3 Tools to Help Withstand the Next Google Algorithm Update

Mobile-Friendly + Website = Awesome!

Google's Mobile-Friendly Test

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test

Mobile-friendly and responsive website design best practices have been in effect for several years now, many brands have upgraded their websites to conform to this user demanded function. But for those of you who are unsure, use these 3 tools to test out whether your website and mobile devices will play nice. I suggest testing in all 3 tools to get a truer result.

  1. Mobile-Friendly Test by Google

All you do is enter your URL and click analyze. It will send back information about your images, text, links and more. It will also give you a view of what your site looks like on a mobile device if rendering correctly in the mobile test.

  1. The W3C mobileOK Checker

The W3C, also known as the World Wide Web Consortum, has its own mobile friendly test. The test results of this tool include a number of key mobile elements, the most helpful being the severity rating. This rates each problem item of the page in order of importance. A little more in-depth of a tool and best understood by those familiar with technical website components.

  1. Hubspot Marketing Grader

This tool is Amazing! A super simple mobile-friendly website checker that checks nearly every aspect of your mobile readiness. This tool checks your SEO, social media, blog content and optimization for mobile all laid out in an easy to read online report.

Check your Website for Mobile-Friendliness

Hubspot Marketing Grader

This Google Algorithm Update started rolling out in November 2014 when Google realized how frustrating an experience it was for users when encountering a non mobile-friendly landing page. If you haven’t been hit by the update yet just know it is coming. Make sure your site stands up to the recent ranking signal update by staying in front of your mobile audience and supplying them with a friendly mobile experience.

Starting April 21, 2015 Google will include mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, which will affect all mobile searches world-wide, in all languages and have a huge effect on search results. You can read more about this ranking update on Google’s Webmaster Blog.

If after using these tools, you find your site just isn’t cutting it, call the Blizzard Internet Marketing Sales Team at 888.840.5893. We’ll assess your current site and let you know the options to make your site a mobile-friendly masterpiece!

HTML and XML Sitemaps: Why You Need Both

A well designed map can help lead the way


In the SEO world, the use of sitemaps is always advisable. There are two types of  sitemaps, the XML sitemap and the HTML sitemap. These sitemaps are very different with each serving its own purpose and both providing value to your website.

What is the difference between XML and HTML sitemaps?

XML and HTML sitemaps are created for different purposes, but both can help increase traffic to your website and improve its usability.

 The XML sitemap

XML sitemaps are used by search engine spiders, also known as robots, bots or crawlers. Spiders “crawl”, or follow links throughout the Internet, finding content and adding it to search engine indexes.

An XML sitemap is a file containing all of the URLs on the website that you would like to be indexed in search engines. The XML sitemap also provides spiders with the following information:

  • Metadata for URLs
  • When the URLs were last updated
  • The importance of certain URLs
  • Average frequency of changes to URLs
  • URL relation to the rest of your website

Having an XML sitemap is crucial for the proper display of your site’s pages in search engines.

 The HTML sitemap

In simple terms, the HTML sitemap gives users an overview of your website. This can be helpful if you have pages that might be difficult to find. For example, if a user visits your homepage and is looking for a “contact us” page but can’t find the link for the page easily, the user may click on the “sitemap” page. There, the contact page may be accessed a simple click on a link.

An HTML sitemap helps users navigate your website and get to the pages or information they are seeking quickly.

The benefits of using both sitemaps

Having your XML sitemap functioning properly ensures that search engines are finding your site’s information and correctly listing it in search results. This may also often lead to better search engine positioning and send more visitors to your site.

Having a well thought out HTML sitemap improves your visitors’ experience and helps them find the pages or information they want quickly.

By using both sitemaps in combination, you are helping your SEO while increasing the likelihood of visitor retention and return visits to your site.

Blizzard University – July 24 & 25, 2014

Blizzard University - Glenwood Springs, July 2014 - Get signed up today!

Doesn’t a trip to the beautiful mountain town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado this summer sound like a wonderful idea? Why not make it a learning experience as well! Join us July 24 & 25, 2014 for another Blizzard University Workshop. Learn from the internet marketing specialists in this 2-day informative workshop geared toward beginner to intermediate internet marketers and vacation rental managers. Book Today or visit our workshops page for more information.

