Vacation Rental Marketing - Size Matters
Vacation Rental Marketing - Size Matters
As many of you reading this will know, we have been giving away vacation rental websites to owners and small property managers for the last 2 years.
We’re helping people build their brand.
One of the most common questions that I get asked is “How do I get bookings through my website”?
This is the $64,000 question and in this article, I will outline the answers to this and show you a case study below.
There are many possible answers to this but there is 1 overriding factor that has more impact than all of the others put together.
Especially if you are on a shoestring budget.
These two facts sum up the answer in simple terms…
In order to get more bookings, you need more traffic to your site.
When it comes to getting more traffic - SIZE MATTERS
If we are looking to drive more traffic to our sites we need to understand a couple of basic facts about the search engines.
Search engines have one goal - To serve up the best answers to a question.
Search engines are sizest - In their eyes, bigger is better.
Wikipedia is the shining example of how these two facts play out.
Wikipedia gets nearly 60% of its traffic through organic search. That’s nearly double the amount of organic traffic of ANY other website in the world.
That’s because the search engines trust it to answer peoples questions AND it’s MASSIVE.
Fun fact: If Wikipedia was in a printed version it would be over 2,500 Britannica-size volumes and the index alone would be around 100 volumes. It’s mahoosive.
Using a different example of how search works in relation to size, if I’m looking to buy a toaster online, Google, etc. will point me towards Amazon because they sell 718 different toasters whereas my local electrical store’s website lists 8 types.
Size is the new SEO. Quite simply, bigger is better.
So, how do these facts apply to your vacation rental business?
Well, luckily enough you aren’t competing with the likes of Wikipedia or Amazon (although a little birdie tells me that Amazon is entering the VR space).
But in order to get more traffic, your own website needs to answer more questions and be bigger than that of your competition.
As an aside, the big listing sites like Airbnb, Booking and HomeAway aren’t your competition. They are big but they only answer one question - Where can I stay?
How do you put this into practice and get more bookings?
In short, you need to make your site bigger by adding answers to questions (articles) that potential guests ask Google before they look for a property. Questions like these...
Things do in (your destination)?
What’s the weather like in (your destination)?
What’s on in (your destination)?
What to do with the kids when it rains in (your destination)?
These articles need to be big.
You need to create something bigger than the articles already on page one on Google.
This may sound daunting but it’s not that difficult.
Enter the list article.
List articles (or listicles as they are sometimes called) are a brilliant way of creating large articles and they break down the writing work into bite-size, manageable chunks.
If I were to ask you to write 2,500 words about things to do in your rental location your eyes would glaze over and you would say there’s no way that you have the time for that. Traffic or no traffic, that’s a lot of work.
But, if I ask you to list 25 things to do in your area that’s an easy thing to do. It will take half an hour at most.
Now all you need to do is write a short paragraph (100 words) about each of those things and you’ll have a 2,500-word article.
Writing these paragraphs can be done piecemeal over time.
Set aside 10 minutes over a coffee and write the first paragraph on your smartphone. This only takes 10 minutes and can be done anywhere. Do this each day and by the end of the month, you have a big article that can bring a lot of traffic to your website.
Dress these 25 sections up with images and video and you have a very sticky article that Google and your readers (potential guests) will love.
Get into this habit and you can have 12 traffic driving articles by the end of the year. All for just ten minutes work a day. This will have a huge impact on your organic search results, traffic to your site and result in more bookings.
A case study...
Here's an example of this in action,
Suppose that I own a property on Anna Maria Island in Florida and I want to get more traffic to my website.
One of the most searched terms for the area is ‘Things to do on Anna Maria Island’.
This question is searched for 3,600 times a month so I can get a lot of traffic to my site if I can rank highly for this term on the first page of Google.
If I search in Google I can see that there are 138 million competing pages for this search term so I’m not going to be able to get away with throwing together a 500-word article on the subject.
I need to create something big. In fact, I need to create something bigger than the existing articles on Google's first page.
I did exactly that and you can see the article by clicking on the image below,
I posted this article on the first of May and it's now 3rd on page one.
These articles take time to rank. When targeting highly competitive search terms that have a lot of competing pages, Google isn't going to just plonk you on page one overnight. As a rough guide, it can take around 3 months to rank but as we are talking about large amounts of traffic, it's well worth the wait.
Be patient, the cream always comes to the top.
If you want more direct bookings through your website, you need more traffic and traffic needs to be earned.
Google only want to serve up great articles. No more, no less.
If you produce fantastic content for your website then Google will reward you with great rankings and the traffic that comes with that.
Anyone can do this.
As Charles Palahniuk (author of Fight Club) said "There's no point in doing anything if nobody is watching", so set aside 10 minutes a day and give your site visitors something worth seeing.