In last month’s issue of StrategicMojo e-newsletter, I offered subscribers the opportunity to ask their questions about web design, social media management and SEO for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift certificate. The best question submitted came from Karen Elwing, who runs Juniper Inn Bed & Breakfast in Fish Creek, WI. Congratulations Karen, and I hope my answer below helps!
A: Bottom line is that it’s an unfair world when it comes to small businesses ranking on Google, but you’re not alone. In fact, Mike Bentley, founder of CanIRank and Growth AI, detailed as much in his article How Google Stacks the Deck Against Startups and Small Businesses. However, I did a little testing and things aren’t as bad as you think. With some minor changes, you’ll have most of the important SEO bases covered.
I did searches by fish creek wi bed & breakfast and door county bed & breakfast, and you ranked on page 1 and page 2, respectively. Pretty solid rank for a new site, especially considering that you don’t have a blog. Keep in mind, though, that Google uses the current location of the end-user to display results in both the organic results and in the “Google 3 Pack” results, which often frustrates local businesses. However, you have user curiosity on your side. The limited number of results and the likelihood of your audience’s need to browse more than just three B&Bs will naturally force them to click over the full directory, which has you ranked on page 2.
PRO TIP! Instead of constantly Googling yourself to check your local rank, I’d suggest taking a look at SEO Tools for Tracking Local Google Rankings from the Online Marketing Institute. It offers a variety of subscription based services that provide detailed reports on many key SEO factors including your local rank.
Google My Business
You should definitely complete the description area in Google My Business listing, making sure to get bed & breakfast into your snippet. You should also encourage (happy) guests to review and rate their experience to garner as many reviews as possible. If it were me, I’d pick a cheap tablet or iPad ($50-$65) and have your Google My Business page ready for them to write a review at checkout time.
Add a Blog
I’d strongly suggest adding a blog to your site covering local content/topics, making sure to naturally work in the keywords bed & breakfast, door county and fish creek into the copy. The more relevant content you can put in place, the better your chances of ranking on Google. Here are some tips specifically for B&Bs to get you started.
Add a WordPress SEO Plugin
I viewed your source code and it doesn’t look like you’re using an SEO optimization plugin such as All in One SEO or Yoast SEO. They both do the same thing in terms of optimizing your page titles and other level one SEO elements, but I find All in One to be easier to set-up. Get either one in place as soon as possible!
You should also adjust your standing pages, as well as your photo gallery page to introduce more relevant keywords into your copy. Your name and address should also be included on the contact page.
On the Experience page, for example, I’d suggest rewriting the copy to:
Reach Out for Back Links
To further improve your rank, I would reach out to bed and breakfast bloggers and travel sites and encourage them to cross link and review your inn. Back links are a gold standard technique to increase your search rank, according to noted SEO consultant Brian Dean in this video. The more sites that cross link to you the higher your potential rank, because Google treats them as endorsements for your site’s content. That’s why adding a blog is critical, because you’ll increase the range of sites who’d be interested in linking to your posts. In addition, I’d watch Brian Dean’s 15 All-Time Best SEO Tips video for further direction.
Hope that helps and good luck!