Tools to Keep you informed & Ontop of  SEO Strategies

Tools to Keep you informed & Ontop of SEO Strategies

tools to fix your SEO

Top tools to fix your SEO

HubSpot Blog take a dive inside of what is driving SEO and overviews tool that can help you measure analyze and correct your Search Engine Marketing Strategies

Round of 10 Best Tools for SEO

10 tools to analyze & fix your SEOThis article is a great roundup of tools you need to really be in the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) game. SEO is always changing as search engine, especially Google, are constantly updating their systems to make search more effective. They do this to make search more relevant and to counter the spam and black hat gamers who try to trick search into listing their site above all else.

How Black Hat and Honest Mistakes can Kill your Marketing

Tricking search engines may be the wrong word to use as tricks don’t work – you have to do the work but in some cases gamers can orchestrate and manipulate results by creating lots of links back to your site and using tactics that are not natural. That is precisely what search engines try to eliminate with program (algorithm) updates.

The tools listed here are to help you check your sites validity and alert if you are running fowl of the rules, and to correct the errors where possible. As the report says “Have you ever purchased links? Spammed the comments section on a string of blogs using the same message and link? If so, we’ll forgive your bad judgment just this once … but Google won’t.”

Running Foul of  SEO Rules is too Easy

That is the point you may make a mistake and it is getting easier and easier to run afoul of the SEO rules because on one had too many SEO marketers don’t care about them or don’t know them, and on the other you can easily do things naturally and mess up by using too many keywords in your content or the links to your sites.

Tools to the Rescue!

So one of the tools is to help you Remove’em: “Artificial or unnatural links have the potential to seriously hurt your search ranking. To clean them up, check out Remove’em” Its cost from at $99/mo to subscribe but it is necessary if you run afoul of rules and standards.

Their are other option some of them free but they don’t all do the same thing, the report outlines the features of each.

A free tool is HubSpot’s Website Grader, it helps you discover SEO opportunities. The latest version does that and more analyzing Performance, Performance, SEO and Security.

10 Tools to Help your SEO and Search Marketing

Its a long article with 10 tools that can help you market you site and your product –
its well worth checking out at HubSpot >>>>

More About SEO – signup at  Tourism Marketing Machines for Free tutorial and all about SEO – its geared to tourism but it applies to all  industries.



Difference Between Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing and SEO

Difference Between Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing and SEO

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 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…..


Google Panda 4.1 Warnings for Tourism – Position²

Google Panda 4.1 – Position².

Google is relentless in its effort to rid search of spam and those who try to game the system are being targeted. The problem is that even legitimate sites are getting hurt in the shuffle.

Marketers today must understand what Panda, Penguin and Humming bird are looking for and what they consider unnatural.  It is of course a moving target. Search systems are amongst the most automated intelligent system in the world. They learn what is natural by constantly measuring what people are doing. As the averages change so does the nature of natural, at least from their point of view.  Because of this search Marketing is rather like playing in quicksand!

What this means is that hotel managers and tourism marketers need to keep informed or employ marketers who are well informed and stay in touch with the latest patents on search.

Position 2, is one of many companies that on top of trends as this article will demonstrated. In this blog they share who got hit and who flourished in the latest Panda 4.1 upgrade. HotelGuide did well gaining 285%. As the article says: “One thing is for sure – Panda 4.1 is in line with the previous updates and is intended at sites which have poor or plagiarized content. Typically, websites which do not produce their own content & re-publish content tops the list of losers.” …Position 2on Panda.

In the same analysis lost 76%. The implication is that Yellow is reusing content much the way that OTAs once did. This has particularly sinister effect on content owners  as Google will often not penalize the authority site with duplicate content. It simple may not know who is the originator of the content and will often side with the authority site. That means hotels that allow OTAs to use their content verbatim may suffer. It has happened, it’s just another nail in coffin for hotels failing in search, as noted in previous blogs on Google Travel, so don’t let it happen to you.







The Evolution of Google Travel

The Evolution of Google Travel

As a person deeply involved in helping hotels, tourism operators and destinations build lasting brands and sustainable direct business since 1995, and before that as a hotel manager way back in the sixties, I have been around to see all that has happened.  It started well with search engines long before Google. All search engines were listing local hotels, destination authority sites and tourism operators in their search results. That’s what was happening when we started the Barbados Tourism Encyclopedia as the official site of the Barbados Tourism Authority.

