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June 30, 2016

Tim Peter Helps Hotel News Now Explain 5 Myths About The Search Universe

June 30, 2016 | By | No Comments

Want to drive more direct bookings to your hotel? Click here to learn more


Tim Peter Helps Hotel News Now Explain 5 Myths About The Search Universe

There appear to be many misconceptions around search and how it works best for hotel marketers. Plenty of hotel marketers are searching to find out what’s fact and what’s fiction. Tim Peter, President of Tim Peter & Associates shares his knowledge of search and how to appropriately increase traffic through different social media. For instance Tim explains,

“Things that make you do well in search are the same things that will attract views (on social).”

He continues with thoughts on Google AdWords,

“AdWords falls into SEM (search engine marketing), and SEO really lends a hand to rank higher [in paid search],” Peter said. “Generally I suggest using a mixture of both SEO and AdWords to make certain utmost coverage in SERPs (search engine result pages).”

You can read the whole article on Hotel News Now here.

If you’re looking to learn even more about how changing guest behavior shapes hospitality marketing, e-commerce, and distribution, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also want to take a moment to review the slides from my recent seminar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2016: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your hotel, including:

Tim Peter

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October 31, 2015

Google, Mobile, E-commerce. What More Could You Want? – E-commerce Link Digest

October 31, 2015 | By | No Comments

What more could you want than a look at Google, mobile, e-commerce, and moreReady for the weekend? Even more important, are you ready for this week’s link digest? Well, let’s see. This time we’ve got posts about Google, mobile, e-commerce, social, streaming video, bitcoin, net neutrality, plus a couple inspirational posts that help explain how to succeed in digital—and in business overall. I mean, really, what more could you want? Enjoy:

  1. Well, Google’s been busy lately. First, Search Engine Land says that Google warns webmasters again not to use sneaky, mobile-based redirects, proving once again that mobile is where Google’s putting tons of its energies these days.
  2. While keeping with the Google and mobile theme, a recent episode of our Thinks Out Loud podcast asks, “Google, Apple or Facebook: Who’ll Win the Mobile Web?” Spoiler: it’s too soon to tell. But check out the whole episode to understand why. And on the same topic, Quartz explores why Google can’t stop talking about mobile until it comes to real numbers.
  3. Another Search Engine Land piece offers a great FAQ all about the new Google RankBrain algorithm, which uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve its search results, and Search Engine Land also reports that the search giant now provides RLSA to AdWords Shopping Ads with its shopping remarketing lists. . Cool feature, and very welcome for e-commerce marketers.
  4. Quartz highlights a couple of breaking bit coin stories this week, including the EU admitting bitcoin is a currency and that AmEx just made its first bitcoin investment. I’m planning to delve deeper into what makes bitcoin important for the e-commerce and digital strategy space in the next few weeks. These Quartz articles will give you a head start on the topic.
  5. Business Insider shines a light on the latest from the NFL featuring its experiment with streaming. The A/V Club pours cold water on the league’s announcement that 15.2 million unique users viewed the stream in an article thoroughly submerged in snark, but still notes:
    “…three seconds of involuntary football fandom might not sound like much, but look at the product being offered. This was a game between two dreadful squads hailing from second-tier cities. It was played early on a weekend morning, and people in Buffalo and Jacksonville could see it on TV, giving them little reason to watch it online. Yahoo’s web stream was engineered to lack appeal… When Yahoo’s engineers were able to dupe 15.2 trillion people into spending more than zero time on Buffalo-Jacksonville, they succeeded in moving the needle. League officials can be happy…”

    It seems there may be something to this streaming thing in the future after all.

