Manage your tourism seo so your website is open for business

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/4427310974/

One of the most common questions I hear from tour operators is “I have created my site, now how do I market it?”.  For many business owners, the expectation is that once a website is built, people will naturally come to the site and start booking.  Unfortunately, if your site is not well optimized and you don’t have a lot of content, your potential customers are not going to be able to find you online.  Luckily having a Rezgo booking engine can help a lot because the tour details pages are search optimized, however, having a well optimized booking website is only one part of the solution.  So, many businesses outsource their tourism SEO to a freelance or the cheapest SEO resource they can find on online.  The problem is that these resources don’t know tour and activity businesses as well as the owner and as a result, they may do things that can negatively affect a site’s rankings.  If you are currently outsourcing your SEO, here are three things you can do right now to make sure your traffic is not being affected as a result.

1. Write your own content

Have you ever read some of the content written by an outsourced SEO firm?  You would probably cringe if you took the time to read what is written for some clients.  You know your business and the experience that you have with your customers better than anyone.  If you are not a writer, I’m pretty sure you can find someone close to you who can write and who can help you craft your content in a meaningful and relevant way.  Your customers will be judging you based on the content they read on your site, make sure it is well written and authentic.

If you are a reseller or tour aggregator, don’t copy and paste generic tour information on your site.  Not only does it make your site look and sound like every other reseller of the same tour, but it may also affect your rank if there is an issue with duplicate content.

2. Stop spammy blog comments

You know the ones.  Those comments on your blog post that sound generic and have absolutely nothing to do with your content.  These comments are generally created by SEO firms that are trying to build back-links to their clients websites.  The problem with this approach is that the comments are so easily identified as spam, that most of them get caught by tools like Akismet and don’t even make it into the site.  The other issue is that if the comment does make it on the site, people have come to recognize these comments are irrelevant and not useful.  If the visitor ends up clicking on a link in the comment, it may be totally unrelated to what they were looking at, that they exit your site right away.  This will only increase the exit rate on your website home page and may impact your overall rank.

The better option is to find blogs that are relevant to your destination or your type of tour/activity and post long form and relevant comments on posts that are actually related to your business.  Usually, when you write a lengthy comment, it’s acceptable to include a single link back to your site at the end.

3.  Learn basic online marketing

Learning to do online marketing will be one of the most valuable skills you develop for your business.  Even though it may not be a skill you currently have, this is an area that you can learn and apply as you grow and develop your business.  Basic online marketing is not expensive, which means that you can save money that can be applied to other areas of your business.

The challenge for many small businesses, however, is that online marketing is intimidating.  The reality is that online marketing is not complicated and can be done well by most anyone who has the time and desire to market their business online.

If you do decide to outsource your SEO to another company, make sure to do due diligence on the company.  Check their references and, if appropriate, talk to some of their customers.  Work with the company to put together a campaign that works for you and set clear milestones and deliverables.  Remember that it’s your business reputation on the line, not theirs.

It’s your business after all

In the end, you are the probably the best person to market your business, whether you want to or not.  Take some time to learn some online marketing and social media techniques.  If you haven’t already done so, take a moment to download the free Social Media for Tour and Activity Operators E-book, it has a great strategy for helping you figure out how to market your business using social media and content marketing.  If you end up using an outsourced SEO, be prepared to manage them well.  It’s up to you to keep your website open for business.