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Website review request from rookie

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mjsgeorgia

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Since we are a new B&B (6 months) just wanted to ask the more experienced innkeepers to review our website and suggest changes, especially ones that might improve our SEO. It's a case of my brother helping to set up the website, which I think looks great, but he didn't know much about SEO so there's probably things I need to do to make it more "functional". Would appreciate any advice you can provide... askalodge.net THANK YOU!!! I learn something new from you guys every day!
Mary Jo
 

swirt

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Sometimes my responses to these get a little long, so I'll post each issue separately. That way you can ask follow-ups to each as needed.
 

swirt

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The most powerful onpage item for both Search Engines and attracting click throughs from search engines is the title of the page. The page title appears in the top (usually blue) banner of the web browser. They also show up as the link text in search engines (they are what people click on). Each page needs to have a good unique title to show up well in the search engine AND to attract the click from a human.
Currently each of your pages have the same (or nearly the same) title. Here is a better description of good vs bad webpage titles for B&B.
The trick is to have each page target a different phrase and to align the title and other elements to that phrase without degrading the attraction for humans. Here is a more lengthy example of how to optimize all of your B&B webpages
 

swirt

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Your home page has meta-description and meta-keyword tags but most of your other pages do not and if they do, they are poorly developed (example: your amenities page has a description of "motorcycle friendly B&B").
The meta-keyword tag is essentially useless. Most people just include it as a matter of habit or superstition. Still overstuffing it is not a good idea, so don't get carried away putting in more than a dozen or so keywords.
The meta-description has some power in both placement and it is often the snippet that gets displayed with your listing in google. (Sometimes it pulls it from the page content if it is more appropriate for the terms being used in the search).
The meta-description and meta-keywords should be tuned to the search phrases just like the page titles. This will cover the basics of B&B webpage optimization.
 

swirt

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You currently have 5 links on your home page that leave your site. This is the equivalent of inviting people to leave your B&B as soon as the hit your doorstep. This is a less than ideal move for having guests look around on your site a bit and it starves your interior pages a bit which limts their ability to show up as high in search engines.
Links to other sites (outgoing links) are not a bad thing, they should just be avoided on your home page. Put them deeper in your site so that they provide value to the potential guest but only after they have looked a little deeper. Here is a rant of mine on the topic of outgoing links on a B&B website.
 

swirt

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The sitebuilder you are using cobbles the code a bit making quite a few mistakes, and is missing a doctype (a required html element).
The doctype tells the technology what structures are in play to create the page. Search engines are often pretty good at reading poorly constructed pages, but there are some errors that they can't handle so I recommend running an html validator on each of your pages. The problem is, without a doctype the validator can't evaluate your page. The validator is very picky so it is not for the faint of heart. Some of the errors it may show are search engine stoppers, most aren't. The hard part is knowing which is which. Poorly nested tags are often the biggest problem.
 

swirt

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Images of text carry no meaning for search engines. They can't read them.
Your navigation bar is made up of lots of images. Each link should have a title attribute that tells what the link is for and each image should have an alt attribute that says the same thing. These should be tuned as much as possible to the search phrases of the page they are linked to.
Other photos on your page should have meaningful alt attributes on them too. (also tuned whenever appropriate to the target search phrase of the page.
Here is a description of how to make images on your website more meaningful.
 

swirt

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This one is not about SEO but has lots to do with converting website visitors into guests. You have a nice looking place but your photos don't do it justice. A pro photographer would have a field day at your place. Your on page photos are pretty small. They'd have a bigger impact if they were larger and your page re-configured to allow them to be bigger. Many of them link t larger versions of the photo which is good, but kind of disconnected from the site.
Your photos in many cases are not optimized well and as such take a long time to download. Example: your rainbow photo is 560K, your outdoor seating area photo is 620K These are about 10x bigger than they ought to be. Some others like your moose on a swing photo is 85K which is about twice as big as it ought to be.
 

swirt

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In the footer of all your pages you list the name as "Aska Lodge LLC" The LLC may be official but it is worthless as part of the name from a marketing point of view. Listing it as "Aska Lodge Bed and Breakfast" or "Aska Lodge B&B" would be a much better choice. Making it a link to your home page would also be beneficial.
 

swirt

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One of the bigger factors in showing up well in search engines is incoming links. The more the better... the more on target the source, the better .... the more targetted the wording in the link, the better.
Currently Google (who greatly under reports incoming links) shows you as having two incoming links. One from your listing on a major directory and one from the featured inn page on this site :) (why more of our members don't take advantage of this I don't know)
Yahoo shows you as having around 92 links with 11 being your own pages and many being from this site. I only see a few related directories. Additional directory listings would give you a bit of a boost. (of course you have to weigh that against how many you can afford. Stick to the major ones. Don't get caught up in the cheapies that I am sure spam you on a regular basis.
Never stop link building.
 

