SEO for the holidays: be local, trustworthy and easily accessible

You need to make sure your local SEO is on point. It’s one of the most effective online platforms to convert prospects into customers, writes iProspect Australia's Jean-Yves Scauri.

On a recent trip to Europe with the rest of the Instagram set, like the rest of the world I experienced travel chaos. In my role this made me think how the instability and change meant brands and businesses needed to rely on their websites for core information fast. In an environment like this a quality SEO is your tool to success.

Use your Business Listing to your advantage. Picture this: it is late, and after a long and delayed flight you are looking for the perfect restaurant to dine out with your friends. You’ve compared a few options on Google Maps and set your decision on a Mexican place that’s open late. They have frozen margaritas and that’s all you need right now. Excited, you start walking over. As you get closer, you realise the place is closed.

There is nothing that frustrates me more than business listings with inaccurate information. People rely on Google to gain up-to-date, accurate details and Google Maps is responsible for a huge amount of foot traffic.

A study by Brandify found that 56% of people are more likely to visit a business in person on the same day – after looking up a local business online. First, make sure all your information is correct: your address, contact details, opening hours, etc. This is a given, right? You’d be surprised at the number of businesses that fail to do this properly.

Second, answer all your reviews! And not only the constructive ones. It’s important to thank your customers for leaving positive and negative reviews – as this sets the benchmark for ongoing feedback. When a business owner is seen to answer reviews in a timely manner, this is a great sign of trust and support to their consumers. Images and videos are also a powerful tool to give potential customers an understanding of what is on offer and the vibe of the business overall.

Finally, the Post feature on Google Business Places is a great way to communicate and connect with your audience directly – it also works to update users on the business itself, events or upcoming discounts.

You need to make sure your local SEO is on point. It’s one of the most effective online platforms to convert prospects into customers.

Build trust with your website

It’s not only your business profile that may need work – your website is also an important source of traffic and revenue that deserves an equal amount of love. Organic traffic represents over 50% of all website traffic so ranking in the top position to capture those clicks is vital. Optimising your website for trust and authority is a sure-fire way to improve its chance to rank well in search.

Whilst in Switzerland I searched to go paragliding. After navigating a few potential companies, I was surprised by the dated look and feel of some of the brands that have been in the industry for a while. I ended up exiting the first few options presented to me, went back to search results and clicked on another website ranked further down (this behaviour is called pogo sticking and can be seen as a negative behaviour from Google POV, impacting your ability to rank).

Despite not being as established as the first few, their website was a lot easier to navigate, looked good and loaded fast. They also had a blog which shared inspiring articles – as well as consistent content on their social channels. I had such a positive online experience that I ended up placing a booking almost instantly. Their website and social proof made me trust them, so I booked with them.

Online trust is key nowadays to stand out from the crowd and build a genuine connection with your audience. Your owned channels (blog + social) also play a role in building consumer trust. With SEO best practices in mind, you can significantly improve the accessibility of your website and make sure people can find the information they are looking for intuitively and fast. Your blog is also probably one of your underutilised secret weapons. Use it to share your knowledge through guides and how-to articles, answer questions people might have, and inspire them to act by writing the right content.

If your website is still looking like it was created 15 years ago, investing in a redesign or migrating to a brand-new domain might be a worthwhile investment. Finally, social proof is powerful. If you are not using your social channels to seed your content and engage with your audience, you are missing out!

Bridge the gap between offline and online

Thanks to the global increase of mobile usage and COVID outbreaks, QR codes continue to rise in popularity.  A study by Juniper Research predicts that the total number of QR code payment users globally will exceed 2.2 billion in 2025, equivalent to around 29 per cent of all mobile phone users. QR codes are a great way to bridge the gap between your offline and online activities.

I’ve personally been a huge fan of QR codes while traveling, whether it’s to view the menu and order something at the bar or restaurant, get more information about a business, and even to book an activity online.

International travel is now back in full force, with more people expected to travel in the coming months and years. Traveling can be quite a stressful experience, so make sure you are making it easy for your existing and potential customers to connect with your brand online. Be there to solve their problems and provide value. You can drive more sales by optimising your owned channels. Don’t deprioritize this as it can have a ripple effect on your overall performance.

Jean-Yves Scauri – national SEO lead – iProspect Australia.


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