News for the Hospitality Executive
October 27, 2011
Everyone knows that having a successful search engine optimization strategy is crucial to your site’s overall success. But how do you know if your strategy is successful? The 2011 Google Panda Update imposed new SEO requirements that made many hotel websites obsolete. The new (and constantly-updated) algorithm encourages engaging and unique content, interactivity, and quick download speeds.
For many hoteliers, it is hard to look beyond revenue and site traffic as key performance indicators (KPIs). Three other indicators that are commonly benchmarked in the SEO process are organic SERP rank, total number of inbound quality links, and number of social media shares across Facebook, Twitter, and Google +1.
However, it is more important than ever to look beyond those five metrics to determine the true SEO success of your website. Because the Panda Update takes many more factors into account, there are ten other factors that serious SEO-ers evaluate when monitoring a site’s SEO health.
Time on Site – A user statistic gathered by Google through Google Analytics and Chrome, this metric tells search engines whether visitors are finding what they need on your site. Look at your average time on site through your analytics. If it is under a minute or two, you may need to tweak the information on your site.
Depth of Visit – This can be determined through your analytics and is measured in pages. Do visitors read your homepage and leave? Or are they browsing through your thoughtfully-organized navigation to find what they need?
Entry & Exit Points – Your analytics should offer some sort of path report that shows how the majority of visitors use your site. This should have a function where you can determine major visitor entry and exit points. If users are leaving too soon, find a way to redirect them to the information you want them to find.
Conversion Funnel – This ties in with entry & exit points. Are people navigating to the “fluff” sections of your site and missing the meat? You may want to reconsider your navigation structure to help guide people to conversions.Bounce Rate – Bounce rate is measured as the percentage of people who arrive at your site and leave right away. A high bounce rate means that people are not finding what they are looking for. One important thing to keep in mind is true bounce rate versus overall bounce rate. Let’s say that someone arrives at your site, reads the full page they landed on, but don’t progress any further in the site and leave instead. This is not a true bounce because they read and interacted with that one page before leaving. This is why monitoring time on site in conjunction with bounce rate is important.
Newsletter Conversion Rate – Using analytics and tracking codes, you should be able to see the conversion rate for people receiving your emailers. If the rate is exceptionally low, you may want to reconsider what newsletters you are sending out, or what landing page you direct the recipients to.
RFP Conversion Rate – You should also be able to track information on your RFPs and forms. If people visit the landing page for your RFPs but do not complete the forms, reconsider both the information you provide and the information you ask for – a long form with multiple fields can sometimes deter people.
Google Places Listing – While these listings are not organic listings in and of themselves, they do play a role in how your site is organically ranked. A properly-optimized listing full of valuable information for searchers increases your presence in the eyes of Google. As they continue to change the layout of their SERPs, it may be combined with your organic listing and boosted to the top of the page.
Page Load Time – This can be determined by an online tool such as Pingdom. If your site is experiencing long load times, this may affect your bounce rate as people get frustrated and leave. Speak with your website developer about what could be slowing down the loading process; frequently it is an easy fix.
Number of Indexed Pages – You can test this by visiting Google and typing in site:http://www.website.com. However many “results” Google returns is how many pages Google has indexed for your site. While there is no baseline number that every site must surpass, keep a baseline knowledge of it so that you are aware if Google doesn’t index some pages that you publish, or for some reason you see a huge drop in total number of indexed pages.
Revenue, traffic, organic SERP rank, quality inbound links and social media shares are the main KPIs for a reason – they give a good picture of how your site is performing. However, if any of those metrics are off, or you are looking for a way to further develop a successful SEO strategy in the face of Google Panda, the ten additional metrics outlined above are a good starting point. Remember that none of these should be analyzed in isolation; they are all related and, together, give a more in-depth view of your site’s SEO health.About the Author:
Sue Wiker is Manager, Copywriting & SEO Dept at HeBS Digital (Hospitality eBusiness Strategies), the industry’s leading full-service hotel digital marketing and direct online channel strategy firm based in New York City (www.HeBS Digital.com).
HeBS Digital has pioneered many of the "best practices" in hotel digital marketing, social and mobile marketing, and direct online channel distribution. The firm specializes in helping hoteliers build their direct Internet marketing and distribution strategy, boost the hotel’s Internet marketing presence, establish interactive relationships with their customers, and significantly increase direct online bookings and ROIs.
The firm has won over 160 prestigious industry awards for its digital marketing and website design services, including numerous Adrian Awards, Davey Awards, W3 Awards, WebAwards, Magellan Awards, Summit International Awards, Interactive Media Awards, IAC Awards, etc.
