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2014-04-29
Case study : SEO strategy for new tourism website


1. The new client description

We have a new website for a client in Ponta do Oura, Mozambique to design.

The current website is www.campleatherback.co.za .

The new proposed website with temporary domain is www.kwikweb.co.za/campleather

One of the business partners allready has a successful website with us namely , www.pontafishingcharters.co.za .

Mainly for SEO purposes I suggested that they get a second website for the camping business which is a separate business.

2. Practical cheap research : Benchmarking

To see how much work needs to be done in order to appear on page 1 or two of Google we will do a few Google searches to see what the competition looks like. Not with the idea of stealing content but we will also "steal ideas for content" from the top websites on page 1 or 2.

We need to find a benchmark to see how much content we should have on our new website to compete for space on page 1 of Google. It could be that the end result be that SEO is not the right strategy for marketing this website in the first place.

By studying the competition one will in the first place discover whether SEO is an appropriate strategy to adopt for this new website in the first place. It should definitely not be the only marketing strategy for this new website in a usually competitive environment.

Results:

"Ponta do Ouro Camp Sites"

Page 1 nr 1 - Safari Now

The top result for this search term was Safari Now with the following camp sites listed:

Gamboozini Lodge
Wakene Beach Estate Camp Site
Gala-Gala Eco Resort and Diving

Further research revealed the following for the three establishments:

Establishments Price per night Other
Gamboozini Lodge R240 (2 adults) Sleeps 60
Wakene Beach Estate Camp Site R360 (2 adults) Sleeps 12
Gala-Gala Eco Resort and Diving R280 (2 adults) Sleeps 52

Listing on Safari Now:

The quickest way to ensure that the business (not the new website) is on page 1 of Google is to list the campsite with Safari now. Remember we are talking of the specific search term "Ponta do Ouro Camp Sites" .

One can list with Safari Now here:

http://www.safarinow.com/cms/why-join-safarinow/irie.aspx

They charge 15% on paid bookings. (+VAT in SA)

Page 1 nr 2

www.pontadooura.co.za

This website seems to be run by booking agents. If they only charge per bookings then the owners of the website should be contacted for a possible listing as well.

The search terms being researched should be altered eg:

Ponta do Oura camp site (singular)
Ponta camp site
Ponta camping special

Tip: Study the websites and the content found on page 1 of Google. While you are doing this research you will also be researching your competition. You will notice what they are charging and how much information they have on their websites or listings with directories.

In this instance I have to conclude it will be very unwise not to list on the accommodation directories which dominate top spot on Google. Some visitors to these accommodation directories find places and then start to do a Google search for the name of the establishment which is bad for the accommodation directory and good for the business owner in terms of commission

 

3. Doing the basics well

Relying on SEO alone as the only marketing strategy will possible lead to business failure. Being difficult to get to page 1 of Google is no excuse for not doing the basics well . Sometimes by doing the basics well one can get a certain amount of traffic even though not the top of page 1 but maybe for starters somewhere on page 2.

On this website we have 3 must watch videos to understand the basics of SEO. (The third explains SEO and your Kwikwap Website well).

The videos can be found here:

http://www.seobook.co.za/wadditional_pages.php

With that in mind it has to be considered that we have to use certain keywords, especially in certain places.

On all pages the intoductory paragraphs are especially important, the headings and titles of all pages are important. This has to be done in a way that it does not come over as spammy.

Doing the basics well would include a good about us paragraph, a good homepage introductory text, good services (camp sites) description, broad faq section, a few interesting blog entries with special care taken when choosing page headings, a few photographs with text.

Special note on photograhs: When at wits end when it comes to website text then simply use your photographs and describe in words what can be seen on these photographs. Do not load a 100 photographs without any descriptions. People use Facebook, Instagram and Pininterest for looking at photographs. Rather view photographs as an opportunity to generate content.

Tip: Photographs , Testimonials and Marketing (other than SEO)

We are doing a new website for a business which has had visitors before. (People who hopefully enoyed their holidays. They can be contaced and asked for testimonials for the new website. They can be asked for photographs or permission to use photographs. (Tagging them in Photographs on Facebook is an excellent way when using Facebook to market your business - all their friends will see their happy holiday pictures) . When contacting them for their testimonials you could use the opportunity to remind them to make their bookings for the new year.

4. Avoiding bad SEO mistakes

For demo purposes we used the following picture for the home page.

The problem with that images is that the text on the image is not readable by search engines.

There is another way:

Search engines can read this text

I inserted a table with an image as a background and then started typing normal website text.

The website text in the first image is good and will be used but we will do it in the right way and avoid one of the possible worst seo mistakes which is not making your website or text crawable.

5. Ensure website is mobile enabled

A lot of tourist only used there cellphones when travelling. Ensuring your website is designed responsively will improve rankings on search engines when people search the mobile internet. The mobile version of the website can be viewed here:

http://www.kwikweb.co.za/campleather/xmenu.php

6. Bilingual

Because the target market is mainly South Africans, Afrikaans will also be used in certain places. This is a trend which has been catching up with new accommodation directories like lekkeslaap and lekkerkampplekke targeting the afrikaans market. (These are also directories which can be considered for a listing.)

