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Convention and Visitors Bureau Websites – They SHOULD Rank, so why DON’T They

When it comes to providing valuable information on local hotels, attractions, restaurants, and events; no one does it better than the local Convention and Visitors Bureau websites. However, as you’re probably aware, most people don’t start their search on these sites. Instead, they go straight to Google and do searches on “hotels in San Diego,”  “golf courses in Miami,” and even “things to do in Austin.” Unfortunately, what often ranks first in Google is NOT the official Convention and Visitors Bureau website for the city being searched. Instead, what ranks is an assortment of websites that want visitors to either book a hotel, purchase a golf package, or click on AdSense ads.

Why Does this Happen??

Having worked with such a website in the past, I understand the confusion and pain Convention and Visitors Bureau site owners have in understanding why they don’t rank as high as they should. They often have the better content, but often have trouble ranking.  In most cases, the reasons are 1) lack of basic SEO elements utilized throughout the site and 2) stiff competition that has been around for a long time and is highly optimized.

A Real-life Example

Let’s take a closer look at a real-life example where a Convention and Visitors Bureau website is being outranked by other sites. The specific example is the Austin, TX site http://www.austintexas.org/ [1] and the term “things to do in Austin”.

Here’s what ranks:


1.    http://www.thingstodoinaustin.com [3]


2.    http://www.austinwebpage.com/tourists.htm [7]


3.    http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g30196-Activities-Austin_Texas.html [10]


4.    http://studentorgs.utexas.edu/acccf/section/nstudent/todo101.htm [12]


5.    http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-2741956-austin_things_to_do-i [14]


So where does the Austin, TX Convention and Visitors Bureau website http://www.austintexas.org/ [1] rank? They rank #10



They’re on the first page, but are the very last result on the page.

Is this fair? It sure doesn’t seem fair…especially since the Austin, TX Convention and Visitors Bureau website has some amazing content and the sites that are beating them are either outdated or obviously using SEO tactics to get ad revenue for the term “things to do in Austin”.

So what can the Austin, TX Convention and Visitors Bureau website (and other Convention and Visitors Bureau sites) do to improve their rankings?

Here are some general things that a Convention and Visitors Bureau site can do to better optimize their website and improve their rankings for terms they should rightfully rank higher for:

Optimize Website Structure/Content

Surface Valuable Content

Integrate Reviews/Ratings

Leverage Relationships

By doing these 4 things, a Convention and Visitors Bureau website will be able to better align their content with actual terms people search on, ensure the search engines can find and surface their content, and provide validation to their content through reviews/ratings and educational/government website backlinks.



About David Waterman

David Waterman of The Search Agency+ works in SEO, Content Development and Online Marketing, at The Search Agency - 11150 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 600 Los Angeles, CA 90064 as a Director of SEO/Search Marketing - Website: http://www.thesearchagency.com [25]

David Waterman+ [24] manages all SEO efforts for an assortment of clients. He has over 8 years of Search Engine Optimization experience with a specific emphasis on content optimization and website taxonomy/organization. He sets strategy for a wide array of top-tier clients in various industries and has experience managing international search marketing teams and servicing international clients. In his spare time he enjoys going to garage sales and swap meets in search of vintage and collectible items.

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