buuteeq powered websites are optimized to rank highly over time in search engine results. buuteeq follows industry standard best practices, established by search engines like Google, to provide buuteeq clients great results. Our method of search engine optimization is healthy for your website and it makes Google happy. But what exactly do we do? And why are our practices better than others?
One of the most powerful tools for improving SEO is localization. Most sites are in English. If your website is only in English, then you’re competing with thousands of other English websites. However, if your site is localized in other languages like Spanish or Portuguese (buuteeq supports both), then your content can be crawled in those languages and have a chance to perform well on Google in those languages. The more languages your content is localized for, the better your site will perform. buuteeq has a rich system for localizing your content in numerous languages, causing you to rank higher in search engine results. In addition to localization, buuteeq performs a number of SEO best practices to further optimize your content.
SEO – What Is It?
If you’ve ever run a website, you’ve probably heard the term “SEO”, which stands for “search engine optimization”. Website owners are interested in SEO because the better they perform on search engines, the more users will access their site, and the more money they will make.
Because of this, many companies exist that claim to be SEO experts. They promise you top search engine results by performing SEO tricks, like tweaking page titles, constantly changing metadata, keywords stuffing and so on—and they charge you an arm and a leg for their services. What the hotel owner must understand is that SEO “experts” are nothing more than slick snake-oil salesmen. No one can honestly promise you top search engine rankings, because no one controls Google but Google. There is currently no SEO trick that can guarantee you the best rank on Google. If there was such a trick, everyone would use it, making the trick ineffective.
The best way to perform well on search engines is to write great content. Make your website all about your hotel. Make it interesting, honest, and genuine. 95% of SEO is simply proving good website content. The other 5% consists of minor website tweaks that Google recommends to optimize your site, but the performance of these tweaks is nearly ineffectual when compared to simply writing compelling content for your website. Let’s talk a little more about these SEO tweaks.
White vs. Black
SEO can be divided into two types—white hat SEO and black hat SEO. White hat SEO is a term to describe web design best practices recommended by search engines like Google. Websites that practice white hat SEO tend to perform strongly over time. Black hat SEO is a set of strategies to get higher search engine rankings using unethical tactics. Websites that use black hat SEO tend to perform well very quickly, but then get punished by Google and buried in search results.
As a hotel owner, you want to invest your time and energy into simply writing compelling website content. Any small amount of time you do place into SEO should be placed into white hat SEO. Your hotel may climb search engine ranking slowly, but it will never get punished by Google and is likely to maintain its ranking or climb even higher over time.
Thus, the hotelier must be very careful when approached by black hat SEO salesmen who promise high rankings very quickly if you pay for their system. They are lying about the results they can produce, and they will most likely harm your site in the long run. What is black hat SEO? Here are some examples of SEO you should NOT do:
Keyword stuffing. Search engines crawl websites to look for words. If a user searches for a word, Google will match it to all the words it has discovered on websites in order to offer a list of good matches. Some websites stuff their pages with hundreds of keywords in hopes that their site will rank well with all of them. This trick, however, never fools Google, which punishes websites that practice keyword stuffing.
Invisible text. Some websites want to target a certain audience, but their website is really about something else. They may try fooling search engines using invisible text. They’ll write long paragraphs about things that do not relate to their site, and they’ll change the font color of the text to match their website’s background. This makes the text invisible to users, who never see it, but visible to search engine robots. This technique, however, does not fool search engines, for they can tell what color your font text is. If it matches your website background, then you get penalized.
Doorway pages. These are website pages that guests never see. They exist simply to contain keywords and descriptions that the website owner wants search engines to see. This trick does not work anymore, because search engines also look at the website’s page hierarchy. If you have orphaned pages that have no way of being seen by actual browsers, then you get penalized.
Backlink spam. This includes link farms, which are pages comprised solely of links, hidden links, which are not underlined and look like normal text to users, and blog or forum spam, which are links posted on hundreds of popular websites which direct users back to the spammer’s website. A number of high-profile flower companies were recently busted by the New York Times for practicing this scheme. Having websites with good reputations link to your site is good for your site, and increases your website ranking. However, if those links don’t make sense because they are not accompanied by relevant descriptions, you will be penalized.
