Criteria in Optimizing Hotel & Tourism Marketing Content
“How to Optimize Content for SEO” is a perfect example of a page we might want to optimize, so I will analyze the process based on this page you are reading.
You have to start with good content. Search engines are looking for content that stands out. It needs to be informative and engaging. They also want to know that it is Expert Material, Authoritative and Trustworthy (EAT). That is a subject on its own so we are not going to explore EAT at this time. The purpose of this article is to help you understand how to optimize your EAT-able content so it can rank high on search results.
There are literally hundreds of criteria that search engines evaluate to decide how to rank your page in their search results. Of course, this is all done automatically by programs that gather, store, evaluate and rank all pages on the Internet. This process is handled by million of lines of program code and systems. It is called the Algorithm.
You may have heard that Google has changed it algorithm and sites are falling off the net. That does happen!
It just means that Google has added or changed the step-by-step process by which it finds results. It may just be that it has changed the importance of some criteria – like speed, for example. In this case, slow sites may be hit and fast sites may improve in ranking. It could be any combination of process and criteria – any of 200 variables may change – and it is always evaluating, testing, adding to and tweaking them.
Top Search Engine Criteria
Now if you try to consider all of the criteria in optimizing your blog pages, guest posts and off-site articles, you will go totally potty. The trick is to know the top criteria. You are not going to find that out by studying algorithms. The best marketers are constantly testing and watching what works consistently. Professionals have a vast amount of data that they can process to establish the best practices. By studying what they do and joining the top masterminds, you can get a pretty good handle on what works.
What Works For Your Website (On-Site) Works Off-Site
My first book, WEBSITE, includes an entire section on SEO for your Webpage. The same process applies for blogs, guest posts and articles you write or have written on external pages (Off-Site). That is an important part of my second book, DIGITAL MEDIA. Chapters 3 and 4 (discussing “Content Marketing”) presume that you have read WEBSITE and already know about page optimization. In retrospect, I should have summarized that again in the new book.
So here are my key points – abridged and updated.
Top SEO Criteria for Page Optimization
1. Choose the right keyword (keyword research)
2. Create an effective title and URL
3. Have it form part of a header (a h2 tag)
4. Include it in the content 2 or 3 times
5. Use the keyword in the first sentence or two
6. Put the keyword in the title and alt text of a related image
7. Employ at lease one Google Suggested phrase
8. Create a Meta Description that contains your keyword
9. Add a Video
These are in order of importance. Do 1 to 4 for sure. These will certainly help you get ranked. If your term is very competitive, do 5, 6, 7 and 8.
You can also use content optimization tools to help validate your on-page SEO. YOAST Plugin for WordPress is a SEO validation tool that I use.
Your Keyword Research
It all starts with your keyword research. You need to select a keyword for you article that describes something that travelers are searching for. Naturally the word must describe your article. In addition, it has to be attainable. You need a word that is not too competitive and has good traffic. Good traffic means sufficient people are searching for it and it is a word that can convert. If you are looking to get more bookings, a destination name is not necessarily the best keyword. For example, people searching for Jamaica, St. Lucia and Barbados are typically not at the buying stage. On the other hand, if they are searching for a specific hotel, they are likely ready to book.
Use Google Keyword Planning tools to find the right word – a good alternative is KWfinder.com
So for this article, I am writing about Optimizing Your Blog, Article, Pages or Content for SEO. I might start combining all of these and seeing how it looks in the title.
Title and URL
Your post title (will become the URL) must have your keyword in it. I started this article by conducting a case study using a general keyword phrase, “Optimizing Your Blog Article Pages SEO”. A quick look at the search activity suggested that it is going to be very competitive. There are many big brands writing about this. We are not going to out-rank an established brand that has authority, great contend and years of experience in ranking.
And there are just too many pages in the results:
Optimizing Your Blog Article Pages SEO…5,930,000 results
” ” Blog SEO …………………..29,400,000 results
” ” Post SEO: …………………51,800,000 results
” ” Article SEO ……………….22,000,000 results
Using The Keyword Planner
Next go to the Keyword Planner and get the cost and the number of people searching.
None of the searches in the above list has anyone searching according to Google Planner. That is interesting. It’s a fact that Google Keyword Planner does not report accurately but based on this, I would change the title and strategy and look for an variation like how to optimize content for SEO. It’s a low competition word but check who comes up in the search. There are millions of pages to contend with and they are well established brands with high authority and trust. We just will not rank!
