Google has announced that it is implementing a major change to its core search algorithm. These changes could affect result rankings for up to one in 10 queries. If your resort business is dependent on being found by search engine results, this is could have a huge impact on your business. Imagine seeing a drop in your inbound traffic, sales and revenue by 10 per cent?
Inc. editor Jeff Haden explains: “In the past, Google's algorithm treated a search sentence as a "bag of words." It picked out what it considered to be the important words--in "who is a great keynote speaker," clearly "keynote" and "speaker" are more important than "is" and "a." But doing so eliminates context from a search sentence's intent.
With the old algorithm, if you entered the search sentence: “Can you get medicine for someone pharmacy? it picked out the words "medicine" and "pharmacy”. Google then displayed local results believing you are looking for a nearby drugstore. And you would get frustrated and search again, as this is not what you were looking for.
Google's new algorithm notices "for someone" and determines you're looking for information about whether you're allowed to pick up someone else's prescription for them. And displays very different search results which answer your query.
The new algorithm is based on something called BERT, or "bidirectional encoder representations from transformers." Google said BERT helps better understand the nuances and context of words in searches and better matches those queries with more relevant results.
In non-techie terms, BERT is a tool that helps optimise natural language processing by using A.I. and a massive data set to deliver better contextual results. Or even more simply, Google now better understands what you're looking for when you enter a search query.
In another example Google shared: "Parking on a hill with no curb." The old algorithm discarded "no," delivering results that reference how to park on a hill with curbs. The new algorithm realises "no" matters and delivers a top result showing how to park uphill or downhill with no curb.
And one more example: "2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa." Old Google ignored "to" and returned results on U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil. But "to" clearly matters, and BERT picks up the difference, returning results for Brazilian travellers to the U.S.
With these changes it is only some search queries that will be affected. How the algorithm works is still something of a mystery, even to the most dedicated SEO professionals (although we are able to help with that).
So, if your site suddenly ranks lower for certain search terms, BERT might be to blame.
Either way, according to Pandu Nayak, Google VP of research: "This is the single biggest ... most positive change we've had in the last five years and perhaps one of the biggest since the beginning."
What can you do? Well, it is worthwhile spending time watching your search rankings and analysing your keyword context, especially if you try to rank well for longer-tail keyword strings. And if your search traffic remains stable but conversion rates dip, that's a sign at least portion of the traffic you receive isn't interested in what you provide.
Haden believes it's likely to be impossible to truly optimise for BERT, so make sure you create content for people, not search engines.
BERT is just another step in Google's effort to understand what people want when they search. The more you deliver what people want, the more value you give, the more likely you are to rank high in search results.
First of all, make sure your account security settings are correct. Then follow our top tips for email security.
1. Have a back-up email addresses
Common sense dictates that if one eMail account fails, you need a back-up address. A minimum of 2 addresses is strongly recommended.
One or more business address and one or more personal addresses is an ideal option to separate sensitive accounts from more general use; subscriptions, event registrations, downloads, surveys etc.
As always, for each account use a unique password and follow password best practice.
2. Password best practice
Too many people use the same password over and over again. An ideal password is unique and regularly changed. Consider the use of non-dictionary words, numbers, hashtags, characters and don’t make it easy.
Never use birthdays or other dates you freely promote on your social media channels! When you make your range of passwords as difficult as possible, you may need to employ a password manager.
Consider, two-factor authentication – as much is takes a little more time and slight inconvenience.
3. Don’t forget in this mobile world, your smartphone may be the first line of attack
Your smartphone must have a password code or fingerprint access. Weak smartphone security can be an open door to your otherwise well protected laptop, desktop and network devices.
4. Your email account may be safe but ……
Wherever possible, do not use public devices to access your email.
5. Information is considered private for a reason!
6. Free public Wi-Fi may be a security free for all
If you really have to use free wi-fi – do not login to your email account and certainly do not login to any bank or online transaction website!
7. Scammers also love phishing
Your email account will no doubt have received one of those messages. They have evolved from Nigerian princes with millions of dollars to some very clever techniques designed to fool even the most intelligent of targets.
Stick to the tried and tested safety rules:
8. Do the work – do the updates
First line of defence – make sure you keep your software up-to-date. A few seconds or minutes may save hours, days or months of hassle. Consider a good, reliable, real-time anti-virus and back-up your data and conduct regular scans.
And remember, if you have an attitude that it can never happen to you, it can and probably will – unless your assess your risk and take preventative action.
To find out more how EVC Marketing can help you with our cyber security services, contact us today.
It's Cyber Security Awareness Month. So what, you might be thinking?
