Following the big 2010 SEO upheavals, we at Goldladder have been left with a deep appreciation of just how much the landscape has changed for hotels when it comes to online visability. Search engines and on page optimization are playing a less crucial role in the process of attracting more online traffic, and instead it’s the offsite social media links, Google Local and review sites where the action is at.
For it’s part, Google has ridden the changes too by turning over it’s SERPS on hotel search terms containing geographical phrases to a combo of maps, places and PPC. Organic is all but an afterthought.
So, is this good news? I think it is for the consumer, and for the hotel who concentrates on service rather than SEO agency fees. And over the next 12 months expect ranking algorithms to dig even more into the pos/neg balances of a typical hotel’s social media and review profile.
And it’s also good news for us in SEO. That is, for those of us willing to recognise this shift in how people engage with a hotel search process and want to adopt our services accordingly. For instance, a real chance for disaster looms if your clients content and visuals on site and on any other profile market the hotel as something it is not.
Nothing sparks the scorn of the reviewer and tweeter faster than if they mis-sold to.
Our mission in SEM then, is to asses content not just for the usual density and wordcount criteria, but to look at the feedback impact too. In many cases advocating value and honesty in content will be rewarded with fair feedback over time.
In this respect, will we see SEO guys, once tethered to a screen, actually getting out into the field like the travel writers of old? I for one can confirm that your 2011 hotel projects will benifit from just this (most enjoyable!) new style of SEO!
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