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4 years ago
 

Are blogs REALLY that important to hotels?

NB: This is a guest article by Brandon Dennis, technical marketing manager at Buuteeq.

When I first started writing about hospitality, I was surprised at the number of hoteliers who came to me and said: “I have to have a blog – my SEO is bad without a blog!”, or some other variant.

Even today, the idea that somehow having a blog will magically bring you more traffic and more confirmed reservations is prevalent, as recently evidenced by a thought provoking article on Tnooz, titled “If you do not have a blog, your hotel website is dead“.

So, what is it about a blog that brings you more traffic? What is it about a blog that makes Google like your website more?

Nothing. There is nothing special about a blog.

Really Simple Syndication

Well, let me qualify that a little bit. There are two things unique about a blog: RSS and comments. As most of you know, RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and allows your visitors to subscribe to your blog.

After subscribing, they get an alert – on their phone or RSS reader – whenever you write a new blog post. This is a handy marketing tool to get previous readers back to your blog, which can possibly lead to more bookings if your readers are travelers.

Blog comments

Comments are a nice way to communicate directly with your guests — however, the intimacy and immediacy of communicating via comments have more or less been eclipsed by social media.

Still, there are people who love to voice their opinions using blog comments, and if moderated well, comments are certainly a good thing to have on a blog.

But that’s about it.

Aside from comments and RSS, there is nothing inherently special or different about the structure of a blog compared to standard websites.

Google does not rank blogs better compared to websites. Both blogs and websites are indexed just as easily by search engines, and both blogs and websites can be compatible with modern Internet marketing tools, including social media, XML sitemaps, image sharing and so on.

Dynamic, fresh content

When I meet friends who tout the benefits of blogs, they often talk about dynamic, fresh content.

“Google likes lots of well-written, relevant content,” they say. And this is very true. But there is nothing about a blog that makes its content any more dynamic, well-written, or fresh.

In fact, anything published with a blog immediately becomes static, unless the author edits and republishes the content over time.

And here is where we come to the meat of the issue — it isn’t a blog per se that makes content more dynamic, but simply the ability to edit and republish that content, which most blogs have.

In short, this is a debate on the merits of a content management system (CMS) verses static, traditional web development. And in this debate, there is no debate.

Traditional web design and development is quickly being eclipsed by dynamic, living, breathing content. The hotel web design of the late 1990s and early 2000s that consisted of individual HTML files that had to be edited in Dreamweaver, or some other software, is outdated.

This kind of content tended to remain static because it was often very tricky, expensive, and time consuming to update.

Often, hoteliers couldn’t edit the content themselves, even if they wanted to. Instead, they had to contact their web developer with the changes they needed, who often charged an additional service fee.

This is the kind of design done by traditional agencies, which charge a flat fee, produce some static content, and then leave. The content may or may not be trendy, relevant, and actionable when written and published, but as it is with all things, time tends to age it.

Enter: Content Management Systems

Alternatively, a CMS is a software product built to make web publishing simpler and faster, and therefore content produced by a CMS tends to be more dynamic, simply due to the nature of the software.

Hoteliers and innkeepers can use a CMS like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla (which just so happen to also be blogging platforms, but there are other examples of web-based CMSs like Wix, Weebly, etc.) to update their homepages with time-sensitive information, such as local events like fairs or concerts, seasonal occurrences like weather reports and road closures, or property management changes like new owners, a new wing under construction, etc.

It’s not the blog that makes this content good or makes it rank better in search engines—it’s the fact that it is updated, current, relevant, and of higher interest to today’s guests.

Your CMS is not enough

That said, even CMSs are not enough these days. Blogging software comes packaged with a lot of extras that hotels don’t really need, which can add unnecessary code to the website, increasing its weight and load time.

WordPress, for example, can often get bogged down as users install more and more plugins, which are sometimes abandoned by their developers and stagnate over time.

