The internet is the new Industrial Revolution. Make it work for you with this three-pronged strategy, says Bronwyn White.

THE internet is the industrial revolution of our time. And we’re still at the beginning of that wondrous upheaval. Because we are at the beginning, unprecedented opportunities for big and small businesses abound.

When Google switched over to semantic search (contextual search) a couple of years ago, it started to change everything. It meant that page 1 of Google was different for every search query. Semantic search banished online environments that were easily gamed through key word stuffing and a range of ‘black hat’ marketing practices in order to get on page 1. It was a time when the deepest pockets won.

Today, with modern semantic search, we work with intelligent search engines that determine whether or not your content is reputable and good enough to deliver to Google’s users. Marketing and branding are so intimately tied to internet search that everything you do and say on the web now impacts your brand and your ability to be found online.

In 2016 you have two types of customers to impress with your brand: travellers and Google. If you have a weak brand, you will confuse both of them. They won’t be able to figure you out. They’ll go elsewhere.

Your brand should say ‘Trust and Authority’ Because we are at the beginning of the switch to semantic search algorithms and the internet revolution, flexible and innovative brands are well primed to create what David Amerland, author of Semantic Search summarises as “trust, reputation and authority.”

And to deliver these elements successfully, it is going to take another ingredient – time.

You need to have these four ingredients as part of your online brand in order for Google to consider your website when it presents web pages to a traveller.

Without trust, reputation and authority, search engines will not take you seriously. They will not present you in a traveller search query. And travellers will not buy from you or travel to your destination.

Remember, search is the one constant tool people turn to for inspiration and travel planning at every point on the path to purchase.

So, what contributes to trust, reputation and authority? Three things:

1. Content – lots of it Content should be fresh, very frequently updated and be defined by variety and relevance. The only way your potential customers are going to find you on the Internet via search is with content. If you don’t have content, travellers will not find you. It is that simple.

Your content should be useful, shared and be commented on – on your website(s) and on your social media platforms. Your followers should be engaged. You should be having meaningful conversations with them.They should be commenting on and sharing your content.

2. A strong brand This means not trying to be all things to everyone. It means strong marketing and regularly posting useful content in a consistent voice (online persona). So if you are a hotel that caters to the business traveller, talk about free WiFi, how useful your room is for working in, and things that truly matter to the business traveller, not only about your hotel, but tips about the destination too.

3. Being fully mobile compatible More people are searching on mobile than ever before, and are often more likely to search on mobile than on a desktop. Indeed, Google penalises websites that aren’t mobile friendly.

With this three-pronged strategy – content, brand and mobile – tourism brands can position themselves for marketing success in 2016 – and for many years to come.

For further reading on these themes visit the blog zone here.