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Posted by on Apr 25, 2017 in Local Search Updates

2017 Moz Local Search Ranking Factors and What It Means For Your Hotel

This year’s 2017 survey on Local Search Ranking Factors is here! For those of you who aren’t familiar with the yearly study, it is produced by Moz and is the go-to resource for the digital marketing industry on what drives organic local results and looks to answer the age old question of “what factors influence local ranking?” The full study can be found here and as there is a ton of information I encourage everyone to review. Below you will find the key findings that Digital Services identified from the study along with our interpretation of what this means for the hospitality industry.

1.) Google My Business Signals

With 19%, Google My Business Signals continue to take the lead for factors influencing the Local Pack. This is down slightly from the 2015 study where Google My Business signals accounted for 21% of the Local Pack ranking factors. This is in large part due to the extra emphasis that was placed on Link Signals’ impact on Local Pack ranking factors.

What this means for the Hospitality Industry: Google My Business is not going away anytime soon. While GMB has transitioned away from being considered a “social channel” in the last few years, there is no better opportunity than GMB to directly feed Google information about our hotels as GMB directly influences what Google takes into consideration for My Business Signals.

2.) Link Signals

Link Signals took the lead for the most influential organic listing ranking factor with 29% as well as the second most influential factor for the Local Pack. Link Signals have shifted significantly and have become even more of a priority from the results of the last Local Search Ranking Factors survey in 2015.

What this means for the Hospitality Industry: Continue link building efforts. When looking for new link opportunity for your hotel website consider the following things:

  • Domain Authority: Can be easily pulled using Moz tool bar and higher the domain authority the better.
  • Anchor Text: Make sure the Anchor text (the text that appears highlighted in a hypertext link) is listed as the hotel’s name. Hotel names contain location keywords that can have a direct influence on link signals.
  • Linking Domain Quantity: The higher the number of linking domains for a site, the better; when focusing on your link building, look to get links from diversified domains.

3.) On-Page Signals

On-page signals such as content and meta data optimization remained relatively consistent compared to the 2015 study and remain a steady force of influence in the SEO world.

What this means for the Hospitality Industry: Continue thinking about on-site content optimization and if it’s been a while since you’ve touched your on-site content, consider refreshing with new and fresh content for the search engines to crawl.

4.) Citation Signals

Similar to on-page, Citation signals hold steady at the middle of the list for both Local Pack and Organic Result ranking and is certainly not something to be ignored.

What this means for the Hospitality Industry: Ensure that your hotel has a high the volume of citations across the web and that the information is correct and being presented correctly. For an extremely efficient approach in doing so, consider a business citation management platform such as Yext.

5.) Review Signals

One of the biggest growth in influence since the last survey, Review Signals, accounts for 13% of the factors influencing the Local Pack and 7% for the factors influencing organic ranking.

What this means for the Hospitality Industry: Encourage your guests to leave reviews by actively responding and engaging with the reviews. There are many different review sites out there (Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc.) and it is important to make your presence known on them.

David Mihm, who ran this survey from its inception in 2008 up until 2015, summarizes the survey the best with the following quote, “It’s a very difficult concept to survey about, but the overriding ranking factor in local — across both pack and organic results — is entity authority. Ask yourself, If I were Google, how would I define a local entity, and once I did, how would I rank it relative to others?”

Moz 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors

(Image Source: Moz)

Local Pack/Finder Ranking is defined as the regular local 3-pack that appears for most local search terms. Localized Organic Ranking is defined as the organic classic results that typically appear under the local 3-pack for local search terms.

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Posted by on Apr 4, 2017 in All Matters SEO

Top 5 SEO Tools You Might Not Know Exist

In 2015, I wrote a Decoded post entitled “Google Tools You May Not Know Exist,” outlining some of Google’s hidden gems for digital marketing. I now want to continue this theme with some examples of free SEO tools that you may not know exist:

1.) Moz Tool Bar

This is a must-have for digital marketers. Moz Tool Bar is a web browser extension that provides valuable SEO data for any website including on-page metrics (title tag, meta description, H1 Tag, etc.), Link Metrics and Technical SEO metrics.

