Google Algorithm

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Travel Tech

The power of Google as a corporation can hardly be underestimated. Not only does virtually everyone on the planet use Google at some point during every single week, but the Google brand is now instantly recognisable across a raft of different services. It was this success that prompted Interbrand to place Google second on its list of the ‘Best Global Brands 2013’, becoming one of only two companies to overtake Coca-Cola on the list during this century.

Google's evolving algorithms

Google's search engine is so ubiquitous that when the corporation changes its algorithms there is a massive knock-on effect on virtually every industry. Given the influence of Google over the contemporary Internet, the news that the search engine giant launched a new algorithm entitled “Pigeon” in July 2014 should therefore naturally be of interest to all businesses.

This latest update to Google's algorithms is considered to be the biggest in more than two years. The intention behind it, according to the corporation itself, is to ensure that local searches more closely mimic traditional organic rankings. Early results from this algorithm update indicate that Pigeon has already been shown to have boosted food and hospitality businesses, which will naturally be of interest to travel-related companies.

While websites can attract traffic in a variety of different ways nowadays, it is still clear that organic Internet searches are the biggest overall source of Internet traffic by some distance. Search Engine Optimisation platform provider BrightEdge recently released a report which indicated that organic searches remain the dominant form of Internet traffic.

Organic searches dominant

Organic searches accounted for 51% of all traffic among the websites BrightEdge studied within its Data Cube dataset. Most industrial sectors continue to be driven by organic searches, and therefore a change to the Google algorithms such as Pigeon must be viewed as extremely important.

So how exactly does Pigeon impact upon search results? One of the most obvious trends associated with this new algorithm is the phenomenon of ‘hyperlocalised' search results. This effectively means that distance and ranking parameters within Google have been improved, so that the radius of a search has been reduced significantly. This could sound a little obtuse and jargon-based, but by ‘radius’ Google is literally referring to physical geography.

What this means for businesses is that their Internet marketing strategy should begin to at least include a more localised element. The new Google algorithm necessitates the development of local and regional marketing.

While it is tempting to view a major change in something as significant as the Google algorithms as an irritation, travel-related businesses can in fact greatly benefit from it. Whereas other industries have noted a downturn in traffic since Pigeon was put in place, the new algorithm provides opportunities for marketers within the travel industry to develop a marketing strategy around locality; something to which the travel industry is obviously ideally suited.

Focusing on local

Producing content focused on the local area surrounding a business can be considered an essential part of travel marketing from hereon in. Being listed in websites with a local focus such as Yelp and Google, My Business will also be extremely beneficial for travel-related websites. Such a policy will indicate to Google that a particular business possesses a certain regional and / or local authenticity.

Google has delivered some truly innovative and outstanding products, yet it is no stranger to controversy. Just days ago, the BBC reported that the European Commission was seeking new concessions from Google regarding the way it displays search results on web pages. And in the past, the corporation has been one of the most criticised for failing to protect the privacy of its users.

But the fact remains that for the foreseeable future Google will remain an incredibly important Internet company. By the turn of 2013, Google was not merely the leader in Internet searches, but also online video and mobile operating systems. This contributed to a revenue growth during the last fiscal quarter of 22%. No wonder that Forbes considers Google the third most valuable company on the planet.

In such a climate, paying heed to the new Pigeon algorithm is essential for all travel-related companies. It is fortunate that that the way this particular algorithm works should be seen as a blessing rather than an impediment for the travel industry.

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