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  1. #1
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    B&B Directory review

    My website is http://www.bedandbreakfastinherefordshire.info/

    Any feedback welcome, but particularly looking for opinion on improving SERPS position.

    As all the action happens on a single page, was wondering if I should re-organise the site so it has more pages for google to index?

  2. #2
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    1/ It looks a bit "old fashioned" to me.
    2/ I would add a 1px border around the images to help them standout.
    3/ I was expecting to click the image for more details.
    4/ There are very few details of the properties.
    5/ I like the icons having a tooltip so that I do not need to find a list of what the icons mean.
    6/ I did not notice there were more pages until I selected "show map" near the tabs and noticed all the flags and thought there must be more than one page.
    7/ There are quite a few properties without an image. If the owner has not supplied one I would take a day to do out and get one of all the missing properties. Who visits anywhere without seeing it?
    8/ The flags on the map are good showing the location.
    9/ The adverts are not to distracting
    10/ If I found a property and saved the page to go back later it would not work and I would need to find it again

    Personaly I would make a page for each property which can be done "dynamicaly". You could the have a page people could return to with its own title etc.

    According to html validator in firefox you have 212 errors on the home page

  3. #3
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    Thanks Rubble, that's really useful.

    3 - Obvious now you've pointed it out! We'll add more detail on a thumbnail click

    6 - Did you not notice the (356) on the Search Result tab? Is it not obvious that's the number of results?
    I think we assumed people would look down the list, and see the red 'page 1 of 18'. Did it not jump out at you, or maybe you didn't scroll down that far? Maybe we should have that at the top too?

    10 - That's what the shortlist is for - you can add b&bs to it, then print/save it as a pdf, or email it and that contains a link with all the shortlisted properties. Did you even see the shortlist option? Do we need to make it more visible/have a few instructions somewhere?

    Re the individual property page, we do that for anyone with a Full Profile (which we charge for) - currently only 3!

    Hadn't tried the FF validator - I know there's 70ish errors on W3C.

  4. #4
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    My initial thoughts, in no particular order other than what occurred to me:

    1. It looks very "busy", and seems to be visually dominated by ads shouting over the content. If you had a bit more horizontal spacing either side of the central column, this would give it a bit more space to breathe, making it easier to read. You could also do with bumping up the font size on the central column, it's way too small and difficult to read when it's so squashed in with much bigger text in the ads down the sides.

    2. Times New Roman is soooo last millennium. Surely you can find something better than that?

    3. As a filename, "Profile_HR338_Staunton_House_Luxury_Bed_and_Breakfast_-_Bed_and_Breakfast_in_Staunton-on-Arrow_Leominster" is just spam city, man! Just go with something simple like "HR338_Staunton_House".

    4. Shame that the "More detail" is inaccessible as it requires Javascript - bad for users and probably means that Google won't index it either. Wouldn't be a problem if you had full profiles for all the B&Bs rather than just the top three. A better way might be to include all the information in the basic page served and then hide it with JS – that way, anyone without JS gets the full kit and caboodle, and only people with JS see the shrunk down version.

    5. I would like the option to filter by price as well.

    6. I think the fact that it's all effectively on one page (even if it is paginated) is hurting you. If you had separate pages for each of the B&Bs then you could customise the <meta> tags more, and so have a unique description on each one. This would significantly increase your search visibility.

  5. #5
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    My initial thoughts:

    1. It feels a bit "boxy" to me with the border around the content. I would like to see a more spread out format. perhaps adding some leading and giving things a wider margin would help to add some space around sections.

    2. It does appear to be a bit overrun by ads on each of the sidebars. Is there a reason there are so many? I'm in the US, so perhaps for you in the UK this is not uncommon.

    3. The main listings are very compacted together, if you could add some padding or margins to the bottom and top between each it would help us be able to read them better.

    4. I agree I was expecting the small thumbnails to open larger more detailed versions in a lightbox feature. I do like the photo gallery thought, so we can get some good views of properties.

    5. I would like it if each property did have it's own page which had the greater detail about location, etc so we get a really good feel of each. I saw the lightbox is doing this right now, but not all viewers are going to be able to use lightbox and so are unable to see the detailed pages for each property.

    Overall I like the idea and the content. The look says calm and quiet.

    I am using Mozilla FireFox 15.0 and W3C Validator here says 168 errors and 1500+ warnings. This is a lot, perhaps looking into those would help.

  6. #6
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    Like some of the above, the content does look a bit cramped, so a little more spacing would be good. Personally, I don't like the fade effect at the bottom of the header image. Makes it look a bit foggy or something. It's such a beautiful place, let it stand out in its full glory.

    I agree that the pagination would be worth having at the top, too.

    And, although the use of JavaScript is kind of cool, it does have accessibility issues, as mentioned. So it's a good practice first to make sure the site works fully without JS before adding it in.

    A few of the point mentioned above—like what creating a short list means, and what you have to do to see properties on individual pages—ought to be explained prominently somewhere.

