube Updates
  29. 29. YouTube Updates
  30. 30. InfoGraphics POWERFUL LINK BAIT!
  31. 31. InfoGraphics This is a Resume. Would you Interview this potential employee? Should we get this creative when we are trying to acquire homeowners?
  32. 32. Great Resources <ul><li>Google Webmaster Blog: </li></ul><ul><li>Google Blog: </li></ul><ul><li>Bing ToolBox: </li></ul><ul><li>Search Engine Land: </li></ul><ul><li>Mashable: </li></ul><ul><li>Website Mag: </li></ul>
  33. 33. Contact Info Amber (Leto) Mayer Vice President of Business Development Instant Software, Inc. [email_address]