For the purpose of this case study, we will make the search more specific to travel and use “Hotel Marketing Content” as the main target.
Have “How to Optimize Hotel Marketing Content” in a Header
That’s it. See! The entire title is in the header above. That’s number (3).
I would next include an image and put the keyword phrase in the Title and the Alt tag. That is now done in the image at the top of the page. If you are using an image that you found on the net, be sure to credit the source. As you can see, this image above is credited to Digital Current. They will be happy that we used an image with their logo and have mentioned them in this article. It’s all part of the process of Content Marketing.
You will note that item (4) is completed as the keyword is included in the text several times. It is included in the first sentence (5). It’s embedded in the image title, description and alt.
When searching Google for “how to optimize content”, you will see a number of suggested phrases listed under the search results. Content optimization tools is one that I like and have used in reference to the YOAST Plugin (7).
Meta Tags and Video
Finally, be sure to create a meta description(8) that contains the keyword. I usually just cut and paste the title. If you are reusing WordPress, you will find this in the Yoast Plugin – click ‘Edit Snippet’ under the Content area.
When all is done, your article should be in good shape with the on-page optimization. Next, you have to make sure it gets found with off-page optimization.
Add a Video (9) – If you have done everything and your are still not ranking, add a video that explains your content with original videos.
All of this will work if there are not a lot of major brands competing with you. If that is the case, you will have to do off-page optimization. In most cases, off-page activity is going to be needed to get you ranking well.
Off-Page Optimization with Bookmarks
Bookmarking Your Content with Social Media Links
The last step is sending links from social media sites to your content. Post a short note about the new page to your prime social account, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest. You can post to Reddit, Instapaper and many other bookmarking sites. Of course, you must do it right. A good number of bookmarks do not get indexed and are worthless. See more about this on our blog about bookmarking lined above.
Bookmarking is helpful and, in fact, you do need to do this as it is one of the signals in the algorithm. However if your keyword in very competitive, you will need to do more. Travel is one of the most competitive search terms and you will find that major brands and Online Travel Agents (OTAs) like Expedia, Booking.com, Airbnb, TripAdvisor and others dominate search results.
If this is the case, you will need to get links on relevant, quality 3rd party content – but not on Private Blog Networks (PBNs) – to make an impact.
Off-Page Optimization with Blogs
Article and Blogs Linking to Your Page
It’s all well and good getting your page set up so that search engines find it. The next step is getting other content and social sites linking to your page. You will aim to get high quality guest posts with relevant content writing about you. These need to be articles that are 3rd party guest posts that are not on your site and not related to you. The link must be one way to you. Do not link back to them as reciprocal links are discounted.
The article linking to your site will have text that says something like: “Click here for more information”. That is called the Anchor Text, which is covered in Chapter 2.Not more than 3% of these links should contain your keyword.
You may post your content on guest post sites or pay for an article on sites like Thrive Global, The Fritz and many others. These two sites mentioned are Google News Approved and if your blog qualifies and meets editors’ approval, it will be published in the News section of search. This can result in a huge boost to traffic.
Link all you blogs and article sites together in a chain or in a hierarchy structure (never reciprocal links). Strategic link structure is explained in TECHNOLOGY, which will be published next. You can register to be advised when it is launched at the link below.
Bookmarking these pages is also helpful. Don’t use your own branded network; you need to have 3rd party social networks that are related to your business. For tourism, use Travel or Destination social sites. You can build these yourself or work with someone who has a related network. Check for details
About This Page
“How to Optimize Content for SEO” was created as one of the Bonuses for buyers of my book, Digital Media. The bonuses are tactical information to complement the book, which deals with digital media marketing strategy. If you find this helpful, I would love for you to buy my books WEBSITE and DIGITAL MEDIA. Both are available on Amazon as eBooks and in paperback.
Difference Between Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing and SEO.
