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The website redesign for the St. James Hotel in Red Wing, Minnesota, provides a test case for the best practices relating to website optimization for search engine marketing, using Google search as an example. The goal of search engine optimization is to ensure that a hotel’s website appears at or near the top of search engine results pages—in the area sometimes called the Golden Triangle. Although the case focuses on Google, the principles are similar for all search engines and meta-search engines. Search engine optimization is based on the idea of making sure that your hotel’s site appears near the top of the listing when a would-be guest types a keyword query into the search engine. The goal of search engine algorithms is to present the most relevant pages for each query. To make sure that your pages are included in the “relevant” group, your website must include a logical presentation of appropriate keywords on each page. Tags for page headings and photographs should align with keywords for each page’s topic. By including a site diagram, a hotel can assist Google’s web crawlers in locating and indexing all pages on a website. Further authority is added when outside agencies link into a page and when a hotel is listed on the webpages of local tourism agencies. Finally, a hotel can purchase keywords or position on the search results page, in a section clearly labeled as sponsored results. This area does receive users’ attention, but not as much as the “organic” search results do.


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