Tag: search engine

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Local Listings Critical Under New Google Maps

Search engine experts both within the lodging industry and outside it have already written on the previews of the new Google Maps, announced in May. Most have described the ways the appearance will change, some expressing concern, others joy. Few have taken a hard look at what the new Google Maps will mean about your Google+ Local Listing. [pullquote]If you're not actively using Google+ Local, you will have to change that, for your business to survive.[/pullquote]For the past several years those who deal with online marketing in our industry have stressed the importance of claiming your Google+ Local listing (or its predecessors), completing all the information, uploading photos and videos, etc. With the change to Google+ Pages for the listing, you can add posting regularly to the Page as another requirement. Despite this encouragement, many have failed to claim their listing, or have not updated it regularly. All that must change, if you want your business to survive - let alone prosper. Do you think I'm exaggerating? Take a look at your Google+ business page. You do have a Google+ business page, don't you? Hover your mouse over the top left where it says "Home", and select Dashboard from the pop-out menu. There is only one area of primary interest, for our purposes. Look at the chart called Insights. Near the bottom of that chart, click "View Insights". The boxes at the top tell the tale. The first box tells how many followers you have - need to work on that later. The second box, with the big number (we hope) tells how many people saw your Google+ page because it came up in their search results, even if you're not doing anything with it. Nice. Now the cold water to the face: the third box, with the much, much…

Why You Need Goals in Google Analytics

With all that is written about Google Analytics on a daily basis, it is hard to imagine the some businesses still question the need for tracking goals in Google Analytics. Yet they do just that. Recently we were asked to justify why a small bed and breakfast should bother setting up goals in Google Analytics. Our cynical side struggles to keep from answering that you don't need them - so long as you don't want to know which sources are sending website visitors who click certain things, visit certain pages, buy certain products, book their stay, or view certain videos. More recently the addition of Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analtyics adds another important consideration - tracking sites that contribute to all of those things - even if they are not the source of the "last click" to them. Why Goals are Useful [caption id="attachment_670" align="alignright" width="300"] Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/jayneandd/[/caption]What you define as a goal is pretty much up to you. Examples would be completing an online booking, downloading your printable brochure, signing up for your mailing list, watching a video, requesting more information, etc. The steps to set up a goal are in our earlier post on using goals in Google Analytics. Of course, the ultimate goal (especially for Multi-Channel Funnel reports) is an Ecommerce transaction - the visitor has actually booked a room or made a purchase. Multi-Channel Funnels With the addition of Multi-Channel Funnels* (sometimes called MCF), goals have become even more useful. First, some explanations. You can not use Multi-Channel Funnels without having set up at least one goal. We won't repeat our overview of MCF, but a brief explanation of some terminology is appropriate. Marketers use the term "funnel" to refer to the path a visitor takes to reach the goal. Visitors may start at different…

Your Webmaster Should Take A Look At This

Yesterday (16 July 2012) Google's Webmaster Central Blog published a post explaining "semantics" (more about that in a moment) of web pages, urging sites to use semantic markup (specific types of HTML), and several "Do's and Don'ts". Could this be a signal of an upcoming algorithm change? A Bit of Background This will be the geeky part, but a bit of background will help understand what may turn out to be significant about the Google Webmaster Central post mentioned above. If you prefer, just skip to the last section for the punch line. The code used to create web pages, generally speaking, is HTML. The actual "tags" used to designate elements (headers, paragraphs, blocks, etc.) is called "markup." There are standards for properly creating pages with HTML, and those standards change and are updated as new browser features and other online capabilities become available. Google (and other browser and search firms) are usually represented in the updating and standards for HTML. The latest version of the HTML standards was HTML5, which was not officially released. One group has gone forward with it, while another has renamed HTML5 as HTML and continues it as a work in progress. We'll refer to both interchangeably as HTML5, for purposes of this post. HTML5, not fully supported by all browsers at this time, replaces some generic markup with "semantic" markup. For example, before HTML5 you might have a section of your HTML markup called a "div" - a generic block that could be used for any purpose. One div might be your navigation links, and another might be a feed from your blog. These could be differentiated by an "id" so a div with an id of "nav" might be your navigation links, and a div with an id of "feed" might be your…

Finding the Slackers – Are Some Landing Pages Just Not Doing Their Jobs?

[pullquote]Landing Pages are the doorways to your website[/pullquote]Landing pages are the doorways to your website. We tend to think of our site like a book - people start at the front (the home page) and work their way through the content in a logical sequence. In reality, however, people use a search engine to find a page that matches their search results (which may not be what you expected), and enter your site through that page. If the page doesn't entice them to go further into your site, they will leave. Sometimes we design a specific landing page - so our visitor who came to our site from our Facebook profile, or Twitter profile, for example, will come to a landing page designed to greet them and provide information specific to that source. Other times, however, the search the user performs brings up a page that you never expected would be a landing page. But there it is, and now it is a landing page. Is it doing the job it is expected to do? 1. Finding the Landing Pages Your Visitors Are Using We'll begin by finding the landing pages our visitors are using. Google Analytics provides this information in the Landing Pages Report, located by finding Content -> Site Content -> Landing Pages. That report shows the pages visitors use to enter your site. By default, these landing pages are sorted by the number of visits. We'll refine that shortly. 2. Finding Landing Pages With High Bounce Rates One of the most talked-about topics in analytics is bounce rate. A "bounce" is a visit to a single page, where the visitor doesn't go to another page on your site or take a measurable action, such as download a file, watch a video, etc. We're often familiar with the…

Pinterest: Not Just YASN (Yet Another Social Network) for B&B’s

We've been hearing a lot of buzz about Pinterest lately, but surprisingly little of it comes from within the Innkeeping community. I say it is surprising, because Pinterest seems almost as if it was made for innkeepers - it is easy to use (we jumped in for our Freeport Maine B&B, and were happily pinning away in minutes), plentiful graphics grab the attention of the visitor, and it is so addictive that users stay connected for a long time. According to comScore, Pinterest ranks just behind Google+ in number of visitors, and third (behind Facebook and Tumblr) in the amount of time a visitor spends on the site. This is very impressive for a site that is not yet open to the public (you can join using a Facebook login, or you can request an invitation on the Pinterest home page). So what is Pinterest? Pinterest describes itself as a virtual pinboard, but we think it is being far too modest. From where we sit, Pinterest is a fantastic tool for sharing interests, or ideas, with others. It seems to be a combination of bookmarking sites (like StumbleUpon, Digg, or Reddit) with photo sharing sites (like Flickr, Panoramio, or Photobucket), with the added ability to comment, share, etc., that you find on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. Why do people share? The reasons for sharing seem as varied as the backgrounds of the people sharing. Some are sharing their own memories or activities, much like other sites. But since Pinterest allows (even encourages) sharing of sites you visit (they retain info attributing the original source), you can also share your interests, dreams, and ideas. Why would an Innkeeper use Pinterest? There are several reasons to use Pinterest. First, as Heather Allard notes, "If you had the opportunity to make your business…

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