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Don Draper

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We discussed this a bit but I have a more pointed question. We are currently listed on 5 online b&b directories. When I do a Google search on "Smithville bed and breakfast", only two of these directories are on Google's first page of results...two more are numbers 11 and 12, and one is not listed at all. For what it's worth, my website is currently third on the Google results (woo hoo for Swirt's recommendations on SEO!).
I guess my question is how much weight to you all give to Google search results? All of my competitors are listed on the three directories that do not show up on Google's first page of results, but I still think we are going to drop these three because I just don't see that many bookings coming directly from them. When I personally am traveling I look at Google first, and usually Trip Advisor after I choose a place just to see what the vibe is. Thoughts on this?
 

Morticia

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I guess the other thing to look at is do those directories give you good results anyway, in spite of their poor Google ranking? Keeping in mind that a Google ranking is in flux at all times and one or more of those directories may decide to throw a little more effort at your neck of the woods sometime in the future.
Also, how much 'link love' are you getting from those links back to your site? I think Swirt's test is if the link actually states your site name directly or some sort of 'www.thisdirectory .com/a whole bunch of gobbledegook/ now here is your inn name' and sometimes it's not even your inn name but your user id on that site, so not really any help in the link love game. (Did I get that right, Swirt?)
And then, what will you do with the saved money? If it's enough for a good dinner, keep the website. If it's enough for a weekend away (in the car), keep the website. If it's enough for a weekend away via airplane to a nice, sunny beach location then you need a plan for using that money in some other, hopefully better location because if it's not bringing in revenue then it's wasting good money.
OTOH, if you have 5 directories that ADD UP to the sunny beach vacation weekend, then maybe dropping all of them for one really good performer is the way to go.
 

Don Draper

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I guess the other thing to look at is do those directories give you good results anyway, in spite of their poor Google ranking? Keeping in mind that a Google ranking is in flux at all times and one or more of those directories may decide to throw a little more effort at your neck of the woods sometime in the future.
Also, how much 'link love' are you getting from those links back to your site? I think Swirt's test is if the link actually states your site name directly or some sort of 'www.thisdirectory .com/a whole bunch of gobbledegook/ now here is your inn name' and sometimes it's not even your inn name but your user id on that site, so not really any help in the link love game. (Did I get that right, Swirt?)
And then, what will you do with the saved money? If it's enough for a good dinner, keep the website. If it's enough for a weekend away (in the car), keep the website. If it's enough for a weekend away via airplane to a nice, sunny beach location then you need a plan for using that money in some other, hopefully better location because if it's not bringing in revenue then it's wasting good money.
OTOH, if you have 5 directories that ADD UP to the sunny beach vacation weekend, then maybe dropping all of them for one really good performer is the way to go..
All really great points Bree, and things we are continuing to examine. Right at this moment, cutting the three directories would equal the cost of getting Rezovation GTO.
 

swirt

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I guess the other thing to look at is do those directories give you good results anyway, in spite of their poor Google ranking? Keeping in mind that a Google ranking is in flux at all times and one or more of those directories may decide to throw a little more effort at your neck of the woods sometime in the future.
Also, how much 'link love' are you getting from those links back to your site? I think Swirt's test is if the link actually states your site name directly or some sort of 'www.thisdirectory .com/a whole bunch of gobbledegook/ now here is your inn name' and sometimes it's not even your inn name but your user id on that site, so not really any help in the link love game. (Did I get that right, Swirt?)
And then, what will you do with the saved money? If it's enough for a good dinner, keep the website. If it's enough for a weekend away (in the car), keep the website. If it's enough for a weekend away via airplane to a nice, sunny beach location then you need a plan for using that money in some other, hopefully better location because if it's not bringing in revenue then it's wasting good money.
OTOH, if you have 5 directories that ADD UP to the sunny beach vacation weekend, then maybe dropping all of them for one really good performer is the way to go..
Bree said:
Also, how much 'link love' are you getting from those links back to your site? I think Swirt's test is if the link actually states your site name directly or some sort of 'www.thisdirectory .com/a whole bunch of gobbledegook/ now here is your inn name' and sometimes it's not even your inn name but your user id on that site, so not really any help in the link love game. (Did I get that right, Swirt?)
That was pretty good in a gobbledegook sort of fashion ;)
 

swirt

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but I still think we are going to drop these three because I just don't see that many bookings coming directly from them.
I guess part of the answer depends on what you mean by "see". Are you going by tracker data, casual conversation, self reporting by guest at time of reservation...
 

