ITB 2024 Special Reporting
Top 2013 SEO Trends.
By Nelson Toriano
Monday, 1st April 2013
Keeping up with SEO best practices is almost like watching a mystery movie – Things can happen really fast, and if you're not paying attention to the clues around you, you'll miss something that's been under your nose the whole time.

4Hoteliers Image LibraryRight: Experts at SMX West 2013 include Google's Matt Cutts and Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan.

The industry does move fast. However, if you've been paying attention, the changes in the past few years have culminated into just a few trends.

The goal of 2013 for every website is to create a great user experience. That's defined as enticing guests to click on the website, giving them interesting content (and all the information they're looking for), and giving guests a call to action. It's also giving the search engines signals of your authority through link building and social media.

I've summarized the 2013 tips below.

1. Authorship – The identity of the person responsible for contributing the content will be more important. The goal for the search engines is to limit bad, syndicated content by focusing on authoritative content. They're also motivating hotels to take ownership, and to consistently create fresh and engaging content. It's advised to be clear with the name of the person speaking on behalf of the brand and to avoid using pen names when possible.

Insider tip: It's even more beneficial to have an image next to that person's name.

2. Links – Paid links are still good. However, there will be more strict guidelines on link networks, link pharming, and other black hat SEO tactics. It will always better to secure organic links from other sites who can verify your credibility. The search engines want hotels to have real businesses attest to the hotel's reputation than the hotel buying links to attest to their own reputation.

Insider tip: Start spending less time worrying about links and more time creating a great user experience on the website. The best websites will naturally have users link up to them (i.e. via social media, personal blogs, image sharing, etc.)

3. Keyword research – Although it's useful, there's no dire need to focus on search volume. It used to be applicable when there were fewer competing websites back in the day. But nowadays, it's misleading to guarantee ranking based on search volume. Still do some keyword research for a given page, but optimization around a chosen keyword theme is now more holistic.

First, there needs to be valuable content about that keyword. Second, that content needs to have authority, measured by authorship and links. Third, content must be fresh, have a call to action, and create an engaging user experience. Only until all those metrics are met is the optimization for that page and that target keyword phrase complete.

Insider tip: Shift your focus away from keywords per se and more to the quality of landing pages. In that sense, the search volume of a keyword becomes less important.

4. Social – Integration of social signals will be increasing in importance. Social signals unlock the intent of any query by telling the search engines the connotation of that query. Therefore, every hotel needs to be actively participating in social media on behalf of their brand. Only those who are active and engaging with trending keywords will have consistently better performing websites.

Insider tip: Don't cheat by trying to increase your Facebook Likes just for the sake of increasing it. You will be penalized. Like the insider tip for links, as long as you are engaging and creating a great user experience, users will naturally like you. Search engines will prioritize natural relationship building.

5. Mobile – First, take a look at analytics. Notice the bounce rate of users going to your desktop website from their mobile device. Chances are the bounce rate will be high, mostly because the download time is slow, some images won't render, and content is too small.

Those are immediate reasons why every hotel needs a mobile compatible website. When looking at analytics, look at the most frequented pages and the pages with the most engagement and conversion. Those are the pages to carry over to a mobile website.

Insider tip: Whether it's a mobile or desktop site, if the site isn't pleasing to the user, the user will leave. No matter what, that bounce rate will negatively impact your website performance. Therefore, even on mobile website, it's important to create an engaging user experience.


Never say, "Well, that's how we used to do things." While that is true, it unfortunately doesn't matter. Those tactics used to work when there were fewer websites on the Internet. Now, there's so many, the search engines need to examine more items to really discern who has authority, who is the most engaging, and who is the more valuable brand to users.

For the search engines, figuring those things out is like watching a mystery movie too. But, as a hotelier, as long as your website provides a great user experience in all the items listed above, you're pretty much giving the search engines the answer – It's you.

Tips provided by the following speakers at SMX West 2013
Topic: Conversation: What's Needed For SEO Success In 2013 & Beyond?
Moderator: Danny Sullivan, Founding Editor, Search Engine Land

  • Greg Boser, SVP of Search Services, BlueGlass Interactive, Inc.
  • Annie Cushing, SEO and Analytics Consultant
  • Matt Cutts, Distinguished Engineer, Google Inc.
  • Janet Driscoll Miller, President and CEO, Search Mojo
  • Duane Forrester, Sr. Product Manager, Bing
  • Rae Hoffman, CEO, PushFire
Contributed by: Nelson Toriano, Account Management Team Lead

Milestone Internet Marketing, Inc. is a leading provider of internet marketing and social media solutions for the lodging industry. Milestone's portfolio of services includes Hotel Website Design, Search Engine Optimization and Local Promotion, Pay-Per-Click Marketing, Social Media Marketing, eBuzz Connect™ Online Reputation Monitoring, etc.

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