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With more people spending more time on more social channels on more devises (not to mention Google incorporating more social signals into its algorithm) a holistic social strategy is essential. Start your journey here

By  in Featured Marketing SE Positioning

Google seo search results

In the movie “Easy A,” Emma Stone’s character, Olive, learns a valuable lesson: It’s not what’s true that actually matters; it’s what people think is true that matters. Straight-laced Olive starts a rumor that she’s “easy,” and soon she becomes the most popular girl in school, never mind the fact that she’s not so much as kissed any of the boys she’s rumored to be with. Her reputation is completely different from her true character.

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As technology is advancing rapidly, Digital Marketing is constantly evolving. With this in mind, the marketing team at Net Affinity have put together 14 Hotel Marketing trends for 2014 to keep you up to date with developments in Digital Marketing to help you get ahead of the curve with your digital marketing strategy. 

This infographic breaks down the Digital Marketing Trends that will be prominent in 2014, identifying 14 key areas to be focused on.
 
info-download01.jpg (2014 Infographic )
 
THE 14 TRENDS
 
1. Continued Growth of Mobile: Mobile Hotel Bookings will continue to grow stronger throughout 2014, with a prediction that 50% of direct online bookings will be made via mobile devices by 2017. Source: Daily Travel News”

 2. Engagement through Video: Video usage is growing at a fast pace.  In 2013, 81% of online travel bookers consulted videos before purchasing products. Source: The 2013 Traveller, Eye for Travel”

 3. Not Provided Keywords:  Currently 80% of google searches are recorded as ‘not provided’ keywords. By Q1 2014, it is predicted that Google will encrypt 100% of keyword searches- Say goodbye to organic keyword data

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The strength of content marketing is well demonstrated but creating strong content takes innovation. This means enlisting the help of some simple but powerful tools that combine user engagement and attractive presentation to facilitate brand perception. Here’s a look at eight great resources you can use to take your content to the next level.

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Since most business owners handle everything from strategic planning to SEO for their websites, the do-it-yourself world can feel utterly overwhelming. The good news is we live in the digital age, and fellow entrepreneurs have created tools to help simplify almost any business-centric task. The world of SEO now showcases multiple software solutions that help analyze your website for key search-enging friendly elements. If you’re looking to streamline your SEO efforts but can’t afford to hire a firm, these free and paid solutions are here to help.

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December 16, 2013 | Hotel Marketing

Erik Munoz, SiteMinder’s head of strategic sales & global partnerships, offers some insight into the truth behind the most common myths in online hotel distribution, like hotels should reduce their reliance on OTA bookings.

By Erik Munoz

In my daily interactions with hoteliers and revenue managers, I encounter many people who find the huge number of different online distribution channels overwhelming. Most hotels have questions about the best practices of this very valuable and profitable channel. In an attempt to demystify online distribution, I wanted to share with you some of the most common myths – and offer insight into the truth behind each myth.

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Posted in Hotel Marketing at Dec 11th 2013 10:49am - by Bryan Marsh

Edm Etsocial Yourdatabase

When your guests are scouring the web for the perfect property for their next holiday, great hotel photography catches their eye and gets them daydreaming about their break. But what visuals are most likely to get travel shoppers pulling out their credit cards ready to make a booking?

Here are the top 5 images your resort’s onlinemarketing campaign can’t afford to do without.

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Posted in Hotel Online Marketing on December 06, 2013 by Brittany Aller

As the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor is the go-to source for people planning their travel arrangements. With this in mind, it is clear that the glorious moment all independent hoteliers have been hoping for is finally here – the ability to bid against OTAs for placement in TripAdvisor hotel price comparison search through the newTripAdvisor Connect A.K.A. “TripConnect”. Previously, this opportunity was only available to OTAs and large hotel brands. So, is TripConnect worth the investment? And with the constraints of a limited budget, is there any way for independent hotels to actually beat out OTAs which typically have much larger budgets to allocate to paid-advertising initiatives like TripConnect? In this article, I will explain the requirements for participating in TripConnect and weigh the pros and cons for independent hoteliers bidding on placement.

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Google Logo

Google doesn’t win many popularity contest these days, but it still deserves kudos for its impressive suite of useful (and free!) small business applications. They may be mired in SEO controversy, but it’s hard to deny the universal efficiency of their many essential tools.