Example – J.C. Penney
But does Google really penalize websites for practicing black hat SEO? Yes, and they don’t care how big your brand name is either. The New York Times recently released a story where they busted J. C. Penny for black hat SEO. For many months, J.C. Penney was the #1 Google search result for hundreds of keywords, ranging from “tablecloths” to “grommet top curtains”. Some of the keywords were relevant, and others had nothing to do with what J. C. Penney offered. Some were just plain unfair—for instance, for a while J. C. Penney ranked higher in results for the term “Samsonite” than did Samsonite’s own webpage.
The reason is because J. C. Penney used black hat SEO—specifically, link spamming. They managed to spread links back to their website all around the net, on over 2,000 different websites, which were tagged with hundreds and hundreds of different keywords. This made Google angry, and when Google gets angry…websites pay the price. JCPenney.com, which once was the #1 search result for hundreds of terms, is now buried in search results—sometimes up to ten pages deep.
Providing relevant and non-spammy search engine results is Google’s business model—it’s what they do. If they did it poorly, then they would go out of business. This is why search engines like Google work so hard to combat black hat SEO techniques.
What buuteeq Does
Let’s face it—Google is smarter than all of us. They have the capital to hire the best people in the world—there is no way to fool them in the long run. Anyone who claims that he can is simply trying to con you out of your hard earned money. The best way to optimize your website for search engines is to find out what search engines want you to do, instead of trying to “game the system”.
Thankfully, Google has released a guide for white hat SEO. The following are a list of recommendations directly from Google, how buuteeq complies, and how you can add better content to your buuteeq-powered site.
“Create Unique, Accurate Page Titles”
Page titles are displayed in search engine results. Google has decided that a page’s title is often the best place to find out exactly what the page is about, and so it scans the title when deciding where to rank it. They recommend that your title tag has the name of your hotel, and maybe even where your hotel is, what your hotel offers, and a short description of your hotel. For example, a good title tag could be: “Brandon’s Fine Hotel, Seattle Washington –Luxury Lodging, Tasty Fish”.
Each unique page on your site should have its own, unique title tag. buuteeq complies by combining your hotel info with your page title to create a title tag. You can change your title tag by changing your hotel name in the Hotel Info section, and by accurately naming your articles.
“Make Use of the Description Meta Tag”
Each page on your website has what is called a “meta tag”. There are two parts to a meta tag—keywords and a description. Keywords are words that you think your guests would type into a search engine in order to find you. Google recommends that you insert specific keywords and that you don’t repeat words you used in your title tags. The description is a short summary of your hotel and what you have to offer. Google recommends that you make it short, accurate and pithy.
The keywords meta tag is hidden from users and only seen by Google bots, but your description tag could be seen by guests while browsing Google search results, so make sure that it is accurate and readable.
buuteeq’s BackOffice has an “SEO Settings” section for every page on your website, giving you the ability to choose your keywords and write your own descriptions. As with title tags, be sure to make keywords and descriptions for each page different, pertaining specifically to the content of that page.
“Improve Structure of URLs”
Google wants to see URLs that make sense. They don’t like URLs that contain a random jumble of numbers or strange characters. The reason for this is that URLs are displayed in search results under the entry’s description, and descriptive URLs help people understand what your website is about.
buuteeq complies by building a navigation hierarchy named after the title of your page. All photo pages, for example, appear as /photos in your URL. You have control over how your URLs look for your custom articles. The more descriptive your page title, the better your URL for that page will be. Be sure to keep your page titles short, accurate and descriptive, because long URLs are ugly, unwieldy and hard to read.
“Make Your Site Easier to Navigate”
Google wants to see sites that are logically organized. They don’t like seeing orphaned pages, or pages that are buried in dozens of different directories. They prefer seeing “breadcrumbs”; that is, pages organized logically by category. buuteeq has shallow page hierarchies to keep URLs short. When you build custom articles, you can place articles within collections. If you organize articles into their proper collections, this will make your URL look logical, and make Google happy.
Additionally, Google prefers that your URLs don’t become broken if a part is removed, and that your site doesn’t have an unhelpful error, or a 404 page. buuteeq solves this by redirecting the user to your website’s homepage if there is an error in the URL. You can test this by taking any buuteeq-powered URL and deleting a portion in the middle of it.
Lastly, Google wants a site-map to aid guests when browsing your site. buuteeq complies by placing a “site map” link in the footer of every page. Click it, and you can easily browse a website’s sitemap.
“Offer Quality Content & Services”
“Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the factors discussed here.”