  6. Changing gears, eMarketer rounding up research from top marketers and found increasing audience engagement remains a key objective in social media marketing. Some wag once even went so far as to say that tactic represents the single most effective way to improve your brand’s digital marketing.
  7. A great piece over on KissMetrics says, “It’s Time to Kill These 8 Deadly Online Marketing Myths.” Yep. I agree.
  8. A recent article from the Harvard Business Review that states “Companies Value Curiosity but Stifle It Anyway​” provided the inspiration for my post, “Learning How to Fail.” Failure in e-commerce and marketing happens. Learning how to do it right ensures they’ll let you stick around to do it again.
  9. PSFK details five key retail trends every brand should invest in. Brilliant list, and well worth your time this week.
  10. And, finally, Ars Technica updates us all after the EU voted in favor of Internet fast lanes and slow lanes, striking a huge blow for net neutrality. This is a monumentally stupid idea. As I’ve said before, net neutrality matters for businesses large and small. This isn’t a partisan issue. It isn’t “socialism.” An open Internet benefits consumers and businesses, large and small alike. Stay tuned for more on this topic over time.

Hope you have a fantastic weekend, Big Thinkers. And here’s hoping you have an amazing week ahead too!

If you’re interested in learning more about making the social, mobile web work for your customers, be sure to check out these “8 Excellent Autumn E-commerce and Digital Marketing Posts,” these “6 Must-See Mobile Commerce Messages for You,” this set of “9 Digital Marketing Must-Reads for You This Weekend” and other entries from our E-commerce Link Digest series, plus these “7 Special E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Trending Topics: The Top Posts of September, 2015.”

And if you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

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October 28, 2015

Why Priceline Believes in the Death of Search Engine Optimization (Travel Tuesday)

October 28, 2015 | By | No Comments

The Death of Search Engine Optimization

Want to know one cause for the rising cost of guest acquisition? Look no further than the declining prominence and effectiveness of natural search as Google increasingly places paid ads higher on the search results pages. This reduces both the number of natural results per page and your guests’ opportunities to see those ads. The problem has become so pronounced that, in a report from Skift’s Global Forum, Priceline.com CEO Paul Hennessy announced the death of search engine optimization. Money quote:

“As far as SEO is, my view on that is it’s more of a desktop thought because as the devices get smaller and smaller and smaller, the number of choices from an SEO perspective on mobile decline dramatically. And so I believe it is a paid world.”

Well, that’s a bummer. If you subscribe to Hennessy’s worldview, you’d have to expect your paid costs will continue to increase. But you already know that. You’re living that every day.

However, this particular cloud really does have a few silver linings. For one thing, this hurts the folks trying to disrupt you as much as it hurts you. And, in some ways, more. For instance, Tnooz says that Airbnb is increasing its host fees as way to pay for Google advertising (a topic we covered a little bit in this week’s Hospitality Marketing Link Digest). That’s a mixed blessing for hoteliers, as it will drive up the rates Airbnb hosts charge — and will help protect hotel rates in those same markets.

Additionally, OTA’s, which by definition should possess lower quality scores than the hotels whose brand terms they sometimes bid on, have to pay higher costs than hotel marketers on a per-click basis. Or, at least they do when you focus on creating high quality content for your hotel’s website to show Google you’re a better answer to a guest’s questions.

Also lost in all of this is the fact that Priceline currently is hiring SEO product managers—and probably would love to see hotels reduce their SEO efforts. I don’t know about you, but I’d take Hennessey’s comments with a grain—if not a whole chunk—of salt.

Is search growing? It’s complicated. Desktop search isn’t really growing, while mobile search is. But, as Hennessy accurately points out, fewer opportunities exist for your hotel to appear in mobile search due to the size of the screen and Google’s increased use of paid placements in the search results. Add to that the fact that guests often substitute apps in place of “traditional” search, and you can see why this is a mess. Even if its growth has slowed, search remains an important part of traffic and reservations for your hotel’s website. And, I can’t imagine abandoning search engine optimization or paid search marketing as a positive at this point.