Mainstays like Gmail are now commonplace, but there are likely many offerings that your company either isn’t using at all, or to its highest potential. Check out the list below; you’ll probably find a new favorite, can’t-live-without-it app, and/or discover features you didn’t know existed on those you’re already using. And yes, everything listed below is completely free.

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Social signals are a hot commodity these days; without them, your SEO and overall traffic won’t be all it can be. Socials signals are any promotion or mention of your brand or products through tweets, Facebook “likes”, and related blasts. The more you engage your audience in commenting and sharing your social media and content, the better your overall SEO results will be.

Both Google and Bing have shown an increasing interest in the value of social signals, making an overall strategic social media plan an essential part of your marketing landscape. Understanding how and why social signals are so crucial to SEO will assist you in planning your overall SEO tactics.

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Google - Don

Here’s the problem – Google left the door wide open and people took advantage. This led to great rankings, traffic and, more importantly, money in the bank. People started to rely on the majority, if not all traffic coming from Google and then the rug was pulled from under their feet. This kicked off an almighty struggle with the King of Search, but I’m here to tell you today that it doesn’t have to be a fight. There is another way.

Stop Building Dirty Links

If you’re going to get back into Google’s good books, you need to cease using dodgy link building tactics full stop.

This isn’t one of those situations where you can be half in, half out – you need to move away from dodgy links completely.

Stop Now!

And a word to the wise: dodgy links with generic anchors can only work for so long. Eventually Google will catch you (if they haven’t already). Then, say goodbye to Google sending you any traffic.

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 - Posted by  to Vertical SEO: Video, Image, Local

The author’s posts are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

First published in 2008 by David Mihm, the Local Search Ranking Factors survey of Local SEOs around the globe has become a high point in the year in local search. If you eagerly await this yearly report and comb through it for new insight, then the information in this guide may not come as news to you. I wrote this guide for marketers who are new to the field of local SEO and for local business owners who are flying solo in their efforts to market their companies on the web.

Local Search Ranking Factors 2013 identified 83 foundational ranking factors. This guide takes the top 20 most important factors and offers a succinct, illustrated example of each.

By reading this guide, you will understand both the lingo and the concept of each local search ranking factor. Use this information and you will be on the road to promoting local businesses on the web from a firm and educated foundation. Sound good? Start reading!

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Google Headquarters

Hummingbird is the biggest iteration of the Google algorithm since Caffeine in 2010. It is, however, going to have less impact immediately on search marketing than the Panda and Penguin updates. Amit Singhal, of Google, said 90% of searches have been affected by this algorithm change. It was interesting to note, however, that very little was said within the industry about affected rankings before the announcement was made.

The details of the Hummingbird amendments are provided below, detailing what has changed and how it impacts search marketing strategies.

In general terms, Hummingbird is a step towards the Google algorithm becoming artificially intelligent. Google’s goal is to be able to serve content based on what the searcher wants. A key performance indicator of this development is surely the number of searches a user makes in a short space of time (the higher number of searches denoting that the content is not relevant to their query) and also the number of pages a user visits per search term.

For example, 8 years ago 30% of searchers would look at search results past page one of Google. Today, it is only 10% and it is likely to decrease as Google improves the indexing of searches against the real intent of the search (thus making it even more significant to increase SEO rankings).

So let’s have a look at Hummingbird in detail. What are the changes and what does this mean for search marketers and website owners.

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Posted in Content Marketing at Nov 13th 2013 10:01am - by Bryan Marsh

5 Basic Rules For Better Content Marketing

Google’s ‘Hummingbird’ switch up has made it more important than ever to continually create high quality content to get noticed in search results and drive traffic to your resort’s website.

Great content is an extremely effective tool for driving traffic and bookings, but how can you be sure your content marketing efforts are hitting the mark?

Here are some simple rules to work by.

CREATE COMPELLING HEADLINES

On a web flooded with free content, if a headline doesn’t grab your attention you discard it in an instant and move on to the next thing that catches your eye.

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By  in Featured

Stop Sign

Marketing departments and professional designers are always in need of high quality images to help tell a branding or content story. When it comes to advertising, content marketing, and just about any digital attempt to capture a customer’s consideration, images rule the roost. In fact, according to research by Jeff Bullas, articles with images are 94% more likely to be viewed. Text is almost always secondary to attention-grabbing visual aids.

