May 25, 2011

Cayman SEO: Visibility is the Key for www.cayman4rent.com

There is only one property rental website in the Cayman Islands that shows up on the first page of over 800 search terms and no, it doesn't belong to any of the big real estate companies.  Sorry.  In as much a real estate companies have more experience renting property, we, as search engine experts simply have that edge in creating websites. The website was built because of the strong demand of online searches and simply no relevant website showing up for these searches, it was an opportunity that we saw, realized and ran with and now, we are proud, oh so proud to announce to the world that www.cayman4rent.com is the most visible property rental website (both long term and short term) in the country.  Yippeedoodee!  Thank you to users who have used it and to our partner's who have agreed to provide us with their listings.  In no particular order you will find listings of these progressive rental companies on www.cayman4rent.com:

Long Term Property Rentals

  • Rainbow Realty 
  • Tessa Hydes Property Management
  • BCQS 
Short Term, Vacation Rentals
  • Cayman Villas
  • North Coast Management
  • Grandview Condos 


It is also free to list on www.cayman4rent.com - so if you happen to read this post, please list your property so that it is visible to your target market.  Below you will a screen capture as proof of visibility in over 800 keywords.

The website has proven to be a feather in our hat as proof that when we develop your website, you can be sure that users will be able to find it.

Please note that we are also currently testing the Google Panda algorithm on the website - we have added listings from other real estate companies and have not changed the content.  This means that the content of the website is copied.  How is it going to affect www.cayman4rent.com?  You will find out in the coming weeks and we can compare how many keywords it appears on after the Panda has indexed the new property listings. 

Update: June 4, 2011

The website now shows up for 961 keyword searches

May 16, 2011

Cayman SEO: Understanding and Embracing Social Media

We have had quite a few clients who have come in for Social Media Training and the biggest objective that I have heard is this, (paraphrasing) "I don't see how facebook or twitter can increase our sales."  The second biggest objective is this (paraphrasing) "I am not comfortable sharing my personal information online for all the world to see."

I am going to answer both questions on this blog entry.  Please allow me some leg room in explaining how social media has changed the landscape in which we do business.

How can Facebook or Twitter increase our Sales?

In an impromptu training session I drew a chart, which I have inserted here:

The broken line in the middle represents the changing time.

Below the line is the old way customers found your business.  TV, Radio and Print were mediums we used for advertising and customers would either call us, fax us or email us to communicate their needs/requirements.  There are other facets to advertising your business such as direct marketing but for the purpose of this discussion, I have made it as simple as possible.

Above the broken line is the new way that customers are now finding your business. The acronyms below represent the following:

FB = facebook
TW = twitter
YT = youtube
TA = tripadvisor.
And there are many more.

The circle in the middle represents you, the business owner.

What I love about this graphic representation (ehem) is that is shows the exact relationship of new media and old media to your business.  In old media, the communication platform was separate from the advertising platform. Your business can place an ad on the newspaper and a prospective customer can either call you or email you for more information.   There was no direct communication platform between the business owner and the customer.

Social media has changed that.  You can "advertise" on your wall and customers can contact you directly without picking up a phone or opening an email server.  The bonus side of social media is that if you know what you are doing, your business can and will succeed without breaking the bank.  Now that is what is amazing about new media.

To answer the question completely, I needed to illustrate this relationship.  Social Media increases sales because it is an enabling tool  that acts as an interactive real-time communication platform between customers and business owners.  

Not only does it make money for you, it also saves money on traditional advertising because it is a free medium.  It is the amount of time that you are willing to put in it that will differentiate it as an effective tool or just something that you did because everyone else was doing it.

"I don't want my personal information available online"

Actually, neither do I. Who has the time to do social media and run a business at the same time? The learning curve of facebook alone will take some time getting use to.  Knowing how to categorize your "friends" and understanding your privacy settings will not just take time but patience as well.  Especially to Users who have shunned the Internet revolution.  But I promise, once you get the hang of it, you will embrace it completely including the "personal" facet of it.  My mother actually spends more time on facebook than I do and she is almost 70 years old.  I honestly believe that if my mom can get the hang of it, so can anybody.

Once you "get to know" facebook, you will realize that you can completely separate your business page from your personal page.

The ability of social media to make sense of all this information is actually awe-inspiring.