I personally love WordPress and I use it to power our company blog—I just think that, while an excellent blogging software, it’s not a good solution for hotel websites due to all the added blogging baggage that comes with it.

Hoteliers have more to think about than just a webpage, however. Not only must it be updated with current information, but it should be optimized for mobile devices like smartphones.

Does the hotel use an Internet Booking Engine (IBE)? Then it too needs to be updated on the fly to reflect new prices, room descriptions, and amenities. And let’s not forget about social media.

With the recent news about Facebook’s Graph Search and Nearby for mobile, it is important for hotels to have a social media presence tailored for guests that encourages likes and interactions, which can increase a page’s exposure on Facebook, leading to more booked rooms.

Today, it is no longer about CMSs. Instead, savvy hoteliers invest in DMSs — digital marketing systems – that can publish content to a myriad of digital marketing channels including mobile and social, not just a webpage.

I understand why some argue the benefits of blogs, but I feel like such arguments ignore the real reason why blogs can be handy — kind of like touting the benefits of a lunch box without actually considering the lunch.

Now, hoteliers who use blogs today shouldn’t feel like they’re wasting their time. If blogging works for you, then keep blogging! Just understand that there is much more to marketing a property online than posting a new blog post every week or so.

NB: This is a guest article by Brandon Dennis, technical marketing manager at Buuteeq, a digital marketing system for hotels. He manages Buuteeq’s SEO, paid media channels including SEM and PPC, social outreach, and the company blog. You can connect with him on Twitter @buuteeq.

NB2: Laptop pool image via Shutterstock.

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  1. Melissa Conn

    Great article but I do think it downplays the importance of new content on a website. I’ve managed blogs for years in other industries. A blog has never failed in delivering organic traffic, but this comes over a period of time with the right SEO efforts and research. I plan on using a blog in the hotel industry as a method to share news, pictures of activities and guests, area information etc that my potential guests find interesting. The unprofessional photos of a band playing by the pool can’t be incorporated into the site among the professional photographs because it doesn’t make sense. A blog is not just a blog, it how you use it. For our sites, it will be a social portal and insight into the hotels beyond the sales pitch.

     
  2. Alessandro Crotti

    Great article, I totally agree. I would also add that a blog has relevant costs that nobody talks about. I’m not talking about software costs (as the article say, CMS like WordPress, Joomla or similar are totally free), but the time spent by the hotel manager to write and keep updated his blog articles cannot be ignored.

     
  3. Tracey Edwards

    Nowadays blogs have been the integral part of every business website since the internet has become user friendly and accessible from anywhere. Also, people will believe the stuff on the internet rather than oral communication.

    Actually its nice to have a blog because you can express yourself to the world

     
  4. Jatin Chhabra

    Blogs for Hotels!!! Well it depends upon the SEGMENT. Whether you are a budget or Star rates property. We are a b2b Hotel Management System site & have noticed that Star rates properties are interested in Blogs as they mention their new introductions, celebrity guest etc. But budget properties… nah. Though I personally believe that hoteliers should have a blog.

    Regards
    Jatin Chhabra

     
  5. Guest House Normandy

    Having a blog won’t automatically bring traffic to the site and there are several other tasks need to be done to bring readers which in turn bring traffic.

     
  6. Fiona Potts

    Hello folks,

    I think you are missing the point entirely, as you guys are all marketers (or whatever the correct name is!). The reason I do a blog is simply to talk to my guests – both past and future. My plan is to do one a month this year, as I have been a bit erratic – but guests have commented on the stories of previous ones, so I know they read them!

    When I am researching for a place to stay, I read the blogs of some of the places that have come up in my locality search – because I want to get a feel for the place and whether I will like it and if it will suit my needs.

    So, whilst all of the stuff you mention – both in this article and the comments afterwards – may be relevant, its not the reason I do one…

    Hope that helps in the perspective of blogs!