If you’re like most small businesses, however, your marketing and art budget does not include an ample amount to spend on image royalties. If you’re under the impression that all stock images look like – well, free stock images – you’ll be pleased to know that’s not always the case. Many of today’s image repositories feature unique and eye-catching images free of charge. So keep this list handy for all your future content marketing and designing efforts.

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Posted in Hotel Marketing at Oct 28th 2013 9:37am - by Bryan Marsh

Tripadvisor

Thanks to TripAdvisor’s Travel Affiliate Program, content from the world’s number one travel site now gets in front of more than 300 million people worldwide, making guest reviews of your resort more readily available than ever.

This easy access to a wealth of opinions on your property isn’t always a good thing, especially since it’s reported that as many as 4 out of 5 people will change their minds about making a booking after stumbling acrossnegative reviews. While unfortunately, you can’t reverse a guest’s negative experience and stop these unfavourable reviews from popping up, you can apologise after the fact to demonstrate your commitment to customer service. In fact, according to TripAdvisor, up to 34% of reviewers decide to delete their original negative comments after receiving a response from the property.

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Google is continually tweaking its user interface, often most noticeably on search results pages, desktop and mobile. 

What motivates these changes? Is every change Google makes motivated by profit, or is this a case of constantly improving the user experience? Or perhaps both?

Here, I’ll look at some recent UI changes to search results on mobile and desktop. Please suggest any I may have missed.

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By  in Featured

After 16 years of helping other businesses achieve a greater prominence for their websites, the past 2 years of insanity has given me pause to contemplate the future.

Clearly, Google is intent on rendering my chosen vocation irrelevant. The previous ability to attain decent rankings has been eroded as Google eats away at the foundations of SEO and progressively eliminates legitimate opportunities to be a “tall poppy” on the www.

Over the years, I’ve nurtured a great many websites for a number of wonderful clients in a broad cross-section of genres. Of those, none seem unaffected by Google’s erratic rampage since 2012. Like most serious SEO practitioners, I believed that Google’s underlying intentions were for the greater good. Like many others, I have worked hard towards understanding and promoting the gospel of St. Google, striving to meet the guideline revisions and the amended terms of service.

I am deeply and bitterly disappointed by the outcome of the past 2 years of changes.

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October 25, 2013

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LinkedIn Pen

LinkedIn is today’s top business networking website where business professionals of all kinds migrate in hopes of making new connections and creating new business opportunities. It’s estimated there are now over 200,000 million LinkedIn users, making LinkedIn one of the world’s top social networking websites along with Facebook and Twitter.

Although everyone and their dog has a LinkedIn profile, knowing how to use LinkedIn effectively is no easy task. For many business owners their LinkedIn experience starts and ends with the number of connections they make with most believing bigger numbers will convert into more leads or sales.

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Untitled-1It’s here! Moz surveyed over 100 top industry professionals and studied over 17,000 keywords to compile our biennial Search Engine Ranking Factors. Click here

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SEO is a dicey and unpredictable world full of uncertainty. Even if you follow all the rules, you still aren’t assured of moving a single notch in the rankings space. At least not on the time table you’d prefer – which for most of us, is instant.

Think of SEO as a full-scale long distance race. Don’t aim to be the road runner; be the turtle instead. SEO turtles are slow, methodical, sturdy, and persistent. They understand the race will bring challenges and hurdles. But they never, ever give up.

Don’t Believe the Hype – There are No Guarantees

As you embark on your SEO adventure, it’s imperative that you be very mindful about those you trust to lead your charge. Many business owners reach out to SEO professionals to help them implement short and long term strategies, and for good reason – trying to decipher this ever-changing landscape is a full-time job.

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Google seo search results

Photo Credit: MoneyBlogNews 

If you’re just starting out your SEO efforts, or simply looking to achieve better results, it can feel overwhelming to determine the next best steps. Many lament the task of focusing on on-site or off-site tactics, and are looking for factual evidence as to exactly what each focus means, and the real-world results they can manifest.

Rather than fret about keeping up with Google and Bing’s ever-changing algorithms, do yourself a favor and first just focus on creating a first-class website. This, in essence, is the secret to stellar on-site SEO. It’s also the secret to creating high conversion rates, great customer loyalty, and impressive analytics.

