Benefits of Organic Search Engine Optimization: A High ROI Marketing Strategy

By Hillary Bressler Fractional Digital CMO, PinchHit Partners | January 27, 2012

So before I can convince anyone about SEO, I need to teach them "what is SEO and why should I do it." SEO is the science and art of attracting "free" organic traffic to your site. And this works in a way that is different than any other form of online marketing. It is a long term and high ROI marketing model. Dollar-for-dollar, search engine optimization offers the most cost-efficient website traffic-building tactic and can also deliver significant competitive advantages.

**What is SEO?**

Search engine optimization is the process of insuring your site listing appears among the top results of a search in engines such as Yahoo! or Google. The higher a website ranks in the search results, the greater the chance that the site will be visited. SEO is not to be confused with paid search, or Pay-Per-Click (PPC), where an advertiser pays when their listing in the "Sponsored Links" section of a search engine page is clicked.

A 2006 by Radar Research states that 75 percent of advertisers use organic search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, making it the most popular form of search engine marketing. Paid search came in second, with 71 percent of advertisers using this channel. Paid search comprised about 86 percent of total ad spending, while organic search accounted for a mere 12 percent of ad spending in 2006. Because of the competitiveness for some keywords, a significant number of dollars can and are being spent on paid search while SEO delivers results for significantly less.

**What are your SEO options?**

If your hotel is considering SEO as part of your Internet marketing arsenal, you'll find a dizzying array of options from vendors: phone consultations; website audits; on-going SEO consultation; and SEO consulting with implementation. You'll likely also consider undertaking SEO in-house versus outsourced professional services.

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Coming up in June 2018...

Sales & Marketing: Opinions Matter

Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors manage a complex mix of strategies to attract and convert customers into guests. Part of their expertise includes an awareness of customer behavior during the reservation process, so they can make sure their hotel is favorably positioned. One such trend is the growing popularity of travel review sites. According to one recent survey, 61% of prospective customers consult online reviews in order to validate information about the hotel before making a purchasing decision. Another survey found that the average hotel customer reads between 6-12 reviews across 4-10 properties before making a final decision on where to stay. Similarly, other studies have shown that consumer reviews are a more trusted source of information for prospective customers than other kinds of marketing messaging. In fact, reviews are often considered to be as influential as price regarding whether a customer decides to complete a purchase or not. Plus, travel sites with the most reviews - including recent reviews from satisfied customers and thoughtful responses from staff - were also found to be the most appealing. So having positive reviews on a travel website is essential and can help to increase a hotel's conversion rates dramatically. Of course, there are all kinds of additional marketing strategies for sales and marketing directors to consider - the importance of video and the emergence of live streaming; the implementation of voice search; the proliferation of travel bots; and the development of Instagram as an e-commerce platform. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.