CONTENT CONSOLIDATION, SUPER TOOL FOR SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION

Content consolidation another super search engine marketing practice, if followed and monitored closely, can guarantee favorable results in terms ranking and eyeballs on Google search.

Definition

Content consolidation is most practical when one has several similar contents running on different sites owned by the same author. When one has something like that live for google search there are lot of harm done to the author primarily hampering the expertise, authority and trustworthiness angle to the author as well the primary site? Consolidating these different similar contents is primarily the definition as the word suggests. Next is to look into the reasons when this practice is most needed?

Some of the reasons for the content consolidation could be the following;

  • Since everyone is competing for the same search intent, if you remember from the earlier blogs, if one author has more than one similar content happening on their site, it only shows more than one user-search intent keywords by the author or the seo-expert, which for the most obvious reasons will work against the content, which would be coming from the same sources or url, does that make sense?
  • Fact- Google algorithm intends to show NOT more than two results from the same domain for each query. Wrap your head around that! So be careful when diving into content-strategy and creation
  • It is wise to get rid of all the under-performing content, hence prioritize for Quality over Quantity
  • Fact- merging different sites into one consolidated site increases organic traffic site by 64% and the CTA (call to action) by double
  • Remove content that doesn’t provide any value
  • Thin content- addressing a single query on different sites or tabs, hence consolidating content in order to answer more than just one single query
  • Duplicate content on sites hampers the user-experience as well, hence consolidating content increases the user-experience. There are tools and ways to identify duplicate content on your site
  • Outdated/ obsolete content need to be written off in order for the continuance of the content-flywheel
  • Content that simply does not get any traffic
  • To look into Google Analytics and Google Search Console- in order to analyze your crawl budget (can be discussed in another blog), cannibalizing keywords without any value to the audience/ reader
  • To implement 301 redirects, canonicals, noindex tags on pages which has become redundant in order to consolidate ranking signals
  • To refresh existing pages instead of creating new ones

These were some of the points which were vital when it comes to content-consolidation, as described earlier, a great tool for the process of search engine optimization strategy. A good SEO-strategist must perform this practice keeping in mind all the other good industry practices. The practice of search engine optimization in the industries across the board is here to stay and one must simply get on board, period.    

Reference:

https://searchengineland.com/how-content-consolidation-can-help-boost-your-rankings-340443/amp

Concept of BROKEN LINKS on the path to a successful SEO strategy

Words: 4426 Time: 4:56”

The concept of broken links for any content on the internet should be taken seriously for the sake of the content-creator as well as for the whole article in question. The right usage of broken links can contribute towards the betterment of the content created and the article on the whole in question.

The following would be the ways to deal with and explain the relevance of broken links;

Definition of broken links and reasons for them?

How does it impact sites?  

How to check for broken links on any site? Sites for references?

How can one use broken links to their advantage? Broken link building?  

Link bait?

error 404 message on the browser
error 404 message image credit: FaviFake – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=88720914

Broken links are as the name suggest links which are not working in the article. Links that have been initially been linked to some other article or site and now give an error 404 message! Other ways to think about the broken links are namely websites which do not work anymore, not applicable, links to websites that could have been moved to other sites without any redirect and the URL (unique resource locator) have changed.

How does it impact sites?

Some ways to think about the impact broken links could have on the sites would be giving out a bad user-experience i.e. when a user clicks on a hyperlink/ directed to a new tab and the link it needs to connect to does not work, it leaves the user unhappy even though the content he or she could be reading is good and most relevant. It could certainly discourage the person from reading on, hamper the brand the article could be based on and it also simply gives a feeling of the creator of the content not paying enough attention for the user reading, hence work adversely for the content on the whole.   

It is imperative one needs to check on the broken links in a website and whether all the references given in an article works promptly and without a glitch. Some of the known reliable sources for broken link checking would be namely google link checker, ahref, screaming frog, webmaster tool and wp tool for link checking. Several of the good reputable sources are for a nominal payment. It depends on what size of the organization do you really need it for. Whether the cost-benefit analysis check out? If it is a startup like ours, we would certainly recommend looking for some of the free tools out there or perhaps the trial versions of any of the sources mentioned above before going in for the full service?  