SEO, however, is more than just a well-performing website. To determine which long-term strategy best suits your company’s needs, it’s first necessary to understand what methods to employ, and how best to execute each.

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Given that the Internet has allowed businesses to reach out to a wider audience, it’s easy to forget sometimes that many of the strongest links can be made at home.

The Importance of Local Links

Local links direct a targeted audience straight to a website that can immediately help them. These people already have a sense of familiarity with local businesses, and the chances are better that they will spend their money on a business they know.

Being able to meet face to face with people can also lead to good opportunities, whether it’s building more trust and loyalty among customers, forming business partnerships, or finding quality talent to add to the workforce. They also help keep websites safe from falling off the search engine results pages, thanks to their generally stable status and the added diversity they bring to a link profile.

Some examples of local links that can be pursued are from official city websites, local media (TV stations, newspapers, radio stations, etc.), local blog networks, local schools and government institutions, local business directories and local sites for search engines.

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For many, the terms SEO and SEM have become synonymous. On the surface, it’s understandable – search engine optimization and search engine marketing indeed sound like similar strategies. As it turns out, they’re only loosely connected.

Surprised? Join the club. There’s so little talk about how different these two tactics are that businesses have neglected critical nuances and procedures that each highlight. And not every business needs to focus on both disciplines to see significant results. Yet the smartest ones have discovered that smart usage of both, in different doses, can produce the most impressive results.

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Millennium Hotel Minneapolis  / Millennium Hotel Minneapolis
SEP 04, 2013 5:55 AM — Samantha Shankman

In response to hotel owners’ request for a fresh start following major renovations,TripAdvisor added a review removal policy last October, and updated the policy for clarity in July 2013.

The odds are big for hotels: In exchange for proof of major renovations, a hotel’s old reviews are wiped clean — a fresh start.

Hotels must produce proof of structural changes including the installation of new guest rooms or bathrooms, alterations to hotel layout, or complete property overhauls. Cosmetic changes like new paint or curtains do not count.

According to TripAdvisor’s Help Center (screenshot embedded below), hotels need to provide building permits, materials invoices, or press releases to prove that the renovations were indeed structural and completed.

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Posted on September 3, 2013 by ReviewPro

By Daniel Edward Craig

In researching ReviewPro’s Climbing TripAdvisor’s Popularity Index webinar last month, I asked a range of hoteliers how they achieved – and maintain – top-10 rankings.

Their testimonials underscore that, despite the disruptive force social media has had on the hotel industry, traditional hospitality has never been more important.

The Modern Honolulu

The Modern Honolulu

During the webinar, Brian Payea, TripAdvisor’s Head of Industry Relations, explained that while many factors go into the Popularity Index algorithm, the key areas to focus on are review quality, recency and volume, calling them “hugely important.”

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 - Posted by  to Technical SEO Issues

The author’s posts are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

It is my honor and privilege today to introduce the brand-new version of The Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet. This free and downloadable document covers all of the important SEO code and best practices that are needed by online marketers and developers.

Benefits and features

  • Save the Google searches for your new inbound visitors: This cheat sheet covers all of the details you would normally spend hours researching online. This leaves you with more time for the important things (like laughing at JennaMarbles or pretending you don’t watch Vine compilations).
  • Available both online and offline: You can store the free downloadable PDF wherever you want. Save a hard drive, kill a tree! (It’s printable.)
  • Updated for the inbound marketer: With new sections like responsive design and rel=”author”, you can uphold your flawless nerd reputation by publicly shaming those who make syntax errors in their code (and are foolish enough not to download this cheat sheet!).
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Choosing to play by the rules when less honest tactics can often produce better results is never an easy decision to stick to. In no arena is that more prevalent than the game of white hat versus black hat SEO.

White hat, or non-automated methodologies, embrace the criteria that giants like Google have set forth to attain high rankings. These involve link building with integrity, sites that should be very user-friendly and informative, and other quality content choices that, theoretically, should make the search engines take notice.

Black hat SEO, on the other hand, involves sneaky practices that aim to trick search engines into thinking the rules are followed. It’s endlessly frustrating for businesses working their tails off at creating quality content within the rule set to find competitors who break the rules ranking higher on selected keywords.

