Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

3 indications your hotel’s SEO is destroying your bookings

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Does your hotel website really need SEO help? Check for yourself before paying someone you’ve only talked to once over the phone.

Hotel SEO slimeball

“…and they didn’t even ask me what SEO meant!”

You’ve probably been told your hotel’s website needs Search Engine Optimization (SEO) but how would you know if this is true? Simple, how good your hotel SEO stands right now can be determined by following these three Google searches. Then you can feel confident on telling the person on the phone “We’re doing just fine, thank you!” 


1. Search for your hotel’s name.

Your hotel should be number one on the page. If you are not in the first position, this could mean your website is not optimized enough for your brand.

Search for hotel by name

The listings in the yellow boxes don’t count, those are paid ads. They may be yours, but probably not.

 


2. Search for hotels in your area.

For example, use the search term “hotels in Hillsboro Oregon.” Your hotel should show up within two pages. If it doesn’t, this may mean that search engines don’t believe your website is relevant enough for a search of hotels.

Search the area for your hotel

A hotel’s location is more important to the business than those medium size towels.

 


3. Search for your hotel’s address.

Your hotel should be the only listing displayed. If the results display other business names, this indicates that search engines do not know the correct address of your hotel.

Hotel Address Search on Google

At the least… you have to make sure your hotel’s address is correct.

 


Finding your true self

If you had trouble finding your own hotel with this search, your customers are not finding you either. These indicators reflect the need for local hotel SEO, a part of today’s standard marketing for hotels.ZoomKeeper Online Reputation Management Report

Our clients use our tool called ZoomKeeper. This reputation management tool shows how a company’s information is shared across the internet. ZoomKeeper monitors logistical information such as address and phone numbers as well as reviews on sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp and CitySearch. As a busy hotelier, you need one tool to help you respond to any negative reviews and give you the ability to share positive reviews on your favorite social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. And you need to know if your next client can find you with just a few clicks.

ZoomKeeper is free to try. Follow this link to receive a free ZoomKeeper Manifest report that will outline the following:

  • Number of different business names, URLs, physical addresses and phone numbers your hotel may have
  • How visible your hotel is on the internet
  • How many listings have accurate, incorrect and missing information
  • Display of actual errors found in listings
  • Aggregated review ratings with sources

Need to know more? Email me anytime. I’ll answer your SEO FAQs ASAP.

You can also get your FREE Manifest report here too.

Thanks to Keith at The Orenco Hotel for letting his hotel be exposed to the world.


Analytics Trending from Quantity to Quality: How Secure Search Means Parity in the SEO World

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

After the news that Chrome has moved to secure search, I can’t say that I’m unhappy. Aside from padding my illusion of there being more online privacy, I welcome this change mainly for one reason: Parity.

Leveling the Playing Field

I am excited for this change for the same reason I appreciate the play of Justine Henin-Hardenne, Damian Lillard, andDavid Eckstein. Who are they? you ask. Well they are three professional athletes, who compete at the top level of their sport, not because of their physical stature or god-given talent but because their determination and work ethic to improve.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/5330844.stm

Maria Sharapova and Justine Henin-Hardenne face off at the 2006 US Open Final. Photo from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tennis/5330844.stm

The implications of Google’ secure search decision, without going into detail of how (see the link), means that webmasters and marketers will have less information from which to base their targeting efforts. In an effort provide just a little more privacy to its users, Google Chrome has disconnected the where (search term that brought them to a specific site) from the what, how and essentially who (their behavior on that site) that allows us to use analytics to essentially segment the populations of our inbound traffic and create profiles about people and target them in our marketing efforts.

What Does This Mean For The Underdog?

Dwight Howard, Mark Mcgwire, and Serena Williams just got a little bit smaller. You have to understand my bias here. My agency represents the Justine Henin-Hardennes of the hotel world. We compete in search engine rankings pages with the likes of Marriott Sharapova, Venus and Serena Hiltons and… Crowne Plazniaki; hotels that operate on an entirely different analytic scale. With this disconnect of information these analytical freaks of nature, (or otherwise) are scaled to more human size.

