You may be wondering "Why, as a Vacation Rental Company, should we be concerned with Local Traffic to our website?" and rightfully so.
There can be two ways of thinking about local traffic and local search:
- Actual Local Searchers
This type of Internet Searcher is someone who is searching from a relatively local geographic location. People in your local area are not immune to the desire of having a wonderful vacation; and your rental just might be what they want.
- Geo-Targeted Searchers
Geo-Targeted Searchers are those who might not be local to the area, but they are searching for what you offer – in your area. In other words, their actual search terms, the words they input into the Google search box, will have geographic names in them, such as names of towns and / or cities that your vacation rentals are located in.
Although these are two different types of searchers, perhaps coming from different places, the way we address them both are basically the same… They both specifically focus on Geographic terms.
And what that means is that there are many tactics we can use to highlight geographic search terms, or Geo-Target search terms.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I want you to consider the growing trend of mobile use. In some niches, the number of people who access websites or search for products and services by mobile is soaring past those who use the traditional desktop. "Near Me" searches are on the rise via mobile. So make sure your website is responsive and mobile-friendly.
Now let’s dive into the Five Powerful Tactics to Boost Local Traffic!
Five Powerful Tactics to Boost Local Traffic to your Vacation Rental Website
One of the most commonly-advised tactics is to establish your "official" NAP or Name, Address and Phone Number.
NAP Consistency means your business’s Name, Address, and Phone Number are consistently listed the same across the Internet.
Any time you list your business, anywhere Online, use the exact same spelling, capitalization, wording, etc. for your NAP. If you display your phone number with the area code in parenthesis and a space, before and after number-sets, with a dash between, on your website, like (910) 575 – 6095, then write it that way every time. If you abbreviate "Road" to "Rd." in your address, do it that exact same way.
Consistency is the key, but why?
The reason is simply to build the confidence and authority of identity in the eyes of the search engines.
Although it may be tempting to build out several different websites, with different versions of the company name, all housed out of the same office in order to boost revenue – you’re also confusing the search engines as to just who is where.
In short, don’t confuse the search engines; decide on your consistent NAP and use it on your website, social media, Google Business, Online directories, citations, mentions and in whatever other ways you may come across.
Google My Business
When compared with the alternatives, Google is the number one search engine; everybody uses it.
So using their tools, suggestions and methodologies might be a good idea. And getting a listing in Google’s business suite of "Google My Business" might be a great idea.
On their page, they suggest you "attract new customers" with their listing. Further, it states that "your listing appears right when people are searching for your business or businesses like yours on Google Search and Maps. Google My Business makes it easy to create and update your listing—so you can stand out, and bring customers in."
Google My Business is basically a one-stop-shop to manage if or how your business shows in Maps, the Knowledge Graph, Google+ and organic search results.
It’s important to have as complete a listing as possible, including your NAP, business hours, details, photos and more. You can even see and respond to the reviews that customers have left for your business, as well as using their latest feature, which allows for short update posts.
Think of Citations like "Mentions." The idea of people mentioning our business or talking about our business brings to mind good things; like word of mouth advertising, authority, trust and in the end – profits.
In truth, that’s really how you should think about it. The fact that the search engines, like Google, are fed a bit by this should be second in your mind.
But yes. Google does consider mentions or Citations, when considering your business. Are many people talking about it? Is it listed prominently in many places? Is it the same place (remember Consistent NAP)?
Sometimes Citations can include your website address or URL, in the form of a link, which is, of course, of added value. However, citations do not need to link back to your website to be valuable. The value in a citation is the mention of your business.
There are basically two types of Citations, structured or unstructured.
A structured citation is most usually defined as your vacation rental business (NAP) listed in a business directory. Examples of these types of listing sites are Yelp, MapQuest, Yellow Pages, Facebook, etc.
If you go to one of these sites, you’ll notice that each business listing is displayed in the same format (although some sites might allow more information for a fee or some businesses do not fill out their complete information), or structure, from company to company.
An unstructured citation, on the other hand, usually has no pre-set format or structure; is usually free-flow text.
Places you could find mentions of your business might be articles, blogs, wikis and more. These may have links pointing back to your vacation rental website, or they might not.
Remember that even without a link, citations are still a good thing.
We’ve already noted that having a consistent NAP is quite important. We’ve seen that citations help build verification, trust, and prominence. And here’s where these two concepts come together: Shared Citations.
What this refers to is the fact that not all directories get their information regarding businesses directly from those businesses submitting their information to them. Instead, there are things called data aggregators.
These aggregate and validate data from a variety of sources and then distribute business listing data to many other websites.