Well, what if we told you that, according to private Internet Service Provider Beaming, in the second quarter of 2019, businesses in the UK faced an average of 146,491 attempted cyber attacks? That equates to one attack every 50 seconds. The figure is a significant increase of 179 per cent from 2018, in which businesses had faced 52,596 attacks on average.
Sonia Blizzard, managing director of Beaming commented: “The rate at which UK businesses are attacked online has soared over the last year and companies large and small are under sustained attack from hackers around the world.”
And all businesses are under attack. Most attacks are indiscriminate, with malicious code trawling the web exploiting any weak points in cybersecurity systems. A single breach can be catastrophic.
The Federation of Small Business says that victims are most frequently subject to phishing attempts, with 530,000 small firms suffering from such an attack over the past two years.
Hundreds of thousands of businesses also report incidences of malware (374,000), fraudulent payment requests (301,000) and ransom-ware (260,000).
How can this be tackled?
-Of course, there are many who believe that government can, and should, do more. There should be a focus on enhancing the current policing response, including investing more in cyber up-skilling for police personnel as part of its wider recruitment push.
Software developers also have a role to play by adding automatic patching and updates to be the default option for all software products.
And the banks need to build in greater resilience into banking and payments systems, and made liable for the losses of business – not just the consumer.
What can small business do?
Here are some tips that all small businesses should follow, as recommended by the National Cyber Security Centre and FSB Cyber Protection advice line:
How EVC Marketing can help
To celebrate Cyber Security Awareness Month, we will be posting a top tip every morning on our Facebook page. So pop over and follow our page today (make sure you click See First).
We will also have a follow up article on email security which is where small business is particularly vulnerable. We'll post a link to that on our Facebook page as well.
Finally, EVC Marketing has teamed up with professional cyber security technicians and engineers who can provide a range of consultancy services including:
If you have a cybersecurity requirement, or would like to arrange an assessment, then contact us today. It really is better to be safe, than sorry.
Google has announced that its search results will become mobile-first on 1 July 2019. The announcement acknowledges the increase in mobile search as we increasing use our mobile devices to search, find and engage with websites.
EVC Marketing's John Heffernan explains: "Search engines like Google are well aware of this seed-change in search behaviour and they are evolving to meet our needs with mobile-first indexing".
Simply explained, until now, Google indexed the content from the desktop version of your website first. From July this year, Google will index the content from your mobile version of your website first.
This latest development by Google to make the web more mobile-friendly could have important consequences for business owners. So, as a resort manager, what do you need to do?
It's all down to whether your resort website is responsive or not. If different versions of your website are displayed based on the type of device it’s being viewed on, then it's responsive. If visitors get the same website they would on a desktop, then it's not.
The lack of a mobile-friendly user experience may start to have a negative impact on your site's search rankings - if not now, it is likely to do so in the future.
So what can you do to make your site mobile-friendly?
First check your website and make sure all your technical areas such as the page speed, structure, language and design are mobile-friendly. And take a look at your Google Analytics and Google Search Console to see where your traffic is coming from, how long they stay on your site and where they go.
Make sure your site has a security certificate (Secure Socket Layer or SSL) changing it from http to https (like this website). A non-secure site will deliver a "not-secure" statement in the search results.
And make sure that you continue to add high-quality, engaging and valuable content to your site on a regular basis with meta data, titles, and optimised images and video.
Check that this content will display easily and properly on a mobile device. This includes writing shorter sentences in compact paragraphs, large and clear fonts and larger tap buttons. We all know how frustrating it is clicking on a button on our mobile phone that is just TOO small.
What to do next?
When Google indexes your mobile site version, you will receive a notice in your Google Search Console (you’ll need to consult your techie team).
In the meantime we suggest you undertake a mobile-friendly site performance test. How many of you have actually visited your website on your own mobile devices?
And while you're at it take a look at your overall digital marketing strategy. Take the time to:
EVC Marketing can help
If this is all rather techie for you, but you're concerned your search rankings could be affected by this change, then contact EVC Marketing. We can undertake a range of audits and report back with fix recommendations to make your site mobile-first friendly.
Prices start from just £199 ($275) and include checks on current mobile friendliness, page speed, mobile parity/structure, content, and links.
You can then pass this report to your techie team to implement, or we can do this for you.
To find out more about this mobile-friendliness check, complete the enquiry form, contact the team on +44 (0) 208 123 9273 (UK) or + 1 (239) 444 8176 (US) or Skype EVMCollins.
EVC Marketing has connected with Mobius Vendor Partners (MVP), the well-known US-based creator of the CustomerCount customer feedback system to expand the marketplace for CustomerCount in the United Kingdom and Europe.
