LiveRez Organic Traffic Growth

Client on LiveRez Sees Organic Traffic Improve by 1,642%

When the Island House Roatan team approached us in May 2017, they wanted to improve their business, a vacation rental website for long-term and short-term rentals. We jumped at the opportunity to tackle the job.

The site, which caters to travelers visiting the gorgeous Caribbean island, needed improvements that would increase overall traffic and boost direct bookings. Our goal was to help the client achieve the benchmarks they wanted without interrupting their day-to-day operations.

The Problem

When we began working with the Island House Roatan team, they weren’t ranking well for core keywords like “roatan vacation rentals,” “roatan rentals,” and, “roatan vacation homes.” We immediately set out to change that.

Many of the issues our client was facing are common on the LiveRez platform. These include dynamic URLs, duplicate review pages, and the inability to add custom HTML pages without help from the LiveRez support team.

Engagement Setup

Every time we take-on a new client, we follow a standard set of onboarding steps to ensure that we have the information we need to fully understand the client's market and the SEO campaign is properly configured for success. One of the first steps is gaining access to Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

This specific client had neither when we began working with them.

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Many property managers don’t understand the power of Google Analytics (which is a post for another time) so it always amazes us when VRMs don’t have this FREE tool on their site. 

Google Analytics logo

We set up an account for Island House Roatan, installed it on their site, and verified Google Search Console. We use this data for our reports, so it is crucial to set them up as soon possible to track our progress.

SEO Audit

Our first behind-the-scenes tactic was to perform an SEO audit. Many technical issues were found but we'll only highlight the two that were particularly impactful.

LiveRez SEO Audit example
LiveRez SEO Audit Scoring

The two initial technical changes were updating the client’s URL structures and implementing 301 redirects.

With LiveRez websites, default URLs look like this:

http://example.com/vacation-rental-home.asp?PageDataID=113882

This type of URL isn’t optimized for search engines since it isn’t static, isn't easy to read, and doesn’t include any specific keywords.

We suggested the client alter all property page URLs to include more descriptive words, similar to this example:

Original property page URLs:

/vacation-rental-home.asp?PageDataID=113882

New property page URLs:

/property/bonito-beach-house

Category pages were changed from:

Original category page URLs:

/vacation-rentals-homes.asp?cat=11874

New category page URLs:

/category/oceanfront/

And finally, the client’s local guide pages were changed from:

Original local guide page URLs:

/local-area-guide.asp?cat=9589

New local guide page URLs:

/local-area-guide/water-activities

Working in tandem with the LiveRez support staff, we were able to get these changes implemented. These changes alone improved their rankings substantially as the URLs are more user-friendly and more descriptive for the search engines.

Once the site had a solid foundation, we turned our attention to creating both brand new content and revamped content that would leave website visitors wanting more (and wanting to book a trip to Roatan ASAP)!

Travel Keyword Research

Our team found low-competition, high-volume keywords that focused on travelers. With every project, we focus on the intent of our client’s demographic; in this case, to rent a vacation home on the island of Roatan.

We also utilized local keywords in order to appeal to tourists who may be searching from international destinations. Our extensive keyword research played a critical role in helping us develop effective and engaging optimized content on every page of the Island House Roatan website.

On-Page SEO Updates

Another major priority during this project was to improve on-page SEO. This included title tags, meta descriptions, headings, and alt tags.

Many of the client’s pages had a problem with duplication of the primary keyword. “Roatan vacation rentals” appeared on nearly every page of the website, including all property pages, “About Us,” and even the privacy policy!

Example of existing title tags on liverez website

When a specific keyword is targeted too many times, we in the industry refer to it as “keyword cannibalization.” This simply means that multiple pages on a single website are competing for the same keyword or keyphrase. As a result, all of those pages suffer.

To prevent this issue, we updated all title tags, and included unique targeted keywords for every page we optimized. We also wrote enticing new meta descriptions and updated the alt tags for most property page gallery photos.

Google My Business Page

About mid-way through the project, we took the key step of creating a Google My Business page for the client. This presented a challenge due to their international location.

This was challenging because Roatan does not have traditional addresses or a postal service like we are used to within the states. This made it difficult to have the location verified by post card since most of their mail is delivered by a courier on a bicycle.

After many calls to Google customer service and many attempts to verify, we got the job done successfully.

We then optimized their listing by ensuring they had accurate information like their phone number, address, hours and more. We also added several photos to their profile to improve their ability to rank in Google Maps.

One other useful tactic was to configure the LiveRez post-stay email to direct guests to leave reviews directly on their Google My Business page. This helped tremendously to build up their review count (which also helps with rankings btw).

Island House Roatan now boasts markedly more Google reviews than any local competitor and has generated approximately $40,000 in bookings from this single channel.

