When it comes to marketing hotels or any other kind of business in search the first thing that most folks consider is visibility – and rightly so. Without visibility there is no online awareness of your business with the people searching for what you provide. But, visibility, as important as it may be is still only part of the picture and it is reputation and what people are saying about that drives conversions and will turn browsers into buyers.
The rest of this post takes a look at online reputation primarily through the reviews and comments on your Google+ listing and the many third party review portals.
When promoting your business online what are you looking to do? Do you try to drive visibility in paid search, local or organic and hope to be found? Or, do you make it so it is impossible for users not to find you?
The latter obviously offers much more awareness and branding potential and if you are doing everything else right will generate a lot more interest (and ultimately business).
The Three Musketeers of Search Visibility
We are all to often guilty of reductionist marketing campaigns that look at one single element of search visibility and in doing so we miss out on opportunities. Visibility drives confidence and visibility across the paid, natural (organic) and local components of a search results page provides an opportunity.
Google Street View – a cool new way for folks to see your business when using Google Maps, that is, when it works and the picture they choose for you is actually pointing at your business premises (a rarity in our experience).
Fortunately, it is fairly simple to correct this and ensure the street view image associated with your (or someone elses) business is correct. This is essential to paint the right picture for prospective customers and people trying to find your business premises.
In a world of content management systems (CMS) and plugins that can do nearly everything you want, instantly, often for free or a nominal cost it is easy to hang together a website with a raft of functionality without blowing your budget to pieces.
That’s great, it really is, but as anyone knows who works with search engines or websites for a while (15 years so far – kill me) there is no such thing as a free lunch and there are trade offs for this free functionality.
Many people have looked high and low to find the secret of being successful in local search results and we have found it… its your Google Places listing! Yes it’s as simple as that. We have created a step by step optimization guide for your Google Places listing. Your listing plays a huge part in local SEO, so it is vital to optimize your listing correctly with as much detail as possible.
Claim your listing! Google may have already created a places listing for your business so the next step is to claim your listing and verify your location.
It is fairly well documented how important citations are as part of your local SEO efforts and how the quality and the total number of citations can play a big part in raising the visibility of your business in localised search results. With this in mind most of the local SEO articles out there tend to list a series of directories and tell the business owner to dive in and get their business listed.
Now, that is fine in many cases, but it fails to address one important point: what citations already exist for your business?
We do a lot of SEO Audits here at Bowler Hat and often many of the sites we work with have multiple URLs attached to them and have multiple URLs indexed. This is problematic for many reasons with the primary one being a potential penalty due to duplication but more often you will see equity split over several different domains or sub domains. We all want links to our sites but if have 10 links to one site and 10 links to another then you are failing to pool all of your inbound link equity into the one single domain.
Luckily, there is a simple solution to this using the ever powerful mod rewrite tool that can redirect all of your many domain variations to the one single domain that you intend the site to run on.
Over the last couple of years Google has been more aggressive in cracking down on dodgy SEO practices and in particular link building. This has been a several pronged attack against link networks, directories, link wheels and other low value sources of links (that often worked to some extent) and has culminated in the Penguin update and the loss of lots of traffic for lots of businesses.
Google has also been advising people not to concentrate on links and to focus on building a great site and earning those links and have recently updated the ranking guidelines article in the Webmaster Guidelines to remove the advice to “increase the number of high quality sites that link to their pages” and replace with advice to “create high quality sites that users will want to use and share”.
Internet marketing and SEO is a confusing business. It is full of TLA’s (three letter acronyms), buzz words and there are far more cowboys and snake oil salesman out there then there are good, honest consultants.
In the midst of all of this confusion one area that I have found folks struggle with is the concept of remarketing or retargeting so this article is going to give you the basics of what retargeting is and how you can use it.
If I could pick one thing that most people get wrong when first looking at Internet Marketing and SEO it is the tendency to try and turn marketing, what should be a largely creative endeavour with the some technical overtones into a procedural, bullet pointed list of tasks that must be acted on with rote repetition.
Blogging certainly falls under the Internet Marketing / SEO umbrella and therefore we end up with people trying to take this procedural approach to writing Blog posts and it is this approach, this mindset that leads these people to fail and try ever more desperate and hopeless measures (*cough* buying links *cough*) in an effort to ‘market’ their website.