A Quick Update on How Search has Changed for Hotels
The introduction of Google Semantic Search in late 2013, was not so much an algorithm update, but more of an entire overhaul.
Google search has changed from a system that could be ‘gamed’ by link building, keywords and poor content that was stuffed with keywords, to a search engine that relies on semantics – i.e. the true meaning, relevance and context of a search.
Google go to great lengths and constantly strive to deliver the best user experience and match a search query to guide their users (all of us) to the most relevant web page.
Google released the Hummingbird update to improve the user experience further, by providing intelligent answers to contextual and conversational search queries. A conversation, a sentence, a phrase and context are now all being considered.
Google is also all about mobile these days, providing the best user experience, based on things like your IP address, personal search history, location (where you are or where you are asking from), social media shares and dialogue. This means that the search results will be different for everyone, even though the same keyword is typed or spoken into the search box.
“The most important take out in all of this, is that page 1 of Google is different for every search query, every device and desktop. There is no longer the single holy grail metric of page 1 of Google for a keyword”
1. Use Clear and Distinct Brand Positioning
It is no longer desirable to be all things to all people. A clear brand position does more than help you in a cluttered market on the semantic web, where everyone is telling their customers that their product or destination is unique. A consistent and differentiating brand position tells the search engines what you are about.
Brand consistency and strength, including language, tone of voice and imagery all help the search engines place context around your hotel, service or destination. It helps ascertain whether your destination or business is family-friendly, romantic, pet friendly, or for the adventurous.
Fresh content being added to your site in the form of guest reviews is another great way for regular and unique content to be added to your site.
2. Publish a Variety of Quality Content as Often as You Can
Content marketing is not a marketing craze. It should be at the centre of your online tactical strategy. At its most simplistic, words, images and videos help the search engines understand what your business is about.
Those who regularly share a variety of content with consistent messaging that appeals to their target market are more likely to be recognised as influencers, and therefore more likely to be matched to a relevant search query.
Smart hoteliers now post a variety of content as often as they can. They ensure that the content is compelling and relevant to their target markets. They do not post content for content’s sake.
3. Make Sure You Are Signed Up To Google Products
If you love Google, Google loves you back. Conceptually, it is pretty simple. So make sure you start to get yourself familiar with Google products (even though you may love Twitter or Facebook).
Google My Business – Claim and list your business. Then populate it with relevant information and be sure to include the 5 videos and the 10 photos it allows. Start asking your customers for reviews on Google places as part of your guest reviews post-stay, send out strategy. This will help you immensely.
Local Google listings will always feature prominently, in particular with any mobile search query – especially voice queries.
4. Content, Search and Social Media are Now Inextricably Related
Social media activity helps generate a clearer understanding of the meaning behind the content by the better indexing of content, providing authority and trust, and indicating the contextual value.
When content is shared, commented on, liked, tweeted, re-shared and interacted with, the search engines use this as an indicator of the quality of the content, particularly as it relates to target audiences.
Original Article by Bronwyn WHite – co-founder of MyTravel Research.com