Last Sunday was the first day of fall. At Papercut, we wanted to welcome the cooler temperatures, changing leaves, and pumpkin-flavored coffee beverages with a seasonally themed blog post. Since Halloween will be here before we know it, I thought I’d highlight some of the SEO work I’ve been doing for two of our spookiest clients, the Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern and Blowing Screams Farm.
The Creepiest Clients in Town
Widely recognized as the scariest Halloween attraction in Chattanooga (and ranked one of the scariest in the country), the Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern is an intensely creepy attraction located in a cave… 26 stories underground. Only for the bravest of the brave, it has a devoted following of locals who flock to it every year. Still scary but slightly more family friendly, Blowing Screams Farm is an outdoor haunted attraction that leads visitors through woods and swamps crawling with monsters on Blowing Springs Farm in Flintstone, Georgia. I don’t know if I’m brave enough for either of these, but group of Papercutters might be visiting the Haunted Cavern in the near future, so stay tuned…
I’m currently working to improve optimization and rankings for both attractions’ desktop sites, but the Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern has the additional challenge of a mobile site, which requires its own optimization strategy and SEO work.
Spooky Little Mobile SEO Project
The Haunted Cavern mobile site is a separate site with a different URL and unique HTML code. This is the third form of smartphone-optimized sites that Google recognizes, the other two being responsively designed sites and sites that use the same URL and dynamically serve visitors unique HTML based on their devices. While Google supports hosting separate mobile sites, optimizing them is a different ballgame.
Keywords to Put a Spell on You
Everyone knows about keywords, but for a separate mobile site, keyword research should be done a little differently. For the mobile version of the Haunted Cavern site, I segmented the data in Google Analytics to identify mobile search terms and integrated them into the keyword strategy. Placing mobile-specific terms in appropriate places on each page of the site ensures that brave souls searching for haunted attraction-related terms on their smartphones will find the Haunted Cavern.
Many search engine optimizers that don’t take the time to look at their mobile search analytics are missing out on valuable ranking opportunities, and that’s scary. Looking at this data is a good practice, whether you have a responsive site or not.
The Technical Stuff – Heads Will Roll
The Haunted Cavern mobile site has a lot of the same eerie content as the desktop version, including an especially weird and creepy trailer video (check it out). It’s a smart idea to let the search engines know that these two sites are linked together by using the mobile version of the rel=“canonical” tag. I’ll be working with our developers to ensure that appropriate tags are placed in the code so search engines don’t penalize the Haunted Cavern sites for duplicate content.
There’s a lot of other technical stuff to address for a mobile site using a different URL, including redirects, mobile XML sitemaps, and parallel URL structure, but I don’t want to make anyone’s head spin (or roll), so I’ll leave it at that.
Get Your Nerve Up and Get in Line!
We’re rapidly approaching the busy season for these attractions, and as a search engine optimizer, I’m hopeful that my efforts will result in better rankings and increased traffic for these sites (and longer wait times at the actual attractions). The Haunted Cavern opens today and Blowing Screams Farm opens tomorrow, so if you’re brave enough, check out the websites for tickets and hours, grab some friends, and experience them for yourself. Happy fall, y’all!