Our clients of hoteliers and TO’s got direct requests daily in emails from people who first found them on search, where our destination portal was usually on the first page. They contacted the hotels, restaurants and activities etc. that were listed on our directory.  Later we added a direct booking engine and direct-bookings were flowing in to our partners.  Our site,, had 4 million unique visitors a year, not a lot by OTA standards, but a lot for a small island of just a couple of hundred hotels and a few thousand rooms.  It’s a top destination in the Caribbean and it does have some of the best hotels in the world, for example Sandy Lane and The Crane to name just two.

First Page Listings on Search Results were Key to Direct Bookings

Getting into the first page of search results was great for sustainable business that added to the bottom line and built brand awareness even for the smallest of companies. Well it has all changed. Aaron Harris in the video below on the current state of SEO, shows how Google organic (non advertising) results are seen on only 7% of the results screens. A far cry from the early days of Search Engine Marketing.

Search Shifts will Cause Many Small TOs to Fail

The shift caused many companies to fold as their source of business, based almost entirely on SEO, failed.  Aaron’s company Tutorspree bit the dust and as he says it was all to do with the shifting sands of search.  “In examining our SEO dependence, I was surprised at how deeply it influenced so many different pieces of the company and aspects of our strategy. It powered a huge piece of our success, and ultimately triggered our failure. There’s a symmetry there that I can’t help but appreciate, even though I wish to hell it had been otherwise.”

Survive by Adapting

But companies have survived by adapting and expanding their role. It’s not enough to be on search and today there are many, many more ways to influence and engage clients. As Mike Keonigs of Traffic Geyser likes to say, it’s now about “You Everywhere”. But that is another story and I will share all with you in upcoming blogs. For now, let’s understand the principle of how Google has changed and what Google Travel means to all of us in the hospitality and tourism marketing business.

What You Can do in the Face of Losing Search Position

Start to build your authority today; it’s what all hospitality and travel professionals now need to do to get their websites ranked and seen by searchers. Most importantly, start to build alternative traffic strategies with no search engines as we teach in >>>See MHAT blog on Search, and take advantage of our free case studies and tutorials at (link on top menu). And as video is very hot on mobile right now, be sure your website is mobile ready – see our – all free tips, resources and strategies to build a better multi-screen, multi-channel presence. Last but not least, be aware that the future of travel is visual and check out our links on visual travel marketing and the new Visual Booking Engines.

Tourism marketing is changing faster than you can think. Keep tuned to this site for the latest tips, news and strategies for success.

The video below tells the story of search evolving into a new media of a totally unprecedented and different flavor from anything we have known. For those who want to know the history of search before this stage, see the blog on search evolution at TravelWatchNews.

See press Release about this blog on

More – see what you can do about thisHow to get back in the game when you fall to get on page 1 of of search results.

This blog has touched a never and is covered extensively in the media. You can see our press release here:

Infographic SEO Ranking-Factors 2014 – | Searchmetrics

Infographic SEO Ranking-Factors 2014 – | Searchmetrics.

Searchmetrics just released a fantastic, totally free, Info-Graphics and report on “SEO Ranking Factors 2014 – Google”

Here is a summary I just got in email from Dan Brown, Editor of a Press release service that I use.

Get the get a free copy of the full study for yourself: (Neither Doug or I are affiliates)

Click-Through Rate’s Importance is Literally Off-the-Chart

Remember only 50 characters of your headline, and 140 characters for your abstract (description) get displayed on the Search engine Results so use them well. Having a compelling headline and short description is the one thing that can get clicks.

See related at

Build Long Pages, Over 975 Words

“We used to be able to rank short, keyword-targeted pages all day long, Google has drastically adjusted what they consider “great content.” It’s now more important than ever that you include a bunch of topically related information and keywords in your content.”

Ok this is controversial one!.. The hot ticket today is building Silos and that calls for splitting up yr articles into related pieces. This is working very well on search, but the point is that it must be support with deep content somewhere along the line. Not very long ago Matt Cutts commented that its not necessary to have every page on your website be long and in depth. Its nonsense to write 1000 words for every room type for example and its normal to have room types and other such pages as stand along content. Balance is needed.

