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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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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.

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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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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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Website owners today are faced with the decision of either having a separate mobile website or making their current site responsive. Responsive design simply means that the site will respond to the screen of the device used for browsing and display accordingly. There’s no doubt that responsive Web design is here to stay. If you doubt it, just ask some of the major designers. Read more about Ethan Marcotte’s 20 favourite responsive sites.

The methodology of the responsive design is still undergoing some evolution — and always will — as new devices like the iPad Mini enter the market. Instead of targeting devices, we’ll see a shift toward the site’s responsiveness so it will adapt to various devices. The bottom line is that as long as multiple devices for browsing are accessible, responsive design will always be a requirement.

There are many benefits for choosing responsive design including some SEO benefits.
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Earlier this month, social media giant LinkedIn celebrated its 10th anniversary. With more than 225 million members in 200 countries, they have plenty of reasons to celebrate. In many ways, LinkedIn is arguably the most important social media platform for businesses – yes, even more so than Twitter and Facebook.

Why? Dollars and sense. The average household income per LinkedIn user is $109,000, which dramatically trumps similar stats on all other major social media sites. LinkedIn means business. And your business should have a serious presence if success is on the menu.

Reid Hoffman, creator of LinkedIn, wrote this on their blog to celebrate the milestone: “Our vision at LinkedIn is to create economic opportunity for every professional in the world.”

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Facebook is a platform that seems easy enough as you first dive in, but like any social network, it has a multitude of nuances that make or break a business’s overall reach. Understanding the steps to create a compelling professional presence on Facebook can make the difference between a mediocre social experience and one that drives the majority of your acquisition marketing efforts.

Below we outline all the critical Facebook page information, from setting up a wow-worthy page to adding intriguing and relevant applications. If you’ve put off creating or expanding your Facebook page due to confusion or frustration, let’s demystify the process and light-up your social prowess.

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Nothing and Everything

In 2007 I wrote:

“My fear, with all the hype about social media marketing, is that people new to search marketing will believe it’s what SEO demands and what SEO is all about.

It isn’t. Not by a long shot.”

And yet by 2008 I was writing:

“If you’re marketing websites, scary as it may sound, you need to learn about social media.”

So what changed?

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After much debate about Google+ and whether it is worthwhile or not, more and more people are accepting it and jumping on board. There are some definite SEO advantages to having a Google+ profile. In order to enjoy the benefits, you need to ensure you have it properly set up. Let’s take a look at the benefits and then go over the setup.

Some of the benefits that come with a Google+ profile are:

  • Google+ allows you to link to all of your social media profiles, sites and Blogs in a neat, organized manner. You can also link to any sites that you regularly contribute to. All of these links are followed links AND you get to select the anchor text (in your bio).
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It is much easier to be proactive than reactive when it comes to SEO – rebuilding lost rankings can take a considerable amount of time and effort. Work with a digital marketing partner that can recommend proper preparations for important algorithm updates to keep your site from being penalized.

By Asher Fusco, HeBS Digital

When Google rolled out its Panda algorithm update in February 2011, it upended search engine results pages (SERPs) in a major way, affecting 12 percent of all results. The algorithm adjustment essentially penalized low-quality sites and rewarded sites with engaging, high-quality content. Since the initial rollout of Panda, the search engine giant has introduced a number of updates and changes – as of late April 2013, the company has produced 25 Panda updates and a host of other updates, dubbed Penguin.

Because Google is always changing its algorithms in minor ways, the threat of another Penguin or Panda update might not seem like much to worry about. But Google is currently busy preparing a major Penguin update that will have a major impact on SERPs, according to SearchEngineWatch.

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I am not a big tool user in general. By that I mean the types of tools that supposedly help you “optimize” your website. There is no perfect page for SEO purposes, so in my opinion any tool that claims to give you information such as how many words you need here or there is simply wrong.

