This week I sent out your templates for creation of 2014 Sales & Marketing Plans. In support of your research, I’d like everyone to read the article below and incorporate (at least some parts) into your SEO and social media strategies. This article, coupled with the article I sent out earlier today about “Increasing Conversion Rates” will (and should) become a very important part of your strategies. Why not work smarter rather than work harder? Fine tuning our digital marketplace is paramount to our success! Utilizing technology combined with good ole’ fashioned sales techniques will give you a balanced sales approach.
Happy searching and researching!
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The Undying Importance of SEO: How to Actively Maximize Your Search Engine Presence
July 9, 2013 11:24am
by Asher Fusco
Generating engagement via social media channels and creating unique experiences for website visitors are important aspects of digital marketing. It’s also important to remember the basics – namely SEO – when building a marketing plan. A good SEO strategy attracts qualified traffic with intent to book.
With more potential travelers than ever using Google and other search engines via the three screens – mobile, desktop and tablet – hoteliers should make every effort to fully optimize their websites. The difference between appearing on the first and second page can add up to thousands of dollars of bookings and RFP submissions.
A recent study by online ad network Chitika reaffirmed the importance of SEO efforts, showing just how crucial it is for a site to appear within the first page of search results. Sites appearing on the first page of Google search results receive 91.5% of the traffic that filters through the search page. This staggering number compares to just 4.8% for page two, 1.1% for page three and 1.2% for pages four through ten combined.
No two positions on the first page of search results are created alike. The first overall position is much more valuable than the positions directly behind it. In fact, the first search result draws 18 times as many click-throughs as the tenth search result, according to a study performed by Slingshot SEO. This dynamic is in a state of constant flux because of Google’s ongoing adjustments to the layout of and content within its search results, but as a general rule, the better the ranking, the better the click-through rate.
Across HeBS Digital’s client portfolio, an average of 33% of website revenues came as a direct result of SEO. That substantial figure, combined with the information above, provides ample reason to consider refreshing your site’s SEO strategy to meet Google’s stringent and always-shifting standards.
By optimizing various onsite aspects of your website (content, meta data, structure, etc.) and ensuring your digital marketing strategy covers external factors such as link-building, social shares, and authority levels as measured by Google PageRank, hoteliers can strengthen their organic search revenue stream.
Simple Steps Toward Maximizing Your Search Engine Presence:
Redesign Your Website
Bolster SEO performance by developing site structure that organizes relevant content into easy-to-follow funnels, leading to bookings. Shore up the technical aspects of your site by updating Meta data, XML site maps, canonical tabs, and more. The hotel website should also load quickly – download speeds factors into the hotel’s SEO performance.
Create Engaging, Quality Content
Google’s ongoing Panda Update mandates website content must be deep, relevant, unique and engaging. Search engines are now looking for strong editorial content, as quality content has taken center stage over the past 24 months, making it imperative to have strong copy supported by a focused SEO strategy.
Develop a Content Creation Plan
Building additional content does three things for your site:
Creates deeper content
Gives you more real estate to target segmented keywords
Increases your PPC campaigns’ quality scores and lowers their cost per click
A structured content creation plan can help you capture incremental revenue by creating pages about events such as nearby college graduations, annual happenings or popular sporting events.
Employ Professional Copywriters
In the world of content creation, you get what you pay for. Cheap copywriters typically provide thin, lifeless content that does little more than take up space on a page. Take the time to find professional copywriters with experience in both technical SEO and hospitality marketing that can be called “travel writers” in their own right.
Optimize Your Site for Mobile Use
Quality content is the biggest “must-have” for a mobile site. The Google Panda algorithm updates favor mobile websites with rich visual and textual content that is fresh, engaging and optimized for search engines.
Devise a Quality Inbound Linking and Citation Strategy
Google’s latest Penguin update (2.0) further penalized link farms and purchased links. Generally speaking, paid links have very little SEO value. Pursue unique “organic” links with relevant anchor text, such as editorial links and mentions of the property, listings on local CVB websites, local colleges, and nearby convention centers, theme parks and attractions. Remember: bloggers are your friend, so work with local bloggers to have your hotel mentioned and linked to in their blog postings.