Keywords as Vital Today as a Decade Ago
The first book in the series Marketing Hotels and Tourism is the award-winning WEBSITE. It’s an illustrated guide to the WEBSITE process and marketing strategy. The book starts by evaluating the dramatic changes in hotel and tourism marketing in the digital age. Like everything in the digital age, The Keys to Travel (Chapter 3) are not immune to change. Keywords have been and still are a vital component of marketing.
Chapter 3 provides you with core technology, resources, tools and guides related to keywords for hotels and tourism travel marketing.
Keys to Travel – A How-To Guide
Chapter 3: The Keys to Travel is about how to find the correct keywords for your niche market, how to do keyword research and how to optimize your page so that it can get listed in search results. It is on-site (Webpage) specific. Off-site marketing is covered in Book 2: Digital Media Marketing.
This article reviews what has changed in the past few years. Google has made several changes to the way it evaluates sites and content. Keywords are still the main criteria and all strategies of the book are as valid today as they were at the time of publishing.
The search engine changes have all been about understanding the implied meaning of users’ searches and displaying content that is the best match in terms of quality, meaning and comprehensiveness. Search has become more intelligent and now it looks for more that keywords alone. For example you have to show Expertise, Authority and Trust (EAT) or keywords will fail.
Matching Search with Artificial Intelligence
Today, Google rewards sites that display Expertise, Authority and Trust (EAT). It’s not new and all these are inherent in the Book WEBSITE. What is new is the degree to which EAT features and the level of intelligence now used in determining the match.
Google’s Semantic Search is now based on Artificial Intelligence that uses psychology to understand and interpret meaning from users’ searches and from internet content. It extracts meaningful information from the intent of the search and matches that with website content.
Google’s RankBrain, discussed in Book 2: Digital Media, was the first step in Artificial Intelligence-powered SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This has expanded the focus of Search to include keywords with a deeper understanding of meaning, expertise, authority and trust.
All this lends to creating credibility for today’s search. The final test of credibility and match is what travellers do when they are on your site. If they hit the Back button and go back to Search, it will indicate that it’s not a credible match. It does not fit the buyers’ intent.
Connecting Content with Intent
The importance of keywords is vital to today’s search results but many digital marketers fail to connect intent to their content. To do this, we need to understand our market. It is never the case that one single keyword will capture this. Your content should contain a comprehensive set of keywords that helps Search to understand the intent and clarity of your content.
This is why Long Tail Content has become more important today. Long Tail Content is very specific to your target market. Chapter 3 of WEBSITE does refer to this with specific examples.
Say, for example, ‘Family Holidays’ is a very common term. A lot of people may be searching for this term but it’s really not specific to a booking. By comparison, terms like “Adventure Family Holidays in the Caribbean” or “Luxury Family Holidays in the Caribbean” are more precise. Still
, the wording is a good indication of booking intent.
Understanding Buyer Intent in Travel
A traveller who is ready to book may have already settled on an exact location and also have a few places at which to stay in mind. They will be looking for experiences that fill their needs for comfort, adventure, romance, budget, escape, privacy, safety, community and character. When you know who they are and what they really enjoy, you can craft a message that connects. This is discussed at length in Chapter 10 on Hot Buttons and Messaging.
2 A Website Has Many Functions
- For the buyer, it needs to provide messaging that confirms that the offer fits the character. It should have a simple tool to get a quote and booking. Email is not going to get quick quotes and bookings so you need a booking engine. You can use your favorite OTA engine but it is not going to help you market your direct bookings. There are many 3rd-party engines that you can consider. Book 3: Technology will delve into this in detail. For starters, check out Triptease and SiteMinder.
