Pillows and Pancakes

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JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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05/22/2008

Did anyone else get the latest email from Paul at Pillows and Pancakes? Re Driving directions on your listing.

 

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09/19/2008

Hi Swirt,
Thanks for the feedback.  As for the 3 month v. the 1 year, we actually do not believe the link alone can do it alone.  We offer a DIY guide on what a B&B owner might also do to improve their rankings, the guide does suggest ways to get other links, talks about on site content and some do's and don'ts. We believe if all things come together a B&B can see a significant jump in rankings within the 3 months.  For example, if a B&B site had everything right except for the title tag (so lots of inbound relevant links, good on site content, clean.. etc) this site might not do so well for related KWs because of the title tag (I'm envisioning <title>Home</title>) If that tag was changed to "City Bed and Breakfast" there is a good chance they would see a jump very soon.

Per your numbers.
1) I tried this search:
site:www.pillowsandpancakes.com/bnb/105802/Wine Country Cabins Bed & Breakfast
and it shows your listing indexed.
To address where the link is we have added it to the City page, State page and Country page.  Hence, it is brought higher up.
 

2) Yep, they are. I don't plan on discussing this with them.  Smiling
 

3) Yep, I agree here too.  As we tell people, the longer the link stays in place the more powerful it can become.
 

4) Unfortunately all B&B's signing up has not happened. Sad
 

My parents, I handle their site and have done everything on it for the last 6 years. The spirit behind me showcasing that is "It is possible for your site to be on the first page for something competitive too."  Although they have several other inbound links, only two other uses 'Ontario Bed and Breakfast' (which I happen to control as well).  Most of the B&B's I've had the chance to chat don't ever really think about their site being at the top of Google.  Ironically they use Google rankings to evaluate the importance of a guide. Of course there are some B&Bs that are very aware that they can be at the top of Google and do achieve this.
 

Frankly, I wouldn't mind dropping this whole strategy and just sell listings.  But while we are building up traffic (and we are) I needed something to sell. I didn't want to be another directory that sold listings and essentially delivered nothing of value.

TIA

Paul

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Pillows and Pancakes
http://www.pillowsandpancakes.com/

 

swirt's picture
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05/17/2008

paulavery wrote:
As for the 3 month v. the 1 year, we actually do not believe the link alone can do it alone.  We offer a DIY guide on what a B&B owner might also do to improve their rankings, the guide does suggest ways to get other links, talks about on site content and some do's and don'ts. We believe if all things come together a B&B can see a significant jump in rankings within the 3 months. 

That is true enough, but you are banking your moneyback guarantee on something that is up to THEM to do and is out of your control. 

 

WARNING: Geek speak to follow....no need for most people to follow it.  Eye-wink

Quote:
1) I tried this search:
site:www.pillowsandpancakes.com/bnb/105802/Wine Country Cabins Bed & Breakfast
and it shows your listing indexed.

Ahh..Good point.  I forgot that the %20 (space) breaks Google's site: command when the results are in the supplemental index.  I knew it seemed odd that it was not indexed.  The search you did is simply
site:www.pillowsandpancakes.com/bnb/105802/Wine because the rest of the words are treated as part of the search terms not the address.

So the page is indexed which is good, but appears to be in the supplemental index.  Google stopped indicating which results are supplemental to keep us on our toes and in the dark  Eye-wink However, here's an example:

site:http://www.pillowsandpancakes.com/bnb/1002870/The%20Highlands%20Inn - displays as being indexed despite the appearance of the %20 in the site string.  - This is in the main index, not the supplemental.

site:http://www.pillowsandpancakes.com/bnb/105802/Wine%20Country%20Cabins%20Bed%20&%20Breakfast  shows as not in the index.  This indicates it is either not indexed, or in the supplemental  and then your search of
site:http://www.pillowsandpancakes.com/bnb/105802/Wine shows the page is indexed which indicates the page is supplemental.

This is one of a few reasons why SEO's suggest not using spaces (%20) in addresses and file names. The hyphen is a better option.

 

 

Good addition adding the links to properties higher in the digging process.  It helps for search engines and inproves the useability of the site.

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09/19/2008

Hi All,

Shellie mentioed P&P was being discussed and suggested I stop by.

Thanks for taking the time to discuss us.

We have a long way to go until we'd compare ourselves to the likes of bedandbreakfast.com.  We don't even consider them our competiton... they are just so big.  Luckily we have been increasing the visitors to the site and the amount of reservation inquires we send through our site. 