Moz Tool Bar

(Image Source: Morgan Merron)

2.) Moz Open Site Explorer

Moz Open Site explorer allows users to pull a comprehensive report on all backlinks for a given site. Whether you are pulling this information for your own site or a competitor there is always great action items that arise out of knowing information about backlinks. A few searches a day is completely free but anything beyond that, you will need to enroll in Moz Pro.

Moz Open Site Explorer

(Image Source: Morgan Merron)

3.) Search Engine Net Market Share

Ever wonder which search engines have the most market share? Reference this data rich website to pull information on market share for search engines.

Search Engine Net Market Share

(Image Source: Morgan Merron)

4.) Buzzsumo

What’s SEO without user-friendly content? Buzzsumo allows users to input a given topic and get analytics on what content is performing best. A few searches a day are completely free of charge.


(Image Source: Morgan Merron)

5.) The Beginners Guide to SEO

While this extensive guide on all things SEO isn’t necessarily a tool, Digital Services considers knowledge to be a tool in and of itself! Reference this 10 chapter guide to gain base level knowledge (and beyond) on all things SEO.

The Beginners Guide to SEO

(Image Source: Morgan Merron)

Do you have an SEO tool that you love not covered here? Share what it is and what you use it for in the comments section below and let’s get this conversation started!

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Posted by on Feb 9, 2016 in Social Media, Travel Industry News

Digital Services’ Top 5 Travel Instagram Inspiration Accounts

Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform and is having a huge effect on the travel industry. Whether you’re looking for content inspiration or just looking to fuel your wanderlust, these 5 travel Instagram accounts are sure to not disappoint.

1. @travelandlife

Travel and Life Instagram


2. @marriotthotels

Marriott Hotels Instagram


3. @theglobewanderer

Globe Wonderer Instagram


4. @triphackr

TripHackr Instagram


5. @travelandleisure

Travel and Leisure Instagram

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Posted by on Dec 29, 2015 in All Matters SEO, Digital Industry News, Social Media

Set Your 2016 Content Calendar Resolutions

With 2016 just around the corner, now is the perfect time to brainstorm great content ideas for the New Year. Marketer’s Almanac by Think With Google has been around for a while now and is always a great resource for inspiration on how to connect to customers anytime of the year. Whether it is a press release, infographic, social media posting or developing a promotional deal, it is never too soon to start planning out your content. To get you started for 2016, we’ve put a bit of an MDS twist on the idea of a “Marketer’s Almanac” and we hope you enjoy!