In the modern era of Search Engine Optimization/Marketing (SEO/SEM) the advantage is given to those who can make more detailed and accurate decisions based on analytics and testing of larger data sets. These new Google restrictions essentially shrink the size and detail of our competitors’ data sets. Whereas both my clients and our competitors have been subject to the same disadvantage, our competitors, will have a scalable disadvantage as they have been spoiled by the quantity of data that they manage which in turn has set them in their simple test and tweak ways. Anyone with enough consistent user data can throw something at the SEO wall and see if it sticks. The new advantage will be given to the competitor who is best able to: 1. Recognize what relationships exist, 2. Refine information from the remaining information channels into actionable data, 3. Creates accurate tests for better iterative results and 4. creates websites that intrinsically provide a great user experience.

The new advantage, the same as the oldest advantages, is a matter of the pursuit of quality of intellect and skill by asking why and how. At Zoom Creates we love the why. The Why is why we will adapt and find a relative advantage in this perceived disadvantage.


How to find out if there’s analytics on your website?

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

What is Analytics?
Analytics data captures a lot of telltale information about your site’s visitors like where they come from, what pages they viewed, and how long they stayed. This is useful information, especially if you are preparing to launch a new site, brand, or product.

Is there Google Analytics on my website?
Your web developer may have already set up analytics for your site. Most likely they will have used Google’s free reporting software: Google Analytics. In this post I will show you how to check if your web developer added Google Analytics and where you can go to add it to your site.

Good Software Developers

An image of our lead developer enjoying the fact that analytics is loaded on our clients websites.

How to find the analytics code snippet:
Open a new browser window and go to your website. Do you see the analytics? Of course you don’t –it’s in the code! You will have to find the code that the analytics references (if its there.) While your website is still open, follow the directions for your particular browser below. After you input the command, a new window will open with the source code of the website your website. It’s not that hard and you won’t mess anything up.

Directions to find browser source code:
Firefox:
Click “Web Developer” in the “Tools” menu, then click on “Page Source”

Google Chrome:
Click “Developer” in the “View” menu, then click on “View Source”

Safari:
Click “Preferences” in the “Safari” menu, choose “Advanced”
Click the checkbox “Show Develop menu in menu bar”, close window
Click “Show Page Source” in the “Develop” menu.

Internet Explorer:
Click “Source” in the “View” menu

Are you the Google Analytics code I’m looking for?
Development code is called a language for good reason. If you don’t know the language it can look like gibberish. If you have ever traveled abroad, you know that a few key phrases is all you need to travel in country. Our key phrase for this adventure will be “UA-”. This is a prefix for what Google calls the “Property ID”. UA stands for “Universal Analytics” number and Google uses this as a way of tracking most of your visitors interactions with your website. If you have Google Analytics hooked up to your website you will find this in the code.

Feel free to go line by line to find it but for folks who believe that time is money, use the “Find” command in the Source Code window. The easiest way to do this is by using a keyboard shortcut. For PCs use “Control+F” or for Macs use “Command+F”. Then type in “UA-” the “Find” text box without the quotes. You are looking for  this text of Google account prefix followed by six numbers, a dash and another set of additional number(s), the last set is usually just one number.

Google's Universal Analytics code

It’s a lot easier to find things when there is a huge red arrow pointing at it.

Yes I have analytics, wait no I don’t. What do i do?
If you see this number, than Google Analytics has been setup for you and you will need to ask your developer or webmaster for access to this account.

If there is no reference of this number in the code you probably don’t have it. There are other types of analytics software that a developer may have set up for you, but these are often times very expensive and the bill on your credit card statement would probably clue you in before you read this. It’s not hard to add Google Analytics to your website, but to set up tracking, you need to have access to the source code for your website. This will usually take a developer to help you out, an emotionally secure developer, like the ones we hire at Zoom Creates.
See first image above.


Does good SEO mean bad design?

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Over the years, I’ve heard from more than a few people that “good Search Engine Optimization cannot co-exist with aesthetically appealing design.” In other words, the site that remains after being fully optimized is not as good looking as the originally designed site. Why is this?

