Five Steps in Utilizing Google Earth for Your Website SEO

By Hillary Bressler Fractional Digital CMO, PinchHit Partners | May 13, 2012

Since Google Earth launched, millions of Internet users have traveled the globe in search of everything from Mount Kilimanjaro to their childhood homes, all from the comfort of their own computers. But, this popular satellite-based application is far more than a way to pass the time at work. When integrated into a website, Google Earth is a powerful tool that can boost Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and support the overall marketing strategy.

First, it's important to understand that SEO is the process of improving the natural or organic volume of quality traffic to your website from search engines. When a search is conducted, the higher a site appears in the list of results, the more likely the user will click on the link to view the site. In fact, statistics show that 68 percent of Web users click on the first page of search results, and 92 percent click on the first three pages.

While popular strategies to increase SEO range from updating Web content to posting blogs with backlinks (website URLs), most site managers are unaware of the benefits Google Earth presents. Below are five steps those in the hotel industry should take into account when considering Google Earth as a way to increase website SEO.

**1. Revisit how your website supports the overall marketing goals**

All too often, websites are created simply because an online presence is a critical component of doing business. More time is typically spent thinking about what pretty photos to upload rather than how the website should support the overall marketing goals. Who is the site built for? Do you want to increase online bookings? Are you trying to drive phone traffic? Is it necessary to promote particular products online? Does the site help build your property's brand? Before moving forward with any website enhancement, take time to revisit how the site supports the overall objective.

**2. Determine how your audience is currently finding and utilizing your site**

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The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.