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Posted by on Oct 17, 2017 in All Matters SEO

How to Write SEO-Friendly Headlines

This week, Moz’s Rand Fishkin shares his White Board Friday thoughts on creating headlines with SEO in mind, and what steps you can take to make sure you’re crafting the most SEO-friendly posts possible (Without alienating your site visitors and giving them a poor user experience).

Watch his latest video here and check out his illustration below that shows how SEO, content and social media all intersect.

Writing Headlines for SEO(Source: Moz)

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Posted by on Oct 3, 2017 in All Matters SEO, Social Media

Creative Content – Maximising Outreach for Maximum Success!

Creative content, such as infographics or pieces of micro content, are a great way to promote your hotel in a visual and compelling way which really resonates with existing or potential guests. Whether you’ve just had a renovation, want to illustrate your proximity to local attractions or just want to create something fun to showcase amenities, creative content can be a great tool! Once you’ve completed the creative process and have your design, it’s often difficult to fully understand how to ensure you are fully leveraging this content to its fullest. Below is a handy guide with our top tips of how to promote your content, both online and offline.

Paid Social Outreach

One of the best ways of promoting your creative content is via paid social campaigns, run through Facebook and/or Instagram (depending on which channels you actively run for your hotel). Running paid social adverts allows you to target existing or potential social followers through specific targeting, focusing on people who follow similar types of content (such as travel, luxury, food and drink and more). Hotels whom have paid social outreach and reporting included with their Digital Services creative content development will receive a brief featuring recommendations of targeting, predicted ad reach and flight dates. Once approved by the hotel, the ads will then run and a report will be provided to the hotel post-campaign.

Go Organic

Whilst paid social is clearly an important element to really promote your piece of content, we also recommend posting organically, too. For example, perhaps running a #TBT (throwback Thursday) a couple of months after the piece was first promoted to encourage your social community to re-engage with the content. Digital Services can provide recommendations for hotels looking for social guidance on the best ways to promote their content.

Don’t Neglect Your HWS

Adding creative content to the HWS (hotel website) allows hotels’ to expand on their existing content and provide existing or potential guests with different content to engage with. By adding to the HWS, hotels will also have a dedicated URL in which they can direct social, email or other marketing traffic to.

Print Isn’t Dead!

Depending on the context of the piece, it can often be useful to have it printed and provide it to any guests, particularly for any groups or corporate travellers. Consider this as an option to provide these important guests with something different during their stay – this is particularly useful for local area focused content, such as the below portion of an infographic created for the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa.

VCEJW Partial Infographic

Don’t Forget Your Partners

Featured local attractions or partners in your piece? Or just looking for a way to better engage with partners? Ensure you distribute it to anyone whom might be interested in seeing the content. For the piece created for St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London, the hotel worked to contact all featured venues in the piece, and their wider partners, to have them share within their own channels (website, social and email for example). This is a great way of increasing the reach of your piece.

Internal Communication is Key!

Perhaps one of the often neglected areas of creative content outreach is ensuring your internal stakeholders are aware of the piece and the plan for distribution. Make sure all of your internal teams are aware of how they can engage with the piece, and spread the word!

Be a Mini-Concierge

If you have created a compelling piece of local area focused content, or something hotel specific such as a piece about your dining options, why not email it to your upcoming groups or transient customers? This can be a great tool for Concierge or your Sales teams to leverage prior to the guest’s arrival.

LONPR_Infographic 2017

Marriott Marketing?

Work with your Digital Client Services Manager to determine whether there is any opportunity to have the piece featured on some of Marriott’s key channels such as the Traveler blog or in an eNews campaign. Traveler will feature destination focused content, such as this example from Venice.

No matter the type of content featured within your piece, there are some great ways to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck. Your Digital Client Services Manager will work with you to ensure he/she finds the best options for your hotel. Looking for inspiration? Take a look at our our creative content examples for some ideas!

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Posted by on Sep 26, 2017 in All Matters SEO

Link Building Best Practices

Links are an important ranking factor on search engines. Building links to your site can seem overwhelming, but if you’re willing it put in the effort, there can be a big reward in store for your SEO efforts. Rand Fishkin of Moz explains “The 3 Easiest Link Building Tactics Any Website Can Use to Acquire Their First 50 Links” in a recent Whiteboard Friday. Watch his video below!

