I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago about having lunch in a typical Florentine restaurant. I did not tell you who I met.
I was taking part on the State of Search Euro 2012 roadshow meeting SEOs all over Europe. I was fortunate enough to meet 6 SEOs all working and living in Florence and we all had lunch together in The Sweet Wine Bar just outside of the city centre. Florence is the second most popular city to visit in the world and the people I met all had clients in the travel and tourism sector.
As I have a travel blog being30.com, I wanted to find out a bit more about two of the SEOs I had met, Stefano and Lourdes who run their own agency WebPromoter. They have a site, called DiscoverTuscany. It is 10 years old this year and now has over 21,000 Facebook likes. Lourdes and Stefano set up the site in response to the need of their clients who were in the tourism and holiday accommodation sector. The website would help their SEO agency to promote the clients’ businesses, increasing their visibility and traffic. To begin with the site was only a few pages called tourism-in-tuscany.com.
Stefano and Lourdes wanted to write content and optimise the site without compromise. They wanted to rank for generic searches like “Tuscany”, “holidays in Tuscany” “Tuscany farmhouses”, “Tuscany hotels”. However, in order to do so, they needed to provide real, useful info to tourists from other countries. Even back then, they realised they needed good content. Of course this meant they had to travel through Tuscany, take photos and videos, collect information, visit museums and really “DiscoverTuscany” which led to the name change from Tourism in Tuscany to “Discover Tuscany”.
Stefano and Lourdes tried to shape the website like a guide as travel blogs were not yet popular at the time and they felt they needed to provide all the basic information to tourists. As they gradually found their “voice”, they tried to have a more personal tone, describing their real experiences rather than trying to cover everything. That’s why the guide still has some “holes”: lots of places still to be visited!
During this time, they added the blog and the forum http://forum.discovertuscany. where they offer free help to tourists that are planning their holiday. There are new questions on the forum daily and they answer each and everyone of them. It is time consuming but it allows them to better understand the needs of their readers and they receive a lot of positive feedback.
After a few years, the sections about Florence and Chianti were rich enough to become separate websites with their own domains : VisitFlorence.com and Chianti.com. The accommodation section was also growing as clients increased. Stefano and Lourdes needed a dedicated website, with an internal search engine and a stronger focus on the description of hotels, farmhouses, bed and breakfast and so on, therefore they created TuscanyAccommodation.com, on which they maintain a strong advertising campaign, mainly through Google Adwords.
Stefano and Lourdes’ next challenge is to be able to make their guide even more useful and complete, enriching it only with high quality content that can be really useful for the traveller planning his or her trip to Tuscany.