While it might seem hard to believe, the travel industry has exploded in 2016 thanks to social media.

How platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, apps and websites shaped the travel industry is a topic we are going to cover today.

But before that, some relevant stats from last year’s reports.

What 2016 Looked Like in Numbers for the Travel Industry

The tour and leisure activities industry has become a multi-billion USD market. In Europe alone, tours and entertaining activities account for over 40 billion USD, while in the US, there are over 67,000 businesses accumulating approximately 20 billion USD revenue. Travelers are more inclined to spend on sightseeing and experiencing the local life than to shop and party, which makes this segment the 3rd largest of the travel industry, after air and accommodation. 

There is a rising demand for balance between early and last minute bookings and offers. Millennials are part of the segment consumers who do not like to wait, and usually book their travels one week or less prior to departure (19%). 30% of millennials also worry that costs will rise, and therefore are more inclined in booking right away. 82% of US travelers are more tempted towards domestic trips as primary vacation. 59% of travel related searches belong to people aged 35-64. Main reasons for traveling in 2016 included relaxation, adventure, time with family, friends and rewards for the hard work and results.

Last year was a “year of adventure and new experiences“, according to TripBarometer’s 2015 predictions. 69% of all-age consumers planned to experience something new, and 17% wanted to solo-travel for the first time. 1 in 5 global travelers have visited a destination because they saw it online in a TV show. With only 31% of travelers booking based on previous experiences, the majority of them embraced the idea of new, lesser-known and unique destinations.

Adventure and novelty were key marketing messages used by travel companies to attract their customers. 

How Social Media Impacted the Travel Industry in 2016

According to Tnooz, 95% of respondents interviewed in a TrustYou survey stated that they read online reviews before booking a trip. TripAdvisor user stats say that 1 in 5 users will almost always check reviews before deciding on an attraction. Out of these, Australians (82%) and Generation X (74%) are more inclined to check other opinions before trying.

More than 200 new user reviews or messages are being posted on TripAdvisor every minute, and over 6.2 million businesses in over 128,000 destinations use Trip Advisor.  
A new term has become quite popular: “bleisure”. Inspired by nomads and people who travel and work remotely in the same time, the new trend addresses a mix of business and leisure, embraced by technological advances.

Last year has also brought a new perspective on the “mobility” of the industry, with traveling becoming more mobile. It seems travelers just can’t escape technology and are always connected to the online world, independent of location. Increasingly more people use Instagram and Snapchat to find attractions and destinations, empowered by the personal messages and burning hashtags.

Maps, flights, Uber – in one word, information at just one click away. Consumers enjoy the perks of gig economy giant Uber in major cities around the world, especially when “bleisuring”. However, experiential travel is in high demand, as well.

For people seeking adventure, marketers are realizing they need to give travelers a taste of experience, as pictures and videos are no longer satisfying the hunger for authentic travels. A movement which has given way to adventure parks, set-up beaches and more, in order to keep consumers hooked and interested at any given time. 

Two types of travelers have emerged from last year’s travel boom: the “money rich, time poor” and the “money poor, time rich”. The first, who wants to have everything planned ahead of schedule, booked, and dealt with, in order to save time, without caring much about budgets, and avid user of the hashtag #richkidsofinstagram.

The latter, defined by the average millennial who wants to gain as much of an authentic experience as possible, in a state of total “time insensitivity”, but who does not have the money to afford luxury, an avid user of #hostelfriends and AirBnB. Each in their own worlds enjoying a different type of travel experience.

Social media isn’t just Facebook. With 2.5 billion global users by 2018, and introduction of Messenger functionalities for all major social media platforms, we can only imagine how impactful platforms will become. Twitter stats dating from 2014 reveal that 44% of consumers are more inclined to learn about a new travel brand by using Twitter, 27% will share positive experiences, creating buzz for travel brands and over 39% of users access the platform during their travels.

Gen Z use of Instagram is on the rise, while for the same segment of consumers, Facebook is on a steady decline. To add more, 5 out of 6 millennials connect with companies on social media and expect perks. 97% of millennials will share pictures during their travels through Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat.