MVP launched CustomerCount in 2007 for a major timeshare exchange company. Since then, the survey platform has been used across the global hospitality sector and other industries as well. An enterprise customer feedback solution, CustomerCount provides intuitive, real-time reporting, fast turnaround on updates, detailed and dynamic data gathering and comprehensive reporting.
“Our relationship with EVC has developed organically,“ said Bob Kobek, president of CustomerCount. “We’ve been working with them on various initiatives and it was a natural progression. During our time working together Emily and John learned the ins and outs of our online survey system and we are all pleased to have them as part of our team.”
The system, available in 40 different languages, is the only enterprise feedback management system designed specifically for the leisure travel industry. It is easily adaptable to gather information for numerous industries and a plethora of purposes.
“Being a multi-lingual platform, CustomerCount is an ideal fit for the international marketplace,“ said Emily. “We are looking forward to opening up new horizons and helping businesses ‘across the pond’ benefit from this valuable website survey tool.”
With its responsive design and device recognition capabilities, CustomerCount offers Full Text Search and the ability for guests to make on-site service requests right from their mobile devices.
Founded in 1999, Mobius Vendor Partners (Mobius) is a business process design, management and performance improvement company with personnel committed to excellence in assessment and deployment. We help our client organizations increase efficiency and effectiveness to gain positive, bottom line impacts. At Mobius, we provide solutions whose immediate or forecasted impacts are measurable in quantitative and/or qualitative terms. We work with our clients to identify the key performance indicators related to our solutions and develop processes/systems for effective reporting.
CustomerCount is a feature-rich, cloud-based survey solution providing intuitive real-time reporting and detailed dynamic data gathering capabilities to support process improvement efforts, build customer loyalty and improve ROI. CustomerCount was initially designed for the hospitality and contact centre industries and is now used by organisations across numerous different vertical markets and industries.
For more information on survey solutions and customer feedback management for your resort, contact Emily Collins to arrange an online demo.
This week was International Client’s Day. A day designed specifically for business to say thank you. A day dedicated to clients – arguably, the most valuable part of any organization.
A wise man once said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” And he is correct, of course. Keep your employees happy and that happiness will be passed on to your customers.
But International Client’s Day should make all of us take look at ourselves, our business practices and ask some key questions.
Are our customer policies really as client friendly as they could be? Do we give our clients the very best experience every day? Are our activities based on what’s best for us as a business, or what is best for the customer? How loyal are our clients? Can we do better?
Of course, one way to find out is with a customer survey. EVC Marketing has recently connected with the Bob Kobek and the team at CustomerCount, the leading cloud-based customer feedback solution in the travel sector. He believes the Net Promoter Score (NPS) is still one of the best universal indicators of client loyalty, happiness and satisfaction.
By employing just two simple questions, CustomerCount can quantify how loyal your customers are and identify which customers are in danger of leaving you.
Not only does the NPS survey recognize customers (detractors and passives) who require further follow up and support, it’s a great way to acknowledge your promoters, thank them and build on their loyalty and positivity about your brand.
A poor NPS score could also just be the motivator an organization needs to improve the products and services they offer consumers.
The NPS survey is quick and simple to set up on CustomerCount’s cloud-based platform and the results are easy to understand. With decades of experience, CustomerCount can take the guesswork out of customer loyalty and provide you with actionable information to use on a daily basis.
And, they have additional professional assistance on hand through the WRAP program partners (Worldwide Research Analytics Program), a group of independent minds and businesses brought together by Bob and CustomerCount. EVC Marketing has recently joined the program to provide reputation marketing and management solutions to resorts.
So, if you want to take your data analysis to the next level or if your NPS results have flagged up issues affecting your resort’s online reputation, we have skilled specialists to provide industry-specific observations, strategies and advice.
So on International Client’s Day, you can thank your clients with discounts, offers and gifts.
But why not do your business a favour and find out what your clients really think - then improve your processes, focus on your clients’ needs and exceed their expectations.
To set up your Net Promoter Score survey in a matter of minutes, give us a call at EVC Marketing and we’ll walk you through it. You can contact us on +44 (0) 208 123 9273, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook Messenger us at: m.me/evcmarketing.
EVC Marketing Communications will be represented at the upcoming ARDA World convention by Emily Collins and John Heffernan.
The convention, which takes place from April 7 through to April 11 at the Hilton in Orlando, is the leading industry event for the vacation ownership market.
"We are excited about attending the convention this year. This will be John's first time at ARDA World and we're looking forward to learning more from other digital marketers in the industry and sharing what we've learnt in the European market," said EVC Marketing MD, Emily Collins.