The advantages taken out of the broken links by smart seo specialists could turn out to be one of the smartest tactics in the process of search engine optimization really. Compared to the state if one has a broken link in their bank of articles, which of course does not lead to anything relevant further on, a smart seo-specialist can make this an opportunity for themselves by taking some very simple steps, also termed as broken link building. Let’s say, you being the seo-expert, have all the right tools at your disposal, that is a tool for scraping the web for broken links with the relevant parameters on which you would judge the relevancy of the site/ broken links such as backlinks, PA, DA. The backlinks here would simply show you where all has the content been linked to and getting traction from, depending on the relevancy of the backlinks, one could judge the quality of the content in question itself. Once, this step which is of course very important is done the right way, one would analyze the broken link’s content as to what it was about? What does it talk about? At this junction, there are a couple of ways, one could play this, one way could be to simply inform the owner of the content about the broken link and politely request them to correct it, totally benefiting them in the long run or the other smart way would be, having analyzed what the content was about, create a similar content, reach out to the owner of the content in which the broken link exists, at first make the person aware of the broken link and then suggest politely a replaceable link with similar content and provide one immediately on demand, it that works out? Good on you! The conversion rate of this process happening in the industry is a mere 6% if I am not mistaken, hence the more tries you take reaching out to a bunch of them (out of the backlinks), the higher are the chances of you getting a response from someone.

Another fascinating topic is the angle of link bait. It is said that articles with the fine qualities of link bait does work wonders for the content created. As the name suggests, for the sole reason of creating backlinks to your created content, link bait works wonders! Some of the elements which works like magic for link bait content are controversial content, data driven content, guides (informative) content and newsworthy content. The content must also be very visually appealing for it to qualify as ‘link bait content.’

broken link building
broken link Image credit: pixabay

Conclusively, as one reads more and more on the concept of search engine optimization and with the several rules of the game changing every now and then, the concept of broken links and the ability to make that a link building opportunity is certainly one to stay for the times ahead.

CHADAR TREK, ONE OF THE MOST CHALLENGING OFF-BEAT HIKES ON THE PLANET

Chadar trek
Image Credit: Goutam1962

Chadar trek, also known as Zanskar Gorge, situated in the Indian Union Territory of Ladakh, considered one of the harshest winter treks on the planet is the mecca for adventure enthusiasts.

The Chadar trek is one of the most challenging treks on the planet. It has its own uniqueness, which is ~ 105 kms (65 miles) long frozen over Zanskar river in the harshest winter months of January and February annually, a tributary of the River Indus.

What is the Chadar Trek?

Chadar trek is the long-frozen river trek in the Zanskar Valley during the harshest winter months in the Union Territory of Ladakh. It is as mentioned earlier ~105 km (65 miles) one way and usually starts in Chilling a little outside of Leh town roughly 35 km, after a couple of days acclimatization by the trekkers in the main town of Leh. The trek takes one to an average height of 11,123 feet, hence fitness is primordial. One must prepare themselves mentally and physically a couple of months before the trek.  

How long is the Chadar trek?

The Chadar treks are usually pre-catered as per the various trekking companies’ itinerary and a traveler simply needs to enroll and follow the trekking companies’ rules and regulations. It’s simply the best and safest to finish the Chadar trek successfully. The total length of the Chadar trek is mentioned earlier. The different companies make different itineraries and the Chadar trek can last anywhere between a week to as long as just under a month!

Mandatory for Chadar treks?

            The mandatories would entail apart from acclimatization over two days, going through a mandatory medical checkup before taking on Chadar trek in order to be sure that the trekker is up to the mark to deal with the harshest of condition enroute. All the expert guides on the Chadar would have several years of experience and it is most vital to follow their lead at all times.

The Chadar trek essentials

  • Medium sized day pack with plastic liner
  • Trekking boots, waterproof
  • Water bottle
  • Insulating gloves
  • Fleece jackets
  • Rainproof jackets
  • Sunglasses
  • Water purification pills
  • Essential toiletries like toilet paper and mouth wash
  • Medical first aid kits
  • Personal medications if any

It is highly recommended to be in 3-4 layers of warm clothes on the trek as the temperature can vary between single digits to minus 20, 30 degree Celsius

How can one book the trek?

