Most business owners understand how important a company’s online visibility is for the bottom line, which is why driving traffic to your website is one of the most imperative factors for success. Especially in the hospitality industry, in which a large percentage of bookings are made through the online channel, it is imperative that companies ensure that their website is as user friendly as possible.
One effective way to increase your website traffic is to create direct links to your site; however, while it is effective, it can also be a laborious process, taking up much of a company’s time and money. Never fear… there are new and innovative ways to drive traffic to a company’s website, which can be less expensive and easier to implement than link building (and which have also proven to be just as effective).
For experienced marketers, many of these are established practices are used daily, but even the most successful businesses with highly optimized websites can often improve in one or more of these areas.
Publish in-depth articles
According to a recent study, 6.5% of Google search results contain in-depth articles. Although this may not seem like a substantial amount, articles that qualify – by definition, quality articles that are carefully written to include industry-related keywords – can see a significant increase in website traffic. If you are a hospitality industry business, consider publishing an article voicing your expert opinion on a topic relevant to the industry. For example, if you are a company who provides a technology that optimizes an aspect of a hotel’s operations, write an article offering specific tips on how technology can improve a hotel’s internal functions and revenues.
If articles are written with specific industry-related keywords, your SEO (search engine optimization (a form of web publishing used to increase webpage visibility and traffic) will often increase, giving the article a higher ranking in search engines and thus, it will be more visible to online searchers. It stands to reason that if your company’s visibility increases online, so will your clicks and your traffic. This will also make your article more attractive to link industry influencers to your website (people that link their sites to yours), compelling their followers to visit your website to see what you have to offer.
Improve user experience
By improving the user experience on your site, it is possible to increase your website’s rankings as well. Google Panda is a filter aimed to decrease the rank of “low-quality sites” or “thin sites” and increase the rank of higher-quality sites. Therefore, if your site is of high-quality, has a strong user experience and has minimal glitches, your website can be automatically boosted to a higher search ranking by Google Panda.
Aside from speed and user experience, if your website isn’t configured properly for mobile devices, it will likely see a lower search ranking (for mobile queries, of course). Mobile optimization is especially important today as more than 2.23 billion people worldwide, or 48.9% of mobile phone users, will go online via mobile and over half of the mobile audience will use the mobile internet next year. For the travel industry, mobile is especially important; PhoCusWright has said that mobile will account for more than 25% of US online travel bookings by 2015.
To prevent a loss in mobile rankings via search engine, avoid the following when optimizing your mobile site:
1- Embedding multimedia content that doesn’t load on a specific type of phone (i.e. flash video doesn’t load on an iPhone, etc.)
3- Small clickable buttons or fonts
4- Pages exceeding 20kbs
It is worth making your mobile site responsive because a good mobile experience is imperative for a company’s success. If you provide your customers with a simple, hassle-free mobile experience, you should see an increase in your mobile traffic – and mobile bookings.
YouTube is another social platform that will help your company increase its online visibility. Creating a video for your homepage or for your YouTube channel will promote your call-to-action and can help to improve your site’s traffic (as YouTube videos are often displayed on the first page of search results).
Additionally, most searchers connect more strongly to visuals (pictures and videos) than to words, so even if your videos are not visible on the first page of search results, people will often go directly to YouTube to conduct a search. In fact, YouTube is the second most popular search engine (after Google).
Google Authorship enables businesses to link content they create with a Google+ profile, which ensures that the spokesperson’s headshot will appear next to your content in Google’s search results. While this has not been proven to increase website traffic, it can help to increase your website’s click-through rate.
What classifies as an acceptable author photo? While there are no strict rules, searchers tend to favor headshots that:
- Use a professional headshot of a company spokesperson: Never use a company logo or stock image.
- Use high contrast colors: The photo is small, so you need to stand out. Avoid black and white photos (if possible).
- Use a high-resolution photo: Poor quality images tend to turn off many searchers and can also negatively influence their perception of the company’s professionalism.
As you can see, generating even greater visibility and brand awareness through the online channel can be easily done with the right tools and strategy. So will you implement one (or all of them) into your company’s online marketing strategy?