Its seems unnecessary, I thought when i read this, then i talked a hotelier friend and it was clear that they were not at all clear on what was what in SEO, Content and Social. This article gives a good overview of the separate activities but in fact the lines are very blurred as more SEO activities move to social and content is always being indexed on social. Check out the SocialIndexEngine Case study on a tourism promo that cuts across all lines.
the difference between SEO, content and social marketing
The article by Jonathan Gebauer looks at each of these activities separately and defines how they differ. Well more or less, for SEO he asks “What The Heck Is SEO?” and then adds “SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and describes the process of optimizing a website and it’s content in a way so that it hopefully will receive more website traffic from search engine result pages. Here is how that works (in theory at least):
He clarifies it with an Example An Example, to Make Things Clearer – Hopefully he says:
I paraphrase- Imagine you want to get more traffic to your website, or to build its authority. You start with a blog, which will provide helpful articles to your guests. The blog adds content to the site and the aim is to generate more traffic and as a result more leads. That is an SEO initiative using content marketing – right?
To generate more backlinks it needs to be read.
“So you start sharing your content around on Social Media platforms – you probably start a fanpage on Facebook, and a Twitter profile. Maybe even something slightly more exotic like a Pinterest account. And you start growing those accounts.”
So now you are already engaged in all three strategies/activities while all you wanted to do in the beginning was a little bit of SEO…..
See the latest Webinar video hangout on the mobile checklist. Session 2 is all about your mobile content. It deals with website navigation, drop down content, placing content and remastering it for small screen display. Most importantly it covers tools used by the experts to resaie images and optimise them for smartphone, tablets and mobile devices.
MobileChecklist session 2 – Optimizing your website content for mobile
Getting your blog featured on Google News makes a difference in many ways. Not the least is that it automatically notches up your Authority and puts the article in an expert and trusted class. This will improve trust and set you apart from others.
Not all posts will get into news however, as both the quality of the post and the author can have an affect on this. Google will not approve rubbish authors who are known for spam or affiliate marketing and that are not going to make the grade. Your article also has to follow basic standards of journalism.
Major Traffic Boost with Google News
Neil Patel says you can get thousands of clicks to your site from Google News. In fact, he say your visits can jump by over 300%.
“Smart bloggers, news publishers, and digital content marketers are already tapping into this huge resource for targeted traffic and better search engine visibility. As an example, Search Engine Watch increased its average monthly visits from the Google News sitemap by 329%.”
Well, we can’t all be like Search Engine Watch and it’s not likely that a small hotel or your average blogging site will see this kind of return. Being in Google News is certainly going to increase your visibility and traffic. Google News drives 6 billion clicks per month to publishers all over the world. That’s a lot of traffic.
How to Get your Blogs on Google News
You best bet is to work with an author who can do the work for you. You don’t have to be an accredited author to get on the news. As Google says, news is “newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent or important events.”
When you look at Google News, you will see that Google is not totally focused on news-related “current events” content. There is now a level playing field for bloggers and all digital media publishers who have quality content and good insights. Style, substance and good journalism still matter. Honesty and objectivity are essential to making it to the newsstand.
It’s vital that your articles are properly structured with links to other quality sites using anchor texts and meta tags that are descriptive and not promotional. It helps to be an expert and write with an authoritative voice. Good journalists research the subject deeply and do not write for search engine optimization. You will still need to Optimize Your Content for SEO.
You must not however write for the news editors as they will decide if the blog is newsworthy. Editors like information to be in order, by the level of importance. So put your best insights and most interesting points first. It must be original and accurate. Be sure that your sources are impeccable and that you credit all original work.
Use Natural Links & Anchor-text
Linking back to your site from a GNA site must be natural. Keywords inAnchor-Textare often a flag to Google that it is promotional. Many GNA site are using only generic text like: read more, view more, check this, visit here, sitename, site name, sitename.com, www.site.com, this, website, web site, here, this website, click here, BrandName
Promoting Your Blogs and News
You can’t just get in the news and forget it. Like everything else on the Internet, you need to have people looking at it and other sites linking to it.
Blog About Your Featured News
Add an announcement about this to your website blog. Also add it to other sites via Guest Blog and link to it from relevant pages where it will make sense.
As an Example: In the image above, you will see one of our articles on “7 tips on how to plan a smooth vacation“. The image above links to the Google News search page that currently displays the blog. We also linked the actual blog with anchor text that simply says Plan A Smooth Vacation. That gives a valid link that will be tracked by the Google Algorithm and added to its rating.
This is the sort of syndication you need to do to keep your news alive for as long as possible. It will not stay on the news site forever, as news is supposed to be current. However, if it’s a popular article and has good quality links to it, it will get to the top of the list and stay there longer.