That’s simple. Get in touch with us at info@headnorth.in or hit us up at our site headnorth.in possibly, let’s chat and we can get you hooked up!

Safety net for the trek?

The safety of everyone taking up the Chadar trek is out top priority! One must certainly in case of doubt, consult your doctor for any personal medical conditions one might have. Any queries small or big regarding this unique trek can be cleared by us, no problem. The end goal is to safely and successfully complete the most incredible hike in this region of Ladakh.

We believe the Chadar trek is seeing its last few years on the frozen Zanskar river since there is a highway coming up connecting Nimmu- Padum-Darcha also known to be called the NPD road by Border Roads Organization (BRO). Nimmu is roughly 35 km away from the main town of Leh. Padum is also famous for its snow leopard sightings and has made its own mark among the enthusiasts the world over.

So, next time you get an opportunity to trek this frozen river, take it up, once in a lifetime chance, experience a trek like never before, and what’s better, it’s in our own backyard!

gushing blue water in Chadar trek
Image credit: Sumita Roy Dutta

Google’s search engine results page and small businesses future

google-search laptop and a coffee
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Search engine results page/s (SERPs) with the right ingredients in the right proportion can hugely benefit any organization irrespective of its size, nature of business and bottom-line.

Googles since its inception in the late 1990s has been doing the most stunning job of collecting, organizing and visually presenting the data to the staggering figure of 3.5 billions searches every day! It also occupies 92.18% of the market share in search engine industry. Just mind boggling really. One of its kind and trust me for a while from now. And they had the opportunity to do what they do, since then it has been a completely different world altogether. But how does it all come together? what does happen in the background when one searches for something? These are the BIG questions and if one is a fan, one must certainly find out and read more and more about it, as I try to do which will only add to the value of your business and grow you as an avid-entrepreneur such as myself. The idea behind this blog would be give the small businesses a fighting chance in the world of search marketing and if done right, trust me, anyone can reap the rewards of their hard work.

Today, I hope to share some basic knowledge on the search engine results page ( SERPs) in short. That’s when you open your browser and start any search for information, a product you might be interested in buying for someone or simply looking for a specific vendor nearby? All that is happening all thanks to the search engine, with a lot of science, art and technical knowledge the creators and their massive teams all over the planet today, have been working hard to present the user the right information at the right time at the right place i.e. on your fingertips!

So, let’s try see what we can talk about? In all, there are three different types of search engine results page which are as follows;

Out of the three, paid ad results is pretty straight forward, which simply means when the users/brands pay some money for the advertisements which they would like to show on the google search engine results pages either with a text or a shopping ad. These today are also all about creativity, one can achieve the same with videos and images too, all of which simply adds value to the brand or creator of the content. One of the most important element here is to think about the search users’ intent. If the creator can pinpoint that, he or she can do wonders for themselves. Paid ads also involve bidding for the most relevant keywords with your competitors in your relevant industry. for your information, Google ads is also the biggest contributor to the total revenue of Google, responsible for a total revenue of 160.74 billion U.S. Dollars in advertisements alone as of 2019.  

But that should not the worry for the start-ups of today at least for the start, cause one can carefully formulate a good smart strategy which would involve much of search engine optimization, local results and organic results. The small business should always start with organic results since it does not need any mullah and if done right, one can achieve the same good results as the popular and successfully running brands on Google and other search engines do.

google search for search results
3 types of search results
Google My Business
Google My Business

LOCAL RESULTS

The local results pages mainly involve the google my business (GMB) pages on search engines. The GMB pages involve providing all details about the business along with the images. The idea is to provide the correct and updated information there since it will be visited by any landing on your page? One should also make sure to do a little research on the primary and secondary keywords and provide the description of your business with the most relevant keyword/s. the business images matter too, hence having high resolution images would matter. The location i.e. the Google maps would be integrated, hence providing the right location of the business would also matter highly. The local results also called the knowledge panel on the right hand side, also features snippets which adds value to the link on Google. Eventually, the more accurate description with the right relevant keywords in the description, great images and videos of the business and all the relevant prerequisites of good google practice, in other words relevance, distance and prominence would result in higher ranking on the search engine results pages, between the ads on the top and the organic results below.