Don Draper

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but I still think we are going to drop these three because I just don't see that many bookings coming directly from them.
I guess part of the answer depends on what you mean by "see". Are you going by tracker data, casual conversation, self reporting by guest at time of reservation....
Great point Swirt. It's a combo of tracker data and self-reporting, both of which I know are not fool proof. After sleeping on it last night and realizing that the combined costs of these "lesser" (in my mind only) directories amounts to about 5 room nights per year...they probably DO generate that, plus who knows how our reviews on those sites are affecting our own Google rating? Long and short, I'm going to renew them all.
 

swirt

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but I still think we are going to drop these three because I just don't see that many bookings coming directly from them.
I guess part of the answer depends on what you mean by "see". Are you going by tracker data, casual conversation, self reporting by guest at time of reservation....
Great point Swirt. It's a combo of tracker data and self-reporting, both of which I know are not fool proof. After sleeping on it last night and realizing that the combined costs of these "lesser" (in my mind only) directories amounts to about 5 room nights per year...they probably DO generate that, plus who knows how our reviews on those sites are affecting our own Google rating? Long and short, I'm going to renew them all.
.
PLaying a bit of devil's advocate here....consider things like what could that money do if used elsewhere. Example (not in any way specific to your particular site): Could 5 room nights worth of money get you pro photos that would increase your conversion rate so you do better with the website traffic you already have? Getting some B-roll video shot for your inn to use in advertising and on your website? Setting up your own regional directory to gather your own traffic? Could it be used to bump you to a higher level on a directory that is already performing for you?
I worry a bit when I hear things like
...realizing that the combined costs of these "lesser" (in my mind only) directories amounts to about 5 room nights per year...they probably DO generate that ...
Settling for a possible one-to-one return is pretty bad. Not something I would recommend to my clients, or my friends. ;)
 

Don Draper

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but I still think we are going to drop these three because I just don't see that many bookings coming directly from them.
I guess part of the answer depends on what you mean by "see". Are you going by tracker data, casual conversation, self reporting by guest at time of reservation....
Great point Swirt. It's a combo of tracker data and self-reporting, both of which I know are not fool proof. After sleeping on it last night and realizing that the combined costs of these "lesser" (in my mind only) directories amounts to about 5 room nights per year...they probably DO generate that, plus who knows how our reviews on those sites are affecting our own Google rating? Long and short, I'm going to renew them all.
.
PLaying a bit of devil's advocate here....consider things like what could that money do if used elsewhere. Example (not in any way specific to your particular site): Could 5 room nights worth of money get you pro photos that would increase your conversion rate so you do better with the website traffic you already have? Getting some B-roll video shot for your inn to use in advertising and on your website? Setting up your own regional directory to gather your own traffic? Could it be used to bump you to a higher level on a directory that is already performing for you?
I worry a bit when I hear things like
...realizing that the combined costs of these "lesser" (in my mind only) directories amounts to about 5 room nights per year...they probably DO generate that ...
Settling for a possible one-to-one return is pretty bad. Not something I would recommend to my clients, or my friends. ;)
.
You are a GREAT devil's advocate! Excellent points as usual.
But I disagree...when you're talking a grand total of less than $1000/year, isn't one-to-one ROI "acceptable"? I guess it's a personal decision.
The main thing driving the decision right now is your point that I don't have enough information in terms of what the "REAL" ROI is, because I don't know how membership on these directories impacts my overall Google presence.
 