A diverse client portfolio of over 500 top tier major hotel brands, luxury and boutique hotel brands, resorts and casinos, hotel management companies, franchisees and independents, and CVBs has sought and successfully taken advantage of the firm hospitality Internet marketing expertise offered at HeBS. Contact HeBS Digital consultants at (212) 752-8186 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Digital Takes Home Two Gold and One Silver Travel Weekly Magellan Awards
/ October 2011
Digital to Present at EyeforTravel’s Travel Distribution Summit North
America 2011 / July 2011
Time for a Mid-Year Course Correction: The Results of the Annual Survey
on Digital Marketing Are In / Max Starkov & Mariana Mechoso Safer
/ July 2011
Digital Celebrates 10 Years of ROI Driven Hotel Website Design and
Digital Marketing Campaigns; Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS
Digital) commemorates 10 years of excellence and innovation with a new
logo, new website, client appreciation discounts, Facebook contest, and
more. / May 2011
eBusiness Strategies Takes Away Top IAC Awards, including Four Best of
Industry Awards / April 2011
Future is Now: The Emergence of The Customer Engagement Channel in
Hospitality / Max Starkov and Mariana Mechoso Safer / March 2011
HeBS Perspective: Lessons from the TripAdvisor vs. Google Controversy
/ Lauren DeGeorge / February 2011
Best Practices: 2011 Social Media Resolutions / January 2011
Hotels’ New Brand Website by Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Wins
Major Awards and Increases Revenue by Twenty Percent / January 2011
2011 Top Ten Internet Marketing Resolutions / Max Starkov and
Mariana Mechoso Safer / January 2011
HeBS Perspective: Members-Only, Flash Sales and Group Buying Sites –
Are These New Retail Concepts a Good Idea for Hotel Distribution? /
Sara O’Brien / December 2010
HeBS Perspective: Hotel Mobile Apps vs. Hotel Mobile Websites / Max
Starkov / December 2010
on ROI Driven Hotel Website Design and Multichannel Marketing Results
in Significant Hotel Online Revenues and … Major Awards / November
eBusiness Strategies to Speak at EyeforTravel’s Customer Centric
Strategies for Travel 2011 in Atlanta / November 2010
eBusiness Strategies Continues its Tradition of Excellence in Website
Design with Eight W³ Awards / November 2010
eBusiness Strategies Wins One Gold and Two Silver Magellan Awards for
Web 2.0 and Multichannel Marketing Initiatives / September 2010
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies to Present during Mobile Technology & Travel Keynote Session at EyeforTravel s Travel Distribution Summit / August 2010|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Wins Best in Class Interactive Media Award for the Silver Legacy Resort Casino Website / July 2010|
|HeBS to Address Mobile Marketing at HSMAI Conference; Max Starkov of Hospitality eBusiness Strategies to present on mobile marketing at HSMAI s Revenue Management & Internet Marketing Strategy Conference on June 21, 2010 in Orlando, FL. / May 2010|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS) to Present at the European Hospitality Technology Educational Conference (EHTEC) / January 2010|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Unveils its Latest Web 2.0 Application: A Multi-Channel Interactive Scavenger Hunt for the City of Indian Wells / January 2010|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS) Wins the Prestigious Best in Class Interactive Media Award / January 2010|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS) Dominates Again in HotelMarketing.com s Most Popular Articles of 2009 / January 2010|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Announces the Fourth Annual Benchmark Survey; Survey to Measure Hotel Internet Marketing Strategies, Budget Planning and Best Practices / December 2009|
|HeBS Wins Major Web 2.0 Design & Development Awards / November 2009|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Wins Three W3 Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Web 2.0 and Website Development / October 2009|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS) Announces Hotel Indigo New York City-Chelsea Website Launch / July 2009|
|HeBS Awarded “Best in Class” Interactive Media Award for Outrigger Lodging’s Grafton on Sunset Hotel Website / May 2009|
|Max Starkov of HeBS to Present at the CRM & Loyalty Strategies for Travel Conference in Atlanta; Chief Strategist Will Discuss How to Use Your Website as a Retention Tool at EyeforTravel Conference / February 2009|
|Max Starkov of Hospitality eBusiness Strategies to Receive Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing 2008 Honor At HSMAI Adrian Awards Gala Annual Gala Dinner to be Held Jan. 26 in New York City / December 2008|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Wins Five Prominent Interactive Media Awards including Best in Class; Luxe Worldwide Hotels' New Brand Website Honored as Best in Class in Travel and Tourism 2008 / December 2008|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Partners with The Tides Inn Chesapeake Bay Virginia; HeBS to increase direct online bookings and boost Internet marketing presence for The Tides Inn / October 2008|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Announces the 2009 Benchmark Survey; Survey to Measure Hotel Internet Marketing Strategies, Budget Planning and Best Practices / October 2008|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies (HeBS) Announces Luxe Worldwide Hotels New Website Launch / October 2008|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies to Present at MICE Asia 2008 in Kuala Lumpur / July 2008|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Receives Top International Creative Awards - 2008 Summit International Awards / May 2008|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Receives Official Honoree Distinction for the 12th Annual Webby Awards in 2008 / May 2008|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Wins Gold Adrian Awards in 2007 / December 2007|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Wins Three W3 Awards / November 2007|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Wins Gold Adrian Awards in 2007 / December 2007|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Receives Seven New Website Excellence Awards; Highest 2006 Interactive Media Awards and W3 Awards / November 2006|
|Hospitality eBusiness Strategies Wins Five Web Marketing Association Awards; 2006 WebAward for Best Travel Website / October 2006|