    Regards,
    Fiona

    Gwaenynog Farmhouse B&B and Campsite
    http://www.gwaennog.com

     
    • Brandon Dennis

      Excellent Fiona, that’s the perfect reason to use a blog. And kudos to you for forging a community that interacts with you on your blog. I know many hoteliers would be envious of that.

      Community building can be managed in many ways. You use a blog. Others may use a Facebook page, a LinkedIn group, a Google+ Community, or a forum. It takes time and dedication, as you know, but the rewards are great for those that can successfully foster a community around their business.

      The point of this article was not about using a blog to build community (which it can do well thanks to the commenting system, as I covered in the Blog Comments section above), but dispelling myths about blogs and SEO. There are those out there who have been told by their SEO agencies that they must have a blog in order to rank well on Google–as if blogs have some sort of magic SEO juice that other websites don’t. This article focuses on that topic specifically.

       
      • Fiona Potts

        Actually, I use social media all the time too – Facebook, G+ and Twitter; so I am trying to build a “brand” so that guests can find me wherever they look, or where they interact. I understand the concept of not wholly relying on the blog to bring traffic, but its one of many arms that do… I hope!

        And no, blogs don’t have magic SEO! lol

         
  7. David Kutcher

    I’m sorry, but this statement really throws me:

    ““Google likes lots of well-written, relevant content,” they say. And this is very true. But there is nothing about a blog that makes its content any more dynamic, well-written, or fresh””

    Yes, I agree, CMSs enable/empower the website owner to manage their content, but that’s not what you’re saying with that statement, and that statement the way it’s written is false.

    A blog DOES enable/empower more fresh content (in the form of the Blog), and yes, Google most certainly DOES reward fresh content:

    “Smoother ranking changes for fresh results. [launch codename “sep”, project codename “Freshness”] We want to help you find the freshest results, particularly for searches with important new web content, such as breaking news topics. We try to promote content that appears to be fresh. This change applies a more granular classifier, leading to more nuanced changes in ranking based on freshness.

    Improvement in a freshness signal. [launch codename “citron”, project codename “Freshness”] This change is a minor improvement to one of the freshness signals which helps to better identify fresh documents.”

    from http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/2012/05/search-quality-highlights-53-changes.html

    What hotels, small businesses, etc. need is a website with an integrated blog, and yes, that most likely means having a CMS of some sort, even if that CMS is Blogger (which can make some very nice websites with blogs btw). But don’t mistake the fact that a blog is a very powerful tool and one that is often rewarded by search engines.

     
    • Brandon Dennis

      Thanks for the comment David. You sadly misunderstood my sentence. The issue hinges on the key word “more”. I affirm that there is nothing about a blog that makes content any MORE fresh than content produced and constantly updated by another means, like, say, using another CMS or DMS. The entire point is that content becomes fresh, regardless of the tool you use to make it fresh.

      Google will not elevate a blog in the SERP above another website, just because it’s a blog. Google may elevate fresh content in the SERP above non-fresh content, even if it is not on a blog.

      About freshness–the freshness algorithm is not applied to every bit of content produced by every website in the world. It is only applied to newsworthy, timely content, such as news articles, obituaries, and so on. The freshness algorithm was designed to deliver better content to users who are searching for timely, “now” information.

      For example, let’s say there was an earthquake in Seattle, and the world started Googling “earthquake”. Before the freshness algorithm, the #1 Google result for earthquake queries might have been very old earthquakes. However, after the freshness algorithm, Google interprets search queries based on current events, and delivers results based on what it thinks the user wants to find. So, the user will now see information about the Seattle earthquake first, before seeing info about the old earthquakes.

      As you can see, the freshness algorithm is not very important for the vast majority of websites to worry about. If I write a history of the Crusades and publish it on my website, I don’t need to worry about the freshness algorithm because the history of the Crusades will never change. There will never be an event in the future that will change the history of the crusades. Therefore, having ‘fresh’ content about the Crusades is not important.

      Hotels do not need to worry about freshness, unless they are writing timely content about local events and news items. Instead, hoteliers should focus on writing high quality content.