Sessions of particular interest include:
News and updates will be added to the EVC Marketing Facebook page throughout the convention.
Over recent months, EVC Marketing has been working closely with CustomerCount on a number of projects and is set to join its WRAP programme. The Worldwide Research Analytics Program (WRAP) comprises a group of independent businesses brought together by CustomerCount to provide clients with additional reporting, deeper insight and reputation management services.
Both Emily and John can be contacted via LinkedIn or Facebook Messenger to make appointments during ARDA World.
You have a great idea for a new page on your website or an article for your resort blog. You’ve written 500 words so Google will be impressed with your knowledge and authority on the subject. And you’ve found some amazing images (and added the alt-tags) to support the piece.
But in the back of your mind, you have a worry and it’s stopping you from pressing PUBLISH.
You’re just not sure your copy is mistake-free. The last thing you want is for a colleague or owner to point out the glaring typo in the second paragraph of your masterpiece. But how do you check whether it’s or its? Is it your or you’re? And just where does that apostrophe go?
One of the best tools that I use on a daily basis, including writing this article, is Grammarly. A simple-to-use writing assistant that makes sure everything I write is clear, effective and, most importantly, mistake-free.
We all pick up bad writing habits along the way. But posting an article or news piece full of spelling mistakes and grammar errors is simply not good enough. It diminishes the credibility and value of your work. And getting the style and tone wrong can have major negative implications as well as making you feel a fool.
Grammarly can help by offering accurate, context-specific suggestions for all your written work. The software scans your copy for common and complex grammatical mistakes. This includes everything from subject-verb agreement to article use to modifier placement. It will also explain its suggested changes and you receive a weekly progress report.
It’s rather reassuring to know you have written 85 per cent more accurately than other Grammarly users!
There are now 10 million Grammarly users all producing great written work free of grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. And you can too.
Access to Grammarly is through a free extension to Chrome and Firefox browsers. Just click the button on the webpage and follow the instructions. Grammarly will then check everything you write from Facebook posts to emails.
Alternatively, once you open your Grammarly account, you can upload your document file and it will check it for you.
If you feel you need more support, then you can upgrade to Grammarly Premium. This offers more advanced feedback in areas such as wordiness, plagiarism, inconsistent writing style and unclear sentence structure. It's not expensive and might give you more reassurance with your writing.
I enjoy using Grammarly so much that I have become an affiliate. It makes me feel confident when I write for my clients and for my business. It will help you too. So why not click this link, find out more and, if you sign up, I’ll earn a little bit of commission?
But you’ll earn the respect of your colleagues, managers and owners each time you write an email, report or that new website page with Grammarly supporting you. And that’s worth a whole lot more.
Are you looking for ways to grow your resort business? Want to know how use social media to achieve your growth goals? Not sure what is good and bad practice? This great infographic from Printsome covers 50 tips to get you started.
The Printsome team starts with five things to avoid:
Check out the infographic below for more information. If you're still lost, then contact EVC Marketing and we'll help you develop a strategy that will help you achieve your goals.
There are lots of free and paid-for services that will help you with your digital marketing so we thought we'd share some of our favourites each month.
This month our recommended service is Animoto - a simple video creation tool that makes creating videos a breeze.
First of all, let's get the costs out of the way. This is a paid-for service, but we think it is great value for money and worth every penny.
Costs range from £7.99 per month for a Personal account up to £24 per month for a Business account. Here at EVC Marketing, we have chosen the Professional account at £16 month (billed for the year at £192).
We chose to spend a little extra because Animoto is packed with features and we wanted to get the most from them. Our package includes:
OK, so now you know the costs, why do we like Animoto so much?
Well, it is one of the easiest tools we know of to create short, punchy, social media or website-ready videos using your resort photos or any video footage you have available.
Using their online video editor, just choose a style and a song, add your photos, video clips and text, then produce it and share! No video editing experience is required at all.
There are some stylish templates that can help you start a project. Then you can personalise them to your own specific needs with your own photographic material, logo, resort colour scheme and logo.
Want to add music to your video? Then it is super easy with Animoto as you have access to over 2,000 quality tracks (with the Professional package). And, you don't need to worry about copyright. As you are licenced to use the music, Facebook and YouTube will not have an issue with the music when you upload it to these platforms. This is a major plus for us.
With video now one of the most important aspects of social media, it is imperative that you are able to produce great videos quickly and easily. The results will speak for themselves. It will help you increase your rental sales, drive website traffice interested in holidays rentals and reach a whole new audience that might otherwise never discover you.
Still not sure if Animoto is for you? Then check our their Animoto Success Stories. Or take a look at one we made earlier for one of our clients.