Instead, the real takeaways for your hotel marketing include:

  • SEO and content marketing remain a cost of doing business—and likely will be so for some time to come
  • Quality content continues to improve your natural search rankings and drive down your paid media costs by improving your paid search quality scores
  • Link-building activity—a key component of SEO activities—can help drive referred traffic in addition to its assumed “SEO benefit”
  • In other words, effectively executing your SEO and content marketing strategies drives business

In fact, the more nuanced—and in my mind accurate—quote in the Skift report comes from Evan Reece, Co-Founder and CEO of Liftopia, right at the very end of the article:

“So perhaps the way we think about SEO now, it is dying a bit. But delivering value to users has been a huge driver of success even within that old world, and brands that focus on that value creation will likely benefit from Google’s new world of delivering that value.”

As long as you continue to focus on creating high-quality content, that’s snackable, sharable, and sharp (something I talked about in my 2016 Trends report a few weeks back), and expand your use social for promotion, you should still expect to receive benefit from search for some time to come.

If you’re looking to learn even more about how changing guest behavior shapes hospitality marketing, e-commerce, and distribution, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also want to take a moment to review the slides from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2016: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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April 16, 2015

Is This The Death of Google? Thinks Out Loud Episode 119

April 16, 2015 | By | No Comments

Shifts in mobile and antitrust combined may lead to the death of Google

Is This the Death of Google? – Headlines and Show Notes

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 15m 26s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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July 30, 2014

The State of Search Marketing – Thinks Out Loud Episode 83

July 30, 2014 | By | No Comments

What's the state of search

The State of Search Marketing Headlines and Show Notes

You might also enjoy this look at what your customers expect from e-commerce in 2014 and my slides from the “Digital Marketing Directions – Exploit the Trends that Shape Travel Marketing” talk I gave recently:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 14m 19s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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July 24, 2014

Panda Attacks: What You Can Learn from eBay’s E-commerce SEO Mistake

July 24, 2014 | By | No Comments

E-commerce SEO tipsFor the last week or so, I’ve been looking at ways to improve your overall e-commerce effectiveness, noting why e-commerce will continue its strong growth, and why e-commerce and mobile go hand-in-hand. But search remains a huge part of effective traffic driver for many businesses. The question you need to worry about: Is your e-commerce SEO up to snuff?

You see, eBay, who you’d think would be really good at both e-commerce and SEO, committed one of Google’s deadly sins: They presented consumers with a large number of thin, uninteresting pages. And Google struck back, delisting tons of pages and cutting eBay’s search engine traffic by greater than 33% (according to Search Engine Land). Well, earlier this week, we all learned that this Panda penalty will cost eBay almost $200 million in revenue this year.

Um… yikes.

The only good news from this story is that you don’t have to let this happen to you. Instead, you can learn from eBay’s mistakes to improve your e-commerce SEO — and stay in Google’s good graces. Here are a few ideas on how to do that:

  • Provide your customers useful, helpful, relevant content. Ebay’s biggest problem, by far, was the number of truly awful pages on their site, with many showing a product image, headline, and little else. Create rich, detailed product descriptions for your products and services, work to attract relevant links from appropriate channel partners, and continue to improve your site’s response time to demonstrate to Google — and to your customers — that you offer quality content.
  • Focus on your most important product pages. Your time is your most valuable resource. Don’t waste it worrying about the pages and products no one sees. Instead, put your web analytics and sales data to work, see which products and pages your customers spend the most time with, then focus on improving those pages first. Over time you can then roll out what you’ve learned to the rest of your site.
  • Mobile matters. I know, I know. I’ve talked about the importance of mobile in search and e-commerce for a while now. But I’m serious. It really matters. Mobile now accounts for at least a third of all search traffic. And Google has admitted that mobile-friendly sites rank better in mobile search than those that make it hard for customers to browse, shop, and buy. Regardless of Panda or anything else Google may do, you risk losing customers to competitors if they can’t find your site in Google — or use it when they arrive. Improve your overall e-commerce usability and your mobile presence to help your customers

I’ve looked at each of these items in more detail — plus offered 5 more e-commerce SEO tips — in my latest Biznology column: e-Commerce SEO: How to avoid eBay’s $200 million Panda mistake. Check out the entire list when you get a moment.