       
      • David Kutcher

        “I affirm that there is nothing about a blog that makes content any MORE fresh than content produced and constantly updated by another means, like, say, using another CMS or DMS.”

        Again, not quite. Unless you are pinging the search indexes each time you update your main pages, then again, blogs which have RSS feeds and pinging mechanisms notify search engines that fresh content has been produced. Blog Posts, by definition, are timely and more time-dependent than Pages, or perhaps a better way to say that is that Pages are less time-dependent than Posts.

        “Hotels do not need to worry about freshness, unless they are writing timely content about local events and news items. Instead, hoteliers should focus on writing high quality content.”

        Please tell me why hotels should not be actively blogging timely content about local events? That seems like the most basic of positive marketing tactics to engage your potential visitors, but also in terms of search engines, seems like a no-brainer method of placing your hotel highly in searches for tourists that might be coming to town to attend that event.

         
        • Brandon Dennis

          I actually said “…UNLESS they are writing timely content about local events…”.

          In the old days, Google indexed websites once every month or so–sometimes once every three months. Back then, a pinging mechanism may have been helpful. However, these days, Google can often detect new content on your website before you have time to hop on over to Webmaster Tools and manually submit your new content to the index, making search engine pinging by blogs nearly irrelevant.

          Incidentally, the method I just mentioned is much more likely to get your blog indexed by Google, than using a pinging mechanism implemented by billions of low quality and non-indexed blogs around the world.

          And you don’t need a blog to use it.

           
  8. Patrick Landman

    Patrick Landman

    Hi Brendan,

    Thanks for responding to my article. I am slightly surprised you assumed that we do not care about the quality of the site. As you wrongly suggest in your article above we do not propagate that the blog is the only action hoteliers should take. It is one among many.

    But my apologies if we did not publish an all inclusive article on how to manage all facets of online marketing, internet distribution and ecommerce.

    It is quite pleasing to read how through your article and in your replies to comments agree and disagree with your own statements.

    Reading all responses, I clearly obeserve that everyone, including yourself agrees on the following:
    – a blog is a great tool to engage guests, with more personal, charasmatic contect beyond the product information in the general sections of a hotel website

    – a blog is also a great place to get comments and feedback, and create dialogue with fans and followers, if you use a facebook comments plugin, it also helps increase your ‘social’ reach

    – a blog is a great extension of your hotel SEO strategy, targeting relevant local destination topics, avoiding cluttering a website with extensive menus and navigation options

    – the introduction (and importance of) Authorship & Author Rank by Google is a great opportunity to increase branding / exposure of a blog

    And yes at the basis you need to have a good website with consistent, quality, topical content, and a complete well balanced digital marketing strategy.

    A bit disappointing you made the assumption, we only care about the blog part :-).

    By the way compliments on the controversial angle to start a nice debate above.

    Cheers,

    Patrick @ Xotels

     
    • Brandon Dennis

      Thanks for the response Patrick. I have no doubt that you greatly care about the quality of websites and blogs alike. It’s also true that we agree on many things, as you mention. However, unless I am mistaken, we fundamentally disagree on the importance of blogs. The title to your article suggested that if a website doesn’t have a blog attached, then the website is dead. But as I have demonstrated, this is simply not true. A website can be vibrant and alive without a blog, as long as it continues to produce high quality content (which can be done easily with a CMS or DMS).

      It also became clear as I read comments that people STILL believe that blogs have the magical ability to boost a website’s SEO, compared to a website. I took some time to dispel this myth, even thought it wasn’t an argument you made in your article.

      This is a minor disagreement on the appropriate use of technology. As I understand it, you affirm that websites need dynamic, ever-changing content in order to remain healthy. However, you list only blogs as a solution to achieve this. In my article, I explain how blogs, while handy tools, are not necessary to achieve the goal of having fresh, dynamic content.

      It’s quite possible that I misunderstood your argument. I’m happy to be corrected.