Island House Google My Business

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Content Optimization Changes

Homepage Content

The original homepage content was quite limited and did not entice visitors to stay on the Island House Roatan website long enough to actually make a booking. We created new content that is designed to immediately draw-in readers, encouraging them to reserve a rental property before they click away!

These changes also improved their organic search rankings for important keywords to give them visibility for more direct bookings.

Property Page Descriptions

We wrote new page descriptions for several properties. By incorporating some storytelling/experiential content, expanding the word count, and highlighting the features of each property, website visitors are now mentally transported to each gorgeous Roatan residence before they even leave their homes.

Duplicate Property Page Descriptions via Channel Manager

The Island House Vacation Rentals project was a major undertaking. Our team pulled out all the stops (and wasn’t afraid of pulling all-nighters, if necessary) to rebuild the structure of the property pages from the inside out.

One major problem Island House was facing was the existence of duplicate property page descriptions on third-party websites, such as TripAdvisor.com, AirBNB.com, and FlipKey.com. Since their goal was to increase direct bookings on their website, this wouldn’t do.

To counter this particular issue, we created new primary property page descriptions and disabled the auto update feature for channel management. This means that other booking sites receive a different version of the property descriptions.

The only downside to this is that, in order to make changes, the client would have to make multiple edits to the descriptions. One edit to the primary property page and an edit(s) to the version pushed to various 3rd party sites.

In this case, however, most of these properties had been listed with these property managers for several years and updates were rarely required.

The result? These rewritten property rental pages are now the highest ranking on the website.

New Travel Content Creation

We also created new content for two major pages on their site. These pages were highly researched and highlighted the unique characteristics of Roatan Honduras.

The first was an “About” page for the island of Roatan. It features a number of FAQs regarding the origins of the island, the culture, the primary means of transportation for travelers, and some favorite things to do while vacationing.

This is great for prospective travelers that are trying to learn about the area and plan their vacation. Understanding the culture and the lifestyle in a vacation destination is incredibly important, particularly if an individual or a family plans to rent a vacation home rather than staying in a hotel.

Vacation properties tend to insert travelers more into local everyday life, giving them a real opportunity to experience how people live in another part of the world.

About Roatan page on LiveRez site

The About Roatan page has generated some fun organic search features since its inception. One of those features is the featured snippet which awards a site with a large amount of real estate at the top of the search results. This generally results in a lot of attention and traffic for whomever holds that coveted first position.

Featured snippet for LiveRez site

This page also ranks very well for some extremely competitive terms related to their market. At the time of this post, this page has 50 top 10 rankings.

Since the client has properties on the popular West Bay Beach, we also created a page to highlight that area. This page specifically targets information about this section of the island and entices travelers to come visit this unique and vibrant community.

The West Bay Beach page also contains a custom map of the area highlighting their properties, nearby restaurants, and popular attractions on the island.

West Bay Beach Content Page

The results of these two content projects were impressive, with the new West Bay Beach page ranking very well in organic search and over 90% of all search traffic visiting these two pages.

Organic page traffic to LiveRez site
Highest percentage of organic traffic to these two pages (via SEMrush)

The Rundown

If you love lists, this will be your favorite section of this post. Below, we’ve simply and clearly laid out the full rundown of services we provided during the IslandHouseRoatan.com project:

  • SEO Audit
  • On-Page Updates
  • Technical Site Changes
    • Updated URL Structures & Naming Conventions
    • Updated Images
    • Canonical Tags
    • 301 Redirects
  • Created Google My Business page
  • Content Optimization
    • Homepage Content
    • Property Page Content
    • Category Pages
    • Removed Property Page Description Duplication
  • New Content Creation
  • Link Building

The Results

Now, for the reason you opened this blog post in the first place: the numbers.

After all, all the hard work in the world is nothing without results. Fortunately, the Island House Roatan team has experienced a major turnaround since their project was completed. The importance of good SEO cannot be overstated when it comes to this client’s success.

The positive effect of our SEO updates has withstood the test of time and is still generating new bookings and web traffic for IslandHouseRoatan.com, even though the project has long since been completed.

The ‘About Roatan’ webpage we developed from the ground-up was specifically crafted to increase traffic, strengthen search rankings, and encourage new bookings. The page now ranks for 270 keywords (SEMRush) and now drives 88% of the site's organic traffic for the client.

Organic traffic to liverez site

The company experienced a 160% increase in Top 3 search rankings from May 2017 - August 2019. They also enjoyed a 12% increase in organic bookings between June 2017 - June 2019.

And, drumroll, please - Island House Roatan had a 1,642% Increase in overall website traffic following our SEO changes to their domain.

Organic traffic to liverez website

Now It's Your Turn

We provide every client with the same high level of service that IslandHouseRoatan.com received from our team. You’ll never be “just a number” when you work with us. We’ll take your unique needs seriously and formulate a customized plan to address them.

Whether your site needs a little bit of tweaking or a major backend overhaul to be successful, we are here to make you our next success story!

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