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How Will Google + and Panda Affect Travel?


How Will Google + and Panda Affect Travel?

Hotelmarketing.com pretty bluntly said that Google +, in conjunction with Panda updates, “could be the biggest shift in search since it took off 13 years ago.”

Up to now the mysterious ways of Google’s algorithms  were the greatest source of digital traffic to travel companies and their web sites or content pages.

They were their business lifeblood.

It now seems the search paradigm has changed.

The presence of the +1 button (on Technorati’s content and elsewhere) and “like” features will make “sharing tools” a critical part of  determining just where travel and all content will appear in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Hotelmarketing.com rightly says that going forward, humans will have a say, not just machines, in what makes good content, or if content is good.

For hard-working creators of original content, that’s terrific news because (hopefully) scrapped content, search engine fodder, and just bad stuff will have no place to hide.

Presumably they’ll be pushed lower in the SERPs.

Mara Martin, an astute Digital Strategist, says “Panda-based updates are meant to deliver the best search experience to users. With Google judging sites holistically, travel sites will have to be more aware of not only their content quality, but their site mapping. “

She stresses that maintaining organic site traffic means managing sites… with the user experience in mind.

Google through Panda is improving the search process.

Up to now, scrapper sites often outrank original content and make money (by creating nothing) from Google’s AdSense program in the process.

But how can travel companies and content providers use the new tools?

Giles Longhurst, writing in Webintravel makes the following suggestions:

• Travel sites must integrate the +1 button so viewers and customers can share preferred/rated web pages with friends and contacts

• Travel organizations should set up Google profile pages. He argues that this will enable companies to see the content through the eyes of their customers/consumers. Knowing what interests them, will make it easier to turn out compelling, useful information

• Use Google Analytics to see how +1’s are affecting organic and paid results and modify sites accordingly

In effect then, Google continues its growth as a major social network player.

Will there be any choice? Unlikely  since 10 million plus have already signed up for Google +,  and Android device users will end up Google + users since the “+” features will arrive as updates.

Bottom line for travel?

Longhurst says that Google is concentrating at last on the quality of travel (and other) web sites and content; the quality of the experience they deliver, not just algorithms.

It’ll now be people liking and appreciating content that will determine rank…and none of this even begins to take into account Google’s ownership of airfare data base software, ITA.

Google is set to change the game, again

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