(We do have the option available of including Portugese or doing the whole website in Portugese.)

7. FAQ section

As can be seen from the business facebook page some questions are being asked by clients in Afrikaans. The faq section will be done in both Afrikaans and English. A great source for faq's are questions asked on facebook pages as well as past questions asked in normal email correspondence.

8. Note on Facebook marketing by this business and associates

Facebook is limiting the number of posts people see in their news feeds. Even though you may eventually have 1,000 likes only a small percentage will see what you post. Some small businesses wrongly used individual facebook profiles or facebook groups to grow quite large audiences. The individual profiles are more like to get more attention in news feeds of people using facebook but one can only wonder how long till Facebook closes or converts these profiles which are supposed to be used by individuals for private purposes. It is better to add the new information to a website , say new photographs or a blof entry and then to share this information on facebook. That way search engines can index these pages and return them in search results. (This does not happen with facebook posts.)

Facebook can still be used effectively without having to pay facebook.

9 . Other off site SEO

Having quality websites linking to your website will boost your rankings with search engines. I have added a few links to websites who will be willing to link back to the website once the website is finished and the domain has been transferred.

It is important to do this naturally and not to link for the sake of linking. Only link to places you would associate with and which you know are bona fide businesses. Joining unnatural link building schemes is Black Hat SEO and is frowned upon by search engines and can see your website being removed from the Google index.

10.) Google Places

It's quick, free and easy to list your business on Google places and unwise not to do so.

Here is the link where to list your business with Google Places.

https://www.google.co.za/business/placesforbusiness/

It is important to link from your Facebook Page , Your Google Places and Google + page (Which will be created when you list with Google places.) to your domain, the website's url (Uniform Resource Locator) .

11.) Newsletter/Blog

I have added one blog entry as an example.

It is important to consider the title of all your pages on your website, pay particular attention to writing quality introductory related paragraphs and to remember you are writing for real website visitors and not for search engines.

Having a regular blog with frsh content and considering the right titles is one way of beating the very strong directories.

12.) Domains

The current domain is Camp Leatherback. One can have more than one domain but only one domain will attach the value of the content to it. A domain like www.pontacamping.co.za or www.campsiteponta.co.za will provide more SEO value allthough it is not as important in value as it used to be. There are more than 200 factors which Google considers when deciding on search results. The domain name is one of them.

It is suggested to keep the exisiting domain name but to register a new domain and forward the Camp Leatherback domain to the new domain.

The domain name does not need to be the same as the business name

13.) Video module

One can add interesting Youtube videos of the destination to the website and describe each video. What would be better is to make your own video of the business. To upload videos to Youtube is free and you can get business from people visiting Youtube searching for things. These little things is what will make a difference over time to the success of the websites SEO strategy.

14.) Interesting , unique information

The name of the campsite is camp leatherback. Some animal lovers search the internet for information on leatherbacks. If you can provide usefull and unique information on the leatherback turtle and add that information on your website then you will attract traffic from people interested in leatherback turtles. Some of those people can favourite you / decide to make a booking just because you have interesting information about something they are interested in. The same can be applied to surfing in the area or fishing.

An example would be:

To Google for  "Kruger Park recommended drives from Crocodile Bridge" .

A client of mine has a lodge near the Crocodile Bridge entrance gate.

The search result would be:

http://www.elephantwalk.co.za/cp/3518/drives-from-crocodile-bridge

15.) Feeding of associate websites

The camp site can be advertised on the fishing charter website of the one partner and vice versa. Links between the two websites will be a natural thing to do as well.

16.) Starting a community website

Websites these days are easy to manage. The camp site can team up with other accommodation establishments in Ponta Do Oura and start a website listing all the accommodation establishments. No need for everyone to log into the CMS website. The add information on website. The community website then links to the individual websites.

For obvious reasons the community website should not have information like prices which change, to limit the future updates needed for the joint website.

The idea is to bypass the booking agents websites which takes 15% of the booking fees and sometimes handles your cash for too long.

Conclusion

Alternative startegies to SEO should immediately be considered and implemented as SEO is generally a medium to long term strategy. You will do better if you enjoy blogging and have the natural talents. But dont despair if you don't. Do the basics well first. Your website will grow naturally over time as people ask you questions which you can add to the faq section of your website. There is no quick solution to getting your website to the top of Google searches.

Listing on various accommodation directories should be considered.

Once the basics have been implemented time should be budgeted for future updates and news on the websites much like which is done naturally on Facebook. JUst do things the right way. Add information to your website and then share on Facebook. That is how you keep on generating fresh content on your website.

The new website was created today, the same day as writing this newsletter/blog entry.

It should be interesting to follow up 3 months from now. The results now depend on what the website owners do with their CMS website and this advice.

 

 


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