swirt

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but I still think we are going to drop these three because I just don't see that many bookings coming directly from them.
I guess part of the answer depends on what you mean by "see". Are you going by tracker data, casual conversation, self reporting by guest at time of reservation....
Great point Swirt. It's a combo of tracker data and self-reporting, both of which I know are not fool proof. After sleeping on it last night and realizing that the combined costs of these "lesser" (in my mind only) directories amounts to about 5 room nights per year...they probably DO generate that, plus who knows how our reviews on those sites are affecting our own Google rating? Long and short, I'm going to renew them all.
.
PLaying a bit of devil's advocate here....consider things like what could that money do if used elsewhere. Example (not in any way specific to your particular site): Could 5 room nights worth of money get you pro photos that would increase your conversion rate so you do better with the website traffic you already have? Getting some B-roll video shot for your inn to use in advertising and on your website? Setting up your own regional directory to gather your own traffic? Could it be used to bump you to a higher level on a directory that is already performing for you?
I worry a bit when I hear things like
...realizing that the combined costs of these "lesser" (in my mind only) directories amounts to about 5 room nights per year...they probably DO generate that ...
Settling for a possible one-to-one return is pretty bad. Not something I would recommend to my clients, or my friends. ;)
.
You are a GREAT devil's advocate! Excellent points as usual.
But I disagree...when you're talking a grand total of less than $1000/year, isn't one-to-one ROI "acceptable"? I guess it's a personal decision.
The main thing driving the decision right now is your point that I don't have enough information in terms of what the "REAL" ROI is, because I don't know how membership on these directories impacts my overall Google presence.
.
InnsiderInfo said:
But I disagree...when you're talking a grand total of less than $1000/year, isn't one-to-one ROI "acceptable"?
In my opinion...only if you like working for free. 1-to-1 is not really a return, its a wash...actually it is a loss because you pay taxes on the income and because if you had simply taken the $1000 and put it in a interest bearing account you'd have more to show for it with less work.
And not if that money could perform better in other uses.
The main thing driving the decision right now is your point that I don't have enough information in terms of what the "REAL" ROI is, because I don't know how membership on these directories impacts my overall Google presence.
Have you checked out whether these are direct links to your site? Do the pages the link appears on have any pagerank?
A link (with good link text) from a small site in your area ..like a restaurant or regional site may have a lot more impact on your google position than a link on a big directory that is 6 clicks deep.
 

Morticia

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but I still think we are going to drop these three because I just don't see that many bookings coming directly from them.
I guess part of the answer depends on what you mean by "see". Are you going by tracker data, casual conversation, self reporting by guest at time of reservation....
Great point Swirt. It's a combo of tracker data and self-reporting, both of which I know are not fool proof. After sleeping on it last night and realizing that the combined costs of these "lesser" (in my mind only) directories amounts to about 5 room nights per year...they probably DO generate that, plus who knows how our reviews on those sites are affecting our own Google rating? Long and short, I'm going to renew them all.
.
PLaying a bit of devil's advocate here....consider things like what could that money do if used elsewhere. Example (not in any way specific to your particular site): Could 5 room nights worth of money get you pro photos that would increase your conversion rate so you do better with the website traffic you already have? Getting some B-roll video shot for your inn to use in advertising and on your website? Setting up your own regional directory to gather your own traffic? Could it be used to bump you to a higher level on a directory that is already performing for you?
I worry a bit when I hear things like
...realizing that the combined costs of these "lesser" (in my mind only) directories amounts to about 5 room nights per year...they probably DO generate that ...
Settling for a possible one-to-one return is pretty bad. Not something I would recommend to my clients, or my friends. ;)
.
You are a GREAT devil's advocate! Excellent points as usual.
But I disagree...when you're talking a grand total of less than $1000/year, isn't one-to-one ROI "acceptable"? I guess it's a personal decision.
The main thing driving the decision right now is your point that I don't have enough information in terms of what the "REAL" ROI is, because I don't know how membership on these directories impacts my overall Google presence.
.
InnsiderInfo said:
You are a GREAT devil's advocate! Excellent points as usual.
But I disagree...when you're talking a grand total of less than $1000/year, isn't one-to-one ROI "acceptable"? I guess it's a personal decision.
The main thing driving the decision right now is your point that I don't have enough information in terms of what the "REAL" ROI is, because I don't know how membership on these directories impacts my overall Google presence.
NO! It is not acceptable. I harp on this all the time with our good friends at bandb.com. I want 10x ROI. But, that doesn't necessarily mean it is going to come from the directory listing itself. It could come from being mentioned by one of the directories when they speak to the media. If one of my packages gets promoted in the media after being listed on that directory, I may never hear the guest say, 'We found you on...' but they found us BECAUSE our package got publicized by that directory and the guest came directly to our site not really knowing WHO led them there.
But if I know that right after that package got mentioned I suddenly get lots of calls about, I know where the lead came from. And that directory just paid for itself even tho no traffic came in from there on my stats and the guest only knows they heard it on the radio or read it in their newspaper.
That said, I have kept underperforming directories on board for longer than maybe I should have because they aren't really all that expensive. ($39/year for some, $99 for others, nothing over $150/year) Some because they are local businesses I am trying to support and hope that they get bigger, others for the link love.
 