    All up, though, it looks like a good resource for those wanting to stay in the area. Makes me want to go there.
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  7. #7
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    When it comes to seo/serp ranking, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that in seo terms, your site is seriously wrong; you have sinned against just about every rule in the seo book.
    The good news is, that it shouldn't be too hard too hard to effect massive improvements. You currently rank about 150 for B&B searches done outside Herefordshire, out of 500k - 1M depending on spelling of the query. Apart from a lot of work, I don't see any reason why you couldn't be on page 1 by xmas. Possibly the best news, is that your competitors seem to be equally dire in terms of seo, unless they got their ranking from a lot of blackhat which I wouldn't be able to spot quickly.
    David Amersham's seo help site would be an excellent start for you, and his books are a must for anyone who wants to do his seo himself.

  8. #8
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    ralph.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benbob View Post
    David Amersham's seo help site would be an excellent start ...
    A quick Google gave me nothing for that. Do you have a link?
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  9. #9
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    David Amersham's site is http://helpmyseo.com/.
    Especially his book Seohelp, is an absolute steal for $10 and worth its weight in gold for anyone doing their own seo; it is a step by step description written in plain English with only a minimum of jargon.
    I give it 10 out of 10 for seo starters.

  10. #10
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    Cool, thanks. It's always nice to have an SEO recommendation, as there's so much dodgy stuff out there. Although, I must say I'm concerned that Googling "David Amersham seo" didn't bring up his site for me.
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  11. #11
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    It used to flood the serp for his name and just about any combination of his name with seo. Until Penguin.
    Penguin was and still is a real pita as it seems like they are still fiddling with the algorithms in a major way. Some of my rankings dropped enormously overnight ( from #1 to below 100 ) only to bounce back a month later. And then fall again.
    For 4 months now, my rankings have been unstable and strangest of all ( though I'm not complaining about that bit ) some of my rankings come up #1 on searches that don't contain a single key word.

    I spend quite a bit of time on seo research, and ever since Penguin popped up, consistent info/opinions/advise has ceased, apart from the basics e.g. produce good content, structure properly, don't use blackhat or keyword stuffing.
    Who knows what the future will bring when "it" changes to semantic search around the end of the year; I haven't found anything concrete on that at all yet.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Zealot Lieto's Avatar
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    Besides design being outdated i saw few problems:

    — Why is everything opening in pop-up? its working against user. When i scroll it on a notebook, page will scroll and pop up will become invisible.
    — facility icons are too small and not informative.
    — pricing options are not obvious enough and you cant search / sort by price. There is quite a difference between 60 and 200 pounds (where it says 60 to 200). What do i get for 60 and what for 200 then? Should i just write to every landlord and ask?
    — So the only way to book something is to write an email? thats old. Let people choose what and when they want and form a message to the owner yourself. Client shouldnt compose emails like "Hello my name is John and i would like to know if shanton house luxury bed and breakfast is avaiable from august 23..." — cause its boring.

    Sorry if review was a bit harsh but i feel like there are fundamental usability and/or marketing flaws. I mean you can just let it be that way cause its easier but i am not sure if that would be competitive enough.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for all the feedback. Some useful stuff there.

    Definitely going to implement some of the suggestions and also work on getting rid of some validation errors.

    Cheers.

  14. #14
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    I'd agree with some of the posts above that the design is a little outdated, there's nothing that specifically stands out as being a problem, but the logo (in particular the font), the colours used etc aren't something you'd really expect to see on a current site, though I do still like the layout.

    As others have said, the popup dialoag is unnecessary and not good from a usability point of view, it also makes it difficult for people to link directly to a particular B&B, and it certainly won't help you in SEO terms either.

    One final observation, as well as the content are feeling quite cramped (again, as mentioned above) there's also a lot of wasted space in both sidebars, in particular on the left hand side, you have them rotating in almost a carousel, whereas they could be far smaller and actually listed vertically.

    Being picky, I'd also maybe link the B&B titles to the relevant page! I think you're doing a lot right by the way, it just maybe needs a few small tweaks

  15. #15
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    Cool, thanks. It's always nice to have an SEO recommendation, as there's so much dodgy stuff out there. Although, I must say I'm concerned that Googling "David Amersham seo" didn't bring up his site for me.
    That's because his name is David Amerland, not Amersham...
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by kohoutek View Post
    That's because his name is David Amerland, not Amersham...
    Lol, I think this qualifies as a Freudian slip; those were the days.

    "Amerland seo" does indeed pop his site up, and not just on #1, but on #1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and 8; fairly convincing.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kohoutek View Post
    That's because his name is David Amerland, not Amersham...
    Ha ha, yes indeed, I didn't look closely enough.
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  18. #18
    Mazel tov! bronze trophy kohoutek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benbob View Post
    Lol, I think this qualifies as a Freudian slip; those were the days.

    "Amerland seo" does indeed pop his site up, and not just on #1, but on #1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and 8; fairly convincing.
    Indeed. Thanks for the tip. I've bookmarked it.
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