Ski Accommodation Finder - A case study in travel SEO from Netleadz

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How to market ski accommodation, chalets, apartments and hotels and the Internet.

A case study in online marketing and SEO for ski travel industry from Netleadz, one of the leading travel SEO companies.

http://www.netleadz.co.uk/
http://www.ski-accommodation-finder.co.uk/

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Ski Accommodation Finder - A case study in travel SEO from Netleadz

  1. 1. Search Engine Optimisation “In Context” http:// www.ski-accommodation-finder.co.uk A Case Study Prepared by netledzz http://www.netleadz.co.uk
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Ski Accommodation Finder - online objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Some key SEO Principles </li></ul><ul><li>Your Online Competitors </li></ul><ul><li>Keyword Research </li></ul><ul><li>On-page Optimisation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Site Development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site Architecture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site Content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site Errors </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Off-page Optimisation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inbound links </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social Media </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. SEO objectives <ul><li>Ski Accommodation Finder: </li></ul><ul><li>Make it the most relevant site for ski accommodation </li></ul><ul><li>Maximise online visibility for the website </li></ul><ul><li>Make it a recognisable online brand </li></ul><ul><li>Generate significant long-term SEO advantage compared to its competitors </li></ul><ul><li>Get more traffic, visitors, users and subscriptions </li></ul>
  4. 4. Key SEO Principles <ul><li>SEO is not a stand-alone discipline. It affects all aspects of your business including content, development and marketing. </li></ul><ul><li>What gets your site to the top: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>On-page: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.ski-accommodation-finder.co.uk </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Relevant, Original and Optimised Content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fresh Content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authority </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Off-page: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Inbound Links from ski & accommodation related websites </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SEO is great content, site architecture and links. </li></ul>
  5. 5. SEO Elements <ul><li>Research & Analysis </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Competitors, Market and Niche </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Travel, ski, accommodation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Keyword research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What search terms to find, book, rent or let ski accommodation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>On-page Optimisation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The website: www.ski-accommodation-finder.co.uk </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Architecture, code, content, keywords, tags, cross-links, blog </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Off-page Optimisation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your popularity (inbound links) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get relevant websites to link to ski-accommodation-finder.co.uk </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Your online competitors <ul><li>Online search competitors are not necessary your direct competitors. </li></ul><ul><li>You have more competitors than you might know </li></ul><ul><li>Who are the competitors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct competitors – sites that offer the same services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But also: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Informational (non-commercial) sites, interest groups, clubs and associations </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Domain squatters </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Lead generators (referrals, affiliate schemes, PPC, leads) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>News sites </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Real-time: places, forums, blogs, social media sites etc.. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Keyword Research <ul><li>Which terms do you need to be found for? </li></ul><ul><li>Research & Analysis is critical </li></ul><ul><li>What to look out for: </li></ul><ul><li>Searcher ’s intent - browse or buy, informational or transactional? </li></ul><ul><li>What best describes your products & services? </li></ul><ul><li>What synonyms? </li></ul><ul><li>What do your competitors focus on? </li></ul><ul><li>What is easier to optimise for? </li></ul><ul><li>Which search terms convert ? </li></ul><ul><li>Budget, ROI, CPC, CPA etc. </li></ul>
  8. 8. On-page Optimisation <ul><li>Your infrastructure and your website, affecting your rankings. </li></ul><ul><li>You are in control of your own website </li></ul><ul><li>On-page elements: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Site Development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site Architecture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Relevancy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Significance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dilution </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Duplication </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site Errors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site Performance </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Site Development <ul><li>You must include SEO principles during site planning & build </li></ul><ul><li>Some key points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Optimisation during build phase will save time & money </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Usability and Findability don ’t have to be in conflict </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Choose consistent and relevant file/folder naming conventions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. ski/accommodation/hotels or ski-accommodation-france </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Optimise ALL parts of your website </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Folders, files (URLs alias), page specific copy, meta, tags, headers, links </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use ski accommodation / ski travel long-tail keywords where you can </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Find ways to add content easily </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>CMS, news feeds, article uploads, SEO pages, reviews, user generated content, social media integration, tweets, re-tweets etc. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Site Architecture <ul><li>You are in control of your website architecture! </li></ul><ul><li>Some key points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IA is for users and Search Engines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Crawlability and Indexation are both important to SEO success </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Keep relevant parts of your website open to spiders </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use CSS positioning to define what Google sees first </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link from your home page to your more important pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Flat site structures are better </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Deep pages have less power </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Links should work without Javascript & CSS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site Speed is very important </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Keep Javascript, images, CSS etc in external files </li></ul></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Content - General <ul><li>You are in control of your website content! </li></ul><ul><li>Some key points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Content needs to be highly relevant to </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Your services offered – ski accommodation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Your target audience – ski travellers / ski accommodation providers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Your industry, sector and niche – ski travel market </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Original content only (don ’t publish other site’s copy) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If necessary re-write third party material </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Each page should be relevant to one target keyword </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Optimise URL, page title, meta description, Alt tags, H1, hx, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid content dilution – “don’t just publish any old copy” </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Content - Relevancy Relevant Most Relevant Ski accommodation B&B ski accommodation apartments Less Relevant chalet weather resort Car hire skiing Ski resort Airport transfers winter
  13. 13. Keyword Significance Keyword Significance 1. ski (3 variants) 2. accommodation (3 variants) 3. chalets (3 variants) 4. finder 5. transfers (2 variants) 6. resort (2 variants) 7. apartment (2 variants) 8. register (2 variants) 9. holiday (2 variants) 10. hotel (2 variants)