- Long before they are ready to book, travellers will start by looking to be inspired. They are not going to search for brand names at this stage and will likely check meta search engines and destination authority sites and directories. WEBSITE suggests that your Blogging (Chapter 7) can help you to reach out with helpful tips and user experiences that are destination-centered. Some websites go even further and offer alternative accommodation and comparisons. Travellers looking for inspiration will visit Social Media sites and see what other travellers recommend. Hotels and tourism destination sites need to sell the destination experience at this stage. The website messaging should be generic and wide enough to send them to pages that extol the destination experience and range of products.
- All other travellers are somewhere in between. Social Media is important as it is a place where they share. Here is where reviews take center stage. Be sure to promote your reviews across all Social Media Platforms. Chapter 8: Building and Marketing Reviews will be helpful.
Travel Sales Funnel
Google refers to the phase of the travel customers journey as moments. They count 5 moments: dreaming (1 above), Planning (3), Booking (2), and Post Booking journey- Experiencing and Sharing. All of these are part of the sales funnel which is discussed in book series 2 and 3. The sales funnel is as much about what you do off site (Digital Media Marketing Book 2 and 3) as on Site (Website Optimization Book 1).
For more, see Travel Shopping
Voice Search Growing
It’s not all that new but today’s Voice Search is dominating Search. Over 1 billion voice searches are made monthly – that’s over 33 million voice searches every day. And it’s expected that 50% of all search queries will be by voice by 2020. It saves time, is mobile-friendly and much easier to use than typing in a long question. It’s also more versatile and will handle long complex questions far better that text search. It’s also more forgiving on bad grammar and spelling.
To take full advantage of this trend, you can optimise your profiles and website so that Google finds you for voice searches. Check out this video for a better understanding of this at The Deep End. They recommend that you have all your Internet profiles optimised well. They suggest you claim and optimise your Google My Business page to start. All these profiles must be fully synced with your website. The video goes further and talks about getting your site listed in Position Zero. This is an off-site strategy that is featured in Book 2: Digital Media. See more about Position Zero with Google News.
Voice Recognition on Your Website
Voice Recognition and Response will not be limited to Internet Search Engines. The technology exists for you to add voice to your website. It is a bit technical and tricky to implement right now but that will change. To find out more about this, see How to add voice to your website by PAYMILL. Unless you are technically inclined, I don’t suggest you do this now. It will get better in the future.
In the future, websites may have voice search technology to help guests navigate the site. It may help in finding answers to “Frequently Asked Questions”, House Rules, etc. A bit further off, it may answer questions about packages and cost, as well as help with bookings. But that is for the future. It may be featured in Book 3: Technology.
How SEO Changes Affect Website Strategy
Chapter 3 in Book 1: WEBSITE gives you a firm grounding in the Keys to Travel. You will learn about keywords and get reviews and suggestion on tools and resources that will help you plan a keyword research and strategy. The lessons from this article are:
- Add semantic words to your mix of keywords
- Demonstrate Expertise, Authority and Trust (EAT). Do this by showing your expert knowledge of the destination. People will then consider you an Authority. Add to this with your credentials, awards and notations.
- Demonstrate trust by being totally honest. Don’t oversell. Let people know your limitations and expertise. Let guests know what other guests liked and what sort of people were not the best fit. The Crane in Barbados says: “Don’t Come Here to be Seen, Come Here to Disappear.” It captures the spirit and respect of privacy and not being part of a crowd.
- Create a Personal Website so that people know who you are – this is helpful in establishing your Authority and Trust. Also use it to show your area of expertise.
- Understand your Guest Intent and focus on it with appropriate messaging.
- Don’t overdo keyword optimisation – Focus on expert content that is helpful
- Optimise your website and profiles for Voice Search.
Power Marketing WEBSITE Strategies
Stay tuned – Coming soon how snippets and featured snippets and structured markup can help you rank on top of search.
Book Buyers’ Bonus
Book buyers are offered several bonuses that include access to membership, updates and newsworthy items related to technology change and trends in Hotel & Tourism Marketing.
This article is a complementary bonus for book buyers that is now shared in this public blog. See Book Series
© 2019 Ian R. Clayton