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Article: How to find the best listing sites to advertise on

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Joined: 17 Jun 2004
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Location: Provence, France

PostPosted: Wed Dec 15, 2004 1:10 pm    Post subject: Article: How to find the best listing sites to advertise on Reply with quote

How to find the best rental listing sites to advertise on

This is a common question and here is my answer.

(There is a much shorter version of this in this newsletter:

To find the best rental listing sites to advertise your particular property on, you first need to find where your target market of potential renters is looking. And to find that out, you have to see what happens when you search the internet like they do.

This is my system...

- Run up a list of likely search phrases for your accommodation type. For the UK use phrases like

holiday rental
holiday home
holiday house
self catering
holiday villa
holiday lets

For everywhere else that speaks English, use ‘vacation’ instead of ‘holiday’.

- Add the plurals.

- Put these phrases into Overture's search check.

For the UK:

For the US:

This gives you an idea of how many searches have been made for a phrase in the last month. It also gives you related phrases you may not have thought of. Add these to the list.

This is the Google keyword generator that will also give you ideas of related phrases for any phrase you type in, and you can specify language and country:

- This is the boring bit....put each of these phrases with a location name into Google. The location name should go from narrow e.g. Sunset Beach, to wide - Cornwall - and encompass anything in between – village, town, city, county, state, island. For each phrase, note which listing sites come in the top 10.

- Use a spreadsheet. Put each phrase along the top row, and in the first column write the name of each site that comes up, with its position for a particular phrase under that phrase. If a site is first in the results, give it a 10, second a 9, and so on.

- When you have finished, get the spreadsheet programme to add the number in each row for a total score for each site. If you only have pen and paper, do it the old-fashioned way!

- Now you need to weight the phrases for importance. Because first place on a little-used phrase is not worth as much to you as first place for a very popular phrase. So go back to Overture, or incorporate this step beforehand, and check the number of searches made with a phrase. For all results under a phrase, multiply your Google scores by the Overture score. If you are using Excel or similar, you can automate this.

- You now have weighted scores for each phrase and you will have new totals at the end of each row. The higher the number, the more likely that site will be viewed by someone looking for a property like yours.

- Look at each of your top performing sites and assess them as if you were a potential renter. Is the homepage user-friendly? Does it make it incredibly obvious how to search for a property? Many don't and will be spurned by a surfer. When you get to the page(s)of properties for your location, how many are there, and can the search be refined further by a narrower location or number of bedrooms, price, etc? And the actual ad - does it present the information effectively, how many pictures do you get, and is it easy on the eye?

- Lastly - how much is it?

- Now you need to weigh up the score for each site, the quality of each site, and the price. Arrange them in order of preference. Decide your budget and work down the list until it is spent.

A variation on this is to give any site that appears on the first page of results the same score of 1. The rationale is that people don't click ten times more on the first result than they do on the tenth result - it depends on what the description of each result tells them. So you just take the phrase's Overture score and attribute that to each of the ten sites on the first page of Google for that phrase.

By the way, I have used Google because it is much the most used search engine, but you can do this with any search engine.

Search engines don’t lie – the results you see on the first page of Google are the same results, and the same sites, that your potential renters will visit. So to me it really is where you should be putting yourself in their line of sight.

I realise that this may be hard to follow from an article, so let me know if you want some clarification on anything. Or if you can suggest improvements to the method. I'd like to hear your views.
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