Weekly stories curated exclusively for digital tourism marketers
The Travel Vertical in conversation with Simpleview’s Paul McLeod, Director of Business Intelligence.
The Travel Vertical: We’ve enjoyed reading “The State of SEO for DMOs Report“ and appreciate your insights into several of the finer points of that document for our readers.
Have you read it yet? We have five questions about maximizing opportunities for SEO. Answers from Simpleview appear here:
Q: What opportunities might there be to recover real estate under ‘top things to do?’
A: Numbered lists seem to do well for “things to do” keywords, with or without modifiers such as “best” and “top.” Whether this is because Google directly prefers that format or users like it—and therefore link to it more often—is difficult to say. Anchoring their attractions content with such a list can be politically problematic for DMOs, who want to keep everyone happy without playing favorites.
Unfortunately, playing favorites is exactly what users, and therefore Google, want us to do. To the extent it’s possible, curating the best of your destination and listing those high points in a user-friendly, machine-readable manner is the best way to attack this high-volume, mission-central keyword.
Q: What is the optimal balance of follow and no-follow links? And why?
A: The optimal “balance” will come naturally if you use no-follow tags the way the search engines intend them (e.g. to mark paid or user-generated links as references not created by you purely for editorial reasons). The balance only starts to look off for the search engines if it seems like you’re trying to no-follow all your external links and hoard your ranking power. As long as you’re letting regular external links be followed, you and your DMO should be fine.
Q: Can you provide the latest update re: Facebook in regard to the following comment—“It may be that decreased user engagement with posts by marketers will lessen the indirect SEO benefits of being active on the site…We will continue to monitor how the situation plays out for destinations.”
A: This is still essentially impossible to measure directly, as the SEO benefits of such posts get mixed in with noise from so many other ranking factors. We continue to recommend a healthy social media content strategy as a compliment to SEO, given that so much user sharing and browsing activity occurs on Facebook.
Q: Please explain if there’s a way a DMO could optimize the attraction carousel—“Top Stories carousels are open only to sites verified to have a well-populated feed of news-only (e.g. not marketing) articles.”
A: The Top Stories and Attractions carousels are different. A DMO could optimize the Attractions carousel for its destination by submitting accurate information for points of interest through Google Maps.
This may enhance Google users’ ability to explore your destination from Google’s own platform. As of now, however, there is no way to drive traffic to a DMO site from this carousel. All clicks simply take the user to a new Google search using the name of the clicked attraction as a keyword.
Getting into the Top Stories carousel would first require the DMO committing to a strong content strategy for generating factual, news-report content. Editorials and features will not help it get into the SERP carousel.
Then, this news-only content would need to be published in its own directory on the site, where no non-news articles will be found. This could be accomplished by setting up a separate blog instance for the news articles. With this done, some additional custom background work by a developer would be required; DMOs would need to contact their web vendor about meeting the requirements.
Q: In addition to Local Results, Featured Snippets and Twitter pack, are there any other frequently overlooked tips for claiming more free real estate on Google?
A: Google Posts are a potentially exciting new way to get into Google’s results, especially when people search your destination name. Make sure you’ve claimed your destination’s official Google Posts slot (city governments and DMOs are both eligible). If the government has already claimed it, ask if they can share access with you. Stories published within Google Posts will appear below the Knowledge Panel served up for your destination.
As of yet, the level of user engagement with this section is hard to gauge, but it’s worth at least establishing your claim to the space.
Visit Savannah uses a tiered vetting system to measure the value of influencers, calculate engagement, review the strongest platforms, and writes each influencer contract accordingly.
In this popular presentation at eTourism Summit, Lauren Cleland, the DMO’s director of digital marketing, shared how it’s done. To steal this idea, click here.
Meantime…in this week’s breaking news: Instagram kills off fake likes, follows, and comments:
“We’re removing inauthentic likes and follows,” reads a new Instagram message popping up on some users’ phones this week.
Seems that Instagram is getting wise, cracking down on people and apps who are gaming the system. Instagram says it has developed machine learning tools to help detect and remove fake popularity boosting. This is the first time Instagram has publicly discussed removing fake likes from posts, according to media reports.
The move comes as major social media sites face increasing criticism over the presence of trolls, fake news, and misinformation on their platforms. Earlier this year, Twitter purged tens of millions of accounts from users’ follower counts (The Travel Vertical, 7/10/2018).
And, reports Recode, Instagram isn’t done: ‘We’ll have more updates in the coming weeks on additional measures we’re taking to tackle inauthentic activity on Instagram,’ the company wrote on its blog.” Click to read more from CNN and TechCrunch.
Visit Pittsburgh uses UGC to transform outdated perceptions. “Pittsburgh has always had a negative reputation as a smoky steel city, so why would anyone want to go there?” asks Molly Allwein, Digital Marketing Manager at Visit Pittsburgh.
“We’re always working on overcoming that perception, and once we get people here they’re always astounded.”
How did they do it? By leveraging the platform as a space for people who really want to rave about the city.
CrowdRiff tells more in this case study write-up.
Clocks have fallen back an hour, even Halloween is a memory, and summer vacation 2018 is ancient history. But travel pros know the busy holiday season is still ahead.
DMOs can pick up some expert advice from Sojern on how to strategize now.
More consumers are online for shopping this season and while extra eyes are fixed to the screen, travel searches are up. Learn about how travelers are planning to get away during the last part of 2018 and how to catch their attention in a timely report from Sojern.