What most of those tools do is look at the top 10 ranking sites for a specific keyword phrase and then take averages of how many words they have in the Title tags, within the content, etc. Which to me is just silly. An average doesn’t tell you anything. One page might have 1,000 words and another might have 50, but the average is then in the 500 range. That certainly doesn’t mean that if you create your page to have 500 words it will somehow magically rank well.

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May 08, 2013

The new service makes encouraging fresh reviews easier by giving registered hotels the option to send customizable, bulk emails to their guests asking them to write a review about their customer experience.

TripAdvisor announced the expansion of its suite of review collection services with Review Express, a powerful, free solution available exclusively on TripAdvisor. The new service makes encouraging fresh reviews easier than ever by giving registered businesses the option to send customizable, bulk emails to their guests asking them to write a review about their customer experience. Review Express has been developed with property owners in mind and has been enhanced based on user feedback following extensive Beta testing.

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Myth #15: Usability does not affect SEO

The whole point of SEO is to gain traffic and get people to stay on your site so they can be entertained or buy your products and services. As such, SEO very much goes hand in hand with usability, because this is what will make a difference in whether or not someone stays on your site for long. If your site is hard to use or navigate, it is very easy for people to go to the next search result. Also, the search engines themselves will look at layout and usability. If your site is hard to navigate for your viewers, it will be hard for the crawler as well, and having bad usability can definitely affect your rankings.

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Effective SEO inherently encompasses two main areas of execution:

Off-site efforts that include things like link building and media relations, and on-site tactics that include every nuance your content must embrace to garner Google’s attention. You can have scads of fantastic off-site SEO techniques, but you won’t achieve the rankings you dream of without equally stellar on-site strategies.

So what are the core things your site must display in order to rank well? Read on for all the details.

On-Site SEO Basics

Great SEO strategies always start with the basics. Without a few core site elements, no amount of crafty marketing will ever boost your ranking.

Here are the on-site must-haves:
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Local SEO is a daunting and intimidating task to tackle for any small business. Google’s algorithms seem all the more mysterious in the local realm, and competition is fierce in almost any market. It used to be that the goal for a local business was to land in the “10-pack”, or the top 10 businesses for a set of local keywords. Google would then show a map charting the location of the top 10 rankings, with subsequent information listings. A few years back, Google changed this to the “7-pack”, thereby limiting top ranking opportunities even more. It goes without saying that your goal as a small business owner is to land in the top 7 for your targeted keywords. So how do you achieve this lofty vision? Through the cornerstones of great SEO: Fantastic content, smart citations and link shares, great customer service, and crafty social media. It’s a tricky task for sure, but it’s a mountain you absolutely can conquer.

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It sounds innocuous, almost cute and fun… but it strikes fear in the hearts of business owners who have invested capital in their websites with the hope of improving sales.

It’s the Bounce Rate. It’s mysterious. It’s menacing. It’s misunderstood.

Simply stated, the bounce rate is the number of visitors that land on your site and exit from the same page without viewing any content on your site. It is easy to understand why it would be preferable to keep this number lower, but sometimes a higher bounce rate may not be the “bogeyman” you assume it is. By taking the time to better understand the nature of the bounce rate, you can make it less of an enemy and more of an informant.

What is an “acceptable” bounce rate?

According to Google, the average website bounce rate is 40%. While that may sound simple and straightforward, that figure alone is really not a reliable statistic for determining how your website is functioning. Acceptable bounce rates take into consideration a number of variants. These include, but are not limited to:

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Myth #1: Only the First Rank Matters

Many ebooks and other resources that business owners use will place an important emphasis on the need to be at the top of search results, whether that be on Google Search, other engines, or even in places like social media. But surveys have shown that people quite often will look at other results and they will scroll down through the page. Being on top of a second page, for example, can be quite beneficial for traffic. Also, search ranking is only one part of the puzzle. Now Google places other results on the page like social recommendations and local results as well, which means there are many more avenues open to you, and being in first place is no longer as crucial as it once was.

