This article was featured as a guest post on Travolution in June 2011

Must has been said about the importance of social media when it comes to the future of search engine optimisation (SEO). Bing recently announced it would integrate social information from Facebook in their search results in the US. This could mean that if you search for a hotel in New York, the results that appear will be prioritised according to the opinions of people in your personal Facebook network.

For example, if one of your friends had posted about how they were staying at Hotel Abc, this post would appear at the top of your search results, making it more specific and personal to you. But to take advantage of this new tool, you will need to be logged into Facebook before you search.

Google made a similar move earlier this year, firstly challenging the Facebook ‘Like’ button with the introduction of their ‘+1’ button.  Now they’ve made a move that directly challenges Bing, by using results from Twitter, Flickr and other social networks to help users make decisions on content based around recommendations from friends.

Essentially, this means that in addition to crawling traditional content of your company website and blog for relevant keywords, search engines will now pull results from social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The sheer importance of social media for the travel industry specifically was highlighted in the recent L2 Think Tank, Digital IQ Index for travel report, finding that social media is a significant source of traffic for 78% of travel websites.

So we decided to look at the social media presence of 100 top travel companies on Google.

This is what we found;

Social Media Presence on Google for 100 Top Travel Companies

Conclusions:

5 things your organisation should do to enhance your social media rankings?

1) Have an active social media presence

Adding content to your social media channel is what drives it. It can’t be left unattended for too long and the more engaging and useful the content you add, the greater the ranking and interactivity with your fans. This does not mean adding every bit of news you can think of – you need to be selective. Try and post something useful at least once a day.

The bigger you are – the more active you need to be.

In addition, we found that generally, the larger your company, the more you have to work to elevate your social media presence.

This is because more often than not, larger companies have more online articles about them which must be overtaken by your social media presence. Some of the other sites that will appear for your company name may be very well established such as national newspapers etc…

2) Share your content out via your social media channels

Shares, tweets and likes are being factored in by search engines as a way to determine the degree of importance for that bit of content.

3) Include links to your social media profiles on your marketing material

Ok so you have your Facebook page and you are posting all your important marketing on it BUT if you don’t have any engaged followers, then who is going to promote your content via shares and re-tweets? Make sure you include links to your company Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn or various pages of your website.

Include sharing tools on your website as well, so your online visitors can share any content they find interesting with their friends.

4)  Think about timing when publishing content on social media

recent study has found that companies that post content on their Facebook pages outside normal business hours see engagement rates that are 20% higher than average.

5) Make it short

The aforementioned study also found shorter is better.  Posts with 80 characters or less have a 27% higher engagement rate. Certain words also encourage engagement, particularly instructions such as “like,” “post,” “take” and “comment,” as does asking a question at the end of a post.

Social media and its influence on search is only going to get greater, and the opportunities that it will bring to your marketing seem limitless.  Now is the time to ensure that your company has a long-term social media marketing strategy and is building a great search engine presence through these channels.

For more information on how your business can easily implement reviews on your website, call +44(0)1179 111 420  or make an enquiry….