2016 Content Ideas

2016 Content Ideas:

  • January
    • New Years
      • Remind your audience that New Years is the prime time for last minute getaways.
    • Resolutions
      • Great time to showcase your hotel’s Fitness Center and/or pool.
      • Boast the healthy food options that your hotel offers to guests.
      • Maybe your audience is making the resolution to relax or spend time with loved ones – put together a promotional package that would appeal to them!
  • February
    • Valentine’s Day
      • Offer a couples package to celebrate the romantic holiday.
    • President’s Day
      • Two words: long weekend! Remind guests it’s a great time for travel.
  • March
    • March Madness
      • Great time to create engagement for basketball fans. Who are your followers rooting for? Create engagement by creating a poll on Facebook.
    • Spring Break
      • Is spring break travel big for your hotel?
  • April
    • Festivals
      • April can be known for gloomy weather but it is also known for festivals! What local festivals are happening in your area?
    • Wedding Season
      • Wedding season is underway. It is a great opportunity to show off your venue or awesome room blocks deals.
  • May
    • Mother’s Day
      • What better way for Moms to relax on their special day than at your hotel’s spa or enjoying dinner with family at your restaurant?
    • Memorial Day Weekend
      • Memorial Day is one of the top traveled holidays.
  • June
    • Summer
      • Schools out and summer is here! What are your guests’ summer travel plans?
    • Father’s Day
      • More than half (58%) of millennial Dads say there is not enough dad-focused content online. Use this month to give Dads a little more attention on social media.
  • July
    • Summer Staycation
      • Appeal to your local audience that might be looking for a vacation opportunity minus traveling hassles.
    • BBQs
      • Use this BBQ infographic from Google to see the top recipe trends throughout the year.
  • August
    • End of Summer
      • Promote last minute summer deals available at your hotel.
    • Back to School
      • Parents are prepping for back to school earlier than ever! Bet they would appreciate a few DIY tips shared on your social media channel.
  • September
    • Labor Day travel
      • Labor Day travel is on the rise in the U.S. – create a Press Release about the patriotic activities going on nearby or by create a patriotic promotional package.
    • Beginning of Fall
      • September marks the beginning of fall – ask followers what their favorite Fall activity is or create an enticing Fall package.
  • October
    • YouTube
      • Did you know that Google found that travelers use YouTube as a primary source for travel inspiration? Use this month to evaluate YouTube opportunities for your hotel.
    • Halloween
      • Time for all things pumpkin and spooky!
  • November
    • Thanksgiving
      • What are your social media fans thankful for? Take this opportunity to thank them as well.
      • If the hotel is offering a Thanksgiving menu, share it online in advance.
    • Black Friday
      • No reason why your hotel can’t be in on the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping hype!
  • December
    • Winter Begins
      • Promote local seasonal activities, like skiing or ice skating.
    • Holidays
      • Share local holiday shopping suggestions.
      • Show off your hotel’s holiday decorations and/or events! Real time photos of holiday decorations and events at hotels have been known to generate engagement on social media.

We hope that this inspiration helps make your content in 2016 the best yet! Have additional content suggestions for the New Year? Share it in the comment box.

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Posted by on Jul 7, 2015 in All Matters SEO

Google Tools You May Not Know Exist

Are you like me and always looking for new ways to improve Digital Marketing efforts? What better way than right from the source!? Here are a few of Google’s very own tools that you may not know exist:

My Maps

With My Maps, an extension of Google Maps, users can create customizable maps that show nearby restaurants, attractions and points of interest. Users are able to drop Map Markers, draw walking/driving routes, measure distances and even title and save the map to share with others.

My Maps

Google Trends

We first gave you the lowdown on Google Trends with our February blog post “Google Trends Guide for Marketers” but on June 17th, Google announced “the biggest expansion of Google Trends since 2012.” The first big update is a redesigned home page that displays a ranked list of trending stories. In a recent Google blog post, Google reports gathering the trends from combining YouTube and Google News information. See the redesigned home page below:

Google Trends Updated

The next big update is more in depth, real-time data for the more than 100 billion searches that take place on Google every month. Users can pull this data when exploring topics by adjusting the time range to as recent as the past hour:

Google Trends part 2

Google Correlate

Google Correlate allows users to find search patterns that correspond with real-world trends by either uploading their own data or searching for a specific term. Google says this tool was designed because “they wanted a system that was like Google Trends but in reverse.” The tool contains web search activity data from January 2003 to present and while correlation does not imply causation, it is interesting to see what topics correlate. It can be entertaining as well, who knew “dc hotels” and “abdominal exercises” had such a strong correlation as search terms!?

Google Correlate

Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool

In a recent blog post, we shared information about one of Google’s most recent algorithm updates, “mobilegeddon.” Is your website mobile-friendly? Find out using this helpful Google tool.

Google mobile test tool

YouTube Dashboard

Track what videos are being viewed and by who with YouTube Dashboard. Narrow down by country, city, age group and gender. The dashboard also allows you to compare different demographic results. I see this as being a great tool to pair along with Facebook Insights. What better way to know what type of videos your Facebook followers might be interested in than to use Facebook Insights to gather followers’ demographics and then plug that into YouTube Dashboard!?

youtube dashboard

Do you have a favorite Google tool to use? Share what it is and what you use it for in the comments section below and let’s get this conversation started!

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