SEARCH ENGINES: The Modern-Day Tourist Information

marketing Mar 16, 2022
Time and time again, we will see people in our industry talking on social media groups about Google & SEO. Often with little understanding of the subject, they will pay a web agency a monthly fee to "SEO" their website without understanding what Google wants to see on your website. To help understand Google and other search engines such as Youtube & Bing, let's use the analogy of Google being a Tourist information centre. 
So let's set the scene. You're visiting a new holiday town for the first time after hearing good things from some close friends of yours. It's a lovely little town, so you decide to get active and discover more about the area. The local Town Tourist Information Centre has been around for years. Its manager, Mrs G, has been living in the area all her life. She knows everything about the town, its business, places to visit and the best places to eat. 
Mrs G also knows when a business is offering an excellent experience helping the town's reputation. If a new seafront café bar opens, she will watch and take mental notes if people just read the menu outside or read and then take a seat. She also notes how busy the new place seems and checks the review sites for recent reviews from those that have dined there. Mrs G is a proud tourist info expert and wants to help the town's visitors find the things they want. That's her job!
You head over to Mrs G's Tourist Centre, and in the window, you see plenty of full-size posters, including one about bike rental.  "Hello! I'm new to the area, just visiting and wanted to go cycling. Do you know the best place to rent a bike for the week, please?"
Mrs G knows many places locally that could most likely get you a bike, but she isn't simply going to send you to any old place. She wants to help you find the best bike hire for your needs and be helpful to the wider business community.
The first place that pops into her mind is called Bill's Bazar. She describes that Bill is a friendly older gentleman who has always tried to cater to all tourists' needs. "His shop offers deckchairs, buckets, spades, sun hats, kids inflatables, snorkels, ice creams and a small number of bikes". 
"Then, there is the South Beach Bike Hire (SBBH). It's a five-minute walk down the beach. They opened last year, and I always see lots of their bikes around town. The reviews online are fantastic too." 
You then point out the poster in the window. "Expert Bikes. Ah yes, they have been around for years and have great customer reviews. But their shop is a 15-mile drive or bike-ride away from the town. If I were you, I would try South Beach first", she says. Whilst pointing at the town map behind the counter.
So, let's remember that Mrs G works in Tourist information, and just like Search Engines helping people find the information online, it's their mission to link Tourists with a trusted local business that can help their needs. Although Bill can supply bikes, amongst other things, Mrs G recommended visiting South Beach Bike Hire first. She even showed you on the map where to find it and mentioned the fantastic five-star reviews.
Can Your customers see you online?
Every day, your customers are using search engines to find solutions to their problems. Google will always put forward a combination of those who have paid for advertising space and those whose webpage best answers the search phrase. ie Plumber-my-town.
At the top of each Google search, you will find Pay Per Click advertisements. 
Just below the advertisement places, you will find the Maps Area. The Maps Area is where Google will award three local companies a free spot just below where others have to pay per click! 
Paying to advertise on Google in competitive industries is often very expensive. The best return on your time and money would be to build a website that answers questions for your local community. A combination of Google map placement and a top three organic listing will lead to a constant stream of quality leads.
Other than our Tourist Information analogy, remember this.
Your customers may have Garry, the towns most experienced Gas Engineer living just around the corner. Or Paul, the Plumber at the bottom of the road who could easily undercut you by a fair amount. But, if Garry and Paul don't understand Google, your customers may never find them!

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