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blog

The Next Billion Internet Users: What Will They Look Like?

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Aug 20, 2013

Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, rapid technological changes and rising competition, travel brands are faced with a number of choices. EyeforTravel.com editor Pamela Whitby looks to our most recent research for answers.

In spite of ongoing recessionary doom and gloom, travel and tourism is still a growing sector. In 2013 it is expected to increase its total contribution to GDP by 3.2% – that is faster than the 2.4% expected for overall economic growth. So travel brands still have everything to play for. To make the right decisions in the multichannel environment – where social and mobile are centre stage – requires access to quality data. The EyeforTravel.com Social Media and Mobile in Travel Distribution Report: Online strategies, consumer and industry trends, 2013, provides just this. In over 30+ industry interviews, surveys of over 2,000 executives and 20,000 consumers, the plus 100-page report is packed with insights for and from the travel industry. Here we identify just ten highlights.

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How much can a search engine change in a year? If it’s Google, the answer is a lot. Best SEO practices suddenly can turn into web page death sentences if you’re not careful. But even if you don’t have time to keep your finger on the pulse of the ever-changing search industry, you’re in luck. A new infographic andreport from Searchmetrics has done a lot of the work for you. It analyzes and distills the information you need to know.

By  

At some point SEOs need to audit a site to find out what is going wrong and what needs to be fixed. There might be a number of things preventing a website from reaching its full potential but finding those problems can be difficult. The outline below will help educate you and show you what you should be looking at and how to fix it.

If you are performing SEO on behalf of clients, especially new clients, you need to have their sites thoroughly examined for technical issues. Whether a site has crawling issues, indexing problems, or other issues that are inhibiting the site’s ability to rank, this process will find it.

It should be used when new clients sign on but could also be used as a sales tool. Free site audits can be compelling for showing your leads what is wrong with their sites, and shows them the route you would take to deal with those issues.

Most websites that you come across are going to have something wrong with them. Having a process in place to efficiently identify these issues is essential to maintaining site health and rankings.

Let’s get started.

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Emails with the word “alert” in their subject lines have a 38.1% higher than average open rate and 61.8% higher click rate, according to a recent study by British marketing firm Adestra.The keywords “free delivery” (+50.7% higher open rate, +135.4% click rate) and “bulletin” (+15.8%, +12.7%) also performed very well in the email campaigns analyzed.

On the other hand, “report” (-23.7% average lower open rate, -54.8% click rate), “learn” (-35.5%, -60.8%), and “book” (-4.6%, -25.4%) had a negative effect. “Newsletter” showed a marginal effect on open rates (+0.7%), but had an adverse effect on click rates (-18.7%.)

As for date-related keywords, “daily” (+27.8%, +100.3%) and “weekly” (+27.1%, +50.6%) performed strongly, but “monthly” (-26.6%, -37.0%) had a negative effect.

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Search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO, has been bandied about since the inception of the internet as if it were the holy grail of online success. But what is SEO really? More importantly, what has it become? Is it simply a matter of optimizing your website? Or, has it grown to include a number of other parameters? My answer to these questions may surprise you. SEO is no longer just one thing. It has grown to mean so much more.

In this article I will discuss how search engine optimization has evolved in order to become Search Engine Marketing (aka S.E.M.). I will also provide you with information that will show you how you can improve your search ranking. This includes techniques designed to insure a strong ranking position. Best of all, you can accomplish all this without resorting to tricks, gimmicks or deception that attempts to hoodwink the search engine spiders.

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Did you know that your website is your business’ most critical marketing asset?

Better website optimization will result in more traffic, leads, and sales for your business. So I’d like to share these 25 tips for how to optimize your website.

These tips include:

- Essential SEO advice to increase traffic
- Important design tips to reduce bounce rates
- Content creation ideas for engaging visitors
- Best practices for converting traffic into leads

Download the 25 Tips >>

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It’s no accident that WordPress has become the 800 lb gorilla in the web publishing field. As of March 2012, 72.4 million sites were running on the CMS, amounting to 25% of all websites operating on the Internet. With that gaudy figure in mind, it should come as little surprise that hackers have flocked to exploit the weaknesses of WordPress.

