Insights

Mobile travel market continues to grow, big variations by segment and devices

New research on the size and value of mobile travel bookings has thrown up some interesting insights, as reported today by Tnooz. The research, conducted by advertising company Criteo, shows that both the share and value of mobile travel bookings have grow, with certain segments such as air travel and car rental growing at a significantlycontinue reading

What does the rise & fall of Google Authorship mean for content marketing?

Google giveth and Google taketh away (usually to the sound of a million complaining SEOs) with the latest upset being the once hyped, now unceremoniously dumped Google Authorship. Authorship was, in a nutshell, a mechanism to connect a piece of content with its author. Its most visible features were the thumbnail images and Google+ linkscontinue reading

Smarter search re-targeting to support your content efforts

Even if you’ve never heard the phrase “search re-marketing,” chances are you’ve seen it in action. Ever notice how after you visit a site, the web suddenly seems to be filled with ads for that same site? That’s called re-marketing (aka re-targeting) and usually, if you’ve noticed it happening, it means the advertiser is doing itcontinue reading

Screw tightened on guest posting, vocal complaints but no big surprises

Guest posting as an SEO tactic is back under the spotlight, with Google making big waves among the industry and leaving the more unimaginative marketers among us wondering whether they’ll be left with any viable link building techniques in the near future. The most recent flare up came last month with the announcement that Mattcontinue reading

The Facebook free ride is over (but did it ever really exist?)

ValleyWag’s Sam Biddle reported this week that Facebook intends to tighten the screw even further on brands that use the platform for promotional purposes, effectively killing the notion that the social media site can be used for free to reach fans and followers. If Biddle’s (anonymous) source is correct this will probably be the final nailcontinue reading

Will small travel sites benefit from a “softer” Panda?

News that Google is planning on “softening” its Panda algorithm has been met with cautious optimism that some of the intense pressure on small travel sites in the SEO battle may soon be alleviated. Matt Cutts, Google’s chief anti-spam engineer, confirmed at the SMX conference last week that his team is looking at changes that would help smallercontinue reading

The elusive promise of “influencer marketing”

There were few surprises in the 2013 Digital Influence Report (pdf), released in February by Technorati. The main findings were that brands still spend a small fraction of their digital marketing budget on social media – around 10% – of which more than half goes to platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Only another 10% againcontinue reading

Travel Blog Exchange 2012: Three questions for next year

As the dust settles on the Travel Blog Exchange’s annual networking shindig, several hundred hopeful travel blogtrepreneurs* are heading back down from the rarefied air of Keystone, Colorado, notebooks stuffed with motivational ideas on converting their travel sites into publishing powerhouses, advertising platforms and profitable online businesses. The travel blogosphere is a huge and diverse place, butcontinue reading

Are you getting serious about the new search marketing?

Search Engine Watch published a great article this week written by Jeff Slipko, SEO strategy manager at Expedia, specifically relating to the travel industry, with some stark warnings about the changing landscape of search marketing, many of which dovetail with what we’ve been saying at Hit Riddle / I&I Travel Media for some time. Thecontinue reading

Yet more algo updates, yet more emphasis on “quality”

The SEO community is abuzz with Google’s latest updates, released in a barrage of announcements over the past few weeks. The updates target different aspects of overall search quality and include targeting “over optimization”, i.e. link spam. Since named the “Penguin Update”, the change has drawn most attention for its focus on unnatural link practices,continue reading

HOW CONTENT MARKETING TURNED THIS SMALL TRAVEL COMPANY FROM A HUMMINGBIRD INTO AN EAGLE

HOW CONTENT MARKETING TURNED THIS SMALL TRAVEL COMPANY FROM A HUMMINGBIRD INTO AN EAGLE

We’ve been in the online travel marketing game for a while and some of the most common things we hear about content marketing – especially from smaller businesses – are “it’s too expensive,” “it’s too long-term,” and “it’s impossible to measure returns,” all loosely revolving around the one core complaint: “it’s too hard.” Well no-one ever said it was easy, but ifcontinue reading

Quick wins to drive email leads from travel content marketing

Quick wins to drive email leads from travel content marketing

The primary aim of content marketing is not to drive direct leads and business. The core goal is to build an engaged audience of people that know and trust your brand and to provide multiple touchpoints to convert your audience into paying customers in the future. Assuming the content is there, getting these touchpoints rightcontinue reading

The biggest mistake in content marketing (and its very simple solution)

The biggest mistake in content marketing (and its very simple solution)

Of all the potential pitfalls and mistakes with content marketing, perhaps the most common is the assumption that “great content is all it takes.” This is the belief that as soon as you’ve published your brand new, jaw-dropping content the audiences will immediately flock to your website, falling over themselves to subscribe to your blog andcontinue reading

Why small travel businesses fail at content marketing (and how they can succeed)

Why small travel businesses fail at content marketing (and how they can succeed)

The theory of content marketing is straightforward enough: identify the information that is likely to engage your consumers and give it to them. This turns site visitors into audiences, builds your brand authority and gives you opportunities to sell to your audience with a relationship based on expertise and trustworthiness. Your audiences may subscribe tocontinue reading

How Compass Magazine sets the bar in branded travel publishing

How Compass Magazine sets the bar in branded travel publishing

Brand publishing, an evolution in the content marketing trend, is based on the idea that brands can and should act like bona fide publishers in their own right. As the theory goes, many travel companies have enormous stores of expertise and knowledge locked up in their brand, assets and employees’ heads, and brand publishing allows thecontinue reading

