Stand Out – Great Website = Great Business

Having a strong online presence is vital if you want your website to stand out from the crowd.

A great website and strong online presence is a really effective way of making your business a success. A quick Google search is the first step for a prospective guest, as it heads them to your front door, so it’s important to make a great impression when they hit your website for the very first time.

What can you do to get the most out of your site, delight your customers and grab your much-deserved share of the market? It’s actually a lot easier than you may think and doesn’t require a huge marketing budget. Our guide is packed with useful tips to help you to turn ‘lookers into bookers’.

What is SEO? Getting Google to find you!
The art of SEO is to give Google every reason to help you stand out and rank your site better than all your competitors.

Before you get to work, it’s important to understand the basics. So, firstly what is SEO? Well it stands for Search Engine Optimisation and, simply put, it is the art of ensuring your site is as user-friendly and as visible as it can be. Google chooses which websites it displays based on a number of factors, and if you design your website with SEO in mind, this will help you be more visible in potential guest searches.

So in short, if you create a fast, useful and user-friendly online experience with everything laid out in simple black and white, you can’t go wrong; good search equals good business!

Organise your site: Keep it simple
The first thing to bear in mind when you build your site, is that it needs to be fast and user-friendly. Less definitely means more here, so make sure that layout is appealing to the eye and that it is easy for your customer to find what they want in as few clicks as possible. Make the information on your site easy to understand, so users don’t get frustrated and leave. People love to see what the property has to offer, so high quality images of your rooms, outdoor areas and even some great shots of food will give them even more reason to stay.

Don’t forget to include social buttons which link to your Facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts too! (If you are looking to promote the quality of your menu, make sure you post as many pics on Instagram as possible to attract all your foodie fans.) This will make it easy for the users to share your pages with family and friends online or follow your latest news and updates.

TOOL TIP: Here’s how you can easily add Share or Follow social media widgets to your website.

Use Keyword research before you begin to write the content on your site, it’s recommended you use a keyword research tool (like this one from Google) to ensure you are using the right keywords.

What are keywords and why are they important?
They are types of words and sentences that people type into Google, for example, searching for accommodation in your area. Looking at keywords which are relevant to your business will help you get a better grasp of what information you need to include and what to cover in your website content.

You need to get the attention of your audience and give them every reason to enjoy the time they spend on your website. For this reason, it’s vital to write all content in a natural and engaging manner. If you do that, you will create a better online experience for your users, and therefore Google will be sure to send more traffic your way.

It’s a bit of a balancing act, this one. If you overuse too many keywords Google will start to drop your ranking, which means you don’t show up in search and will ultimately lead to a loss of business.

How much is too much?
Google doesn’t like it if your content is written with as many keywords or phrases as possible. The content needs to be seen by Google as something your users are reading, sharing and engaging with and it’ll then keep ranking it higher and higher. Make what is written on your website sound as natural as possible – if you write what you would say to a potential guest over the phone, you can recreate that kind of human experience, and this will give your site a more personal feel.

Answer questions
Compile a list of all the questions a customer would have when they first visit your site, and be sure to write content that aims to answer them. The more open and honest you are about every aspect of your business, the more trust you will build. Ensure any additional services and charges are clearly laid out so that your guests know exactly what they will be getting.

More reasons to visit and stay longer

Make yourself useful
It’s always helpful to include some interesting content which relates to the surrounding area, as it could give potential guests even more reason to come and visit. If your property is out in the Yorkshire Dales, providing useful information on some of the best walks and finest local pubs will help keep the user engaged.

Always include a screenshot of or link to Google maps, as well as directions to and from your property to ensure your guests don’t get lost! It’s simple to do and looks great.

Use appropriate links
Listing and, when appropriate, providing links to nearby attractions, restaurants and places of interest that visitors might enjoy can encourage other local organisations to return the favour and link to you on their website. Just be careful to only link to reputable sites and make sure you get into the habit of checking the links to ensure they are still working, for example, not leading to a webpage that doesn’t exist anymore.

Use meta tags and descriptions
Meta tags and descriptions are the information displayed when your property shows up in Google search results and lets users know what they have searched for is the right thing.

The meta tag is essentially a short, snappy title (try sticking with 4-8 words) which best describes the content on the page, whereas the meta description is a brief summary of the page’s contents.

Optimise your site for multiple devices

In an age when everyone is glued to their mobile or tablet device, it is important to ensure your site works well on whatever device someone likes to search on.

There has never been a better time to get on board with this, since 2014 was the first year ever that there were actually more people browsing the internet on mobile devices than PCs!

If your site uses video for example, try uploading it in a format that can be read across all devices (iPad and iPhone will not play certain kinds of videos for example) to guarantee maximum exposure.

Tool Tip: To save you time here are some links to help you out: add some relevant ‘how to site links’.

Ask for help
If you’re quite new to the world of SEO, or you’re not the strongest writer, you can still have a great website to promote your business without having to get a degree in art or web design. You don’t have to break the bank by hiring agencies and designers to do it for you either, as Eviivo are here to help!