(Source: Moz)

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Posted by on Sep 12, 2017 in All Matters SEO

A Better Backlink

If you are looking to enhance off-the-page SEO for your hotel’s website, one of the most important factors to consider is your link-building efforts. Although link building isn’t always easy, acquiring natural links is well worth the time and investment. Below are some of the basics when it comes to backlinks and how you can take your ongoing linking efforts to the next level.

Backlink Basics

A backlink (or an inbound link) is an incoming hyperlink from one website to another. Search engines, like Google, look at these links as a source of credibility. When a site has a plethora of high-quality natural (non-paid) backlinks, the site has a greater chance of ranking on the search engine results pages. Backlinks also show readers, not just search engines, that other sites trust your website’s content, which improves a reader’s confidence in your site. Link building is also an effective way to build brand awareness and introduce your site to new audiences.

Link Ranking Factors

Although we know links are important, we also know from industry studies that not all links are created equal. The Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors shows that link quality, text and number of links are the most important link ranking factors, while paid and spammy links can have a negative ranking impact.

Periodic Table of SEO Factors_Links(Image Source: Search Engine Land)

To add, Moz’s 2017 Local Ranking Factors Results found that Google still leans heavily on links as a primary measure of a business’ authority and prominence. According to the survey results, quality/authority of inbound links, diversity of inbound links to domain and product/service keywords in anchor text of inbound links are just a few local ranking factors that have drastically increased from 2015 to 2017.

Backlink Best Practices

With this information in mind, consider the following best practices while building your backlink portfolio:

  1. Higher Domain Authority (DA) – Moz Domain Authority (DA) is a query-independent measure of how likely a domain is to rank for any given query. The higher the DA of the inbound link, the stronger the link signal to search engines that your site is credible.
  1. Diversity of Link Domains Your link-building strategy will be a better investment if you focus on inbound links that come from a variety of domains. For instance, backlinks should be from different domains, not just one domain’s different pages.
  1. Keywords (service/location) in Anchor Text – Having keywords in the anchor text (text of the hyperlink to your website) will also improve the link signal. For hotels, ensuring that the hotel name is the anchor text will be pivotal, especially if the hotel has the hotel’s city in the name.
  1. Quantity of Locally Relevant Domains – The quantity of inbound links is critical. And now, Moz’s search results show quantity from locally relevant domains is increasing in significance. Therefore, make sure you reach out to local businesses for linking opportunities.

Next-Level Backlinks

If you want to up your backlink efforts, try the following ideas that are currently being used for hotels enrolled in Digital Services by Marriott:

  • Find your competitors’ backlinks using Moz’s Open Site Explorer tool, and see if they are relevant for your hotel to target as inbound links.
  • Disavowing links can remove your hotel website’s association with links that are considered spammy and unnatural in the eyes of search engines. By using tools such as Majestic and Moz’s Open Site Explorer, you can see all backlinks and compile of list of spammy sites to disavow in Google.

Moz Open Site Explorer(Image Source: Moz)

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Posted by on Aug 22, 2017 in All Matters SEO, SEO Oddities

iSearch – How AI will Change the Future of SEO

If you are like me this is probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear “AI – Artificial Intelligence.”  But as you will see at the end of this post, it is less spine-chilling than that. It is changing the face of SEO, but not how you might think.

We’re talking about algorithms that enable machines to make connections, “learn” to process the data and apply its learning in upcoming tasks.

When you search for something, the results displayed take into account a number of considerations like your search history, location, favorites and what other users click on for a similar search results. AI improvements mean ranking factors can change from query to query, as the algorithm learns how people are clicking on the search results and decides on the most related factors to take into account for each search.

So how can this influence the world of SEO, you may ask? Most of us consider SEO to be really important only for web browsing on computers. That is where the change happens.

Google Search On Mac(Image Source: Pexels)

According to ComScore, by 2020, 50% of searches will be voice search. Voice is the future of web search. Both Google and Bing have stated that the majority of search queries they receive take place via voice on mobile. This is just a matter of time taking under consideration the development of hands-free devices. With the vast improvement in the quality of digital voice assistants like Google Now, Siri and Alexa, it was only a matter of time people discovered the vast convenience of voice search and rely on it for their queries.

Imagine one of such searches…

  • Alexa, find me the best hotel in Berlin?
  • Google, book a table for tonight at the best Italian restaurant near me?

What can we do to be ready for voice searches?

  1. Focus on phrases and longtail keywords

The search focus will shift from just random keyword combinations to more natural language, full sentences and phrases. The way we speak is very much different from the way we write and the words said will be different from those we would type in the search box.

