Businesses know that their customers gravitate toward the web first when researching and purchasing new products or services. We know this already—it’s old news! However, when it comes to internet marketing, businesses need to brace themselves. There’s a new search in town and it has a whole different kind of focus. Allow us to introduce you to the new guy, Local SEO.
Now, if you haven’t heard of local SEO or local search, don’t panic. With a bit of time and effort, local SEO has the potential to be extremely helpful (and affordable!) for businesses whose products and services are based on a geographic location. This means you, vacation rental companies!
What is local SEO?
With a local search, your potential customers are now searching using a “where” component instead of just a “what” component. For example, instead of searching for “beach vacation rentals,” future vacation-goers are more often searching for something more along the lines of “Virginia beach oceanfront rentals” to find exactly what they’re looking for, where they’re looking for it. With the recent popularity of smartphones, technology has gone mobile. The behavior of consumers and the tools they are using have changed the way that they search. Now, consumers can actively seek out local places on search engines and will receive more locally centric businesses on the first page of search results—not just large corporations. Local businesses and those who serve a specific geographic location need to adapt their strategy by focusing more on local SEO. Vacation rental companies especially can really benefit from prepping their business local search.
Setting up your Local Search
You’ll want to first set up your local SEO on Google, as it is the number one place for local search marketing. It’s also free, so all you’ll need is a bit of time and effort on your part. Google Places display its listings based on a series of different components. The ranking system is meant to be as fair as possible since businesses can’t pay for a better ranking (yay!). Your business will be ranked mainly based on its relevance to the search terms and geographic distance, among many other components.
When you are setting up your Google Places Listing here, keep these things in mind to ensure a top ranking:
Check, double check and check again when making sure your vacation rental company’s information is the same across multiple sources. Google wants to be able to trust your information so that they can provide their users with the best, correct information out there. Your address, phone number, URL, and all other contact information need to be the same asis found on your primary domain.
Don’t just do the bare minimum. To optimize your local SEO in the best way, you will need to provide a thorough listing. The service is free so there is absolutely no reason why a business would not want to put as much information as possible in their listing. People are out their researching their next getaway, so vacation rental companies can really entice their customers by adding beautiful photos, videos, and coupons.
Remember, an effective Google listing will contain:
- Business name.
- Business location.
- Website and phone.
- Categories. Vacation rental companies will want to be as specific as they can here. You want your customers to know all of the areas in which you have vacation rental homes.
Much like how backlinks create trust for your on-page SEO, citations help your local SEO. Citations are links from an authoritative source or directory, review site or local pages directory. Again, make sure that these citations are accurate and consistent across the boards to ensure trust and to up your ranking.
Although Google is the most important place to set up your local SEO and search, you will want to add your business to a number of different local search listings and review sites. Some of the most popular include Yelp, Bing, Yellow Book, and Four Square. Reviews on these listings can be a great source of information for your potential vacation rental clients because those people who are searching for your business “locally” are probably not from the area. When they see positive customer reviews underneath your listing, they will be more inclined to trust you. Set up your local SEO today to get more targeted traffic and leads to your primary website.
Need help with your local SEO or internet marketing for vacation rental companies? Come visit with us in Savannah at the Vacation Rental Management Association Eastern Conference, April 22-24th… or feel free to reach out to us at 855.372.8392 or firstname.lastname@example.org.