Myth #2: You can do SEO Without Outside Help

Doing SEO simply means that you follow a set of techniques and procedures to improve the chance that web users will go to your site. It is true that anybody can learn these techniques, and, if you are a web site owner and you want to do your own SEO, then you can spend the time to learn and apply those techniques. But SEO can be complex and touches many areas such as marketing online, coding, technical aspects and PR skills. Most business owners simply do not have everything required to do a great job at SEO, and that is why so many agencies exist that offer help. An IT worker or online marketer is often not enough if you want truly good results.

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We can’t stop talking about Millennials. But it’s for good reason; they represent huge amounts of future biz. Here’s what you must know.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Teresa Lee

The travel trends of the Baby Boomer generation have been the focus of a great deal of analysis as the industry competes to capture their business.  However, a new generation is surpassing this segment and will be garnering as much attention: The Millennials.  This age group is beginning to outpace the Baby Boomer’s 76 million population with their own 79 million, and is projected to attain an even larger population gap at 78 million compared to the Boomers’ 58 million by 2030.   Though most people are aware that the Millennial generation is tech-savvy and will not travel in the same style as their parents, there has not been significant research concerning the trends and changes this generation will bring to the hospitality industry.

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I talked about link value last year but I thought I’d go a few steps further and add to that, covering how Google values links nowadays when link building isn’t the center of attention or the entire game that it once was.

Total Number: First and foremost, Google considers the total number of links which you have. This isn’t a particularly influential factor considering one good one from a high ranking, established, trustworthy site (more on this later) will be more valuable than thousands of spammy, low quality site links.

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Greater onus is placed on social signals, or social ranking factors, than ever before. This article looks at the main social networks and which signals are given greater weight by the search engines.

The question of whether Google prefers social signals or traditional links is something of a moot point. The most effective search optimization campaigns are those that are loaded with high quality and fresh website content, and those that include a wide variety of natural links and social signals. Therefore, creating a website profile that includes links and social signals will give you the best results.

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April 9, 2013 NB: This is a viewpoint by Brandon Dennis, technical marketing manager at Buuteeq.

Last week I took an informal survey and asked a group of hoteliers we work with what the top SEO questions they often hear.

Below is a summary of some of those items that came up during the course of the discussions which can pretty much be loosely described as six myths around SEO in the hotel sector:

Myth #1: I must constantly update my content to rank

This myth stems from Google’s November 2011 “freshness” update, which is largely misunderstood. Turns out that the freshness algorithm only affects between 6-10% of searches, and only searches about three types of events:

  • Recent events or hot topics (protests, disasters, celebrity deaths)
  • Regularly recurring events (presidential elections, quarterly stock earnings, Black Friday)
  • Frequently updated ideas, events, or things (the latest iPhone news, celebrity trial updates, the latest Mars rover findings).

Hotels are none of these. Hotels are stationary brick-and-mortar objects that rarely change, and so the freshness algorithm doesn’t apply to most hotels. The homepage description of a hotel and its area will rarely change, just like supplemental content like reviews for local points of interest.

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DudaMobile has put together this short guide packed full of helpful hints, facts, and best practices to ensure you’re truly making the most of your mobile website.

Learn how to:

  • Increase your visibility on the mobile web through mobile banner ads
  • Leverage paid search to your advantage
  • Perfect your site’s search engine optimization
  • Discover the importance of implementing local deals and coupons

Enjoy!

Download “Growing With Mobile” (PDF)

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Google algorithms have always been something of a mystery, but for many webmasters they have become a nightmare. Over the last year, keyword searches have become erratic, understanding how to improve page rank is more confusing than ever and the search engine giant is penalizing online businesses for all sorts of ungamely reasons.

Two recent surveys conducted independently of each other have shed some light on how Google algorithms measure the performance of a website and rank it accordingly. For the most part, the results told us many things we already know, but also revealed a shift in factors that produce the best results.