Newly launched flight search TripSeats reports in their infographic that 68% of travelers are happy with social media ads and consider them to be effective in the decision-making process. Millennials again seem more open towards providing an aid to the industry, with 83% of them being open to provide their travel data to companies. More stats are available below.

With these stats in mind, it does seem like “the world is just a click away”. To where from here?

Infographic

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5 Great SEO Webinars to Attend in 2017

 

We know that 2017 will be important for us. SEO is always changing. Every year we reveal new platforms, new strategies and tactics to integrate into your projects. If you take care of your online success, you know that to stay up to date with consistent updates, it is better to turn to the experts and get all the information you need.

While you are still thinking about SEO in 2017, I’ve gathered a list of upcoming SEO webinars in 2017. You just need to register for the webinars that interest you most.

1. More than SEO: the intelligence and drive behind SE Ranking

SE Ranking invites you to attend the SEO webinar where you can learn about all advanced features of SEO tools and find out the intelligence available at your disposal via SE Ranking SEO power. A one-hour webinar will start on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 1 pm London time.

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Attend the SEO webinar to find out how to:

1. Spend less time on one project without losing SEO quality

  • get more data with one click: 100% accurate website ranking, search visibility & traffic;
  • spend less time on one project: group thousands of keywords within minutes with search volume checked on the fly;
  • Google penalties no more: keep complete control over backlinks with automated monitoring and checking;
  • don’t act blindfold in SEO with SEO/PPC competitor analysis tools. Check out our new base for Netherlands!

2. Create great relationship with your clients

  • be in the know of any changes implemented to your website by your team or clients with Page Changes Monitoring tool before they affect website rankings;
  • create professional SEO reports just a few minutes with automated reporting tool;
  • use SE Ranking as your own service with White label.

3. Get more than SEO: something you don’t expect but most definitely need

  • mobile search tracking you can’t find in other SEO tools;
  • social media posting to easily get more social traffic;
  • marketing plan – best practice SEO guide to get things done properly and in the most efficient manner.

2. Free SEO Search Engine Optimization Webinar For Your Website

This webinar helps you discover new SEO and online marketing strategies to increase your online visibility, get more traffic and gain more qualified leads to your website.

Participants will find advanced SEO principles about redirects, duplicate content, Google index, site structure issues, Google Webmaster Tools, Page Rank, flatness, and more. The webinar will take place on Tuesday, January 31, 2017 at 10 am Eastern Standard Time.

3. Data-Driven Marketing for All Email: B2B to B2C

The webinar shows the ways how to balance short-term and long-term engagement strategies and tactics, and key metrics that can allow marketers and webmasters guide this process.

It includes key points on how to create a company culture focused on data, plan for change vs. react to needs, drive technology adoption based on business needs, leverage retention data to optimize new customer acquisition and show measurement tools to define customer behavior.

You can visit the webinar on Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 2 am EST.
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4. Fix Your Funnel: 15 Things to Remove From Your Site Immediately

This webinar will help you learn to manage your content management system, how to boost your funnel traffic, define where you need to make immediate changes for better lead funnel.

You will find out what you need to add or delete from your website in order to increase organic traffic asap.

Anyone who is interested in content and website development can attend this online seminar on Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 12 pm ET time.

5. Uncover Your Audience’s Influencers

Cision is going to give the seminar on how media contact can influence your target audience to purchase products and services with quality content, how to leverage best practices for successful social media pitching and how to make social media research to your targeting and messaging tactics.

The one-hour webinar also helps your brand spend less time looking for right influencers. You can attend it on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 2 pm ET.

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Understanding SEO is an important lesson that every startup should take. Search engines always change, SEO experts and webmasters want to educate themselves in order to be ahead of the game. The above-mentioned webinars cover everything anyone in SEO should know to rise to eminence in the niche. Feel free to share the info about other interesting events in the comments!