  14. 14. Content Dilution <ul><li>You are in control of your website content! </li></ul><ul><li>Some key points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase % of relevant pages to non-relevant pages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Optimise pages where possible including FAQ, Help, Contact etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.ski-accommodation-finder.co.uk/FAQ-cheap-ski-holiday.php </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Too many general admin pages </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Too many ‘system’ pages with no content </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Too many general news stories </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider PageRank sculpting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Nofollow tags to system / admin pages </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Robots exclusions </li></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Duplicate Content <ul><li>You are in control of your website content! </li></ul><ul><li>Some key points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Duplicate content attracts ranking ‘penalties’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>More like a filter, not allowing your site to reach top rankings </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google tells you what they consider duplicate / low quality: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Google webmaster – duplicate title tags, duplicate descriptions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Webpages not indexed in Google </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google considers pages duplicate if titles and tags are the same </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Avoid same titles, descriptions for two different pages </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ski Accommodation | Ski Chalets | Self Catering Ski Accommodation | Ski Apartments Listing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>/accomodations/newuser.php </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>/site/login.php </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Content Gap <ul><li>You are in control of your website ’s content! </li></ul><ul><li>… . but competition can be high in the ski travel market </li></ul>Site Google Indexed Pages www.chaletsdirect.com 41,500 www.igluski.com 14,600 www.skiline.co.uk 14,100 www.chaletfinder.co.uk 11,300 www.skisolutions.com 3,050 www.allmountainholidays.com 458 www.ski-accommodation-finder.co.uk 269 www.skiaccommodation.co.uk 1
  17. 17. Site Errors <ul><li>You are in control of your website ! </li></ul><ul><li>Some key points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google penalises websites with too many crawl errors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google penalises slow & partially inaccessible websites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google deletes unreachable pages from their index </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rankings can drop by 100+ positions within day one </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Your brand name will disappear from search results within a few days </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google does not offer any support or explanation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It is down to website owners to comply with Google ’s rules </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Naturally, Search Engines do not like to show pages with errors in their search results – this is solely to shield their users! </li></ul>
  18. 18. Site Performance www.ski-accommodation-finder.co.uk Site load speed should be in the blue zone (or as fast as possible). However ranking penalties depend on you how you compare to your competitors not all websites. Google site speed tool is not accurate either! Keep an eye on speed – slower sites will rank relatively less well
  19. 19. Off-page Optimisation <ul><li>All the elements outside your website, affecting your rankings. </li></ul><ul><li>You are not in control of most of your inbound links and what effect they may have on your rankings. </li></ul><ul><li>Some key points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PPC you can control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SEO you can only affect – mainly because you can ’t control Google algorithm , neither all your inbound links </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You don ’t get banned for spam links – otherwise your competitors could spam you </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Inbound Links - 1 <ul><li>Link building is the most difficult part of SEO </li></ul><ul><li>Some key points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inbound links still key to achieve high search engine rankings </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Volume, quality, relevancy, frequency, age etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link building needs to be organic and ideally synchronised with on-page content development to achieve best results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality inbound links are hard to come by (for commercial sites) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Most relevant sites are you competitors – they are not going to link to you </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Link exchanges do not help SEO </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Link buying is ‘penalised’ by Google </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Get quick’ inbound link building schemes don’t work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Google makes 400 algorithm changes per year – you get caught eventually </li></ul></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Inbound Links - 2 <ul><li>Some more key points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Typical link sources: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Articles, reviews, blog posts, directories, social media, forums etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Always pick the low hanging fruits </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Suppliers, partners, sponsors, staff, friends, family will link to you naturally </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality links will get you referral traffic, not just link equity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ski resorts, ski travel, ski hire, budget flights, ski news </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brand links are important </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Regular Web PR is a great way to get brand links </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Brand Link: www.ski-accommodation-finder.co.uk – no link text!! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The better (more creative) the content, the more links you attract </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Think ‘advice’: how to, top tips, best practice, ask the expert etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.ski-accommodation-finder.co.uk/cheap-ski-deals-here-to-stay.php </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Think tools: currency conversion, mortgage calculator, games </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Think downloads: research, whitepapers, tools, guides </li></ul></ul></ul>
  22. 22. Social Media <ul><li>Fast moving space but social media activity has already an effect on SEO – Search Engines are still working out real-time search! </li></ul><ul><li>Some key points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Engaging, fresh blog still the best social media to start with </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blog posts are shown in real-time search </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social media posts are shown in real-time search results </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What is shown is keyword driven </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social media takes time – choose the ones that work for you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What do you want to achieve? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>What topics will excite your target community? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google rewards sites which are </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>liked (Facebook) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>re-tweeted.(Twitter) http://www.twitter.com/skiaccommodatio </li></ul></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Finally... <ul><li>In SEO everything is relative and nothing will ever be perfect </li></ul><ul><li>Some key points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>SEO is long-term, on going and never really complete </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Best to do some ‘SEO’ every day – activity spikes are not good </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Everything you do is relative to your niche, not to all the websites on the Web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Search Engines look at SEO metrics compared to similar ski travel sites </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You can ’t replicate exactly what your competitors do </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You will be for ever second best </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>You will always be reactive to Search Engine changes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Search Engines don ’t disclose their algorithms </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>What is the ROI on SEO? What is the ROI on not optimising your site? </li></ul>
  24. 24. The Results - everything
  25. 25. The Results – real-time
  26. 26. The Results - blog
  27. 27. The Results - everything
  28. 28. Contact <ul><li>For further information or to discuss this </li></ul><ul><li>document please contact: </li></ul><ul><li>Netleadz – Web Business Incubation </li></ul><ul><li>P: +44 (0)20 7734 2385 </li></ul><ul><li>E: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>W: http://www.netleadz.co.uk </li></ul><ul><li>T: http://www.twitter.com/netleadz </li></ul><ul><li>Case Study: http://www.ski-accommodation-finder.co.uk </li></ul>

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