We are also finding that we have 'hot spots.'  For some reason we send a lot of business to Manhattan B&Bs. Actually, I just checked rankings and I see us near the top for 'b&b manhattan' in Google. Some places we get no traffic at all.

As we build up our traffic we had to have something to sell.  And this is what we are selling:

http://www.google.com/search?q=ontario+bed+and+breakfast

Look for irishmountain.net - they are my parents.  Things to note, they are the only B&B on the first page in Google.  There are 100's of B&B's in Ontario - P&P has 413 listed

http://www.pillowsandpancakes.com/country/Canada/Ontario

Google is there #1 referrer, 10x's more then the best performing directory.

Thanks for taking the time to talk about us and read this over.

Paul

swirt's picture
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05/17/2008

Hi Paul, and welcome to Innspiring.  Good to chat with you again.

I understand the value you are promoting in the direct link.  And I like the 3 month moneyback guarantee.  That's clever, but I do want to point out that the liklihood that a link from PillowsandPancakes will alter a B&B website's position in the Search Engine results in 3 months is pretty small.   You might be better off stretching it out to the year.

Here are a few reasons:

  1. The links to people's sites are pretty deep within the site and are not likely to get indexed immediately by Google.  Here is an example
    USA page - indexed
    New York page - indexed
    NY - Lodi page - not indexed
    NY - Lodi - Wine Country Cabins - not indexed
    In my case, the Wine Country Cabins page has the link to my site, so if that page is not indexed, then the link is not indexed, which means there is no credit for the link.  I know my B&B has been listed with you for several years, and that page is still not indexed ... which is actually a bit surprising unless you have recently altered the path structure of your site or something like that.
  2. Google is at the moment waging a bit of a war with sites selling links that pass pagerank.  It is clear in the case of sites that are just wholesale selling links for SEM purposes.  It is unclear how Google views paid links from paid directories for B&B's.  They are certainly allowing them, but they may have dialed back the weight of the links.  (this remains unclear for now)
  3. New links (as in someone who just signed up) have less history which translates into less value.  An initial link may not carry enough value to move a site's position immediately.
  4. Rising tides lift all boats.  If all the B&B's in the top 10 spots sign up for new enhanced accounts, they potentially will rise by all the same amount so little change would be visible.   I realize this one is a bit of a stretch...too many possibilities for people not joining all at the same time or not picking the same target phrase.

You use your parents site as an example is interesting, but in fairness, their site has 193 other incoming links from sites that are not P&P.

Keep up the good work.  And I do hope this money back guarantee works out in your favor.  I'm just afraid you are promoting unrealistic goals that may come back to bite you.

Cheers

JunieBJones (JBJ)'s picture
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05/22/2008

This is what my statz have shown as well.

I do LIKE the website, and think he has done a top job of it.

 

swirt's picture
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05/17/2008

I've seen it come up decently in some regional searches, but not that often. 

seashanty's picture
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06/02/2008

his was the first site that mapped my location correctly. i even used it to show google where i am! they still have me in three or four locations, but at least one is correct.    i don't get much traffic from his site ... but the mapping is super.

swirt's picture
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05/17/2008

I just read the same email.  And I have to say the whole moneyback guarantee on the first three months is interesting.

They will give you your money back if within three months of becoming an "enhnaced member" ($99 per year) on the site, it does not increase your ranking on one of the three major search engines for the the targetted phrase (not sure who gets to pick the targetted phrase)

Pillows and Pancakes email wrote:

We are guaranteeing an increase in the Enhanced member's website in Search Engine Result Pages of Google, Yahoo! or MSN for one relevant search keyword phrase.

If after 3 months the Enhanced member's website does not see an improvement in its ranking on the Search Engine Result Pages of Google, Yahoo! or MSN for its keyword phrase, the Enhanced member may request a 100% refund within the fourth month.

 

I admire the site because it is one of the few "low cost" directories that constantly strives to improve and inovate.  I've also seen it make changes based on suggestions made by members of this forum.  I don't think Paul has signed up here yet, but he probably will.

Now for the facts.  I have had a listing on the site for a long time including a link to my website (but not an enhanced listing).  In the past year, I have had only 1 referral from the site.  Looking to a couple of my clients' trackers I have these numbers for the past year: 11 (non-enhanced),  55 (enhanced)

Overall from these numbers they are not that impressive.  I'm seen bbonline.com and bedandbreakfast.com deliver the same kind of numbers in a day or two rather than a year.

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

Non-enhanced listing here and I get 1-3 referrals in an average month. No one ever mentions the site when they book, tho.

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