Consider, now, that you have submitted your vacation rental website in five different business directory listings. But you’ve not used a consistent NAP; instead, they are each listed slightly differently.
When a Data Aggregator comes across these, which one do you think they will decide is the "real you" to then disseminate across their network of sites? You have control over this, and it begins with consistent NAP.
Geo-Targeted Content & Pages
There is a common saying in the world of Online Marketing: "Content is King."
Although this adage can (and does) apply to a variety of topics, let’s consider it in the context of boosting local traffic to your vacation rental website.
In order to boost our chances of being seen in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) when someone enters in a search term, we need to have pages that actually talk about that topic.
For example, if I were to enter in the search query "vacation rental homes in Destin, Florida," do you think that pages titled "Condos for Sale in Los Angeles, CA" would come up? Neither do I.
However, let’s imagine for a moment, that our vacation rental company indeed specializes in vacation rental homes in the Destin, Florida area. What can we do to help move our position higher in the Search Engine Result Pages for those searchers?
Aside from using the tactics mentioned above (NAP Consistency, Google My Business and Citations), there is the technique of creating pages of relevant textual content, focusing on what you’re looking to optimize for; in this case a page about "Destin, Florida."
You might be thinking to yourself "We already have tons of pages dedicated to this area; all of our MLS listings are of vacation rental homes in Destin – AND they list the address, with the city, etc."
True, but let’s pretend that you have a competitor; I know, crazy, right? And they also have similar types of MLS listing pages.
Who, then, does Google decide gets the better placement in the SERPs? There are a great many factors within the world of SEO or Search Engine Optimization, however in this case, think of it like this: whoever has more relevant and authoritative content regarding the topic in question is going to have a leg-up on the competition.
So then, we need to build Geo-Targeted pages with textual content surrounding the topic at hand.
Here are some ideas of what kinds of pages you should begin thinking about building content around:
- About [Destin, Florida] page(s)
- Things to Do in [Destin] page(s)
- [Destin] Events page(s)
In creating these rich, geo-targeted content pages, you’ll want to make use of this next tactic as well…Structured Schema Data.
Schema Structured Data
"Schema" refers to www.schema.org, which outlines a very specific vocabulary of tags to help you provide the information Search Engines need to understand your content.
If you’ve ever heard of the Google term "Rich Snippet," Schema Structured Data is the same thing (and luckily, Google seems to have moved away from Rich Snippets to the Structured Data terminology).
Without going into too much technical detail here, there are three types of Schema Structured Data formats: Microdata, JSON-LD and RDFa, with the first two being the most popular.
Let’s look at an example of the two most popular formats.
<h3><span itemprop="name">Destin Vacation Rental Homes</span></h3>
<span itemprop="description">Destin, Florida's most popular vacation rental home agent.</span>
Here you can see that the name of the company is surrounded by not only H3 (Third-level Heading) tags, but there is a name-value pairing that says the data within this tag block is the entity’s Name. And for the next block it says "This is the Description of the entity."
"description":"Destin, Florida's most popular vacation rental home agent."
"name": "Destin Vacation Rental Homes"
Here you can see that we are providing the same information to the Search Engines as we did in the previous example, but in this one, none of the information will be visible to the website visitor.
In the above examples, we show name and description, but of course there are name-value pairings available for address, phone number and much more.
So one option allows you to mark up visible content on the page, with specific markers for the Search Engines. This allows for double-duty; visibly display information and send markers to Google. Pretty handy, right? Indeed.
With the JSON format, there’s nothing for the end user to see. Why might this be valuable? Consider that you can send to the Search Engines information such as the founding date of your local vacation rental business, the founding location, amenity features – but you probably wouldn’t want to group this information together visibly on a page of your site for the end user to read; it just wouldn’t logically work. Thus the power of the JSON method. And keep in mind – there’s no reason why you couldn’t use both methods. 🙂
Used on your geo-targeted rich content pages (and elsewhere on your site) could give you a very big boost indeed.
In summary, we covered Five Tactics to Boost Local Traffic to your Vacation Rental Website. These tactics should serve you well in not only getting more targeted traffic, but you should also see a rise in your both your local and overall SEO rankings and traffic as well. Remember: NAP Consistency, Google My Business, Citations, Geo-Targeted Content and Schema Structured Data. And it all begins with the Consistent NAP.
If any of this sounds a bit overwhelming, I can totally understand. Let us help lighten the burden with our SEO Services or you can take a look at our full suite of Vacation Rental and Real Estate Tools.
Article written by Craig Kiessling.