There is already so much information out there that it would be redundant for me to write a blog about how to create things and how to do things.

Instead here is a summary of what you need to know to connect your business with facebook:

How to create Proper Facebook Business Page  - whether its a business or an organization, here is a webpage from facebook thats lets you set it up properly and NOT as an individual
How to link Facebook and Twitter - for users who do not have time to update both social media, this tool will update your twitter feed everytime you update your facebook wall
How to create a proper Twitter Account - for the twitter newbie, here is an important resource
How to link your blog to Facebook - a page from mashable that includes all the blogging platforms. My blog is on blogger and everytime I update it, my facebook wall and twitter feeds are also updated.
How to enable Facebook Places on your blackberry - I wrote a previous blog about enabling facebook places to register your business.

Let me know if there is anything else you need to know by commenting on the fields below.  We also offer social media training on Saturday mornings if you want hands on training.  I hope this article was helpful in understanding and embracing social media.  Thanks for reading!



   

May 9, 2011

Cayman SEO: Google, Bing and Facebook Maps

We just moved offices to Regency Court on West Bay Road and of course the first thing that you have to do when you move offices is ensure that all Google,  Bing and Facebook Maps are updated.   I realized somewhere in the process that not alot of people update their Google, Bing and Facebook Maps so I decided to blog about how to ensure your business address is on all maps.

How to Insert your business on Google Maps
  1. Go to http://maps.google.com/
  2. Sign In or Sign up for Google
  3. On the search field type "Cayman Islands" 
  4. Move/drag the Map with your mouse or mouse pad until you get to the correct location of your office
  5. Click on "edit" which is located on the top right part of the map
  6. These editing tools will appear on the top of the map, click on "Add" and a field will appear asking if what type of location you are adding, choose your type of business and then red (red-ish) push-pin looking button will appear. Drag and drop that to your location.
  7. A module with fields will appear on the left, complete the fields and click 'save' 
  8. Wait for a few minutes or hours for an editor to approve your listing. 
Screen Shot of Google's Map Approval, which took approximately 2 hours to approve

Some notes to remember:

  • Google is very intuitive, if you dont understand something, there is usually a question mark icon near most fields and if you click it, it tells you what that field is requiring
  • It is better to place markers on the Satellite Map vs just the Map because you can be accurate of where the business is actually located
  • You can approve map listings created by others by clicking on "community edits" 

How to Insert your business on Bing Maps*
  1. Go to http://www.bing.com/maps/
  2. Sign In or Sign Up for Bing.  (Note: You can sign in using your Facebook Account. But when I tried to do it using Safari on Mac, my browser crashed.  But when it opened again, I was logged on using my FB account.)
  3. Search for Cayman Islands
  4. Move/drag the map with your mouse or mouse pad until you get to the correct location of your office 
  5. At the bottom left corner you will see an icon with a star, click on it.  A pop up screen will appear. 
  6. Notice the blue-ish pin at the bottom of the pop up screen.  Click on it and then click on the location on the map where you want to place it.  A another pop up screen will appear and this time, it has open fields for you to write on.  Complete the field with information and click on save. 
Some obvious differences between Google and Bing Maps: 
  1. Google's Maps are over populated while Bings are not, also I personally think whoever made Bing's Map is a librarian because of the over categorizing of businesses - you can see the businesses by click on categories on the left while Google's Map has ALL business visible by default. 
  2. Bing's graphic user interface (GUI) is alot more nicer than Google's but Googles is more intuitive. I could be biased here because I am more familiar with Google but I will venture as far as to say, 'I told you so'
  3. If you are looking for "an action" in Google (ie. editing tools), chances are that it is located on the opposite side or almost to the opposite side of the screen on Bing. Also notice the subtle changes in color as both maps try not to copy each other.  
How to insert your business on Facebook Maps
  1. First create a business page, you can find that information here http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php
  2. Ensure that you are inserting the correct address in the fields provided
  3. On the map area, drag and drop the pointer to your location
  4. Complete the entire Information fields and hit save
  5. Your address should be highlighted in a blue link and when you click on it, it goes to a Bing Map. Not really helpful as Bing maps are not enabled for the Cayman Islands yet BUT it is a locator for Facebook places so its still important to be on there.
It is unfortunate the the Cayman Islands is not yet listed in Google Places but atleast we have Google Maps.  You will also notice alot of tourists have put in information about places they like on island.  

