The Operator: Andrea Reuter, private tour guide, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Andrea Reuter knows she has to up her digital game. A specialist in the history and culture of Buenos Aires, she has been leading custom, private tours of the city since 2004. Andrea built her business slowly but methodically through TripAdvisor, client referrals, local partners and a blog that has developed decent SEO over the last 15 years.
But the marketplace has changed. Competition has increased. Online travel agencies (OTAs) have grown rapidly, offering more local, private guiding options than ever. Andrea has looked closely at OTAs but is concerned about having to compete on price, and wants to drive more direct bookings.
She has two big questions:
- How should she approach finding the best URL for her website? What should she keep in mind when choosing a URL and online branding? (Currently her website URL is lizflor2.blogspot.com/.)
- She is also concerned about all of the historical SEO value in her out-of-date blog. Can she migrate that to her new online presence? How would she specifically do this?
The Expert: Tom Kratsch, president & CEO, TRK Creative Group
How should she approach finding the best URL for her website? What should she keep in mind when choosing a URL and online branding?
Choosing a domain/URL for your website and online presence is both an art and a science. It is important for Andrea to first and foremost consider what she wants her target audience (specifically travelers to Buenos Aires) to know in terms of her company image, her branding and more specifically the types of tours she offers. The URL she wants visitors to type into search engines and find her URL in search engine results is an important factor in selecting a good-performing URL for her business as ultimately it reflects her business image.
Some factors Andrea should consider when selecting a good URL for her business include:
Domain extension. Whether Andrea use a “.com.ar” local country extension or a “.com” top-level extension for her business largely depends on preference and consideration of where the majority of her current blog traffic is sourced from and the audience she wants to market to.
For example, if she is targeting North American visitors traveling to Buenos Aires, she might want to select a “.com” domain versus her country domain extension of “.com.ar.” A Google search for keyword “Buenos Aires tour guide” displays a mix of local companies based in Buenos Aires (non-OTA sites) and turns up a mix of “.com” and “.com.ar” domain extensions. We would recommend that Andrea select a “.com” URL for her tour guide business.
Keep it short and easy to type in search engines. The shorter the URL, the better for ease of use along with selecting a URL that brands her business. Using keywords in your domain name is not as important today as it might have been in the past according to Google SEO best practices. Focus on selecting a URL name that showcases the business and company brand essence.
Make it good for marketing. When selecting a URL for her business Andrea should also consider other areas of marketing where the URL will be used. This could include any partner marketing businesses she works with including hotels, restaurants, tourism websites etc., along with any marketing materials the URL might be printed on such as racks cards or brochures. Having a URL that is easy to type into search, is memorable and reflects the brand essence of her business will work well for the long term.
She is also concerned about all of the historical SEO value in her out-of-date blog. Can she migrate that to her new online presence? How would she specifically do this?
There are a couple of areas that Andrea should consider when looking to build a new website with a new domain name for her business—and moving off her current blogspot publishing site to protect the SEO value her publishing pages have built up over time. The factors to consider in order to preserve her organic search results and keyword rankings include:
Consider hiring a web design, web programming and SEO-focused digital marketing company, independent contractor or consultant to help transition the existing website SEO onto a new platform. It can be a technical process to optimize your website’s search in Google’s algorithm.
This is especially important if sourcing new guests from search engine marketing via paid advertising, maps, organic rankings and her Google My Business listing is a key strategy that Andrea wants to focus on.
The technical pieces required to ensure the content on her current web page is carried over to her new site includes using 301 redirects when a new website is launched on a new domain for her business. The 301 process lets Google know that the old page can now be found on a new page URL.
It is also important to review all current pages ranking in Google search to be sure the new URL structure is set up correctly for online success. Using a professional experienced in site design, programming, URL structure and site migration processes will ensure that her current blog pages and URLs are carried over into her new website.