Search Engine Optimization for Your Virtual Tour Business

SEO for Virtual Tour Companies

Have you wondered how you can have your website top the list on search engines?

Website search engine ranking has evolved drastically in the past couple of years. If you haven’t thought about your website in the past month chances are you are moving the wrong way in the search engine ranks. Google accounts for 67.5% of the search engine market (comscore.com), whereas Bing and Yahoo make up around 28% combined*. When we are talking about SEO (search engine optimization) the conversation inevitably centers on Google for this reason. Google has used their position of dominance to change how websites are ranked according to what they see as most important. User experience and relevance are two of the main factors in the success or failure of search engine results. How is user experience and relevance determined? Much of that information comes in the form of bounce rates, time on site, and other user behavior cues, as well as the robots (sometime called spiders) that scan websites for content and updates.

If you are in the dark as to how to figure this out, don’t worry. There are lots of tools available both paid and free. With a little technical knowledge (or a good friend that knows code) you can install Google Analytics and sign up for Google Webmaster tools, and the best part is they are totally free. Sure there are plenty of companies that want you to pay them to report to you on a monthly basis from their pricey software, but I will take free directly from the horse’s mouth any day.
Great content represents one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle to search engine success as well. If your website is a wealth of quality information people will come to your site more often, spend more time, and link back more frequently. Quality graphic content such as photos, memes, and info graphs are easily share able on social media platforms (which in turn send social relevancy signals to Google) and contribute to a great user experience as well. Committing and sticking to a long term content creation strategy is a powerful tool in the effort to obtain online ranking success.
Back linking used to be a huge part of improving website rankings. This is the practice of getting other website to link back to your site. While this can still influence the organic (non paid) rankings, Google has recently been decreasing the value of back links. This is due in part to a rash of attempts to manipulate back link profiles for the benefit of a websites search rankings. On top of Google slowly decreasing the value of back links many sites that have used low quality back link practices are now being penalized by Google and forced to either fix their back link profile (an often long and tedious task) or face the consequences of penalization or even suspension of ranking on Google’s search engine.

You can still benefit from a great back link profile but I would caution you to approach gaining back links by producing good content and publishing it on social media and any other avenues you can find. People who like the content you are producing, or find value in it will share it and link back to it in various ways. These great articles and graphics are known as link bait in the seo community as they are produced to draw back links in. Typically the back links gained are to related websites meaning the back links have a higher relevance than if it was linked back from a website that is not with in the same industry or genre.  If anyone approaches you and offers X number of back links for money, DO NOT DO IT! This is the sort of practice that will land your website in Google’s dreaded penalty box. If the opportunity to link to another page arises and it makes sense, making the link a no follow link is advisable. This tells the Google robots to not consider where this link is going to, to influence search engine rankings for either site. This is done using a simple html code while placing the link.

The long and short of seo is develop your site with user experience in mind, produce and promote good content and let the rest fall into place.  Hard work and avoiding the pitfall the easy way out and your website will move up in the rankings. Keep in mind where Google is headed and focus on getting there rather than focusing on what has been done in the past.

Do you have questions? Coming up soon we will be having a webinar for our network of photographers to discuss this issue more in depth. Would you like to learn more about being an RTV photographer? Visit our website to learn how to start your virtual tour business or call us at 866 947 8687. Or allow one of our Virtual Tour Providers to provide professional photography on your behalf.

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*http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Press-Releases/2014/4/comScore-Releases-March-2014-U.S.-Search-Engine-Rankings