When it comes to the new age in search marketing, it is about finding a balance between optimizing for search engines and creating an engaging experience for the visitor through the use of compelling content and beautiful photography. With all the algorithm roll outs of 2013 and Google’s new products, search marketers are beginning to realize the importance of not just optimizing a site but most importantly optimizing an experience for the user. Here are a few takeaways from 2013 that will help hoteliers re-strategize their marketing efforts for 2014 and the coming years:
- The roll out of Panda and Penguin regulated sites with low quality content to prevent spam, cloaking, keyword stuffing and other black hat techniques. These algorithm updates also reinforced the need for a content marketing strategy that focuses on quality not quantity.
- Google real estate dominates search with Hotel Finder & Hotel Price Ads. These products have made it much more difficult for independent hotels to stand out in search against OTAs and brand sites who pay to be listed on these advertising platforms.
- The search landscape has evolved with the Knowledge Carousel. This carousel has converged local and social factors into SERP results which means hotel’s must be active on Google+ in order to rank in the carousel.
- Responsive design is critical for optimization across all devices. Responsive design allows your site to fit into any size screen including desktop, smartphone, and tablet.
- The loss of keyword data from Google Analytics has had major impact on how we analyze organic traffic. Instead of focusing on keyword traffic to see how users are behaving and searching while on your site, it is recommended that we analyze content at the page level.
- The Hummingbird update has made semantic and voice search more of a priority as mobile and tablet users become more reliant on “Siri” and conversational queries. This means targeting long-tailed keywords within your website’s copy is critical to increasing traffic on all devices.
Now that you are familiar with all these updates, it’s time to put together a new strategy that will align with these updates. As we end 2013 and enter into the new year, hoteliers should begin thinking about their New Year’s resolutions. Here are a few resolutions you will need to make this year in order to carry out a successful marketing campaign:
I will take on a content driven approach instead of keyword centric approach when analyzing data.I will build a mobile version of my site.I will design responsively for desktop, mobile, & tablet.I will have an active presence on social media.I will invest in professional photography.I will redesign my current website to reflect the look and feel of my hotel. I will invest in Social Search Optimization 3.0.I will build my presence on Google+ Local.I will use Pay-Per Click advertising in tandem with SSO 3.0 to compete with OTAs.I will manage my hotel’s reputation on major review sites like TripAdvisor, Google+, & Yelp.
Photo courtesy of dreamstime.com