18 Jan 2012

How “Fresh” is Your Hotel Website?

Every year, Google makes more than 500 updates to its search algorithm. The most significant update in 2011 was the Google Panda Update, now in version 2.5, which made most hotel websites obsolete by introducing very strict requirements for content, interactivity, and page download speeds. 

This required sites to generate engaging and unique website content (as opposed to bland, old and tired content) that would intrigue users and increase the site’s “stickiness.”

After frustrating hospitality digital marketers with the seemingly never-ending Panda update saga, Google went a step further by releasing the broadest, most-impactful algorithmic change to date, just to keep us all on our toes. Last week Google announced that they had rolled out an update now known as the “Freshness” update, which was said to affect 35% of total searches and would allow for more relevant, current information to be displayed for a bevy of high-volume search queries.

Why are these updates important for the hospitality industry? Between 50%-70% of hotel website visitors and website bookings originate as leads from the major search engines.

The update, essentially, is an amendment to the “Caffeine” update Google rolled out in 2010, whose sole purpose was to make general search queries 50 percent “fresher.” So when you were searching for a sports score or who won last night’s election, for example, you would be delivered the most up-to-date articles and commentary. Problem is, in only a year’s time search queries have risen in number and the amount of online media continues to grow. Each story – each topical event – is being discussed, reported on, and dissected hundreds and thousands of times over, simply because the platform is available and the medium, the Internet, is effective. This is what spawned the rise of this new “freshness” update that has set off alarms from Palo Alto to the burgeoning tech hub that is New York.

So who does this new “Freshness” Update affect?

Every online entity. No longer can we truly separate a blog, a news site and a content site that offers up-to-date “local news” in the form of local events, happenings or promotions such as a hotel website.


Read the rest of this article at: HebsDigital