Ranking Number 1 on Goggle

November 26, 2014 at 7:20 PMCoombeMill

 

The Holy Grail

This is what every business wants to achieve and I am proud and delighted beyond belief that Coombe Mill is currently Number 1 on Google for "Kids Farm Holidays". 

 

Kids Farm Holidays when searched shows Coombe Mill Family Holidays as Number 1 

 

I don't check any of my website or blog statistics very often as I think I could become obsessive about them. However every now and then I do like to ensure that I am on track.

The key statistic for me is where our holidays rank in Google or our Sales Engine Optimisation level (SEO ranking). I try typing in specific wording and pull back to more and more generic searches to see how we do.

So for example if I were to type "Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays in Cornwall", "Coombe Mill Holidays Cornwall" or even just "Coombe Mill" I would expect to come up first. However, let's face it, anyone typing those searches in already knows about us and it just looking up our details to make a booking or follow up a recommendation to us; great in its own right but not a way for new potential holiday makers to find us.

If I now I broaden the search out to "Cornwall farm holidays with kids and animals" then it is much harder to come at the top as Google has many websites to choose from all using some or all of these key words on their websites. Featuring top here is where I get really excited, especially when Google says it searched 6.7m sites to bring Coombe Mill up first. Anyone searching this term is looking for a holiday that really matches what we offer; they probably haven't heard of Coombe Mill and are just seeing what is out there.  Being first on the list I am more likely to be clicked on and once on my website it is then up to me to sell the Coombe Mill dream in the first five seconds of glancing at my homepage.  If the homepage isn't attractive to my target market in an instant then I've wasted all my efforts in being at the top of Google and the discerning shopper will be back to Google and clicking on number two.  This is a huge subject in it's own right, for now I'm going to concentrate on Goggle Searches and assume my website does the job once there.

I try broadening the criteria again and hurrah I'm still number one for "Cornwall farm holidays with kids".

And again for "Farm holidays with kids" on a search of a whopping 156 million sites. This is a great result for me. 

 

 Coombe Mill Family Holidays as Number 1 search on Google

 

So how do I do it?

Content is key

First and foremost, make sure your website illustrates and says the most important things in the fewest words. Less is more. Set the tone visually on the homepage.  From here make sure posts are relevant, interesting and engaging. Know what your website or blog is for and write and illustrate to this.

For Coombe Mill the website tells the holidays facts while my blog within this takes a behind the scenes look at our family life running the business including the "oops" moments and success stories as they unfold.

Interaction & Social Media

Your posts can be genius but they need to reach out to an audience and be read, work out who your market is and connect with them, talk with them on forums or social media read and interact with their site and they will be sure to visit you too, oh and watch out you don't just get sucked in for hours here, it is easy to be sociable and chat too long, I'm guilty!

When I began my blog my target market for Coombe Mill was Mums and Dads with young children. Four years later I consider myself a fully fledged parent blogger myself with good friends I've met online and at blogging events, many of whom now holiday at Coombe Mill and have been kind enough to write about their visits. I now have a Pinterest Page just for Coombe Mill blog reviews.

 

Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays's board Holiday Reviews for Coombe Mill on Pinterest.

As for which social media sites to use, I'd recommend doing whichever you are most comfortable with, in essence they all work if you put in and don't just take out. By that I mean give feedback and support to others there, build friendships and they will most likely visit your site to find out who is behind the friendly words. My personal favourite is Twitter, I hang out here every day but also use Instagram, Google Plus, Facebook and Pinterest to a lesser extent most days. 

Keywords

Use keywords you want to be found for on Google in all web and blog site tags from the organic photo label on your pc or lap top right through to the content within a blog post. Focus on Key words in your headings where possible. For example every photo I save to my Website or Blog has a description for the photo and ends with "at Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays, Cornwall". If I or anyone else then pins this photo on Pinterest this phrase will appear on it. 

 

saving a picture to the Coombe Mill blog

 

Relevant Links

Link within your site to past articles where relevant and to outside sources. There is much debate over the use of "follow" and "no follow" links. As a rough guide use a follow link in your own site and anywhere where the content of the linked site is directly relevant to your post. so for example I will always use a follow link to reference an article about Coombe Mill on another website or blog. Google likes links when they are genuine so use them and encourage them to your site too.

Where next for me?

I would be delighted to hold my position but you have to keep moving to stand still and if I am honest with myself standing still isn't really what I want. I need three of the following keywords to appear at the top or near the top on a goggle search.

Holidays, Cornwall, Farm or one from Kids, children, toddlers and Family,

By reducing to just two of these and searching my presence falls off a cliff,  I now want to work on some secondary keywords that might be used instead of these such as UK, England, Cottages, Lodges and Self Catering. I currently rank much lower searching by these alone. There is no magic, I will carry on doing what I do but perhaps tag, UK on the end of Cornwall in posts descriptions, and drop cottage or lodge into my posts and picture tags more often. January is the big booking month for me so I really want to hold my own and increase the odd search for then.

