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New Study Supports Concerns about DMO Organic Site Traffic; New Strategies on the Horizon

Last year, based on hearing from so many DMOs that organic search traffic to their websites was struggling year over year, Miles conducted a review of 26 destinations’ website traffic data. Though a limited sample size, the results indicated that there has been a downward trend in growth of organic website traffic since 2014.

Since then, we continue to hear a mix of success stories and concerns surrounding organic search traffic. Since we love a good mystery, we expanded last year’s review to include 36 destinations and added full data from 2016 and the first six months of 2017.

While I wish that the results provided an “ah-ha” moment to share with you – a clear trend or a solid answer – the data came out like this...

Google’s “Mobile-First” Index: What Does It Mean For You?

In April 2014, Google’s “Mobilgeddon” was the bow shot – a warning to all sites that being mobile-friendly was imperative by favoring those that are in mobile search results. But up until now, despite the exponential growth of mobile search, Google’s index of desktop websites has been the basis of its search results. 

That is going to change. 

Google is currently rolling out a mobile-first index that will make mobile content, not desktop, the driving factor in rank, even for listings delivered to desktop users. This is still being tested, and how soon it is fully deployed will depend on the results of that testing – but Google is clear that there is no going back.

For sites that utilize responsive design, which Google promotes as the best option for creating a quality mobile user experience, this is an announcement that will have...

Is Google’s Expanding Role in Travel Undermining Organic Traffic Growth for Destinations?

New Review of 26 DMO Websites Reveals a Steady Decline

Strong year-over-year (YOY) organic search traffic growth is expected in an industry as content rich as destination marketing. However, with growing frequency we’ve heard destinations voice concerns that organic traffic to their sites has been flat, or even down, in recent months. 

Of course, we’ve seen the typical lineup of culprits for such trends such as site update issues, mobile friendliness and aggressive paid search budgets; but just as often we’ve seen no noticeable change in rank or search volume to account for traffic flux.

In SEO, typically there are a number of small factors that add up to a big search traffic difference, rather than a single, clear issue. Such is likely the case behind this downward trend in organic traffic growth. While there were a number of major algorithm...


Google's New SERP Layout: How it Affects Paid Search

A Timely Update on Google Ad Layout Changes

Google recently completed the full rollout of a new search engine results page (SERP) layout for desktop. This update eliminated text ads in the right sidebar of desktop search results; instead, as many as four text ads will display above the organic listings (depending on the popularity of the query), and three text ads will show at the bottom of the page. This means that the total number of text ads that can appear on a SERP will shrink from as many as 11 to a maximum of seven.

But don’t panic:

• From a paid search perspective, we don’t feel there is reason for concern for our clients, particularly those whose campaigns...

New Google Format for Destinations: What DMOs Need to Know

Yesterday a colleague at Miles brought to our attention a new Search Engine Results Page (SERP) format in Google that could have an impact on DMOs – particularly states.

Yesterday a colleague at Miles brought to our attention a new Search Engine Results Page (SERP) format in Google that could have an impact on DMOs – particularly states.

Google regularly tests new SERP formats in limited releases in a specific vertical or geographic markets. Typically, only time tells us whether a new format is the beginning of a full roll out or a test that may never be fully adopted.

Most recently in the travel vertical, Google eliminated Carousel in the SERPs for hospitality businesses such as hotels and restaurants and replaced it with a “Local 3 Pack” of business listings. Currently, searches for “things to do” in a state will bring up a “Points of Interest” Carousel (below) that contains a mix of both attractions and destinations – though mostly attractions. The Knowledge Graph for the state (to the right of the organic results)...