  1. Optimize your website for local SEO

Mobile voice search is three times more likely to be local-based than text search. This is closely related to the fact that most smartphone searches are also local. With this in mind, businesses should keep their profiles and contact information up-to-date, since this is what Google will pull for queries such as, “Where can I get the best coffee in London?”

This means you need to step up your game, because voice search is rapidly becoming the way your customers will find your services. Keywords need to be relevant to your local customer, include places, sites, district names that would be associated with your location, etc.

Your Google Knowledge Graph should be up-to-date reflecting your contact details, opening hours, services, etc. “Where is the best Chinese food near me?” and “Where can I go swimming today?” These are clearly local searches and they trigger ads in the search engine results that allow the user to act without going to a web page. In the results, you can see reviews, a phone call button, directions button and a “book now” button. Users don’t have to come to your website to complete their intent.

This is only the tip of the iceberg and there is more to come…we will be communication more using voice commands and voice search will only continue to grow.

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Posted by on Aug 8, 2017 in All Matters SEO, Social Media

5 Actionable Facebook SEO Tips

Michael Rosenblatt was one of two MDS 2017 summer interns. During his time with us, we challenged him to write a blog post about content that he learned while working with our team.

5 Actionable Facebook SEO Tips(Image Source: Pexels)

When we think of Facebook and Google, we tend to categorize one as a social network and the other as a search engine. Where they certainly have subtle differences, both companies have the same objective in mind which is to keep consumer attention for as long as possible. Initially, Google’s mission was to pass its users along to different sites as quickly as possible. Over the years, that mission changed to finding ways to make money off the user while they’re searching. In 2011, Google+ was launched as a means to enter into the social realm. The internet giant couldn’t seem to figure it out as they went through many failures and false starts.

As Google was stumbling to emerge into social, Facebook kept growing larger and becoming more influential. By 2010, Facebook was approaching 500 million users with real names, birthdays, photos and a network of connections. From a hotel perspective, the growth rate and number of active users of Facebook is what makes it so enticing. Given all the data Facebook provides, creates for a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on potential guests for your hotel. When creating a Facebook Ad, your hotel can optimize the ad by targeting specific location, demographics, age, gender, interests, behavior and connections. Due to specific targeting, your hotel should have a precise idea of who they are intending to reach. One imperative element your hotel should consider is optimizing for SEO keywords. The idea is to choose keywords that are relevant and provide value to your hotel. An extremely useful tool to assist you with this is, Moz’s Keyword Explorer. This tool provides accurate monthly search volume data, an idea of how difficult it will be to rank for your keyword, estimated click-through rates and a score representing your potential to rank.

Why SEO for Facebook is Now Important as Ever?

Little-to-none of Facebook’s activity is indexed by Google or other mainstream search engines. Therefore, it is essential to start optimizing your hotel for Facebook’s internal search.

5 Actionable Facebook SEO Tips:

  1. Facebook social signals can have a lot of potential for SEO value – use it as a channel to build traffic and links back to your hotel website.
  2. Name your profiles correctly and fill out the entire profile completely – use the full name of your hotel across all social media channels. All areas of the profile should be completed: photos, bio, videos, links, topics, tags – whatever the channel offers, take full advantage of it.
  3. Take advantage of the customized meta titles and images when you share links in your posts. Facebook will automatically pull in images and titles from your website to display in a carousel like post – however, you can choose which images you wish to upload and edit the text.
  4. Link to legitimate accounts – remember relevance is important and if the social media profile of a group or user looks unnatural or keyword-stuffed, your reputation is at risk.
  5. Ensure UNAP (URL, Name, Address, and Phone Number) are accurate and consistent. Never use variations of your hotel’s UNAP.

As Facebook continues to grow past its current 1.9 billion users they are going to keep innovating ways to capture the user’s attention. One of those ways is by continuously improve the user’s search experience. Google is aware of this threat, as of July 19th Google announced to redesign their mobile search app with a personalized feed. The offering is called “Google Feed” which you may note is very much like Facebook’s “News Feed.” Facebook and Google are battling for attention online so it is imperative they each continue to innovate and evolve. With that said, it is important to stay up on the latest trends for both platforms in order to optimize them for your guests. With this post, I wanted to specifically highlight successful SEO tips for Facebook. Facebook’s News Feed algorithm has a history of being updated on a continuous basis. Therefore, staying up-to-date on these changes is critical to the success of your hotels presence on the platform.

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