Get Facebook KPI’s with AllFacebookStats.com

Now that you have a flipp’n sweet Facebook page for your lodging website, how do you measure its success?

One tool that will give you great insights is AllFacebookStats.com.

AllFacebookStats.com is an easy way to get KPI’s about your page, benchmark yourself against your competitors and get insights into your fans.

This tool is really easy to setup and you add up to 3 Facebook pages for free.

Here are just a few of the extensive reports that AllFacebookStats.com offers:

  • Statistics and distribution to understand your fan base.
  • Performance analysis of different types of content like posts, photos and status updates.
  • A customizable dashboard so you can easily see that data that is most important to you.

If you like things to be done for you, then you will also enjoy the automatic and customized reporting from AllFacebookStats.com.

Here are a couple of my favorite graphs:

Give it a try – it’s free

AirFareWatchdog – Get Alerts to Find the Best Deals to Your Destination

As an online marketer, we look for different targeting and segmentation tactics that are designed to increase reach and conversion rates.  

A very effective and flexible tactic we’re testing these days is targeting Vacation Rental & Hotel deals to markets that offer inexpensive airline fares into the destination we’re marketing.

The hardest part of this tactic is figuring out what airlines are running the best rates and when.  It can be time-consuming to search different deal sites.  We set out to look for a way to bring the deals to you without much work.

We found help in the form of a website that watches for deals that coincide with trips and destinations.  It’ll take you about 5 minutes to sign up for alerts from Airfarewatchdog.com!

Not only can you get tips on flights from SPECIFIC markets, you can subscribe to “Arrival City Fare Alerts” for our local airports.  This way you’ll get notified every time airfare goes on sale TO you, regardless of the flight’s city of origin.

You can set the frequency of alerts to your email, and can even suspend alerts if you’re to busy to deal with promoting them, or on vacation and want to limit email to your inbox.

Some things you can do with location specific deals:

  • Target PPC ads to the departure city.
  • Send an email blast to subscribers who are located near and around the targeted departure city.
  • Buy ads in online newspapers and magazines that serve that particular area.
  • You CAN buy print advertising, but it’s expensive and usually takes some time to set up and get running. You need to be flexible and quick to get the targeting and ads set up.

Check out the configuration below and sign up for alerts that will help you build deals and market them to specific locations quickly.

PadiAct: A Tool to Grow Your Email Signups on Your Website

Getting more of your website visitors to self-register for your email newsletter is a pain-point for many business websites.  One easy solution you may want to try is to use a “popup” inviting visitors to sign up for you newsletter.  Of course, you shouldn’t overdo it and irritate your users, but you should probably at least test this more aggressive tactic.

For a quick and easy tool that delivers “popups” on your website, check out PadiAct.

PadiAct makes it easy to setup, configure and install this functionality right into your website.  Some advantages of PadiAct:

  • Direct connect Constant Contact, Mailchimp and more to push you subscribers right into your email system.
  • Reporting and statistics on your success.
  • Configure to “pop” after a certain # of page views, visits, and more.
  • Configure to slide in from the bottom, slide from the side, or pop up and cover your page.

Here is an example screen-shot of the pop up style window:

I really like the idea of a dynamic popup type call-to-action over a static “email signup” area taking up prime real estate on the website.  PadiAct also offers pretty cool segmentation and targeting cirtieria like referrer, # page visited, certain pages visited, geography, etc.

It looks like they will be adding some new features soon too that would be great… we would like to see multiple campaigns that go beyond Email… for instance, maybe ask someone along the way to Fan me in Facebook (or “like”… whatever), sign up for my RSS feed or accept a special offer.

PadiAct is $25 for small business size use and offers a free 30 day trial.

Diigo: The Ultimate Bookmarking and Sharing Tool for Small Teams

Diigo is an exciting tool for small teams that want to share bookmarks and collaborate.

Each user can not only bookmark pages on the web that interest them, they can highlight text, add sticky notes, and share with their group.   You can also tag each post to search it easier.

While lots of bookmarking software will let you share with anyone, or keep it private, very few are good at letting you create a private group where each member can share and collaborate with other members. Additionally, if you want you can use the group widgets to automatically post your latest Diigo content into your website.