Tuesday 9 February 2010


SEO Content and your Brand in the age of interactive Brands

I like when Max Starkov (eHotelier) says "Creating
the best, deepest, most unique and relevant content (textual and visual) about your hotel on your own website, naturally optimised for the search engines (SEO), should become a top priority for any hotel in 2010.

A year ago we did a study to see where our hotels placed on searches for their own names. The results were not great, in some cases they were not even on the first page, falling behind TripAdisor, Expedia and a dozen other mega sites. After reading Max's article we did another study of hotels we host and surprise! they are tops.

Well we have been preaching the benefits of strategic content and putting it into practice for years. It has helped, but we cant be patting ourselves on the back to hard. Google and all are always tweaking their search systems to be more RELEVANT.

If you are looking for a brand name hotel you probably want to see the official website in the top results. The engines are getting it right at the same time as hotels have become more aware of managing their brand, mastering their own url and optimising their content, taking control of their intellectual property and product.

Max's insights are helpful - here is my annotated summary of his views relating to a hotels SEO for its brand:

- Keep your own website content unique (duplicate content will hurt your SEO)
- Use the Best content on your website
- Be very smart about sharing content - Don't give away your brand
- If the channel is not linking to your site, be sure their description is “different”
- Make sure your content is optimised for your USP and for the Search Engines (SEO)
- Offer live quotes and availability calendars
- Display available Rate Plans and seasonal Specials
- Dont Duplicate content - see the full report

Giving away your best content and best rates to other websites can be bad for business.

Search Engines send travelers to the BEST content।
If you want direct business, be sure your website is better that the rest.

The pressing question today is how will a brand get top billing, not only for its own name but for its target markets and keywords.

It is a good time to review the whole business of Search Engine Optimization. For those of you who care to look under the hood, here is my summary - for a summary of this summary see our newsletter. For more detail see our SEO hints page.

The 5 essential of SEO optimisation

1. Define key pages.

The first point is that we never optimise a site - we optimise
a page at a time. Each page must have its own distinct message and content. If you duplicate content it will hurt your SEO.
2. Establish key phrases.
The point is that you need to translate the message into a simple word or short phrase; for example, if you want to be on the top of searches for "Caribbean Romantic Holidays" then that might be your phrase. Check it out by doing a search - there are 2 million results- can you get to the top? Remember only 10 of 2 million will be on the first page. look at your top competition and be sure you can compete. Is your
site going to be as authentic, relevant and with great content?. If not try to refine your phrase to something you can be best in and that is relevant (ie has a market use https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal).

3. Tags. The phrase then must become the name of the page (eg caribbean-romantic-holidays.html)- it must be added to the search engine tags (meta tage in the page) and it must be the title of the page, it must appear thru the content and again in the end of the page.
4. Links. Of course there are 2 million pages vying for top spot for that phrase, so all this will not get you top billing. SEO choose the pages that are most relevant and have most authentic links. You need respected links. Links from the AXSES and barbados.org network are high valued links. Be sure to be linked from several of AXSES urls: BookingsBarbados.COM, realholidays.com, barbados.org, barbadosHolidayThemes.com, barbadosholidaypackages and barbardaosholidayspecials
are all excellent links.

Seek out similar directories and listing opportunities that have good Page Rank (popularity - over 5 is good Borg is 6 out of 10. Expedia is 8).

5. Social. A good place to start linking is on social media. Write comments
that link to your page. Find other sites that will link to your page and subscribe
to appropriate directories. Create a facebook page and use twitter to send out
invitation to vist your page. twitter about event in your area and of interest.
Twitter about your activities it all gets counted.

Dont loose site of the objective.
If a traveler gets to your site make sure they find what they want, have a reason to buy and an easy way to do it, right away.

Content is king. In the end it all comes down to content. Search engines
look for relevant and rich content. Use videos, sideshows , images, dynamic
content, quotes and calendars. The technology you use counts. Form, function and process is an important factor in determining relevance. Event the speed of your site will get it points or loose them. Optimise everything, make your site dynamic and interactive.

We are in the age of the interactive Brand

More on SEO see http://arcres.com/search-engine-optimisation-tourism-marketing.cfm