The email continues “You want your article to be a holistic representation of the keyword and the entire topic that surrounds it (think Wikipedia) rather than just being about the particular keyword itself. This goes hand in hand with the fact that the average word count of a high-ranking page is up to 975 (and that’s the average!)”

Agree – Its certainly advisable to have at lease 4 related words in your page, never just one. But the in depth information on the related items can be a separate page. It too will have 4 more related words. That is what the silo structure is all about.

“So if you have a bunch of shorter articles that are each built around a single keyword (the way we used to do it, in little interlinked silos), then you’d likely be better off combining all those articles into a few mega-pages that encompass the entire topic. Those pages can rank for multiple keywords so long as you have your Titles, H2’s and Meta Descriptions done properly. Think about it this way… Google is absolutely in love with ranking Wikipedia pages, so why wouldn’t you style your content similarly to how they do it? They put everything related to one topic on a single, often very long page.”

As I said above, its all about balance and it depends what you are doing. Articles are one thing, webpages about your hotel is another. I interpret this need for deep knowledge and long pages to mean that some pages should be long and all pages have to have merit. But where it makes sense to have seperate pages that is ok too, even if they are under 900 words. 900 is the average

Raw Number of Backlinks is Still the #1 Off-Page Factor

“Searchmetrics shows, without a doubt, that higher-ranking pages have MORE links than their competitors across the board. Bulk link building is not going anywhere… and if you’re trying to rank a page that sits on an authority domain (Amazon, Youtube etc.) it’s still practically the Wild West in terms of what automated backlinks can accomplish.”

Vary Your Backlinks As Much As Possible

There are a number of graphs related to this topic, so I’ll just sum them all up here.
Use stop words in your anchor texts (the, and, by, at, etc. etc.)
Use multiple words in your anchors… at least 2
Get some nofollow links
Continuously get fresh, new links every month
Get links from tons of referring domains
Get links from news domains
Link deep into your site (not just to the homepage)
Use lots of branded anchors (yourdomain.tld, yourdomain) — at least 15% of your total links

Social Signals and Backlings.

According to the email “Google explicitly said they don’t use social signals as a ranking factor. But is a huge question as to what they do with them. Google talks about how complicated it is to assess social signals. and as Doug Says “We’re seeing great success right now ranking pages without any social whatsoever.”

This issue is not at all clear, but creating social interaction is good for business and social engagement is an important indicator of a sites popularity and relevance. We continue to use social to get the message out to where people are and believe that it influences search ranging and indexing of sites by the search engines.

Nofollow Links Help

It is smart to acquire nofollow links practically from the beginning. It is unnatural to have all your links as follow, and “we’ve seen multiple case studies demonstrating that nofollow links can help a page rank all by themselves.”

Press Releases

Dan Says: “Backlinks from News Domains” was one of the most highly correlated factors, tied with “Having New Backlinks” which is obviously important too. This obviously goes hand in hand with nofollow links being a positive factor, since most press releases are nofollow.

What’s a Safe Ratio of Keyworded Anchor Texts

“According to SearchMetrics, the right balance falls somewhere in the 20-30% range. This of course varies by keyword, so if you want to be super-careful, use Majestic SEO to look up the approximate ratios of the other sites ranking in your niche. But based on this study, you generally want to shoot for around 25%.”

Well that is hotly debatable- Neil Patell says 2%. I checked with MajesticSEO and a few other sites and it seems that 15% is common. But hey this is something you just have to measure and anticipate the trends. Be save and stay under 15% unless you have a high authority site with lots of high PR sites linking to you.

Exact Match Keyword Domain Name/URL – No Longer a Factor

“Exact match domains took a huge hit this year.It is, however, still important to have the keyword in the title, H1, body and meta description.”

My view is partial match domains work so long as its natural. Those long tail exact matches are a liability.

Smaller Page File Sizes Rank Better for Mobile Searches

Dan Says “This is especially important for local business websites. Keep your page sizes low.”

We say – use Responsive Web Design – More info >>>

“See how much of these factors you can incorporate into both your Press Releases, and your other web pages. I am sure you will notice the bump” Dan Brown – Newswire Network