So says Google. This means that the performance of your website in search results lies primarily on how useful your content is. How can you make your content more compelling? Well, while writing articles, image names and location descriptions, keep these tips in mind:
- While writing content, anticipate search terms and use a good mix of keyword phrases. Think about what your guest would type into Google to get to your page, and try to seamlessly weave those words into your writing. Make sure that the end result is a paragraph that is readable and understandable by humans, and doesn’t sound like you’re trying to pack in keywords.
- Spelling and grammar is important. Spell-checking your work is essential, but sometimes a spell-checker can miss errors. If you struggle with spelling and grammar, find a friend to proofread your work, or hire a copywriter to write for you.
- Organize your writing into paragraphs and pages. Google doesn’t like seeing a large block of endless text any more than a person likes to read it. If you have a large subject, divide it into multiple pages organized by talking points.
- Avoid duplicate content. You don’t need three pages that say the same thing. Humans don’t like reading duplicate content, and neither do Google crawlers.
The rule of thumb is to write for your guests, not for robots.
“Write Better Anchor Text”
Anchor text is the text you use to make a link. For example, if you write an article with a link to www.buuteeq.com, the anchor text should say “buuteeq” or “buuteeq homepage”. Google uses your anchor text to understand what your site is about and what sites you like to link to. Google wants descriptive and concise anchor text for links, because this is the kind of information that helps guests understand your link better. Also, be sure to make the link stand out as a link.
“Optimize Your Use of Images”
Google also decides what your site is all about using the “alt” parameter for your images. The “alt” parameter is the text that is displayed when you hover over an image. Images that don’t have “alt” text are missing an opportunity to help show Google what they’re all about. Also, if your image is a linking image, Google uses its “alt” text as the link’s anchor text.
buuteeq uses the image name as its “alt” text. For example, create a new badge from the homepage section. In the “Badge Name” field, enter a short descriptive name for the badge. When you hover over your badge on your homepage, the text you wrote will pop up—Google sees it, and uses it to further decide how to rank your site.
Google also suggests that all images on your site be organized in one folder with subfolders, instead of linking to images all throughout your root directory. This makes it easier for Google to crawl your images, see how important they are to the integration for your site, and rank them. buuteeq meets this standard.
Use short file names for your images. Be sure that the images you upload into the BackOffice have file names that are short and to-the-point. If you rename an image in your image library, this will change the filename of the image on your website’s server.
“Use Heading Tags Appropriately”
When writing an article, you can make headers and sub-headers with heading tags. In buuteeq, you can create them by pressing the H1H2 button within an article and writing a header or sub-header. Headers are tagged “h1” in the code, and sub-headers are tagged “h2”. Google scans your article and looks for these header tags to determine the focus of your site. Everything encapsulated by an H1 tag is deemed very important. H2 tags are less important. Be sure to make use of headers and sub-headers when writing your articles so Google can better understand how to rank your site, but only use a few of them per page. Too many header tags on a page will annoy Google.
“Notify Google of Mobile Sites”
Mobile sites are built a little differently from regular websites and have different structures. Google needs to know if your site is mobile and how to crawl it in order to better rank it. With buuteeq, we provide a mobile version of your website so that guests can browse your content in the way they wish. We have made sure to configure your mobile site so that it can be indexed accurately by Google.
“Make Use of Webmaster Tools”
Google and other search engines provide website owners with a host of webmaster tools. We encourage you to look into these and see if there are any that would work for you. buuteeq integrates Google Analytics with your new website so that you can track your traffic.
In addition to following Google’s white hat SEO guidelines, buuteeq’s DMS was built with an advanced technology designed to perform better in terms of SEO compared to older technologies like Flash.
Many hotel websites are built with Flash. As we discussed in our Flash video, Flash performs poorly where SEO is concerned because it is an outdated technology that hides text and code in little “swf” objects that Google can’t crawl. This means that if you build your site in Flash, then the vast majority of your content can’t be deciphered by Google, causing you to miss out on search engine ranking.
buuteeq’s architecture has taken this into mind. We’ve constructed our system using transparent code that Google can swim around in and pull out everything they need to better rank your website.
SEO can be a murky pool to wade in, inhabited by unscrupulous SEO “experts” who are, at best, overstating the results they can deliver. buuteeq takes care of all the tricky stuff leaving content and your hotel’s character to you, making our buuteeq DMS is the most effective way to show off your hotel and rank admirably on search engines.
- Video – buuteeq & SEO
- Video – The Challenges of Flash
- Google: More Guidance on Building High Quality Sites
- Google: Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide (PDF)