Google Working Hard to Control the Universe

I read a lot of search engine optimization blogs and articles every day. On any given day Google has better than a 90% share of the news for the day in one way or another. The social web sites increasingly get a good share of the news recently. But most days it’s just wall to wall Google.

Two recent developments at the Googleplex have implications for clients in the travel and tourism markets; Google Places Reviews and Google Hotel Finder.

Many of our clients have been requesting reviews from guests and customers for a couple years now. TripAdvisor, Yelp and Yahoo are the popular review sites in the travel and tourism segment. It is widely believed, but not confirmed by Google, that reviews help your ranking in local search results… Well, apparently Google has grown tired of our reading and writing at other web sites and is now going to display reviews only written at the businesses Places page. This means that if you want reviews of your business to be part of your marketing, you need to be sending people to your Places page to write them. We don’t know yet if reviews play a more important role, less or no different than before in search rankings…

The hotel finder app is a bit more insidious. Granted, it is in what might be called “pre beta” as even google calls it “experimental”. None the less, it aims to go head to head with all destination marketing organizations (DMO’s) from local chamber of commerce reservation bureaus all the way to the top of the heap, ie. Travelocity and the rest. Will it break out of experimental and into beta as a metasearch and advertising platform? Only time will tell.

Of all the new Google developments happening almost daily these days, we are recommending that our clients install +1 buttons on their sites right next to Facebook, Linked In, Stumble Upon and Twitter icon links. The +1 scheme is sure to have an impact on search rankings as Google toys with what is known as “personalized search.”

It’s a full time job just keeping up with developments of this stature, let alone understand and act on them. If you are feeling confused, overwhelmed and need a hand, that is what we are here for!

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