Social Bookmarks are not the highest quality authority links but, done right, they will help. A good strategy is to post an announcement of being featured on your top social sites – LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest and Scoop.it. Do more 3rd party bookmarks to the blogs and guest posts you created above. This will create a good chain link structure and boost the ranking for your featured news content.
Get Your Website Google News Approved
Getting Your Site Ready
If your content isn’t news, it will not get approved. Google is looking for content that might appear in Media sites like the NYT and it will not accept content that is for promotional. It will not accept product reviews, hotel promotions, island wedding, tour descriptions, tutorials, job postings, and other non-journalistic informational articles.
According to Google “News content should be timely, authoritative, focus on current events, and attempt to adhere to journalistic standards”
Here a quick summary of several important requirements.
Permanent section headers — No Dynamic organization. Must be permanent and accessible. News should be organization into sections if they cover many topics.
Permanent URLs — For a “news of the day,” page which changes regularly will not be eligible.
HTML format — It must be HTML formatted to best practices. Define the content type, name of your publication, language, access (subscription or registration), genre, publication date (W3C format)
Site Structure- Use a Magazine Style theme with sections for each type of news: Education, Entertainment, Politics, Technology, Tourism and so on.
About Us – Contact Us – Authors – Media Kit Pages
Meta Tags and SEO Optimize. This goes without saying, You have to optimize your page with titles, heading, image-altags, keyword focus and meta-tags.
Site Map -A Google News Sitemap is a great way to further segment your news content.
Navigation and Naming
Don’t call you news site a BLOG. the address you want is NEWS – so for example https://barbados.org/blog is a great site for stroies about island news, activities, tours, visitors stories, reviews and product descriptions. It is not appropriate to just add a NEWS section as it will be diluted with what is essentially not news.
The URL should be Yourbrand.com/News
A distinct Navigation might be
Barbados | Business | Technology | Tourism | Lifestyles | Entertainment | Education
Submitting Your Website to Google News
You need to apply at Google Publishing Center. Google will check that your site qualifies and follows their guidelines. Choose your News Page/Blog to submit and make sure it is newsworthy. Edit out any articles that are not high quality. Google will not accept all self-serving content or anything that is too promotional.
recent report by Sprout Social found that 52% of travelers in their study changed their travel plans based on what the learned on social media. It is a prime example of How Social Media Has Changed Tourism, especially as it relates to hotel and travel marketing.
A similar study by Sensis shows that social media is most effective in the early stages of shopping: That is when travellers are most influenced by what they see on social media. It can be reviews or simple shared experiences from people they trust.
Chapter 4 of The book Digital Media for Hotel and Tourism Marketingprovides a good overview of the essential parts of social media and other publishing options. Social Media is far more that a publishing option but it that respect alone it is playing a vital part marketing travel brands. Posting to sites like Facebook are far more than an announcement. There now include videos, descriptive content and stories. Tumbler has become a blogging site as much as it is a social network. Blogger, by Google, acts extensively to announce video and news. The lines between content marketing and social media are intertwined and merged.
The Social Media Generation
Summary of the full info-graphics see VisualCapital (click Image)
According to this excellent chart by Global Webindex, it’s the younger generation that are the big user of Social Media.
Babby boomers are at the bottom of the chart, but they are growing at a pace, as social continues to become a place to shop, research and find user reviews, photos and videos of attractive destinations.
In another slide we see that the younger generations are spending less time on social. This is intuitive, the young crowd are eager to try new technology, but at some point their excitement wains. It understandable that they become more prudent in their use of social. Still gen Z are the first group to use social more than Google for research. A clear indication that social is making inroads on Google search.
It also of interest that many of the younger generation are gravitating to multi-media site like Instagram and YouTube and depending less on traditional sites like Facebook.
Even though the use patterns and engagement is shifting, Social media use is growing both in numbers and in engagement overall. It is a powerful tool on its own and it also setups social signals that are vital in SEO.
Social Signals are Key to SEO
Social signals such as likes, comments and engagement are part of the analytics that search engines use to validate a site. It may not get your site to #1 in search but without social signals and a social presence you site may not get the authority it deserves. Mick Keonigs the pioneer of video marketing, says it is time for you to be everywhere. His marketing slogan is “youeverywherenow”. This he says is achieved primarily with social media.
Words from the Wise
Neil Patel co-founder of Kissmetrics, Crazy Egg and owner of numerous internet marketing sites and apps, gives this simple advise. “put your content everywhere“. If you have a Youtube Video add it to Facebook, and anywhere you can”. He says google will not penalize you for distributing your content so share it widely.
