SEO Quarterly Web Site Review: Villas of Distinction

Today, I'll offer some practical SEO advice to one of our readers about how to enhance their Web site's organic search engine traffic.

Hopefully, these folks will take my advice to heart, and act upon it, unlike the initial participant in this offer (MDC Wallcoverings -- yes, I'm calling you out). Not only did they not take my advice, they redesigned and relaunched their site with Flash navigation. I really don't like it when people waste my time.

Villas of Distinction, I know you'll be different. I know you'll walk away with some good tips, implement them, track the results, and let me know what you've gained in a few months time.

The Review

Villas of Distinction has an advantage that many of us don't have: this Web site is part of a larger, parent company of Web properties. I'm confident they have many resources to pull from, including copywriters, IT support and marketing-types. Even though they're trying to compete in one of the more competitive areas of SEO (travel), they can achieve any goal they set their minds to.

Aside from this, the Web site already has three of the key ingredients to success: Web site depth, links to the site, and age of domain.

To me, here are the goals (I wasn't able to confirm goals with the person who submitted this, as they didn't include a phone number in their plea to have the Web site reviewed -- sorry! I tried e-mailing you!):

  1. Already doing well for the head terms ("villa rentals," "luxury villa rentals" and such). Target the geographic opportunities ("Barbados villa rentals").
  2. More specific search traffic -- more qualified leads.

Keywords

While this Web site is already doing relatively well for the head terms of search (keywords that are searched much more often, but may not be as targeted as the "onesy and twosy" search phrases), the title tag on the home page reads "Home of Villa Rentals by Villas of Distinction" and the header/H1 on the home page is "Villas of Distinction." You'll see an image on the home page with the words "Luxury Villa Vacations Within Reach." Why not change that to text and make it the H1?

Then, beneath that are several subheadings (which would make great H2s and so forth) with the words "Luxury Villa Rentals," "Luxury Vacation Rentals Around the World," "Caribbean Vacation Rentals, Luxury Villas in Tuscany, Villa Rentals in Hawaii." I'd break each of these out (in particular the Caribbean, Tuscany and Hawaii stuff; have them as separate paragraphs, with these words as separate headers), and then link out to pages specific for "Hawaii Villa Rental," etc.

Linking

TripAdvisor does a wonderful job with this. They link to their Dallas hotels page using the words "Dallas Hotels" from the TripAdvisor home page. The title of the "linked to" page is "Dallas Hotels." The Header/H1 is "Dallas Hotels." The URL includes the words "Dallas Hotels." So, where do you think TripAdvisor ranks for a Google search for "Dallas hotels"? They rank number two (just under Yahoo Travel; perhaps that agreement motivated Google to send more traffic Yahoo's way?).

I'm kidding.

Anyhow, this same approach could easily be implemented by Villas of Distinction. They could easily link to their "Barbados Villas" page using the words "Barbados Villas." Instead, the link on the home page reads "Barbados." The URL of the Barbados page is http://www.villasofdistinction.com/villa-location/20.htm. I don't know if I'd rewrite the URLs at this point; it would take more research. This URL could have some authority to it and I wouldn't want to make such big changes as a knee-jerk reaction.

The header tag/H1 is "Villas of Distinction," even though there's text right there that says "Barbados Villa Rentals." The title tag on this page is fine.

Something's up with this page. I uncovered this page by reviewing the sitemap (which has a lot of links; Google's guidelines recommend no more than 100 links on a page) and this page doesn't seem to rank anywhere for the keyword I thought it should rank for (Coral Gardens Beach Estate -- the first words in the title tag). However, this page ranks for this keyword (an image pop up). Yeah, something's messed up.

I was checking the sitemap to see, again, how they were linking internally to these pages. There are few instances of linking to a page using descriptive, keyword-rich links. The one instance that I can see on the sitemap is for "Caribbean Villas," but it links to this page/URL. If you open that page, you might recognize it -- it's a copy of the home page. No es bueno.

Anyhow, I hope this review helps Villas of Distinction, and the rest of you. Even the largest Web sites need to do a site structure analysis every once in a while, and put their resources to work for them. This Web site is nice, but with just a little bit of attention to some details, could generate a lot more organic search engine traffic.

Until next time!

About the author

Mark Jackson, President and CEO of Vizion Interactive, a search engine optimization company. Mark joined the interactive marketing fray in early 2000. His journey began with Lycos/Wired Digital and then AOL/Time Warner. After having witnessed the bubble burst and its lingering effects on stability on the job front (learning that working for a "large company" does not guarantee you a position, no matter your job performance), Mark established an interactive marketing agency and has cultivated it into one of the most respected search engine optimization firms in the United States.

Vizion Interactive was founded on the premise that honesty, integrity, and transparency forge the pillars that strong partnerships should be based upon. Vizion Interactive is a full service interactive marketing agency, specializing in search engine optimization, search engine marketing/PPC management, SEO friendly Web design/development, social media marketing, and other leading edge interactive marketing services, including being one of the first 50 beta testers of Google TV.

Mark is a board member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Search Engine Marketing Association (DFWSEM) and a member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Interactive Marketing Association (DFWIMA) and is a regular speaker at the SES and Pubcon conferences.

Mark received a BA in Journalism/Advertising from The University of Texas at Arlington in 1993 and spent several years in traditional marketing (radio, television, and print) prior to venturing into all things "Web."

Read more of Mark Jackson's columns at ClickZ.