Frustrated at your website's Google search rankings? Then maybe these 3 Google SEO updates for 2018 will help you improve your rankings.
1 Meta Description Expansion
According to industry authority Moz the long-held 155-character cap for meta descriptions started to waver about three years ago. Little by little, the average length of displayed meta descriptions started to increase and it became evident Google was testing displaying longer meta descriptions.
By the end of 2017 the data showed that, with a few exceptions, the 155-character limit was now indeed dead. Moz now recommends a 300-character limit, a great relief for anyone who has ever tried to write strong meta descriptions in a stifling 155-character count.
The character limit change is a great opportunity to revisit and expand upon meta descriptions on your core pages.
It is now recommend that you draft longer meta descriptions that both expand the keyword focus and act as a piece of value proposition defining text.
As Moz explains: “For critical pages, writing a good meta description is like writing ad copy — there's real value in crafting that copy to drive interest and clicks. There's no guarantee Google will use that copy, and that fact can be frustrating, but the odds are still in your favour.”
2 Keyword Permutations
According to research from SEO expert Barry Schwartz, it appears that part of a Google's recent update entitled Maccabee was aimed at devaluing sites with large quantities of landing pages that systematically target every possible keyword permutation.
This suggests that Google has found this practice is being endemic of primarily lower-quality sites aimed at creating an artificially large keyword net to drag in traffic.
This practice is somewhat similar to the old practice of 'Keyword Stuffing' whereby content was awkwardly drafted to include the highest density of keyword and keyword permutations possible in an attempt to trick earlier and more primitive search engine algorithms into thinking the content was of high value.
Mr. Schwartz points out that the sites that are being penalised are those with, “tons and tons of landing pages targeting massive arrays of keyword permutations.
So for example, if they are a travel site, they would target all the destinations they service and also add landing pages for [destination sub name] + [activity name] and sometimes even go beyond that. If they were a service business, they would target [city name] + [service A] and then [city name] + [service B] and so on. There were many styles and types of sites doing this across blogs, travel, e-commerce, directories, and more.”
Due to this patch, we recommend altering any SEO strategy that relies on creating a large number of landing pages for the same service or offering.
3 Mobile Speed Update is Imminent
It should come as a surprise to no one that Google continues to put the squeeze on sites with slow mobile load speed. Google announced that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for all mobile searches.
Google claims that this update will be aimed only at sites with the very slowest mobile load speeds, but it should serve as another wake-up call for everyone with sub-par mobile load speeds. Furthermore, Google noted that there would not be a ranking boost for fast load speeds, only a downgrade for the slowest.
If you're worried about mobile load speed (and pretty much everyone should be), we recommend regularly using Google's own PageSpeed Insights tool.
The tool gives not only a general prognosis on mobile load speed, it provides individualised recommendations on speed-improving optimisations.
Conclusion and an Evergreen Strategy
Keeping up to date with Google's technical SEO is very important for any business that relies on organic traffic. As more and more SEO tricks and hacks are outsmarted by Google, it’s important to remember the golden evergreen SEO strategy.
From the start and forevermore, Google’s long-term strategy is to deliver the most relevant and highest value results for every single search query. Each technical or structural update in Google’s search engine algorithmic structure is an attempt to improve the quality of results.
Therefore, your long-term SEO strategy should always be to be the most relevant and highest value website for the keywords you’re seeking to rank for. Work to create a website and web content that is better than your competition. Always seek to provide value for your users/readers with a combination of high-quality information and resources.
General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) regulations become law on 25th May 2018.
The law is applicable EU-wide including the UK post-Brexit and involves ANY company that collects/processes/stores or uses the personal data of EU/UK individuals and includes direct mail, print and third party suppliers who may have, or require, access to the data you hold.
This includes timeshare resorts – and you cannot hide behind your signed contracts and constitutions.
Within the legal obligations, it is important that businesses understand the difference between a Data Controller, a Data Processer and a Data Protection Officer.
The DPO should trace the flow of data within the business and external third-party suppliers to ensure compliant systems and processes.
The law is specifically changing focus to prioritise the individual’s rights including the right to be informed (of any data breach) and the right to be forgotten (erasure of data) which may be subject to the “legitimate interest” exemption e.g. clients who have financial commitment etc.