SweetiePie

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A resource you may not have thought of for comparing directories is www.alexa.com You can get a lot of useful information on which directories are on the upswing and which are not, as well as keywords they are being searched for. Example: VirtualCities is being searched for for recipes not bed and breakfast.
 

swirt

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A resource you may not have thought of for comparing directories is www.alexa.com You can get a lot of useful information on which directories are on the upswing and which are not, as well as keywords they are being searched for. Example: VirtualCities is being searched for for recipes not bed and breakfast..
Alexa is fairly easy to manipulate for niches like ours so it is not a completely reliable tool. Worth taking a peek for sure, but I wouldn't base any decisions off of it alone. Quantcast.com is less easy to manipulate so its data can be more trustworthy.
Details can be found in this older thread about Alexa Traffic Ranking.
 

swirt

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When I do a Google search on "Smithville bed and breakfast", only two of these directories are on Google's first page of results...two more are numbers 11 and 12, and one is not listed at all.
Just clearing up so people don't spend time trying to see who you are... Smithville is a fake name for your town right?
 

Don Draper

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When I do a Google search on "Smithville bed and breakfast", only two of these directories are on Google's first page of results...two more are numbers 11 and 12, and one is not listed at all.
Just clearing up so people don't spend time trying to see who you are... Smithville is a fake name for your town right?.
Correct!
 

Morticia

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When I do a Google search on "Smithville bed and breakfast", only two of these directories are on Google's first page of results...two more are numbers 11 and 12, and one is not listed at all.
Just clearing up so people don't spend time trying to see who you are... Smithville is a fake name for your town right?.
swirt said:
When I do a Google search on "Smithville bed and breakfast", only two of these directories are on Google's first page of results...two more are numbers 11 and 12, and one is not listed at all.
Just clearing up so people don't spend time trying to see who you are... Smithville is a fake name for your town right?
Geez Louise, what a waste of my time! Thanks for clearing that up. Back to square one...
 

Don Draper

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When I do a Google search on "Smithville bed and breakfast", only two of these directories are on Google's first page of results...two more are numbers 11 and 12, and one is not listed at all.
Just clearing up so people don't spend time trying to see who you are... Smithville is a fake name for your town right?.
swirt said:
When I do a Google search on "Smithville bed and breakfast", only two of these directories are on Google's first page of results...two more are numbers 11 and 12, and one is not listed at all.
Just clearing up so people don't spend time trying to see who you are... Smithville is a fake name for your town right?
Geez Louise, what a waste of my time! Thanks for clearing that up. Back to square one...
.
Yes, my apologies to Smithville, TX and Smithville, NJ...should have gone with "Genericville bed and breakfast"!
 

Morticia

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When I do a Google search on "Smithville bed and breakfast", only two of these directories are on Google's first page of results...two more are numbers 11 and 12, and one is not listed at all.
Just clearing up so people don't spend time trying to see who you are... Smithville is a fake name for your town right?.
swirt said:
When I do a Google search on "Smithville bed and breakfast", only two of these directories are on Google's first page of results...two more are numbers 11 and 12, and one is not listed at all.
Just clearing up so people don't spend time trying to see who you are... Smithville is a fake name for your town right?
Geez Louise, what a waste of my time! Thanks for clearing that up. Back to square one...
.
Yes, my apologies to Smithville, TX and Smithville, NJ...should have gone with "Genericville bed and breakfast"!
.
InnsiderInfo said:
Yes, my apologies to Smithville, TX and Smithville, NJ...should have gone with "Genericville bed and breakfast"!
Yeah, I wouldn't have fallen for THAT one!
 

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