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6 Smart Ways to Improve Your Sales Performance

 

The sales profession always changes and moves faster than ever before. As New Year’s Eve, this is particularly true for sellers to learn some smart tips and tricks during the rush and probably you can create a solid recipe to increase your sales performance.

No matter in what industry you work and what worked well for you several years ago is not critical for today. Now it is a high time to sell. Everything is changing and we should learn to be open to new changes and improvement of your sales performance.

This is a time to be a weight off shoulders and cut down your cost of selling. Here are 6 smart tips and tricks to boost your sales performance.

1. Get product reviews

As you know that the power of product reviews plays a huge role in online business. 88% of people read and trust online reviews as well as personal recommendations. The pages with good customer reviews cover 58% more visitors than those pages without online reviews. This approach will help search engines refer to your website and make it easier for clients to get what they need.

90% of Amazon buyers read reviews before making a crucial decision. Amazon prioritizes an importance of seller performance, especially your top products are in the top positions.

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Make sure that just 40% of customers form an opinion about the product after reading 1-3 reviews. To make them get quick sales decisions, you can build up a list of review websites or write a list of review where you can mention your product. For example, you sell online mattresses, you can create a post that shows 10 best mattress reviews, including your one in the top.

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On Christmas eve, you can write top reviews related to certain holidays. For instance, Sleep Junkie published a post about Best Black Friday Deals on Mattresses.

Video reviews can also work wonders, increase CTR by 65% and reduce the number of unsubscribers by 26%. If you know customers that have liked your product, you should go to them and get a free video review like Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers did on the website.

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Getting product reviews on your website will help customers make a buying decision and improve your engaging experience with them.

2. Keep an eye on long-tail keywords

For highly competitive services and products, using the exact keywords is crucial to your organic SEO efforts and successful sales. Keywords help you define how frequently your website will appear in search results, especially when a potential client is searching for a service or product on your website.

Today long-tail keywords help your customers be much closer to a sale and make a right buying decision. For example, “women’s boots on sale” is a highly targeted search phrase than “women’s boots”. If you decide to use this long-tail keyword, you can drive and convert consumers who are ready to buy.

Description: long-tail keywords.png

There are different tools like SE Ranking and Google Keyword Planner that help finding profitable keywords for your online business. As soon as you discover the competition and popularity for a certain keyword, you can work on the list of target keywords for your website.

Now search engines always show products to customers based on their search queries that they are looking for. Right keywords are important for the success of your e-commerce website.

3. Create Unique and Rich Product Descriptions

It’s no surprise for everyone that search engines prefer unique and relevant content. This is a very time-consuming way, especially for e-commerce business. For this reason, they prefer using duplicate descriptions provided by manufacturers. Hence, you are in danger of being filtered by search engines because of plagiarism.

To avoid uniqueness, you should create unique and relevant product descriptions and write all important information about your products to encourage customers to make a purchase from you. 

Product descriptions should be minimally 300 words, especially if you have online store and sells the same products year after year.  Try to use lots of keywords and phrases related to your product. You can use LSI keywords for making synonyms and associated words.

Description: product descriptions.png

The key output is to ensure search engines that your website provides unique content on every product page that helps customers land out there.

4. Optimize website load speed

Website load speed plays a crucial role in search rankings and exerts a good effect upon conversion rates. Based on the Akamai and Gomez surveys, half of visitors wait a website to load for 2 or less seconds , and they prefer leaving a site if it isn’t loading in 3 seconds. Good site load speed is important for e-commerce websites. Amazon puts much attention to this factor as one-second delay in website load speed would cost a company $1.6 billion in lost sales per year. 79% of website shoppers never return to the website by reason of a poor shopping experience online.

Clearly, most online shops and businesses should pull socks up into optimizing website loading speed. You can easily check your website’s load time with Pingdom that helps reveal all possible drops in site speed and evaluate how long a site loads. 

5. Offer discounts

If you really care about your e-commerce conversion rate, using different discounts can be a good way to increase your sales performance. Daily deals and seasonal discounts can make your product the number #1 in your category.