Data security and privacy must be by design and a documented process must be in place.
There is a 72-hour timeline requirement for data breach notifications and responses to individual data requests.
Remember that individual employee laptops, or any data removed from the office premises, must have encryption of data to be compliant.
In addition, there is the option to streamline existing data – to actively erase data when no longer required – which will deliver a more lean, focused and targeted data contact opportunity.
Third party suppliers may need to have a security level agreement.
Finally, as part of the process your resort needs to consider employee GDPR options and employee awareness training so that they understand what is required of them going forward when handling personal data.
In short – a business needs to operate a higher standard of data security.
If you require any information on making your practice GDPR compliant, contact EVC Marketing now.
2015 was named the Year of Video Marketing. So what, you may ask? Video is not relevant to my resort and we certainly don’t have the budget for it.
But it’s time to think again. So here I take a look at the growing importance of video and how it is an ideal tool for mature timeshare resorts.
At every TATOC conference delegates ask the same question: how do we encourage the younger generation to visit our resort and become owners?
Well, here’s one answer to that complex question – video marketing. And before you ask, it doesn’t need to cost a fortune and yes, anyone can do it.
First some startling statistics:
If a picture paints a thousand words, then one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words - the equivalent of 3,600 typical web pages - according to Dr. James McQuivey, of Forrester Research.
Such statistics confirm that when you use video on a website, you have a powerful tool that not only attracts visitors to your site, but keeps them there.
It satisfies their information and entertainment needs and resorts which fail to include it in their strategies will do so at their peril.
We often hear the importance of content marketing to increase our rankings or encourage visits to our social media platforms. Well, let me make this clear: video is the future of content marketing.
This is especially so for a younger target market that uses video to determine whether the resort will give them the holiday experiences they are looking for.
They trust video. They can see other like-minded people enjoying the resort and know that it will give them the holiday they want. It is naturally engaging and easy to digest.
Video is the perfect format for quickly grabbing the attention of a busy audience. It enables strong storytelling in a short, but memorable, format that viewers can enjoy.
It is even more important when buyers do most of their own research online before ever contacting a resort.
Engage views and they will share the video with others, spend longer on your website and more time interacting with your brand. For any social media campaign, and SEO (search engine optimisation) exercise, video is without doubt one of the best tools in your marketing kit.
But is video suitable for resorts today – even mature, legacy resorts?
Yes, because production costs have fallen significantly and you no longer need to be a technical whiz to use it.
For example: services like Animoto and Stupeflix and applications such as Twitter’s Vine have dramatically increased the opportunity for businesses on a limited budget to get involved.
And videos don’t need to be long. According to research conducted by Jun Group, videos that are 15 seconds or shorter are shared 37 per cent more often than those between 30 seconds and one minute.
So how can video be used?
1 Use video to drive traffic to your website
Search engines like Google love video and, if properly optimised, you can use video to increase visitors to your website.
By using targeted keywords when titling and tagging your videos, creating a number of videos that focus on a different search term and using sites like YouTube, you will increase links back to your site – and improve your natural rankings.
2 Use video to turn a static website it into a dynamic, interactive destination.
A simple promotional video that explains who you are, your offer or a virtual tour of the resort lets visitors see what your physical location is like – and is better than any photograph.
3 Use video to give your resort a personal face
Add a short video from your resort manager to your confirmation emails, include a welcome video to your website, insert profile videos of your resort team and add customer testimonials that communicate the wonderful holiday experience you provide.
4 Use video to engage with customers
Video can be used as an interactive medium to get consumers engaged with, and excited about, your resort.
Start a video contest, ask users to upload videos of themselves when they are at your resort, invite them to embed videos on their own websites and social media.
And by providing regular, quality content on your website, people will return over and over again to see what new videos you’re offering.
5 Use video to stand out from your competition
Web video is becoming more widespread and yet many mature resorts do not use video as a common practice.
If your competitors do not yet use video, set yourself apart by introducing video on your website, promoting your videos on local websites, adding them to any business listings in online directories and allowing viewers to share and embed them.
Tel: +44 (0) 208 123 9273