Why is it important for you to use Bing Maps?  For the simple reason that Facebook uses it for Facebook Places.  As a business owner, you should be visible on all maps because all of them have their own distinct advantage.

Why is it important to be on Facebook Maps - because it what Facebook Places uses and whenever anyone has their facebook places enabled, their friends can see where they are and that would count as a "vote" for your business.

*The Bing Map submission has still not been approved and there are no business located in the Cayman Islands.  Just street names and places.  I've done further research and apparently Bing is only for US business so you might want to not waste your time on this right away but it would be good to be on there when and if they enable the Bing Maps to work for us in the Cayman Islands.   

May 7, 2011

Cayman SEO: Update on Changing to neutral Top Level Domains (TLD)

Just a very quick update on TLD's that address the geo targeting tool that Google released, or is it unleashed.  One of our internal website www.cayman4rent.ky already had a page rank of 3 and was very visible for online searches for most rental keywords in the Cayman Islands and it its domain age was not even 1 year old.  When google inserted the fixed geo-targeting location on Web Master Tools it was a wake up call of sorts.

I quickly read up on what this could possible mean to the .ky and realized very quickly that Google was going to remove the .ky from its US data centres.  I wrote a blog regarding TLDs back in February and you can read it here.  On that blog I showed the fact that www.cayman4rent.ky was showing up for major keywords such as "grand cayman rentals" in the Cayman Islands but it was not showing up for the same keyword in the United States.  I was crushed really because it mean that I would have to give it a neutral TLD such as a .com for it to thrive in searches in the United States. But redirecting the .ky to a .com meant that I could potentially lose my existing 3/10 page rank!

Nevertheless I made the call to redirect www.cayman4rent.ky to www.cayman4rent.com and today, it is showing up in Searches all over the world such as the United States, Canada, UK, Australia for major and minor keywords relating to "rentals" and "for rent".  I was also jumping with joy on the morning that I discovered that Google had given www.cayman4rent.com sitelinks to the keyword "cayman for rent".

If you are in the United States and searched for "grand cayman rentals" which gets approximately 24,000 searches per month you will notice that our website, www.cayman4rent.com is on the first page of the search results.  The website now shows up for over 100,000 monthly searches everywhere in the world because of our decision to switch it to a neutral domain.  The sad news is that our page rank has not seeped through to the new domain but at this point, it doesn't matter nor is page rank as important as the trust rank the website has received from google.

May 5, 2011

Cayman SEO: Keywords for the Month of May, 2011

The Google Panda/Farmer update has been quite tedious for a lot of media companies out there, including ours and we are still in the midst of figuring out how affiliate travel sites have been affected.  It is with caution that we have removed affiliate travel sites from our flagship websites such as www.destination.ky and we are going to delay the expedia affiliate for www.cayman.com.ky for the same reason.  More updates on the Google Panda algorithm as we continue to test the waters.

Without further adieu, here is a list of keywords that are being searched for at this precise moment.  Please note, as always that this result is from Google Adwords Keyword tool and for a more precise keyword search you will need to use more than this but you can use this tool to source our your root keywords.

1. cayman
2. cayman island
3. grand cayman
4. cayman grand
5. cayman islands
6. island cayman
7. grand cayman islands
8. grand cayman cayman islands
9. cayman islands grand cayman
10. the cayman islands
11. grand cayman resorts
12. resorts grand cayman
13. grand cayman beach
14. cayman resort
15. cayman airways
16. cayman all inclusive
17. grand cayman island
18. island grand cayman
19. cayman bank
20. jobs in cayman
21. jobs cayman
22. grand cayman resort
23. cayman map
24. grand cayman weather
25. weather grand cayman
26. resort grand cayman
27. hotels cayman
28. cayman islands weather
29. cayman rental
30. grand cayman rentals
31. rentals in grand cayman
32. grand cayman hotels
33. hotel in grand cayman
34. hotels grand cayman
35. cayman island jobs

According to Adwords, there are over 2 Million searches for these keywords being done on a monthly basis.  The sheer volume of searches alone is enough for me to want to appear on the first page of all these keywords but then again, that might not be as effective as targeting a specific industry keyword, nor will it be as practical.

If you would like a list of your industry keywords please write me an email at fevi@easywebsites.ky - lets get your your website to work for your business.