Last April, a massive army of botnets were created to infiltrate WordPress sites using the “admin” user name via brute force attacks. Every day 30 to 40,000 attacks take place because owners allow their sites to become easy prey for these nefarious individuals.

It’s time to ensure you aren’t one of them. Let’s take a look at some easy ways to protect your WordPress site, helping you sleep a little easier at night.

As with any significant changes you make to your WordPress installation, I strongly recommend you back up your files and databases prior to making any of the changes listed below.
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No matter what size your business is, everyone knows the value of developing a web presence. But like most investments, online marketing can be risky and expensive, especially if you’re a small business with a tight advertising budget.

Investing in online marketing doesn’t have to be a gamble; there are plenty of marketing strategies that are cheaper than you think, and plenty of businesses have succeeded using inexpensive tactics.

Marketing doesn’t have to be difficult, either – in our digital age, there’s an abundance of tools to measure and focus your marketing efforts. It’s easier than ever to gather valuable information and quickly switch up your campaigns.

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Every other year Moz performs a study to discover what makes a page or site rank high on Google. They surveyed dozens of SEO professionals, and the results are enlightening for any business, especially those trying to optimize their websites for search engines.

Moz surveyed 120 SEOs and asked them to rate different factors. The factors were given value based on their importance to Google’s ranking algorithm. Most of the factors that were ranked high had scores of 7 or 8; the less important factors seemed to have scores of 4 or 5.

Moz expects to release the full survey data in a few weeks, but they’ve posted the key takeaways here.

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Why PR is your best marketing weapon — and how to use it

Our corporate motto should have been, “We’ve never heard of you either.” At least, that is how we joked at my first startup, Seer Technologies, which we founded in 1990.

We had broken records by growing a nascent software company into a $118 million-per-year revenue machine.  And we had pulled off a successful IPO in just five years.  Not even the legends of that time — Microsoft and Oracle — had achieved such a feat.  Yet people would say they had never heard of us.

To say that this was frustrating would be an understatement. It was a matter not of ego, but of credibility and awareness.  Because we weren’t known, we had to struggle to find every sales lead.  On every sales call, we wasted valuable time explaining who the company was before we could talk about our products.

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Google, and search engines in general, used to act as a one-size-fits-all format. If person A and person B both searched for “best chocolate in the world,” it used to be both individuals would see the same list of rankings. Now we live in a world of customization, where Google’s results reflect not just the search terms and keywords used, but the complex personalization derived from a given user’s full interaction with the suite of Google products. Since Google, and search engines in general, are truly trying to give searchers exactly what they want, the process has seen a genesis of customization. One-size-fits-all no longer applies.

If your sole focus as a company investing in SEO is to see a high Google page rank, stop the obsession – now. High rankings don’t equate to a stellar business profile; revenues do. And now that page rankings are becoming varied, it’s much less reliable to equate a high ranking to full-scale success. So putting all your eggs in one proverbial basket is not only risky, it’s now completely illogical.

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Most businesses are beginning to see the value in having a company blog, but it can be difficult to decide what to do with it once you make one.

A good business blog doesn’t focus so much on selling, but instead on providing information and making your customers want to do business with you. If you do it right, your blog can help you become a leader in your industry; you should post relevant, up-and-coming information that shows customers your knowledge, while also giving them ideas.

Content should be fresh, original and exciting. If your customers take the time to read your blog, they want to walk away feeling like they gained something – not like they were suckered into buying.

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Featured Article Picture

Since the initial launch of Google’s Panda update in 2011, the “Q” word has become commonplace in SEO, copywriting and content marketing circles. We should have been paying attention to quality from the beginning (who wants to be known for publishing junk?). Now, more than ever, it appears Google is looking to our visitors to judge whether our site’s pages are worthy of rankings.

In one of its first posts about the original Panda update, Google’s Official Blog stated, “This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites – sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful.”

It goes on to talk about rewarding sites with quality content. Those two statements alone beg the question: how does Google judge quality?

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In the old days of SEO, the impact of PR on page rankings was rather straightforward: It was all about building links. A good PR strategy centered around the goal of enticing just about anyone on the web to link to the company’s site and/or press release.

Today’s campaigns are in large part much more complex, thanks to Google’s ever-evolving algorithms. The current reality is that Google cares about the quality of content and credibility over a sheer volume of links and keywords. PR strategies must now cleverly incorporate the social stratosphere as well, leaving the two departments of SEO and Public Relations in a prime place to work together.