And, if you’re interested in learning even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing. Again, it was built for a travel audience, but its lessons apply across industries. The full deck is here:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the e-commerce and how to make it work for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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February 3, 2014

Is Guest Blogging Dead?

February 3, 2014 | By | No Comments

Is it time to give up on guest blogging?Matt Cutts sure knows how to get the SEO community worked up, doesn’t he? Cutts, Google’s head of webspam, told the community recently that guest blogging is dead, due to its overuse by search marketing companies for link-building. Money quote:

‘Ultimately, this is why we can’t have nice things in the SEO space: a trend starts out as authentic. Then more and more people pile on until only the barest trace of legitimate behavior remains. We’ve reached the point in the downward spiral where people are hawking “guest post outsourcing” and writing articles about “how to automate guest blogging.”’ [Editor’s Note: The deluge of requests like these that I receive on a daily basis is one of the reasons I’m no longer accepting unsolicited guest posts]

Anyway, no one would blame you if you said, “OK. That’s good enough for me. I’ll never guest post again.” After all, when Google (in the form of Matt Cutts) says something’s toast, well, that’s usually good enough for most people.

It’s also wrong.

The reality is much more complex than that. Guest blogging, when done well, isn’t only about links. In theory, anyway, guest blogging is supposed to be about raising awareness of and traffic to your brand’s web presence (and both of those comprise a huge part of a solid e-commerce and Internet marketing strategy). Given that that’s the case, why would throw away years of work building relationships with publishers and bloggers? And why would you abandon a tactic that offers you brand awareness and traffic? 

Done well, guest blogging can (and often should) continue to be part of your brand’s Internet marketing efforts. In fact, Cutts suggested the same in the comments to his original post (Search Engine Land offers a solid round-up in the “Postscript” of this article).

Among the ways you can make it work for your brand include:

  • Focusing on quality sites in your market, emphasizing quality over quantity.
  • Building the right content for your site first. 
  • Writing and commenting regularly on a small set of external sites to build a relationship.
  • Tracking traffic and conversions from your selected sites.

My latest Biznology post explores each of these tactics (and several others) in more detail. Check out the whole post, “Should Guest Blogging Still Be Part of Your SEO Strategy?” when you get a chance for more tips on how to make guest blogging work for your brand. Because guest blogging is not dead. Not by a long shot. (And, no, it’s not a zombie, either). Like much of Internet marketing, it’s evolving and changing as your customers change. The question is whether you’re changing along with it.

Do yourself a favor and read the whole post over on Biznology.

I’d also recommend you look at this presentation, “Today and Tomorrow: The Changing Customer Journey,” which looks at how your customers are changing… and how you can change with them:

You can also register to receive a free copy of my special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals.

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

October 2, 2013

Google's SEO Shutdown?

October 2, 2013 | By | No Comments

Google's SEO Shutdown

Google’s SEO Shutdown Headlines

You can also register to receive a free copy of my special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals.

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using a Shure SM57 microphone
through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 19m 59s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

By

July 19, 2013

Local Search is More than Meets the Eye

July 19, 2013 | By | No Comments

20130719-162343.jpgWhen is local not local? It’s not meant as a riddle, but instead as a thought-starter, something to get you thinking about what local really means for your customers.

Oh, and for your brand.

Because, as I write in my latest piece for Mike Moran’s Biznology blog, “Why Local Search is Just Like Politics,” local is about more than just geography (or, more correctly, proximity).

It’s also about those things your customers think about when they really need an answer, when they’re really in the market, when they’re ready to buy. Because local is more than just geography. It’s more than just proximity.

In the immortal words from Jaws: The Revenge, “This time, it’s personal.”

Local search, largely driven by mobile and the “always connected” nature of your customers, is all about personal response.

And my Biznology post explores how you can use that to your advantage in more detail. Check it out if you get the chance.

Interested in learning more about e-commerce and digital marketing? Register to receive a free copy of my new special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals. And, if that’s not enough, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of strategy, digital marketing, and e-commerce, including:

Tim Peter

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June 21, 2013