I've spent the weekend in Kerry and we spent a night in Killarney. I love Killarney and would love to live there. I'm not sure how lively the SEO scene is there but I'd love to be able to work there and spend more time there.
While we were thinking about hotels, I noticed two interesting issues with one hotel site. When I got back to Limerick, I went to twitter to ask people if they ever check their own site, company name, brand name etc on Google. I didn't mean a Google Alert, which is obviously a good thing and was pleased to see that most people were actively using it.
What I meant was - in the first page of 10 results, how much of the returned results was about you and how much of it was good?
Google is a search engine. Most companies want top listings in Google. That's what SEO is about and that's the business I'm working in. So if you've spent months and months working on an SEO campagin, whats the point of having possibly negative or confusing results display below you?
Here's an example from the Brehon Hotel in Killarney:
Some research/opinion I've read from an Irish SEO who analysed click-throughs from another search engine (not Google) showed that on average 54% of clicks went on result number one - so why start your SEO programme by losing up to 46% of visitors by just not dominating your own search results?
The second thing I noticed is that even though they have a website - the Brehon don't list their telephone details, except on the contact us page, and not on every other page. I was using my iPhone and in North Kerry, the reception can be dire. As a result we ended up booking somewhere else.
Given that many people, especially those new to the web, now enter the domain name or part of a domain name into Google rather than try to remember and type in the address into the address bar, can you really afford to have confusion for your own site/brand/url in the returned results? Or do you just assume that people will work hard to find you?