Successful SEO revolves around stellar content, and successful PR equates to an enviable network. Since SEO needs that network to thrive and PR needs great content to have something to crow about, the marriage of these two disciplines is now a no-brainer.

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In late May, Google launched the much anticipated update to their Penguin algorithm, dubbed Penguin 2.0. Now that the dust has settled, it’s clear the impact has been fairly significant, and that Google has effectively (but certainly not flawlessly) furthered their mission to identify and penalize webspam and black hat SEO practitioners. Ultimately, although it may be frustrating to experience the shifts and changes of the algorithm updates, content creators should be celebrating Penguin 2.0, as it wholly supports the creation of quality, user-friendly sites and content.

Need some tangible reasons to rejoice about the latest updates? Keep reading and prepare to become a Penguin fan.

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Over the past year, Google has pretty much set about eliminating any competitive advantages other than the quality of the on-page content itself. They seem intent on levelling the playing field to the point that those who previously had aces up their sleeves now gain no advantage whatsoever. Moreover, playing an ace from a sleeve may now result in a salvo of punitive measures. *1

Some might say that this approach flies somewhat in the face of the irrepressible human spirit of competition. However, it’s equally fair to say that it is often the laziest among us who can’t or won’t create unique and original content. There is general agreement that the best content ought to appear first, rather than thin content, artificially promoted by an SEO’s smoke and mirrors. I’m all for that – its fair and equitable.

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When Google first came out with its Panda algorithm, Amit Singhal (Google’s chief engineer, who designed it) provided a list of potential factors that Google looks at to determine the trustworthiness of any website. This was more than two years ago, but many of the sites I review today still show signs of “untrustworthiness” in Google’s eyes. To top it off, Google has clamped down even harder on its Panda and Penguin algorithms during the past two years.

This means that it’s more important than ever to review your websites for the first 17 SEO killer attributes that I’ve previously written about, but also to look at that last one, No. 18 (trustworthiness), which we don’t hear so much about.

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It’s a pretty common occurrence; when revenue managers see that their property’s occupancy has hit a specific, pre-determined percentage, they decide to shut off the channel with the highest commission rates. This percentage could be 50% or it could be 90% depending on a property’s specific revenue management goals, but in most cases, the end result is the same: revenue managers shut off the OTAs with the highest commission rate, which are often also the sites that generate the majority of a property’s bookings.

While I understand the desire to earn as much money as possible from each booking, it is very counterproductive to shut off your highest performing sites at any time ­ even if they are charging you a 30% commission for each booking. The majority of consumers use OTAs to find and book a hotel reservation, and the sites with the highest number of visitors are often the ones who charge higher commission rates.

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The latest search engine updates have recently made it very clear that the less images you have on your website, the more Google will ignore you. Seems pretty harsh, doesn’t it? Before you let yourself get overly discouraged, or take your feelings to the other extreme, and start overloading your web pages with irrelevant images, it is best you take a hard look at what steps will positively affect your SEO, and what steps will hurt your SEO. Google’s latest bottom line has made it pretty clear that unless your website has at least one high-quality, relevant image on each page, your SEO will bleed out, and fast.

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On-page optimization for your websites is often overlooked and is also the easiest way to rank for keywords in search engines completely free. These are the top ten factors that you should be considering when writing content and constructing an optimized layout for all of your websites. Do not feel the need to check off all of these factors but be sure that you take them into consideration. Don’t sacrifice readability and appearance for the sake of optimization because it will affect the visitor’s experience and that is what really matters in the end. Proper on-page SEO will get you ranking for very low competition keywords without the aid of any off-page work.
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As a business owner, you’ve surely heard of Google AdWords – it is the cornerstone of search engine marketing (or SEM), allowing you to bid on advertising space for certain keywords that appear in the sponsored portion of Google results pages. You probably have a campaign going right now, passively meeting your budget each month. You might even be a bit of an AdWords ninja, fluent in using the bulk upload andautomated rules features to control complicated campaigns down to the letter. I tip my hat to you, marketing ninja.

But for the rest of us, who are busy running a business or just don’t have the time to study up on the intricacies of Google AdWords, there is a simpler option: AdWords Express.
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