Scams Search engine optimisation Web promotion Web technology Websites

Beware of those promising to get your website to No.1 on Google

Number 1
Have you been promised a guaranteed No.1 ranking in Google for your website?

As a website owner, you will no doubt be regularly bombarded with offers from SEO (search engine optimisation) experts who guarantee to get your website to No.1 on Google’s search pages. They claim that for a modest fee, they will alter some of the text, rename files or adjust the layout of your website which will cause it to appear at the top of Google’s results for search keywords of your choice, such as “luxury accommodation in Daylesford” or “Ballarat motel”. Sounds too good to be true?

Keep in mind that while SEO experts may have an idea of some of the workings of search engines and how they rank pages, promises of guaranteed No.1 rankings are typically fanciful. This is simply because SEO experts have no control over Google and can thus cannot command Google to rank web pages in certain ways.  All they can do is influence the ranking of your website. Google is regularly altering their ranking algorithms to improve their search results, so even if they do manage to get you to No.1 for the keywords of your choice, it may only be short-lived glory.

Here at Travel Victoria, we regularly monitor where some of our web pages rank in Google for some search terms.  We have seen big fluctuations on a daily basis in how some of our pages are ranked, while other pages have remained rock steady for years. Today, a Google search for the town of Mansfield actually has us at No.1, but tomorrow we could be at No.5 or even lower. We just don’t know what tomorrow will bring, simply because we do not have direct control over the order in which Google will display web pages.

Another thing to consider when confronted by offers of SEO is who you are dealing with. Most of these SEO offers come via email – typical of people or organisations using the cheapest way of contacting people rather than telephoning or physically posting you something. And many of these emails are sent by people claiming to be senior experts in large corporations which specialise in search engine optimisation.  So why are they coming to you from a generic or email address?

Remember that SEO professionals can offer services which may benefit the ranking of your website, but the best they can do is influence search engines like Google – they cannot make guarantees that you’ll attain a certain ranking and then retain it forever.


Keep a list of all the places where your accommodation is advertised

Keep a list
Keep an up to date list of all the places where your accommodation is advertised

Surprisingly, many accommodation providers keep no proper records of where and with whom they are currently advertising their accommodation with, which makes it very difficult to keep track of it all.

Here are some incidents we’ve personally experienced during the last couple of years that illustrate lack of proper record keeping.

  1. We received a message from the owner of a fleet of holiday houseboats who wanted to list with us based on a personal recommendation they received. The funny thing was, they were already advertising with us! Their houseboats has been listed with us for the last 4 years and they always promptly paid for their renewal each year without fail.
  2. An email arrived from the owner of a caravan/holiday park and requested that we update their advertisement with the latest tariff schedule which they enclosed. The strange thing was, they had let their listing with us expire about 6 months prior, and has been sent several notices by us advising them of the cancellation of their advertisement.
  3. We were contacted by a property owner who said that they could no longer find their accommodation listed on the Travel Victoria website and enquired as to where it went. Oddly enough, their advertisement expired over a year ago and was removed. However, despite receiving several notifications about that, they somehow thought their property was still listed with us.

It is important to keep a list of all the organisations and places your accommodation is advertised with. For each organisation you advertise with, note down:

  1. The name of the organisation that publishes it, along with a phone number and email address
  2. The title of the publication or website the advertisement is published in
  3. The amount of the last renewal fee you paid (if applicable) and the date of the advertisement’s next renewal
  4. A note specifying how to make updates to your advertisement. If you’re able to make changes directly yourself, list your login name and password. Otherwise record the contact details of someone who can make changes to your advertisement for you.

Keeping such a list will ensure that:

  1. When you alter your tariffs or change any features of your property, you will know exactly which organisations need to be notified
  2. When reviewing advertising options in the future, you will have a complete list of your existing advertising exposure
  3. You will be able to avoid scams whereby organisations try to bill you for advertising you never ordered. By having an up to date list of all your advertising commitments, you’ll be able to identify and reject any bogus invoices or renewal requests.
Domain names Websites

Shop around for your website’s domain registration or renewal

Cash register
Shop around for the best deal when registering a domain name

People shop around for the best deal on groceries, petrol, goods and services to save money. Sometimes the savings can be enormous.  The same should apply when purchasing or renewing your website’s domain name registration.

There is a list of accredited registrars for Australian domain names, so ensure you only select from that list.

What is interesting is the wild variation in pricing between registrars, partly due to the fact that some offer different levels of services and products bundled into their packages. And it goes without saying that some registrars have a higher profit margin which is reflected in their pricing to you, which is a good reason to shop around.

As an example, at this moment in time, Melbourne IT charge $140.00 to register a domain name for 2 years, although they bundle in a free one page website hosting package, a free search engine starter pack and provide 24/7 phone support with that offer.

In comparison, ZipHosting offer you a domain for 2 years for just $20.96, however there’s no freebies, and support is limited only to email.

Your level of technical expertise and the functionality you require needs to be considered when comparing registrars, as there’s more to a deal than just the price alone. However, for example, if you already have your own web hosting organised and know what you’re doing, you could potentially save about $120 over two year period by choosing your domain name registrar carefully.

Don’t forget that if your domain name is already registered, you can always switch to another registrar at any time and still keep your domain name, much like taking your mobile phone number with you when changing carriers.  So you need not let history dictate who you renew with.

There’s savings to be made – just do a little research!