       
      • Patrick Landman

        Patrick Landman

        HI Brandon,

        Thanks for your feedback.

        I would not say your are dispelling myths or clarifying inappropriate use of technology. You are simply adding useful info, which I have also been advocating for many years.

        In reference to my article on this topic, the title used, indeed is a wake up call to hoteliers, who are not using their website to the potential they should. And yes for such you need a catchy one (an important rule of writing articles or blog posts).

        In this particular article we highlight the importance of continuously adding fresh content to a hotel website that is more informal and personal to show your true character and ambiance of the hotel beyond the product marketing text and connect with guests (and potential bookers)

        A blog (albeit not the only one) is a great format for this.

        Perhaps you are over-polarizing comments slightly and are very focused on definitions. Surely you see as well that if one says option B is a good (following the words of the other comment contributors), it does not automatically mean one thinks option A is not.

        In any case, we agree.

        Cheers,

        Patrick @ Xotels

        PS love your guys blog, great work !

         
  9. Dino

    I think a blog is best used in the broader context of a digital marketing strategy. By itself, it’s not going to do much more for SEO than a static website, but I wouldn’t underestimate the importance of fresh content from a user standpoint. Users prefer web platforms that are current and engaging. When they visit a site that has fresh content and a blog that engages the consumer (one that is timely and responds to comments), then it can be very powerful. Tie this in to a social media strategy that is equally engaging and that’s your winning combination.

    Thanks for the interesting article.

     
    • Brandon Dennis

      EXACTLY, you hit it spot on my friend! It’s all about having consistent, quality, topical content, that can be produced equally well on a blog or a non-blog.

       
  10. Daniel Craig

    Coincidentally Brandon, I was searching for info on Facebook’s Graph Search yesterday and it drew me to your Buuteeq website (and excellent blog), in a way that a static web page likely would have not.

    The thing about blogs is Google favors this content, all things being the same, over existing repurposed web pages. So fresh blog posts about local events will have more Google juice than a web page about local events that is updated over time.

    Moreover, the other key audience for blogs aside from search algorithms is travelers. A blog can be a great way to use utility marketing to answer the questions travelers have about a destination and drive not only traffic but trust and conversions. And there are things one would publish to a blog that give a hotel personality but shouldn’t clutter a website. And it makes great fodder for cross-promotions via other social networks.

    That said, I agree with virtually everything you said, but still think there’s a important place for a well-written, frequently updated hotel blog. They’re rare because they’re time consuming and hard to pull off, often becoming a dumping ground for news releases and promotions.

    Great post.

     
    • Brandon Dennis

      Thanks for your compliments on the blog, Daniel! However, your assertion is simply not true. There is no evidence anywhere that Google likes ranking content built in the structure of a blog more than content built with some other CMS.

      If you think about it, it would be very foolish of Google to rank blog content better. As soon as it was discovered that blog content ranks better than non-blog content, everyone would have a blog and Google would be back where they started. We tend to forget that Google’s main goal is to provide users with the best content, not with blog content. If better content is on a webpage, Google will rank it better than content written on a blog. The funny thing is that this theory can be tested.

      Open up an Incognito window and Google ‘things to do in Seattle’. Here is a link to my query result: https://www.google.com/search?q=things+to+do+in+seattle&oq=things+to+do+in+seattle&aqs=chrome.0.57j62l3.3138&sugexp=chrome,mod=11&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

      There are no blogs listed on the first page. None. We find TripAdvisor and LonelyPlanet, which we expect to take the top spots, but we then quickly see other websites being listed, including National Geographic, Seattle’s government website, Groupon, and Seattle related websites–not-blogs–dedicated to Seattle travel, including downtownseattle.com, seatatleattractions.com, and so on. None of these first page results for a very common travel search accept comments or have RSS feeds. None of them are blogs.

