Tag Archives: google

SEO for tourism

Following on from yesterday’s post about Google Adwords, I thought it was worth looking at SEO techniques which I have found useful in generating more natural search traffic. The first thing to state is that working on a reasonably uncluttered and simple SEO target like “Nethybridge”, “Nethy bridge” and “Aviemore Cottage” was pretty easy as they are not competitive terms.

If focused on my header tags at first with Goal one to make sure i was picked up by Google. I added a sitemap to the site and also made sure that it was clear to Google that the main subject of the site was Nethybridge using the header:

Saddleback Cottage, Nethybridge near Aviemore

The Aviemore was actually added later. The slight issue is that Nethybridge could also be searched for as “Nethy bridge” with a space so I needed to target both. The competition on page 1 was fairly weak and I would never get ahead of the www.nethybridge.com website itself.

Google’s own advise to use clear references and good content paid dividends for me. I spent absolutely ages putting together a What to do list for the area featuring links to other sites but a lot of narrative copy. I updated this virtually daily so Google saw that content was changing regularly.

I was aided by WordPress, which I used as a content management system and its great XML sitemap plug in. I have found that I can publish a post and within 20 minutes it was showing up within the Google index.

We are now on page 1 for Google for Nethybridge, Nethy bridge and Aviemore Cottage.

NB. It did take over 3 months to get there so don’t expect things to happen overnight.

Adwords to drive cottage bookings

I have now spent just over 1 year marketing and taking bookings for our cottage in Nethybridge it has been a very interesting experiment in niche web marketing. We decided that from the outset we would focus our marketing on families who were typically using the North of Scotland as a second holiday destination (they didn’t book this as their only holiday in the year).

As you would expect this did mean that most of our marketing effort was focused at selling the school holiday weeks. Having looked at a range of marketing options from becomin Visitscotland accredited to national newspaper advertising (the Scotsman has a good holiday section but only a circulation of 60,000) we decided to focus on online activity only.

Although a brave move at the time this has paid dividends. We have exceeded out annual expectation of rentals and have nudged the rental rates up a little for 2008.

So what have we learned?

We initially focused on Google adwords and here are the results.

Views annually

We had reasonable traffic from Google adwords but we were focusing on a very small keyword “nethybridge”, “nethy bridge” and “aviemore cottage”. So anyone looking for a very small geographic area was shown an add linking to the site. The great thing is that this destination is really cheap costing less that 12p a click. Here are the clicks we had (only from adwords)

Clicks

This gave us some reasonable volume of traffic and good conversion to enquiries. We have included a online calendar to cut down the number of enquiries that are repeat in late 2007.

The traffic source split was:

Sources

The referring site is the Nethybridge tourist association (www.nethybridge.com) who have an excellent site on Nethybridge but it is quite difficult to find out that you can find holiday homes etc on the site.

My second strand of marketing was on SEO which has really allowed me to cut the budget on adwords significantly without reducing the number of enquiries.

So here is the best bit. We managed to get the cost of booking (excluding time spent on online marketing) down to £3.00 per booking over the last 12 months, which is excellent and I am not sure it can be matched by any of the national campaigns. So for under £100 we generated significant bookings and a good database of family clients.

Remember we only started last year so I am very pleased – we had no goodwill or word of mouth that I am sure will help in 2008.