Situation History: The Directory As An SEO Tool

The particular Europelowcost project originated as an internet search engine and price comparison tool to get both leisure and business traveling. The subsequent development towards themed directories has a clear strategic validity, both in terms of positioning on search engines like google, and ease of use, by allowing tourists to make the best use of the information.

Preliminary analysis

The fundamental assumption is that the organisation of data into categories with varying levels of depth is the most logical solution for providing simple, wise and fast data retrieval. This kind of structure on the web is known as a directory.

We all discovered the best way to organise the content obtainable by analysing two possible options:

o Sub-division by country, grouping together all the services for that destination (i. e. flights, hotels, hostels and cruises are offered together).

o Vertical sub-division by service, separating and “specialising” the individual directories (i. e. organisation by service: just flights, just hotels, etc).

Following the necessary consideration, the development group opted for the second solution: to separate the information by theme.

The reasoning that led us to deny the first option resulted from the undeniable fact that, in terms of ease of use and of indexing from the search engine spiders, developing a multi-service index organised according to destination would have led to information overload (and therefore a sense of disorientation for the end user), due to information on airports, airlines, hotels, hostels, cruises, etc . all being on a single page.

It was therefore clear that people should specialise and sub-divide the search by service, with cross marketing of services by destination (e. g. from the page associated with flights to a particular destination, you can find links to hotels and hostels in the same city/country).

Search Engine Optimisation Requirements

From the point of view of search engine optimisation, the road we chose is more effective in terms of the thematic focus: a large number of pages along with unique, specialised content, which are full of hypertext information.

The model of directory development can be summed up as follows:

1 . Home page, with the usual search function, special offers and top searches, as well as links to the four primary categories of the directory (e. gary the gadget guy.: [http://en.europelowcost.com/cheap_flights/default.aspx]) and stationary pages containing useful information;

2 . Unique internal pages. Great care was taken in the differentiation from the title tag (which not simply by chance includes the europelowcost brand), the meta description and the intro texts;

3. Rewriting the dynamic URLs.

The whole design of the site fully conformed to the search engines’ quality guidelines, there was no addition of graphics to slow down access, and despite what the many detractors of most things Microsoft have to say, the Or net. NET programming language proved itself to be robust, fast and versatile.

Organisation of content

Large databases and a proprietary multi-service search engine allow us to record and find a large quantity of data based on consumer behaviour (the toolbar for Internet Explorer and Firefox was also a significant factor). The crucial point was to decide steps to make best use of this mass of information, by rationalising it and making it easy to consult.
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The most important sector within strategic terms was the flights, which were organised in the usual way, list destinations by continent, country, plus city. This classification of outcomes was extended to the other directories (hotels, hostels, cruises). The way the info is structured allows for two main search criteria: for flights to and from a destination or airport, every country is linked to the list of national and international airlines that provide that destination. The area dedicated to airports, which is also present for every single location, allows users to consult home elevators every airport worldwide, shown upon interactive maps with satellite pictures.

The Conversion Rate of the task, which is significantly over 4% (October 2006 – January 2007) as well as stable presence on Google, achieved in under two months (77, 000 pages listed, excellent search engine results position for a very large number of searches, no penalties whatsoever) are very encouraging and positive results, which lead the observer to believe that the tool is of particular significance and popular with the public.