      If blogs had extra special Google juice compared to non-blogs, we should see the front page littered with blog results. After all, how many thousands of blog posts must there be about this topic? If you look at the very bottom of the SERP, you’ll find that Google is serving news related results about my query, and here we finally find one (1) blog–The Seattle Post Intelligencer. But notice I said at the BOTTOM of the SERP, and in a special News section where only News websites can rank.

      I produce a lot of content for buuteeq. I write for the company blog many times a week, and our content tends to rank well. But I also write content for the website that does not live on the blog–and it tends to be some of our best ranking stuff. For example, open up an Incognito window and Google ‘hotel SEO’. Tell me whether the first result is on a blog or not.

      I agree with you–there are many great reasons for having a blog. But ranking better on Google is not one of them. Google simply does not rank blog content better than non-blog content. It’s a myth.

       
  11. Steve Vadocz

    Great article Brandon.

    And there are valid statements. In my opinion the optimal way for standard facility is as usual – somewhere in the middle.
    I agree that it shouldn’t be just about the blog, but the right mixture of fresh and dynamic content -quick news about events in the neighborhood, tips about restaurants etc.

    However this fresh content should be in some cases followed with deeper insight. Not even because of the SEO, but mainly for engagement. By engagement are not meant just the comments. What is shared should be useful for people as well as interesting, with more photos, different types of materials etc. this is what brings traffic.
    Of course we can use social media for that .. sort of, but at the end blog will always help SEO a bit more than, let’s say Facebook.

    So if someone wants a blog – yeah, why not. It can definitely help and not only in regards to SEO, but for example also psychologically.
    Although we always need to keep the eyes on the prize and concentrate on quality over quantity, not omitting other channels, where modern CMS is definitely an important one.

     
    • Brandon Dennis

      It appears you’re suggesting that blog comments help individual pages and entire blogs rank better on Google–is that correct? I don’t want to misunderstand you. If that’s you’re argument, then I must disagree.

      Google’s Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam, has repeated time and again that Google barely gives any consideration to blog comments when ranking a website due to the tendency of some marketers to abuse comments by inserting backlinks. Thus, backlinks found in comments offer nearly zero benefit, because they pass so little domain authority.

      I suppose one could argue that the addition of so much new content from blog comments keeps the article fresh and gives more meat for Google to consume. However, I have found no evidence that a blog post receiving constant comments ranks better–anywhere. We also have an issue with the type of content blog posters tend to write. The author of the article can carefully craft an article targeting specific keywords, but the author can’t help what blog comment writers say. They could go off topic, and I doubt very much that scores of “Great article, thanks” are going to cause Google to rank the post high. In short, most blog comments add nothing to the quality of the article (with some exceptions–this discussion, for example, is a high quality one).

      Additionally, SEOs are increasingly urging web developers to focus more on social, because Google is increasingly taking into account a website’s social graph when deciding how to rank it. While the social graph has not toppled backlinks yet in importance, both Bing and Google are looking at Facebook likes and shares to gauge the quality of an article. And if you think about it, using social shares and links is much better way to decide if an article is quality or not, than to use blog comments. A post could have 1,000 comments because it is highly controversial, but that doesn’t mean it is high quality. However, it is much harder for 1,000 Facebook users to like and then share an article, unless they really took some value from it.

      I encourage hoteliers who love to write to start a travel blog. Maybe it will take off, but only will if they are dedicated to it, and consider themselves hoteliers and professional bloggers–that is, it must be a passion, otherwise they will give up and write one, maybe two posts a month. While blogs are a very useful tool, there is zero evidence anywhere that Google ranks blogs better for any reason than a traditional website.

       
      • Steve Vadocz

        Thank your for great reply Brandon. Unfortunately we have a small misunderstanding.

        I’m saying that blog is good, if it’s about quality over quantity and with nice mixture of another channels. Basically the same thing as Dino is saying below.

        Blog is not just about RSS and comments. Actually it’s not about it at all. I agree that people must be dedicated to it.