As you know Amazon has special sections under the “Hot Deals”  and  “New & Noteworthy” categories that can generate much traffic. Posting your products in related categories can give you much exposure on the page and allow your potential clients view offerings at a glance and encourage them to make a purchase.

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6. Interact with Customers on Social Media

Social media presence is important for your sales performance. Actively engaging with your users can increase your brand awareness and strengthen your customer relationships. The most effective way to interact with your target audience is to publish unique and interesting content that can intrigue them and share it in social networks.

Similar to point number 5, you can make different contests and special offers, and offer discounts to the winner. Make sure that every share on social media is a free advertising and the chance to build a strong relationship with potential customers.

The Bottom Line

Using these smart ways effectively and consistently over time can help you improve your sales performance and gives a good grounding in the successful e-commerce business. It means that your website gets a good online visibility among your competitors and you are doing well to gain over clients trust and satisfaction with your service.

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5 Best Alternatives to Older Competitor Analysis Tools

 

Are you tired of paying a lot for WebCEO and some other older tools? Looking for the best alternatives? This post is right for you. WebCEO is a great tool deserves the right to be at the top of the SEO tools list.

The only drawback of the tool is a high price. However, the market is fast-evolving, and there are lots of useful alternatives to WebCEO and other older tools to conduct a detailed competitor analysis.

Having said that, we’re going to review 5 good alternatives for getting insights into your competitors’ data. All these products offer a good set of standard SEO tools such as keyword research, backlink checker, rank tracker, keyword grouping, and much more. Let’s dive into these alternatives in order to increase your sales and website traffic.

1. SE Ranking

Hands down, SE Ranking is one of the best WebCEO alternatives. It is a good competitor research tool for digging into organic and paid search. The tool is versatile and gives one of the most accurate insights about your competitors.

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When it comes to competitors’ monitoring, the tool allows you detect top organic and paid rivals, get a list of competitors and advertisers for certain query and find a similar keyword in order to increase your search visibility.

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Here are some amazing benefits of using SE Ranking:

  1. To track website positions at any location in the world
  2. To perform a comprehensive website audit
  3. To check and analyze backlinks
  4. To find profitable keywords for your projects
  5. To group keywords with search volume
  6. To manage social media campaigns

Using SE Ranking, you can easily analyze your competitors, increase the site’s rank, revenue and visitors. You can test the tool out for free within 14 days and figure out all major features.

2. Ahrefs

Ahrefs is considered a good alternative to WebEO and widely known among thousands of SEO experts. The tool has a pretty large link database that includes over 15 trillion live links. It is a very important factor as you can perform a very detailed competitor analysis and build up new marketing strategies.

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Here are a few great features of Ahrefs:

  1. To find new content ideas with Content explorer
  2. To monitor competitors’ link profiles
  3. To conduct a detailed crawl report of websites
  4. Get alerts for competitors’ new links
  5. To get notice of broken links

If you want to learn more about Ahrefs, you can use a free trial within 14 days.

3. Alexa

Alexa is a good digital marketing tool that helps you compare different sites traffic and control general traffic trends. The tool allows you compare up to 5 websites at a time what is really useful, especially if you run a large number of marketing projects.

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The tool offers more about websites, particularly all about traffic. It shows a total number of pageviews per user, bounce rate percentage, time on a website and the average percentage of visits from search engines. One of the drawbacks is accuracy, as some reports are not helpful for predicting traffic on their own.

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To find out more about Alexa possibilities, you can try a 7-day trial.

4. SimilarWeb

Similar Web is good competitive analysis tool that helps you compare the traffic statistics from three competitors in the dashboard. In comparison with Alexa, the tool provides more accurate insight sets about your rivals and gives a well-detailed analysis of their traffic sources. You can key more on SEO and stand out from the crowd.

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Once you enter a website or a list of websites, you will get data on:

  1. What are the basic traffic sources (Search, PPC,  Email, etc.)?
  2. What are the main competition’s online strategies?
  3. How much traffic are they receiving?
  4. How the traffic strategies vary among your rivals and countries?
  5. Do the rivals use the same traffic sources?