Curating for travel consumers: the hows and the whys

Curating for travel consumers: the hows and the whys

The good folks at Buffer have published a practical nuts & bolts guide to content curation for busy people. Rather than reinvent the wheel I suggest you head over there and check it out, but first maybe it’d be useful to take a quick detour into why curation can be such a powerful element of your digital strategy. We know thatcontinue reading

Influencer engagement: why you’re doing it wrong & how to do it right

Influencer engagement: why you’re doing it wrong & how to do it right

“Influencer engagement,” the new media evolution of the celebrity endorsement, has been a hot topic for a while now, and understandably so: the idea of having consumer influencers tout your brand or product direct to their audiences is certainly alluring. Alas, as with so many things in the realm of digital marketing, the concept hascontinue reading

A role for Twitter’s “Lead Generation Cards” in the travel content funnel

A role for Twitter’s “Lead Generation Cards” in the travel content funnel

Although long-defined by its tight character limit, Twitter has grown increasingly generous with the range of other media that can be attached to tweets, creating a richer experience for users and a more profitable solution for advertisers. With Twitter cards, users and publishers can append a whole variety of rich media to their otherwise bland and restricted tweets including images, video, product descriptions and more. Ifcontinue reading

Understanding social media’s “ROI problem”

Understanding social media’s “ROI problem”

Can you name a travel brand that doesn’t have a social media presence? How about this one: can you name a travel brand that makes money from its social media presence? Does yours? Recent research from ASTA found that while 80% of sampled travel agents are active on social media, the actual revenue or return on investmentcontinue reading

How Best Made Co. produces amazing travel content by living the brand

How Best Made Co. produces amazing travel content by living the brand

Ostensibly Best Made Company produces high-end tools and equipment for travel and the great outdoors, but the fact that their signature axe is displayed by the likes of the Saatchi Gallery in London gives an indication of just how high-end, verging on the realms of art, this equipment is. Founder Peter Buchanan-Smith, a graphic designer by training, hit thecontinue reading

Adapting content strategy to keep up with the “Knowledge Graph”

Adapting content strategy to keep up with the “Knowledge Graph”

The Knowledge Graph (KG) is an increasingly common feature of Google’s search results. Even if most users haven’t heard the phrase, they’ve probably seen it in action in all the information and answer boxes that have been popping up among the search results: This new format of search result is an early signal of acontinue reading

Brands that blog well: Roundtheworldflights.com

Brands that blog well: Roundtheworldflights.com

Virtually every travel brand on the web has a blog tucked away somewhere on their site, yet given how ubiquitous they’ve become it’s surprising how few live up to their full potential. For digital brands that have little or no direct contact with their customers, a good blog offers an important opportunity to show somecontinue reading

Converged media and the travel marketing funnel [infographic]

Converged media and the travel marketing funnel [infographic]

The preeminence of “content” within digital marketing strategy is well established, at least in theory if not yet in widespread practice. Many of the very principles of web marketing have been recast around the demand for quality content i.e. material that adds sufficient value to the end user, generates conversations & relationships, and ultimately drives consumer behaviour.continue reading

Navigating the fractured landscape of travel influencers

Navigating the fractured landscape of travel influencers

The role of influencers in digital marketing strategy is problematic for many travel brands. Although the huge potential is well recognised, there remain significant barriers to “influencer marketing” becoming a mainstream activity. Some of the many problems include identifying genuine influencers, working out what consumer behaviour they’re capable of influencing, and how it can allcontinue reading

Structured mark-up & rich snippets: uses and opportunities for travel sites

Structured mark-up & rich snippets: uses and opportunities for travel sites

Semantic search, search based on context and intent rather than keyword relevancy, is not particularly new but many people are convinced that it will transform the way we search. Here’s a current example of semantic search in action: Google isn’t just looking at my keywords and sending me to a bunch of well-optimised weather websites.continue reading

Google rewards for readable content, implications for “AuthorRank”

Google rewards for readable content, implications for “AuthorRank”

We already know that Google Authorship is a major deal and will continue to grow in importance. One indication of things to come is the use of the “More by author” links that are sometimes displayed in the search results: AJ Kohn has written a thorough and useful article on the technical background to thiscontinue reading

Google “AuthorRank” promises major changes for travel search

Google “AuthorRank” promises major changes for travel search

UPDATE – AUG 2014 Google recently announced it has depreciated the Authorship markup, and that the Google+ connections between content and author that are described below will no longer have any bearing on the display (or ranking) of search results.  Despite this, the core concept behind “AgentRank” remains the same: Google is doubtless as interestedcontinue reading

Putting the author back in authority

Originally posted on the Hit Riddle Travel Marketing Blog Travel bloggers who follow Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) might have seen an article I wrote last week on a development from Google, called AuthorRank. [If you’re not familiar with AuthorRank and want some background information on what it is, and how to get yourself set up (it’s very easy),continue reading

3 questions to determine the “link risk” to your travel business

If you’re fortunate enough to not have to spend a large chunk of every week sifting the latest coming and goings in the SEO news you probably missed this story – that is, unless your business was relying on private blog networks (PBNs) for inbound links and therefore your search rankings. If that’s the case, you’recontinue reading

Timeline for Facebook pages is coming

In the ever shifting sands of online marketing, only one thing is certain: no matter how hard you try, by the time you figure out how something works, it will have changed. In fact, Douglas Adams could have been talking about Facebook when he wrote: “There is a theory which states that if ever anyonecontinue reading

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