Sunday, August 17, 2008

Website Ranking

One of the perennial problems of owning gîtes is how to attract customers. It is possible to spend a small fortune on advertising and it’s usually too late to do anything about it if the advert fails to bring in the clients.

There are many different media you can use to advertise on, Local press, national press, internet agents, ppc, or your own website. They all have their drawbacks, few have any ability to change in mid stream and they are all expensive. In recent years large internet companies have evolved, who you pay to place your adverts on their site. They in turn advertise on the internet pumping thousands of pounds into search engine optimisation (SEO) trying to out rank their competitors. As usual the problem is which one do you choose? You can search for the most popular search terms and go with the company that came up most regularly on the front page. There are two problems here, firstly the better they do on the search results the more expensive they are, secondly you will find that these sites are like mini Googles, in that you can find yourself on one of 15 or 20 pages. Though they rotate the adverts, the majority of the time you are not on the first one or two pages, and as with most search engines nobody searches more than a couple of pages. Using PPC (pay per click) can work but unless you understand in depth how to use this you can land up paying out a fortune with no return.
Generally speaking having your own website can work and at least you have somewhere to send potential clients for more in depth information. The problem comes in getting it ranked especially with Google who have 80% + of the market. You have two choices, you can spend a fortune employing experts to optimise your site and there is no guarantee that it will work, or you can take the do it yourself option taking courses and reading up on how to achieve SEO. I am in the process of trying the DIY approach and to a point it seems to be working, but be under no illusions you will need to have the time to put into it.

I am currently trying a new approach, instead of doing it on my existing website I have decided to put up a new site and try out my theory there. Before I started the SEO my website was at 64 on Google for the search term gîtes vendee. After a couple of days of work on the site it had dropped off the radar, but now it seems to be climbing back up the rankings, so we will have to wait and see.

Keep reading the blog and I will keep you informed of the progress, and if it works I will use it on my other site.

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