The first study conducted by BusinessBolts.com analyzed 100 randomly selected keywords and assessed them against the top five websites that appeared in Google for each search. A second survey conducted by Dr. Peter J Meyers took 10,000 B2B keywords and split them across 20 categories. Although the search results were predictably erratic, significant patterns were found in respect of keywords, word count, title tags, back links and local searches.

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Why the hotel branding and management decisions are so important

By Robert E. Braun

Robert BraunOne of the first decisions in the hotel development or acquisition process can have a lasting impact on the success of the project: whether the property should be branded, and whether that brand should manage the property. The hotel’s brand will be a defining part of the profitability, image and value of the hotel, and there may be no other decision which has a greater effect on the future of the property. Similarly, the management of a hotel can enhance the value of the brand, protect the owner, or detract from the value of the hotel — by as much as a 50% swing.

The 3 fundamental questions
While a hotel owner will live with these choices for years – if not decades — owners and developers often fail ask three key, threshold questions:

1. Should the hotel be branded?
2. If it is branded, which brand?
3. And if it will be branded, should the brand manage the property?

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The much-maligned Google Plus has received copious amounts of attention in the past couple months after becoming the number-two social network in the world. A report released by GlobalWebIndex, a collection of market research on web usage conducted by London-based consultancy Trendstream, found that Google Plus had accumulated 343 million active users by January 2013, up from 90 million total users a year before. This massive surge means that Google Plus has passed Twitter (288 million active users) but is still a distant second to Facebook (693 million active users).

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56% of email marketers plan to focus more on their email campaigns in 2013. Are you maximizing conversions and clickthrough rates for every email you send?

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On March 7th, the entrepreneurial-focused site BusinessBolts.com released a fascinating Google algorithms study dispelling a few myths about actual SEO trends. Focusing solely on Google’s algorithms, the study has uncovered critical data for business owners looking to maximize their placement on Google search engine results pages (SERPs).

To drill down into the current landscape, the study randomly selected 100 key phrases ranging from two to six words. Next, they analyzed only the first five results in each Google search, creating a test pool of 500 different web pages from which to gather data. Google Adwords ads, images, shopping sets and news site sets were eliminated from the analyzed test cases, ensuring actual web pages alone were studied.

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If your small business has a website, you’re an author. At least in the eyes of Google you are an author, and recent updates to Google’s Author Rank mean you can now claim and get credit for the content that you own (or “authored”) on your website, blog, article sites, and social media.

Here’s how Google explains its updated Author Rank system: “Assuming that a given agent has a high reputational score, representing an established reputation for authoring valuable content, then additional content authored and signed by that agent will be promoted relative to unsigned content or content from less reputable agents in search results.”

What does that mean? It means that if the content on a page is tied to an author who has a strong Author Rank in Google, that page’s search position will be higher than if it was not tied to an author, or if it was tied to an author with a lower Author Rank.

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Mar 8, 2013

There is no escaping the need for third-party distribution channels, but hotels should be using them to their best advantage. In this exclusive interview, EyeforTravel finds out how the Onyx Hospitality Group is managing the challenges and opportunities, which from mobile are “tremendous”.

Hotel companies are upping their game when it comes to strengthening online-direct initiatives. Be it for offering valuable incentives for booking direct, or coming up with appropriate lay-out, design and content options that fit with the booking funnel, suppliers are getting smarter in making the most of traffic that comes their way. At the same time, many are still wary of established online intermediaries, which are quick to grab emerging opportunities like mobile.

Hoteliers acknowledge that third-party distribution continues to pose new challenges. It’s not only about making the most of emerging channels or platforms but also about keeping an eye on how intermediaries are approaching new developments.

“Having to keep up with new devices, social networks and apps is challenging enough – and OTAs almost always beat hotels to it,” says Chetan Patel, vice president, strategic marketing and e-commerce, Onyx Hospitality Group.

EyeforTravel’s Ritesh Gupta talks to Patel about what hotel companies need to be alert about.

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