Google search is turning into a personal assistant more than a search engine. The days of the Holy Grail metric of page 1 searchresults based on SEO and keyword dominance are all but gone. The sooner companies realize this and turn from being marketers to publishers of online content, the quicker their profits will follow.
That is the advice of online strategy author Bronwyn White, co-founder and director of MyTravelResearch.com. In her new white paper, published on 4 March, entitled, “Insights into Action: The Travel Industry Meets Semantic Search,” she makes clear what Google’s semantic search is, examines the specific opportunities it offers for travel businesses and destinations, and considers how to apply these insights to travel companies’ marketing strategies and tactical executions.
“Let’s be clear,” says White, “Hummingbird, Google’s new search algorithm, is not a search update, but an entire search engine overhaul. The days when the old search algorithm could be ‘gamed’ by artificial link building and stuffing poor online content with repetitive key words are all but over.”
Bing and Yahoo are also embracing semantic search. But Google, with 67% of online searches is the dominant player by far.
Semantic search means that each person searching for a word or phrase, for example “Las Vegas,” will receive a different set of search results depending on where they are, their search history and their previous social media engagement. Semantic search uses such context, online history and social media signals to personalise each person’s search results.
“Google is becoming an intuitive personal assistant. And the more you use Google products like Google Now, Google Plus, Google Places, and YouTube, the more Google will love you back,” says White.
If you post relevant, practical content often and receive high engagement on social media, Google will consider you an authority. It may then reward you with fast indexing and higher ranking to relevant searches.
White argues that 58% of all leisure travel begins with people searching online. B2C companies should therefore place less emphasis on printing brochures, buying print adverts and going to travel shows. They should invest in relevant good quality online content instead. She says: “It is time for the tourism industry and destinations to meet their customers where they are – online.”
“Insights into Action: The Travel Industry Meets Semantic Search” is free to download here. The 12-page illustrated report gives practical insights in simple English that tourism operators can use to boost their travel business online rankings.