How Google+ Affects the Hotelier's SEO Strategy.
By Sue Wiker
Thursday, 9th February 2012
What's the Issue?

Google recently rolled out 'Search Plus Your World,' a layout that includes social recommendations made by users in your Google+ circles.  When logged into your Google account, not only do you see results with recommendations…:

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…if there is enough interest, there is a separate sidebar dedicated to relevant Google+ pages:

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You can also toggle between showing and hiding "personal" results in the upper right-hand corner. Showing these results displays relevant articles/posts/shares on friends in your circles:

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This hyper-personalized results page lets you see what your friends are saying about a topic. Since users are much more likely to rely on friends' recommendations, this is a powerful search tool.

The other effect "Google Search Plus Your World" has on search is how you collect data. When logged in, users' search terms are encrypted, meaning they show up in analytics tools as "unknown." With more benefits available to logged-in users, the number of encrypted searches is bound to rise.

Ostensibly the goal behind this new offering is to provide users with a more personalized search; however, the social benefits tend to heavily favor Google.

What Does it Mean for Hoteliers?

With such a large market share, Google is somewhat able to dictate what businesses must do to be successful. With a greater emphasis on social relevancy and personalization comes the expectation that businesses will catch up – sooner rather than later.

As Google seems to be favoring its own social networks, it is imperative that hotels develop a Google+ page. While some hotels have already created pages, the adoption rate is not as quick as Facebook and there is still room to be an "early adopter" in this channel. In no uncertain terms, the more you interact with other Google+ users in your circles, the greater the likelihood that your content & activity will show up in personalized search results.

What is the Solution?

First, create a Google+ business page. Add a quality photo and fill out the ‘About' section to get started. Good examples to follow here are Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Company, and the HeBS Digital client, Sorrel River Ranch (screenshot below). This will make it easier for people to find your page and add it to one of their circles.

Second, maintain your Google+ page. Think of it as an extension of your Facebook page or a blog – it needs to be updated regularly to avoid becoming stale. Nothing is worse than having a social media presence where the last activity was months ago. Share interesting articles, comment on activity within your page, and actively reach out to users you find interesting or engaging. The more circles you are in, the higher your chances of showing up in their personalized results. Posts will show up on a main "feed" where users can interact with your posts: comment, share, or +1.

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Once you get in a rhythm of sharing, commenting, and expanding your circles, you will be eligible to show up on the right-hand side of search results. The more quality content you create, the more prominent your Google+ page will become.

What Do the HeBS Digital Marketing Experts Recommend?

At HeBS Digital, we stand behind all of the best practices above; simply, create and maintain a Google+ page! Your digital marketing agency should be able to offer you setup and optimization services, as well as ongoing management.

4Hoteliers Image LibraryHeBS Digital offers a Google+ Business Page product that includes page setup with a branded main image, optimized hotel description & tagline, and a verified connection to your hotel website to leverage search benefits and increase traffic to your Google+ page.

For more information about setting up your Google+ Business Page with HeBS Digital, view our product description, or contact us at sales@hebsdigital.com.

Sue Wiker is Lead Copywriter, Copywriter & SEO Dept. at HeBS Digital


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