Know what you want your site to be ranked on and use these words carefully, by this I mean strategically without spamming your own site, Google can penalize you for over use of a key word.

A word of warning

SEO is great to be aware of but never let it govern your writing, relevant interesting content is key, SEO must fit around this and not drive it or posts can become contrived and dull. For me it is a once a month reality check at most to see what is working and on a day to day basis slots in rather like a spell check when I edit a post. If I can use a word I want to improve my search I will but I never force it.

I am not an SEO specialist

I am just sharing what has worked for me, if you are interested in what I've said here and would like to know more based on my own experience please let me know in the comments as I could happily expand on any of the areas I've touched on in this post. 

Enjoy your website and or blog, have passion in your writing, be mindful of SEO but don't let it rule your work. If all this seems like too much effort there are companies out that only to keen to do it for you at a price,  but watch who you choose, I am inundated with emails each day like the one below and would be very wary of dealing with them (click on the image to enlarge if you want to read the detail here):

 

SEO sales services on email

 

I enjoy blogging and my daily social media interaction, it is part of my everyday life and the SEO benefits are a very handy spin off allowing me to invest the money I've saved elsewhere in Coombe Mill. To be successful it needs to be a passion you enjoy otherwise you may resent the time and energy it takes. 

 

Posted in: Education

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Will You Fake It

November 23, 2014 at 8:50 PMCoombeMill

 

OK I'm not talking 50 shades of Grey but 50 shades of Green!  Here at Coombe Mill we have always made a point of offering our Christmas guests real Christmas Trees in their properties for the festive season. What's more not only do we provide the tree but the lights all ready assembled and a box of decorations ready for our arriving families to do the fun part together. 

 

Christmas Trees in the Coombe Mill properties 2013

 

I have never thought to question this decision until Nick said to me following a shopping trip to Trago Mills (Farmer Nick's second home) that he had seen some really lovely if expensive looking artificial trees he thought might be better. Initially I dismissed the idea as did our children. For us Christmas is all about choosing trees for us and the guests and having a fun morning out doing so. However the more I thought about it and saw the trees he was referring to the more I thought it might not be such a bad idea. They looked real, infact more perfect than their real misshapen counterparts, didn't need watering, wouldn't prickle the children and didn't drop mess everywhere.

I was convinced enough to at least ask our guests the question of which they would prefer. The answers came back very quickly and decisively making me glad I asked. There seems to be a firm group in each camp and we now have bought some quality 7ft artificial trees for those who prefer the no mess option. I must say they look a delight and don't take over the room; there is definitely an advantage to being able to mould them to the available space.  For me the only thing missing is the forest pine smell. 

 

 Nick putting up a new quality artificial Christmas Tree in Heligan Lodge

 

For my own children there was no persuading them, breakfast out and our usual tree selecting adventure will take place next month as usual. Those Coombe Mill guests who feel the same will be greeted by a waft of fresh pine and a little needle scattering when they arrive.   

 

Family Traditions leading up to Christmas

 

Which way will you swing this Christmas and what factors influence your decision?

Am I right in thinking more of us are taking the artificial option? Is the fear of little ones pulling over a real tree, the resulting needles and water on the carpet or injuries caused making parents cautious? Is it the price which rises each year along with the cost of a good base or the sheer hassle of buying, carrying and erecting the weighty messy beast that prevents a purchase?

 

Will you fake it this Christmas

 

 

I wonder if I would be so keen on a real tree without Farmer Nick or my teen boys to do the "dirty work" for me, yet the child in me would feel as disappointed as my kids not to bring a little fairy magic from the woods into our home at Christmas time.

We'd love you to join us 

If you are still at a loose end for Christmas we have two family cottages left with your choice of real or artificial tree, all the fun and none of the hassle whichever your preference. 

 



  photo 93142f35-6d39-479f-b3de-d94dbca68162_zps58499252.jpg

Silent Sunday / Project 52

November 22, 2014 at 11:50 PMCoombeMill

 

 

Russian TV recording at Coombe Mill

 

 

 

 

 TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky   OneDad3Girls   

 

Posted in: On the Farm | Weekly Photo

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill

November 21, 2014 at 11:40 PMCoombeMill

Free Play in Nature

I have always been a huge believer in encouraging free play, of allowing children to use their imaginations and nature for entertainment with as little adult input as needed to inspire them. We are lucky to have the 30 acres of countryside that makes Coombe Mill and this does make things easy for my children, yet still I love nothing more than to watch them at play creating their own fun. What's more their experience of life on the farm and enthusiasm for the outdoors is infectious and by the school holidays they waste no time in teaming up with guests their age and leading them into an adventure. This past half term has been particularly mild, with my children that inevitably means taking advantage of the river and its tributaries running through Coombe Mill.

Dam building 

Working with two families the triplets helped to dam our main tributary in 6 places creating a beautiful cascade of waterfalls. despite backache and water in wellies they were clearly satisfied with their results.

 

Damming the river

River games.

Dam building turned out to be hot work and a cool down in the river was in order. While the guests paddled and threw sticks for the dogs Guy jumped in off the bridge and swam over to join them via the rope swing, fully clothed of course, what difference could another wash load make for me!

 

October in the River Camel

A stone skimming competition followed with the adults even skimming a few right under the bridge and out the other side. The best skimmer was clearly under debate and the children decided this was best resolved in a splashing war; well Guy had nothing to lose being already soaked. Huge swells of water sprayed around amidst laughter and squeals from the girls.

 

River Fun splashing at Coombe Mill

By this time there were more wet children than dry and several now chose to join Guy in a full dunking while more of our guests came to join in the fun.

Swimming in the river Oct half term

 

Who would have thought something as simple as dam building could have turned into such a full afternoon of child led fun in nature and how is it that children just don't feel the cold as we do?

 

 

 

This was only 3 weeks ago, yet how the weather has changed since then. We have seen downpours and rain in quantities not felt since January return and the river has swollen. As a result river play is now off limits again until spring as the current is already too strong. There is no messing with nature and my children respect this.

 

River swollen in November

Joining in with Country Kids

If you have been out having fun then please join me here. The only restriction to linking is that your post must be about children and doing something outside, apart from that anything goes and I am always blown away by all the lovely ideas and adventures linked up each week. Don't let the chill of winter and the dark evenings put you off finding those outdoor moments. Fresh air is good for mind and body all year round. Do grab the badge and check out a few of the other posts for yourself.

I always comment on every post that links up with me but doing this has led to some commenting systems seeing me as spam. If you don't see a comment from me please check your spam, I am probably lurking there!  

Country Kids is around in these communities, I'd love you to join me there:

Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too (no need for a hash tag in Pinterest)

Follow Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays's board Country Kids  from Coombe Mill on Pinterest.

Join the Google Plus community page  for Country Kids and add #CountryKids to your tag elsewhere for a +1 from me

Share your posts on  Instagram and Twitter with #CountryKids for a like or a re-tweet

A few of my favourites from last week:

Chocolate is not the only fruit goes to a party at a farm and sees it as preparation for Christmas at Coombe Mill. 

A day in this Dad's life reflects on some fun days out from Coombe Mill over half term.

Forests in autumn hold a magic all of their own for a family adventure as Cuddles and muddles and Mummy's crochet world discovered. 

The village community spirit behind this post from Baked potato Mum is wonderful.

Rain didn't stop outdoor play for Over 40 Mum to One who had a great time with a mud kitchen and more at Hill End. 

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

   

   

I love washing dishes!

November 18, 2014 at 7:10 AMCoombeMill

A few weeks back I mentioned an old family favourite brand Servis that was making a comeback in the UK. Their new range of domestic appliances are looking to offer that little bit more to make your household chores a little bit less; music to my ears with a busy house and six children.

I have not one but two dishwashers in my kitchen, spoilt perhaps but with eight of us there is always one on the go and they get treated quite harshly. One was well past its best with holes in the cutlery tray, a broken seal on the door which leaked and a tablet dispenser that was jammed shut. Ordering my new one from Servis was easy and the delivery was taken in excellent condition, though the delivery company gave us a bit of a run-around sorting out a date.

My new Servis dishwasher  

Plumbing in the new Dn61039SS machine was very straightforward and Nick had it set up in my kitchen in minutes and ready for loading.

 

Plumbing in the machine

 

It has 3 handy loading sections inside with a Millie style up rack for extra cutlery and long knives making loading efficient and easy which is a bonus when all six of my children are carrying up empty dinner plates and glasses together.

 

 Empty and Full

 

Visually it is a huge improvement with its clean lines and switch digital dashboard, though it did worry me that this would be difficult to operate.  I needn't have worried as it came with a huge operating manual I didn't even need to glance at. Having switched the machine on it told me it needed salt and rinse aid and selected a program all by itself! I then had some handy up and down arrows to change to one of the other 9 programmes if I chose before pressing an obvious "go / play" button; simple as that. There is even a handy interior light, I've never seen that in a dishwasher before. 

 

Dishwasher Buttons

 

However I have saved the best till last. This dishwasher is really quiet! Check out this video clip with me right up next to the machine mid way through a 50 degree wash and I was tickled by the clock telling me how many minutes of the program were left to run.

 

 

Did this super quiet machine clean any dishes?

Well just check out this sparkle and that's on Tesco value tablets! Like any dishwasher it is important to ensure it is loaded with the arms free to turn and the gunk removed from plates.  

 

Clean Plates and Glasses

 

Would I recommend a Servis dishwasher?

Oh yes, without a doubt.  You can even have it is a stylish silver if you prefer.

There we have it, I love washing dishes because Servis does it for me without any fuss, noise or mess!

 

Disclaimer: I am delighted to be working in partnership with Servis and ordered this dishwasher free of charge in return for my honest feedback which you have here. 

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"Tales from the farmers wife" shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all. 


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