WARNING : Nothing about this work is scientific. I have carried out this little experiment purely out of curiosity and, as I suspected would be the case, I find the results more than a little interesting.

This is just a little bit of research I’ve done over the past few days. It is only a snapshot and certainly doesn’t claim to be thorough in any way.

Over the last number of weeks, I’ve had reason to find myself in front of 141 small and not so small, but rarely ‘big’ Irish rural tourism businesses. They may have been B&Bs, small hotels, self catering providers, outdoor activity venues and the like.

Of the 141, 115 appear to have a website. That’s just 82%.

Of the 115 with a website, by searching for them, on google.ie, under activity (rather than their actual name), here follows what I came up with. So I didn’t search for, say, Barry’s B&B in Newport under “Barry’s B&B Newport”, but rather “B&B Newport”. In my opinion, this is far more informative, since, for the purposes of this little exercise, I assumed that the typical would-be holidaymaker knew what they wanted and where they wanted to go, but not the name of any given provider.

19 % of businesses came in the top 5 listings, when searched for in google.ie.

A further 7 % came in from no. 6 to no. 10.

However, a massive 74 % did not appear on the first search page under Google Ireland at all. The first Google page typically lists the first ten results only.

It goes to show the vital role of linking and third party website listings and reminds us that a website is more a product that needs to be promoted than a promotional tool in itself.

Of course, I should point out that, sometimes, google.ie search results are dominated by third party listing sites, such as goireland, discoverireland, dublinevents and so on.