        But if they are dedicated then blog can be very special. Most of the content shared over internet is about photos, videos and blog posts/articles. If hoteliers are not dedicated then even Facebook fan page or the best CMS/DMS is useless.

        So it’s about quality content and good mixture of channels. And most of all – dedication and strategy.

         
        • Brandon Dennis

          I see, thanks for the clarification Steve. I agree 100%–compelling, quality web content is the key to effectively marketing a property only, whether or not use use a blog or DMS to do so. Websites, like blogs, can beautifully house high quality photos, offer interactive maps, and provide excellent descriptive articles about a hotel property and local attractions.

          The best thing hoteliers can do is to focus on their marketing message and provide compelling, quality assets.

           
  12. Olaf Slater

    You reference SEO and at the same time the usage of a blog as a customer engagement platform, in both cases there has been a recent shift in defining the relevance of content (Panda, Penguin etc.), so content items such as a blog – and indeed any other SEO/SEM activities – with the introduction (and importance of) Authorship & Author Rank is radically changing. I believe that this opens up a whole new playing field in defining the relevance of content and the ranking in search results, and indeed as users become accustomed with this concept in the direct dialog environment as well.

    Authorship is already a much more effective method to ensure relevance than the “freshness” of that content (when was it last updated), and with that a whole new opportunity for hoteliers to create real (at least – for lack of a better term – Pavlov-sche Perceived) value by giving their authors credibility and a face has arisen. Blog – Maybe, if so, Authorship – Must.

    Question: Does your DMS support Authorship and tie back to your CMS?

    Rimm-Kaufman Group held a great break out session at the PCW Innovation Summit in NOV12. http://www.forbes.com/sites/moneywisewomen/2012/12/19/how-seo-is-revamping-itself-for-2013/ http://mediasuite.multicastmedia.com/player.php?p=zkd4v793

     
    • Brandon Dennis

      Great comment–and yes, our DMS supports Google authorship and integration between a Google+ personal profile or a Google+ business page.

      However, I believe we’re straying from the issue just a tad. The argument goes that hoteliers must have a blog because Google ranks blogs well. Therefore, blog = better SERP rankings = more visitors = more direct reservations.

      This rabbit trail doesn’t pan out in real life, though. It’s not a deluge of content that gives Google the glad eye, but rather consistent, high quality, topical content–and Google could care less whether or not one uses a blog or website or even Google+ to craft it.

      I can see a situation where an hotelier starts a topical blog about “Tourist attractions near location X” or “Best places to visit in location X”, etc. The hotelier blogs every week, writes consistently high quality content, and Google rewards the blog with high SERP rankings. The hotelier can then use this blog to promote a property and drive traffic to the property website.

      However, this same process can be done with a CMS or DMS. Draft and publish a new article every week–Google will index it and deliver it to users just as if it were a blog post. The only things you lose by crafting it outside of a blog is RSS and comments.

      Authorship only becomes a concern if you have multiple authors of one blog. Then, yes, a blogging platform that supports users is the best choice. But we’re talking about hoteliers using a blog to drive traffic to their website, when they can simply use the website itself, which almost always has just one author anyway. Google authorship can be integrated with any website or blog with a simple code insertion.

       
      • Olaf Slater

        My point was authorship relevance in terms of a real person vs. a company – my current view is that Google will favor real people’s authorship – but happy to be proven wrong

         
        • Brandon Dennis

          No argument here, I believe you’re correct. We have Publisher structured data set up for buuteeq.com and Authorship structured data set up for our blog. Our blog results often appear in the SERPs with my face next to them, but our website content never appears with our company brand (nor have I seen many brands appear in the SERPs along with their logo).

          As you imply, I think this is just a decision Google has made to not flood the SERPs with images, and so they have chosen to focus, for now, on verified authors. Now, a hotel could create a Google+ profile, instead of a page, and then set up authorship markup, instead of publisher markup. And needless to say, both of these methods can work equally well on a blog or a website.

           
 
 

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