I think we can all agree that search engine results are important. In fact, statistics claim that up to 85% of online shoppers use search engine results to find what they will eventually end up purchasing. This means from search bar to search results to click through to purchase, or something like that. Because of this, having a website that will show up in search results is of utmost importance. SEO is the “man behind the curtain” that makes those websites appear in the search results. When we speak about “optimizing” a website, we are speaking specifically about preparing a site to show up as often and as close to the top of the page as possible when a user is conducting an applicable internet search. How is this done?

Allow me to explain…

Keywords and phrases: These are chosen based on the who, what, why and where of your site. What is your site about? What is your product? A keyword best describes what the content of your page is. This is one of the most important pieces of optimizing a site.

Meta tags:
There are many types of meta tags, but the most popular of them are the description and keywords meta tags. Meta tags go in the head section of the page. The meta keywords tag should contain a list of the most valuable keywords and phrases used on the page on which it is placed.  Each page should have a meta keyword list specific to that page.  The meta description tag is a description or summary of the page.  In many cases, this description is displayed by the search engine to the person searching for your keywords.  It should use your keywords and suggest to the user that this is the page they’re searching for.

Image Alt Tags:
An image Alt attribute is a textual description of an image. It is used by screen readers to describe the image, but also by search engines to determine the image’s relevance.  Because “an image is worth a thousand words”, keywords used in alt attributes are heavily weighted.  And because computers are not very good at analyzing the content of images, they rely on the text of the alt and title attributes. To fully optimize the graphics and website, it is important to insert a readable keyword phrase within the Img Alt Attribute.

Title Attributes:
Just about any html element in a web page can have a title attribute.  These are like img alt attributes as they are used to describe the element on which they belong, and are also read by search engines.  They should contain valuable keywords.

Title Tags:
The Title tag of a web page should always contain the most important keyword phrase of the page. This is because it will aid in getting higher search engine ranking results.  Titles should also be inviting and descriptive to encourage people to click on them. “mywebsite.com – home” is not inviting or descriptive.

Text:

Text:
Text plays a key role in determining a website’s page ranking; it is thus of vital significance to optimizing a website. Text for a site should contain plenty of important key words and phrases used in different ways. A generic rule of thumb: keywords and phrases should appear at least three times. but don’t go overboard. Over-using a keyword could look to a search engine like keyword abuse which could lower your page rank, so don’t over-do it.

With that being said, I want to circle back to my original question: why do so many of the properly optimized sites appear so unattractive to look at (IMO). For example, this site comes to straight to the top of the search results for “hot air balloon”, but what it HAS in optimization, I feel it LACKS in design. Ads all over, copy galore, is this even a real site? I do not feel extremely confident about this site. It feels more like a bed for advertising than anything else, which is the exact opposite of what any legitimate site would want their viewers to feel.

However, on the other end of the spectrum, when searching for “dog”, the site below came up in the search results at almost the very top. To me, the site has a better look and feel, is easier on the eyes and I come away feeling a little more trusting in the site itself. It’s still busy, yes, but it is obvious that some thought was given to the user experience and making the site a little easier to navigate. “A” for effort.

What is the solution? I am of the school of thought, as I believe most reputable design agencies are, that SEO is something that should be considered from the get-go. The reason for this is that if left until after the site has been designed and developed, the only real option is to begin adding things to the site. This would mean that although perhaps the original vision for the site was dead on, the afterthoughts being added here and there and everywhere will ultimately cheapen the overall look and feel of the site. If SEO is considered at the onset, the proper keywords, phrases, tags, links, text and so on can be built in, all while maintaining the branding, aesthetic appeal and positive user experience. While some feel that optimizing a site is the LAST thing that is to be done, there are those among us that believe all things work TOGETHER for good.

Conclusion? Let’s do the brand, message and website a favor and think of SEO as part of the big picture, rather than something that is done after the fact. As with anything, there are times that optimizing a site will be the last thing that is done, or maybe due to circumstances, a site isn’t built for SEO at the beginning. With the right team of professionals (ahem, Zoom Creates) having a beautiful site built from the ground up while still being fully optimized for the highest search rankings is not a pipe dream, but in fact, a reality.