YellowSocks

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One of the bigger factors in showing up well in search engines is incoming links. The more the better... the more on target the source, the better .... the more targetted the wording in the link, the better.
Currently Google (who greatly under reports incoming links) shows you as having two incoming links. One from your listing on a major directory and one from the featured inn page on this site :) (why more of our members don't take advantage of this I don't know)
Yahoo shows you as having around 92 links with 11 being your own pages and many being from this site. I only see a few related directories. Additional directory listings would give you a bit of a boost. (of course you have to weigh that against how many you can afford. Stick to the major ones. Don't get caught up in the cheapies that I am sure spam you on a regular basis.
Never stop link building..
swirt said:
Never stop link building.
Aside from directories, and the featured inns here, what are some examples of ways to build links?
=)
Kk.
 

mjsgeorgia

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Ouch! Well, I have to say I asked for it! I'll admit all this info is a bit overwhelming, but EXTREMELY informative! Thank you SWIRT for being so generous with your time and wisdom...we really appreciate your advice! Hopefully this will help not only us but prevent others from making the same mistakes I have. Now to process all this...
Mary Jo
 

mjsgeorgia

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One of the bigger factors in showing up well in search engines is incoming links. The more the better... the more on target the source, the better .... the more targetted the wording in the link, the better.
Currently Google (who greatly under reports incoming links) shows you as having two incoming links. One from your listing on a major directory and one from the featured inn page on this site :) (why more of our members don't take advantage of this I don't know)
Yahoo shows you as having around 92 links with 11 being your own pages and many being from this site. I only see a few related directories. Additional directory listings would give you a bit of a boost. (of course you have to weigh that against how many you can afford. Stick to the major ones. Don't get caught up in the cheapies that I am sure spam you on a regular basis.
Never stop link building..
In your mind, what would you consider the major directories? Right now we're on bedandbreakfast.com and bbonline.com
 

mjsgeorgia

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The sitebuilder you are using cobbles the code a bit making quite a few mistakes, and is missing a doctype (a required html element).
The doctype tells the technology what structures are in play to create the page. Search engines are often pretty good at reading poorly constructed pages, but there are some errors that they can't handle so I recommend running an html validator on each of your pages. The problem is, without a doctype the validator can't evaluate your page. The validator is very picky so it is not for the faint of heart. Some of the errors it may show are search engine stoppers, most aren't. The hard part is knowing which is which. Poorly nested tags are often the biggest problem..
I'll admit I don't understand the above recommendation...is this something I can fix (the missing doctype) or do I just need to find a better webdesign person to fix it for me?
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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You currently have 5 links on your home page that leave your site. This is the equivalent of inviting people to leave your B&B as soon as the hit your doorstep
If there is ever a Swirtism that hits "home" it is this one! Inngenious way of wording it.
I often wonder why this is something innkeepers are blind to? Esp outgoing links that go to OTHER websites like google ads. DANGER! DANGER!
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Ouch! Well, I have to say I asked for it! I'll admit all this info is a bit overwhelming, but EXTREMELY informative! Thank you SWIRT for being so generous with your time and wisdom...we really appreciate your advice! Hopefully this will help not only us but prevent others from making the same mistakes I have. Now to process all this...
Mary Jo.
mjsgeorgia said:
Ouch! Well, I have to say I asked for it! I'll admit all this info is a bit overwhelming, but EXTREMELY informative! Thank you SWIRT for being so generous with your time and wisdom...we really appreciate your advice! Hopefully this will help not only us but prevent others from making the same mistakes I have. Now to process all this...
Mary Jo
Many of us didn't comment as we knew Swirt if given the chance would give ample information from the technical side. He charges for these services elsewhere - so like the old 80's ad "When Swirt talks, people listen!"

 

EmptyNest

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Ouch! Well, I have to say I asked for it! I'll admit all this info is a bit overwhelming, but EXTREMELY informative! Thank you SWIRT for being so generous with your time and wisdom...we really appreciate your advice! Hopefully this will help not only us but prevent others from making the same mistakes I have. Now to process all this...
Mary Jo.
I think SWIRT has covered more than what I was going to say. But aside from that..the design aspect is what I look at because the "look" can make or break your site. Yellow is NOT a good background color. It kind of drives the mind and the eye crazy looking at it. especially a bright shade. You could use part yellows but something else is needed to tone it down.
when I click on rooms and rates, I want more information, want to see more photos etc about the rooms..not the reservation booking system which you get when you click on check for reservations. And yes, as already mentioned PHOTOs....good ones are critical.
Good luck.
 

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