Thursday, 12 December 2013

DOs & DON'Ts for SEO marketing

Search Engine Optimisation is maximising your webpage to achieve higher recognition and listing on search engines through natural (unpaid) search. You should be taking into account all major search engines but Google has a 65% market share globally. If you’re marketing to Asia then there are differences; for instance Google only has a 17% share in China with Baidu having an 80% market share, so do your research on local trends.

Do use meta descriptions, keywords and tags
Use a few concise meta descriptions, tags and keyword for your pages- then repeat them in your content. Don’t use too many – this counts for all search engines. If you have Chinese translation pages, Baidu has a website tool that tells you trending keywords so you can include these in your descriptions to maximise exposure – but you must use keywords relevant to your page. Try to register with search directories – some take a while and some (Yahoo) you can pay for, but they will immediately improve your ranking.

Don’t use ‘black hat’ tactics
If you stuff website with irrelevant keywords, cloak them, and add links to spam sites - Google will punish you. You are also preventing people from finding the relevant material they are searching for. You can even be removed from searches for this, so keep your content relevant and true – you will attract less visitors; but the right visitors. This goes for Social Media too – don’t buy likes, it won’t increase your bookings.

Do Optimise
Add ‘alt’ tags and a title for your images so they load faster, reduce them in file size so they are optimised for the space, and keep your page sizes under 100kb throughout the site – search speed has been incorporated into ranking for search results. Make sure you have a ‘contact us’ page and site maps for both users and search engines.

Do write great content
Despite many changes to Google with the latest algorithm - Hummingbird, overall content is still the most important factor for search. Big changes were made to keyword searches which anyone using Google Analytics will be aware of, but the purpose is to value the content of the whole site for relevance, and provide better search results for users. Focus on useful content for your users – tourist information, places to see, places to go, and information on your hostel. If your bounce rate is high, your content is not that relevant.

Don’t forget your key business
Yes, you need good content on your areas and activities for guests, but your website should be a booking tool and point of information about your hostel primarily. The rest of the information is great, but secondary. Make sure you are marketing yourself as a great place to stay and have an intuitive site that leads to booking. You want people to read about you, book and share positive reviews. Make sure your social pages all use your url also, it’s better for your brand and counts on search too.

Hostel Health Tip
Beware that on China’s Baidu search – Flash and JavaScript don’t work!

To find out more about changes to Google search with Hummingbird
see our blog article HERE.