The Search Path: Does Your Web Presence Match Consumers’ Intentions?
I’d like to tell you a little story. It’s a story about Jane Smith and her week of researching for her upcoming vacation.
Why am I telling you this story?
So you can understand her thought process. So you can make sure that when someone is doing research on the Internet, if your website provides them the answers they are looking for, they are going to FIND your business. And, if they do find your business – what are they going to find?
Jane decides she wants to go on vacation to the Panhandle of Florida. She’s not sure where exactly, though. She’s debating among Pensacola, Destin, Fort Walton Beach or even Panama City. She wants a good price on a hotel that is close to the beach.
Notice, Jane does not only pull up a search engine, but also pulls up a review website and a booking website, but with search functions powered by either Google, Bing or Yahoo.
Jane searches in Google for “Destin Hotels by the beach.” She knows that Destin is a centrally located beach and her search may bring up some hotels in the surrounding areas, even as far as Pensacola or Panama City.
Once she has gathered a few hotels that look like they on the beach, she heads over to TripAdvisor.com to see what their reviews are like. This will help eliminate some of the hotels that might have poor reviews or don’t fit what she is looking for. After she has eliminated some, she heads over to Hotels.com to search for the best prices. Maybe she even checks Expedia.com or Kayak.com just to compare and see if there is anything lower. At this point, she might even call the hotel to see if they are having any special promotions.
Did she pull up your website?
Did your hotel make the cut?
If your website is high quality, has indicated that it is “in Destin” (or surrounding areas of Destin), is “on the beach” and is of great value, then your hotel might have been in the search. Next, did you make sure that your Trip Advisor reviews were decent? Even if you had a bad review, did you respond? Consumers love to see when the company or even the owner of the company respond to reviews, both bad and good. This is the social media aspect of a review website.
Whether your hotel was chosen by Jane or not could have to do with her budget, and there is little you can do about that. But, you can make sure that the value of your hotel stands out. What does the price of a night’s room actually include? Are there beach views? Shuttle service to town? These are important to outline.
What am I trying to say? When you’re building your business’s web presence, you want to ensure that you have taken all the steps that the consumer is going to take to arrive at your website. You want to ensure that you have all the important information Jane is looking for, and anything exciting, unique or special that will help you stand out positively against the competition. You want to ensure your reputation is being handled by scouring review websites and social media websites.
We will check back in with Jane to see how her research is going next week. What do you think she’ll be searching for next?