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 I&I Travel Media for some time.
The article takes a broad view of all the recent and ongoing developments in SEO, including:
- Google’s recent Penguin algorithm update which targeted link spam,
- The previous Panda update which targeted on-site content quality,
- The ever stronger competition posed by the major brands (Kayak, Expedia, Google flight & hotel search, etc),
- The ever decreasing margins available from relying on PPC advertising.
Based on all of these long-term processes, Jeff argues that:
Looking at online marketing as just PPC and SEO isn’t enough anymore. In a post-Panda and Penguin landscape, sites need to be better than that.
Successful travel sites will look at online marketing as a holistic effort that includes as many pieces of inbound marketing as possible – SEO, content, social media, conversion, user experience, on-site merchandising, just to name a few.
And, because a picture always speaks a thousand words, SEW also gave us this handy graphic which encapsulates the idea of a broader approach to online marketing:
At I&I Travel Media we always like to see someone else banging the same drum as us, especially when what we’re saying has so much overlap. Here’s a passage from our recent ebook “A New Paradigm For Search Marketing In The Travel Industry”
But times are changing. The most recent changes made in search engine and social media technology has signalled that the future of online marketing lies very much with the development and creative deployment of smart and innovative content. More than ever, it is content that will underpin success in search engine rankings, social media visibility and reach and brand development. The days of cheap content written for search engines are over, and online travel businesses of all shapes and sizes will need to consider investment in professional, quality content as important as their other online marketing channels.
So, the question is: are you getting serious about these real and rapid changes? Do you have a strategy in place? Are you ready to take advantage of the opportunities, or are you more likely to be caught off guard and get caught up in the risks?