What is SEO and how do I do it myself?

If you are listing your business online one of the first things you will hear is the term SEO or Search Engine Optimization.  Basically this means building your web site in a way that google and other search engines will find it.

There isn’t just one way to do this and there are lots of “experts” out there that have their own theory.  The truth is that no one really knows for sure and the formula google uses changes constantly.  The best way to make sure your site comes up is to make sure it meets these criteria:

1.) your site has relevant and high quality information about the search that people are doing (bed and breakfast  + “your city”)

2.) your site reflects your personality so that it is clear it wasn’t written by someone in another country or a computer

3.) your site has regular additions to the content

4.) your site has relevant incoming links

Adding regular content to your site
The first two are relatively straight forward but the last one requires a bit more work.  The trick is to add information to your site over time that is relevant to your area AND the kind of stuff that people will be searching for.  Let me give you some examples.

I have a page on my site called “info”.  I regularly add posts about new restaurants that open, museums in the area, the food tour that started in Dallas, etc.  You get the idea right?  If someone is looking for a hotel in Uptown Dallas they might also look for places to eat, night life and attractions.  These are things that all travelers look for and if they can find that information on my site that helps me.  Maybe I get some extra visitors to my site who weren’t searching for Dallas B&B but they were looking for what to do on a weekend getaway in Dallas.

It’s important to keep this information current with what’s happening in your area.  If there is something happening in your town, write a post about it and include the proximity of your B&B to the event.

The mechanics of doing this are pretty simple if you have a WordPress site.  You can make one of your static pages in your navigation a blog with posts that you add.   The newest posts appear at the top.

Getting incoming links to your site
Many people have tried to pay for links but google is getting more and more clever at spotting this.  I don’t recommend it.  The best way is to get links that are legitimate.  One of the best incoming links you can have is from bedandbreakfast.com which is part of a paid listing with them.   We get lots of traffic from bedandbreakfast.com, they are a leader in the industry and I think it’s a link worth paying the membership fee for.  Tripadvisor is another high quality incoming link.

Other ways to get incoming links are to contact the web sites with relevant attractions in your area and ask them if they will link to your site.  For example, if there is a winery near your B&B ask them if they will include a link on their website to yours.   If there are B&Bs in your area you can see who is linking to them and contact those same sites to see if they will link to you.  This is a topic that we will discuss more in a later post.

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