Way back in 2010, both Google and Bing confirmed that Twitter and Facebook influence SEO, but for some reason we don’t seem to hear enough about the ever-growing linkage between social and SEO.
If you’re interested in positive ROI (Return On Investment) for social media, then an SEO boost would certainly be a worthwhile return on your efforts.
(Of course, there’s horse manure ROI and then there’s real deal ROI….meaning having both goals AND metrics (KPIs or Key Performance Indicators) that you use to measure whether you’re meeting your goals.)
Improving your online visibility would be a sensible part of any set of goals, since search engines are the top planning source for personal travel.
So, how can social media help your SEO?
Let’s start with how a blog can give you a boost, with this report straight from the DMO (Destination Marketing Organization) front lines, generously written for us by Kim Rielly at the Lake Placid CVB….
How a Blog Helps SEO and Website Traffic
“The launch of our flagship destination’s new website in 2010 was exciting for us. The shiny, colorful new LakePlacid.com incorporated flexible design, integrated our social networks and reflected Lake Placid’s brand identity.
More importantly, the management system provided us with the ability to control and implement our content development strategy in-house. In addition to frequent updates to descriptive content, my communications staff maintains two key frequently updated sections – news releases and blogs. We prioritize these sections with the primary objective of increasing content on key topics to gain authority in search engine rankings, and to provide great, ‘link-able’ social media fodder.
The blog content is updated on an almost-daily basis; without question, it is an SEO workhorse. Here are some examples:
- Blog content is responsible for increasing overall traffic to our website; unique blog page views increased 122% in May 2012 versus May 2011.
- We continue to beef up our hiking-related blog content, because the number one activity to influence visitation to our region is outdoor recreation. In May 2012, the hiking blog tag resulted in 181 organic search results.
- As we continue to add more content, our site gains authority in search rankings for certain terms over time. For instance, a blog post “walk around the lake” posted in 2010 resulted in 34 organic search results in May 2011, and increased to 94 organic search results in May 2012.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go play outside and write about it. It’s my job. “
(Note: Kimberly Rielly is the director of communications for the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism / Lake Placid CVB, which is the accredited DMO responsible for promoting the Lake Placid, Lake Champlain, Schroon Lake and Whiteface Regions of New York’s Adirondacks. We enjoyed meeting her in person at NMX New Media Expo/BlogWorld in New York. Thanks so much for letting us include your data in our newsletter, Kim!)
OK, I’m A Believer; Give Me Some SEO Tips
Well, we do have an SEO for tourism on-demand webinar with Andy Hayes from Travel Online Partners; it’s 60 minutes of advice from us plus our slide deck. Probably the most valuable tips in the webinar are about how to use Google’s Keyword Search Tool, which can be a bit overwhelming without some guidance.
Here is some more help:
A) Keywords are key. They are the words that people use to search for things. You need to create blog posts and other content that contains those words. If people tend to use the term “cheap” in their searches but all of your content uses the term “budget” instead, you’ll decrease your chances of ranking well in search engine results for what prospective visitors are really looking for.
Yes, Facebook Pages need SEO attention as well. Build links to your Page, avoid gated content (which search engines can’t crawl) and consider keywords in your About section, tabs and updates.
*** Tip 1, from Becky — What is so obvious that you are leaving it out? Sometimes, you don’t realize that you are leaving out an important word. One tourism company that I’ve worked with leads safaris in Africa. Well, we didn’t say “Africa” very often in their content, because from every picture, every story and everything else we said, you could just tell it was in Africa!
But, the search engines couldn’t “just tell.” We had to go back and find natural places in the text to say the word “Africa.”
*** Tip 2, from Leslie — To make sure that my SEO is always topnotch, meaning written correctly to keywords, I use Wordle. It creates word clouds that show what words have the most emphasis in the copy that’s been written. The larger the word in the word cloud, the more emphasis it has in the copy. Adjust as needed if your copy is off the mark. Wordle is an absolute must as far as I’m concerned when making sure copy is “searchable” and able to be found easily in “The Google.” It’s a great FREE tool to have in your arsenal.
B) Photos and video pack an SEO punch when optimized.
*** Tip 3, from Sheila — How many times have you seen a Flickr photo titled something like “IMG_8160″? Search engines DO crawl that text, but it sure isn’t helping your SEO.
When you upload a photo or video to any site, always take the time to title, describe and tag it. You don’t have to get super-fancy; simply tell readers with some text what the heck the photo or video is about. You’ll be helping the search engines index your content a lot more accurately AND you’ll be helping web accessibility for the disabled as well.
C) Make an effort to get more out of LinkedIn.
*** Tip 4, from all of us — A search engine-optimized LinkedIn Company Page for your MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions/Events) sales staff can do wonders for helping meeting planners find you and your venues when they research online for possible event locations.
Include your important keywords in your Company Overview, thoroughly build out your Company profile, add photos and video of your meetings venues and conference center, then post updates regularly. Yes, you can update on a LinkedIn Company profile just like you update a LinkedIn personal profile, a Facebook Page or a Facebook personal profile. Think of them as free bulletin boards that also help SEO.
In addition, set up a LinkedIn Company profile and optimize it for your EDC (Economic Development Corporation) – it will help make your location’s offerings more visible to site selectors.
Have you connected with us in your favorite places? If you arrived here directly from a link, here’s the email signup for this newsletter. Say hi to Becky, Leslie and Sheila at Tourism Currents on….
- Our Facebook Page – we love your comments.
- Our Twitter stream – all day awesome.
- Our LinkedIn Company profile – follow us.
- Our Flickr Group Pool – we wanna see your tourism pics!
- Our Delicious bookmarks on tourism – great research tool.
- Our YouTube channel – video about and from the tourism industry.
Don’t miss these goodies, either: