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Google - How to Get to the Top

April 12, 2023

Want more direct bookings? 

Of course, you do. So you need to get more people to your website. But how?

There are many ways to get more traffic, but none are as popular, as well-reported, and as proficient as the classic "Google it."

In this article, we break down the steps to get don't the first page of Google in the vacation rental industry.

First, we have to understand there are multiple ways to get "on the first page." For the most part, they are Local, SEO, and PPC. Next, we need to understand that what you see on Google is tailored to you. So what you see may be different than what our customers see (p.s. you can turn off tailored results in Chrome settings).


This is where you show up for someone on Google Maps. Proximity is a key factor. If a person is physically in between two property managers and Googles the phrase "Vacation Rental Companies," both will show up. If they were closer to one than the other, only that one would show up. And other factors come into play like review rating, the number of reviews, and how often you keep your profile updated with posts and new information, as well as  how quickly you respond to questions.

The main thing is to make sure you have a consistent strategy to get new reviews and keep your profile up to date. In my opinion, Google reviews are the top priority, so make sure you automate a process for every guest to receive a request to write one.


The notorious SEO. In the past, you add a bunch of keywords to the page and you would come up in the organic position as long as you had more of those keywords than your competitor. Now, nothing could be further from the truth. 

Google should be viewed as a person. A very smart person, that is simply trying to serve up the best results for its customers. Many marketing companies use a lot of smoke and mirrors to make this complicated. But the truth is, to outrank a competitor on an organic position, you need to have more than them. More what?

  • More traffic
  • More content
  • Better click-through rates
  • Lower bounce rates
  • More conversions
  • And more properties

If you already have a great website (in Google's eyes), then the hardest part of those requirements is getting more qualified traffic. How do you do that? You pay Google of course (I told you they were smart).

I could write a novel on how to increase your organic position, but that really needs to be a conversation you have with your marketing company that is specifically tailored to your goals, budget, and resources. But viewing traffic as a prerequisite for organic rankings brings us to the best way to get qualified traffic: PPC or paid search.

PPC (Paid Search)

Google Ads is an auction-style platform to bring in traffic. You select your targets based on location and a hundred other factors - the main one being your keywords - then give it a daily budget. 

Because it's auction-style, your target keywords will really determine how far your budget goes. Some very lucrative keywords like "Destin Luxury Real Estate" will go for $5 a click. If your budget is $10 a day. That's two website visitors, which won't cut it. Get too broad with your target keywords and you're not going to see a return on investment. For example, "Destin beach report" may be a really cheap keyword to get traffic from, but it's likely they are already in town and thus not looking for a rental. Thus, it won't help your bottom line.

Good PPC management will find the balance between the two extremes to help you get on the first page of Google in a way that makes sense for your goals. Remember, though, not everyone sees the same results. Many of our clients will "Google" their target keyword and report back to me: "Hey, we aren't coming up in search!" Here are a couple of reasons:

  1. Your budget has been exhausted and other competitors are filling the spot.
  2. You're not the target demographic. For example, we likely are not targeting people already in town searching for your target keyword (in most cases).

This brings us to the "Quality Score." Beyond just bidding on keywords, Google saw fit to add an element to its platform that would help create a fairer marketplace. Here is a simple explanation:

If I were to Google the term "Nike shoes," an ad for "Adidas shoes" would come up along with an ad for "Nike shoes." Who's paying more for that position? Likely Nike is paying less than a dollar for that click while Adidas is paying triple or more. Why? Quality score. Quality score is determined by a number of factors. A primary one of these factors is the landing page Nike uses probably has the target keyword all over it and in the domain, while Adidas doesn't have it all. Also, the bounce rate it much higher when someone does click Adidas and realizes there are no Nike shoes anywhere.

So again, good management will work if you to find the right balance and make sure you're spending your budget accordingly.

Where to start?

Understanding how it all works is key, whether you plan on tackling your own marketing or you are looking for an agency. As you can see, your website is pivotal to successful marketing campaigns. Scurto Marketing only provides marketing services to its existing website clients for this reason. By eliminating the middle-man, we are able to ensure an optimized and smart approach to helping you reach your Google ranking goals.

Ready to take the next step?

Schedule a call with me and we'll talk about your goals and how we can help.

Austin Rodgers
[email protected]

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Austin Rodgers

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