If you want to get more about this tool, you can test SimilarWeb for free, but with a pretty limited features.

5. Siteliner

Siteliner is a free and useful tool to quickly evaluate competitors’ content on a site including page sizes, duplicate content, internal linking, broken links, a number of words and links on a page.

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When it comes to link building, it works in a very effective way: content-focused and Google-friendly. It helps you reveal dead or broken links on your website or other resources to avoid penalties from Google. The richer your piece of content is on a site, the more successful your link building tactic works. For SEO purposes, it is worth using SiteLiner.

Conclusion

To increase your sales and get much traffic, you need to use right SEO tools. The problem with many SEO tools is that SEO beginner or small agencies can’t afford expensive tools like WebCEO, Moz, etc. These 5 best alternatives are a lot cheaper and provide a good suite of tools to do a comprehensive competitor analysis.

Did I miss any of SEO tools? Which of these tools have you used? Your comments help me produce useful content on a consistent basis.

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5 Digital Marketing Tools You Must try in 2017

 

I love this industry because there are always new tools to check! New tools open up new opportunities, offer new insights and inspire new tactics.

Here are 5 tools I intend to give a thorough look in 2017.

What are yours?

1. Netpeak Spider

Netpeak Spider

One of the most indepth and flexible web crawlers out there, Netpeak Spider provides smooth experience and lots of features. It automatically checks 50+ parameters and detects more than 60 SEO errors (including http status errors, canonical issues, Robots.txt issues, meta tag issues and more).

Netpeak Spider

It has 5 crawling modes (site-wide, directory, URL list, XML Sitemap and even from Google SERP).

Each of them allows to perform certain SEO tasks, for example, by crawling an XML sitemap, you can detect 21 XML sitemap issues in 17 parameters and send the corrected sitemap files to the search engines.

It even has the ability to calculate your site internal PageRank giving your ideas if important pages of your site are not getting enough power internally.

2. Buffer for video

There’s nothing new about Buffer. It’s been around for quite some time now! So why am I including it in this list? Because Buffer never stops and their most recently added feature is a proof!

Buffer for video is the first product to allow native video scheduling to all the big social media networks. So: upload once, share everywhere.

Not in the video game yet? This stats should change your mind:

  • 82% of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter
  • The number of videos in Facebook feeds has grown by 360%
  • In the U.S., people are posting 94% more videos to Facebook
  • 50% of Americans who use Facebook daily watch at least 1 video every day

3. Slack

I am sure many of you are aware of Slack but few people know that it’s not merely about chatting and collaborating. With the ability to add bots, Slack has become one of the most diverse multi-purpose platforms.

The two cool bots to add:

  • Notify: Brings your brand mentions to your Slack feed. It serves as more of an ambient notification feed for these alerts and may inspire more team conversation than individual emails.
  • Statsbot: Brings Google Analytics stats to your Slack feed. Ask the bot about your stats and see the graphs and numbers right in the message thread.

Statsbot

4. Drip

It is no secret that I am not a big fan of Mail Chimp. I find their system overly bulky, difficult to use, and their policies are so unclear you can violate them by accident. I have tried a number of alternatives, but none of them were the simple, effective drip email platform I wanted. Until I found Drip.

It is a cool system that lets you create an easy sales funnel, in a visual way. While I don’t do direct sales, I have found the same principle applies to content promotion. My email campaigns have become much more effective thanks to this little gem.

Drip

Drip workflows seem amazingly easy and fun to set up. Here are options for automation systems and this one seems like a great one to add to the list.

5. Ptengine

ptengine

Ptengine is a great heatmap application, you can find out at exactly what point customers are choosing to leave your site. Isolating that point is crucial, so you can make the necessary changes to push them to the final step.

Unlike many other heatmap tools, this one provides much more insight than just a visualization. See referral information, track social media campaigns and engagement (page views, visit duration and conversions).

If you are planning a redesign in 2017, this is must-have tool to try! M-Connect Media also has a great guide listing more tools and tips.

And which tools are you planning to try in 2017?

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