A Cautionary Note
I will offer a caution. While it may be OK to put the same content everywhere be careful that you don’t run foul of over optimizing your keyword and messing up your footprint. For this reason i prefer to vary keywords using lots of semantic words and words that are related. This creates a better balance. However, as we have noted before, Social media posts with thin content do not get indexed by Google. If this trend continues social may not be a balancing factor in the future. For the present I believe it is a good idea to vary content and anchortext.
Digital Media for hotel and tourism professional: A primer explaining the new media in an easy conversational style. It is illustrated with case studies and practical strategies. Book buyers are also treated to many bonuses like the review of chapter 4 that digs deeper into options.
The official Press Release for the new paperback version of my book on hotel website marketing strategies is just released in paperback. It has wide coverage and I want to add a bit about the book that is not in the Press Release. But let’s start with a question I hear over and over again:
Does Your Hotel Really Need a Website?
With the rapid rise of Social Media, Web 2.0 and other distribution channels, hoteliers often develop their hotel presence on these channels at the expense of their own website. But having your own website is actually more vital now that it has ever been. Social media is great – so are the Online Travel Agents, review sites like TripAdvisor and even Google. All give hotels their own pages and brand exposure… sort of!
Your page on Booking.com is not your brand. It is most definitely their brand with your product tucked into it along with piles of competition shouting out “a better price”, “a better deal”, “a bigger place” and so on. This is often done with very inappropriate comparison by the platform. You simple can’t rely on 3rd party sites to represent your brand well. It’s not their priority.
Taking Control of Your Brand
The only place you can really control your brand and your message is on your own site. But since you are reading this, it means you probably know that already. What you might want to know next is how to properly position your website to represent your brand. Maybe you are wondering how to differentiate your hotel from all the others. Perhaps you have seen that most hotel websites all say the same sort of thing: “Best Family Hotels”, “The ideal Romantic Getaway”. It’s all platitudes and it just does nothing for your business. My book and the bonuses will help you see through platitudes and show you how to dig deep to find the true “why” that makes you special. There is an entire section on how to create the right message and how to create hot buttons that will inspire and engage guests.
Messaging and Hot Buttons
Marketing travel is all about selling the vision and the dream. Features and Benefits are for the text books, not the imagination. They alone do not tell stories or motivate buyers. You do need to ask yourself: What is our Hot Button? It’s got to be an activator, that is, something that will get attention – something that is Familiar, Unusual or Problematic that is also important or relevant to them. Of course, different people have different hot buttons, which is fine because your market is made up of those who will love the difference you are setting up. In the book we demonstrate with a small villa resort that discovered that the people who loved the resort were independent-minded travelers who did not want to be with the crowd. The hot buttons had a few variations but all were about “holidays without crowds”. That hits on the main problem that their clients wanted to avoid. If you can solve a problem and articulate that clearly to your market, that is a hot button.
Discover Little Known Strategies for Digital Marketing
You are going to discover all the traditional website strategies, like how to optimize for SEO, blog for travel, optimizing for mobile, etc. But this book starts a journey that will explore the website messaging strategy that you need to build to get the benefit of the books following that deal with Digital Media and Technology.
The techniques shared are not common practices. We don’t talk about design but about messaging and strategy to carry that message across your website, building on your unique opportunities and your mission.
Here is the latest Press Release as published on Wall Street Select. We also got picked up by Travel Weekly and 300 media outlets – It’s available in Kindle Digital Format and paperback.
Book Bonus Tips and Membership
Be sure to get the book bonus. It includes membership to a site where I will share ideas and tactics as you progress. Right now my team and I are very excited as we launch what we know is going to be the next big disruption in tourism. It’s all to do with personality branding and matching hotels with travelers by personality.
I’ll be sharing ideas with book readers on how this might apply. Our partner in this project is a world-class award-winning personality branding professional who has written several books and has helped many businesses and individuals find their unique point of Fascination. You can find a link to her HowToFascinate assessment at info.personaholidays.com. The assessment is FREE and can get you started on understanding how your own character may play a part in the brand you build. There is also a brand assessment. Both are free and for a small fee you can upgrade to a paid version which gives you an in-depth report and a video. Sally, our partner, is bringing HowtoFascinate to tourism – More about that at http://Fascinatingtravelers.com