ORGANIC RESULTS

Lastly, let’s talk about the holy grail of search engine marketing, as I would like to call it, the organic results which although sounds very difficult to achieve, takes some time to show and even more difficult to maintain, as many would imagine, I beg to differ. If and when, the creators of the content, the brand and all involved in the project i.e. from the top down, understand the relevance of working on search the right way following all the good Google practices, they are bound to see the results in due time and once achieved, its more solid to keep doing the right way and maintain your position on search results pages. The organic results largely depend on the work done on the search engine optimization (on-page optimization ) i.e. knowing your audience thoroughly, zeroing on the primary and secondary keywords for your content, building a crisp, relevant content inclusive of high resolution images, videos, gifs, infographics, appropriate internal linking and limited organic back links from authoritative sites in your niche industry preferably. All these little elements once cross checked in its entirety, will result in higher ranking for your content on the organic search results pages in due time. Once the goal is achieved, one must also always keep their respective content updated and relevant.

These were some of the ways to promote your small businesses but the most optimal way to start would be the organic and local results for all Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the board. If followed and done the hygiene check for all small enterprises’’ content optimization for local and organic results, they will most certainly see the day when they are competing with the big boys at the table!

Happy content-building!

Link Building mambo jumbo

Decoding link-building, one of the most important elements of search engine optimization in today’s search engine’s ecosphere.

ground group growth hands
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I can safely say that link-building is a long-lasting practice/part of the search marketing ecosphere, where any content on the web needs to really know the process of link-building. Simply put, it should be given as much importance as the process, the practice of search engine optimization. it needs time, patience on the content-owners part as advised by the experts. The core theme here should be to progress gradually which would certainly stay with you over a long period of time as you develop and grow with your content than to have an overnight spike and probably get penalized for some black hat practices along the way ( if you get y drift ). there are some things which link-building are namely hyperlink which simply put when hovered over the specific word highlighted in blue generally would take you to the reference of that word or another reference site. Link-building also is considered as a ranking factor on search, if and when practiced within the guidelines of say Google, then one would reap the rewards of the process and practice. it is considered as a vote of confidence for a page on the site or the website by other online users. When you reach out to others in the same industry and they give your reference or link back to your page or site, that is when they are really giving their approval for the piece of content, hence giving you the validation. when it comes to the real recipe for the page ranking for any site on big players like Google, no one ever knows the recipes, since it’s their ‘secret-sauce’ just like the giants like Coke would never reveal the recipe behind their beverage! Understood, hence the next best thing a genuine content-creator do is to follow the rules of the land, Google in this case and follow them promptly, patiently wait for the results and it will come your way considering you have done all things right. It does not matter if you have forgotten somethings in the middle, but the more important part is to do things recommended every time and believe in the process. Period.

Having said that, topics to tackle;

  • TYPES OF LINK BUILDING

  • NOTES ON LINK BUILDING CAMPAIGNS

  • TACTICS OF LINK BUILDING

  • LINK BUILDING METRICS LIST

TYPES OF LINK-BUILDING

NATURAL EDITORIAL LINK

MANUAL OUTREACH LINK BUILDING

SELF CREATED NON-EDITORIAL LINKS

Before you start the process of linking to other authoritative, legit websites and pages, one needs to be absolutely sure about the content of the page, whether the content is ready to be shared and seen by others, one is clear about the topic mentioned on the pages and sites which are about to be linked to other sites and pages. As mentioned earlier, link-building is building your pages’ or sites’ vote of confidence, hence one needs to be confident in sharing the content on the pages with all the white-hat practices relevant today. Another very important element here, before one starts this process is knowing for sure that the target audience is right and one ahs not messed up there. Once all these important steps are taken, one can go ahead and try any of the above-mentioned ways of link-building.

Natural editorial link-building is a process of firstly zeroing in on the sites which are relevant to the topic you are covering and what is prevalent in the content. Once you have done that which includes looking at the domain authority (DA) of the site you are looking into, which can be done through many of the sources online, one needs to apart from corresponding with one contact within that organization of some authority instead of emailing anyone where the message is most certainly lost, one also needs to know and explain the reason why and how one is reaching out to the site, the value one can add to the site to which one is reaching out to? How can the two sites benefit from each other? This is pretty straightforward since everyone would, of course, want to add value to the site at any step of the organization, can actually add some more value to its authority, and is worth their time and effort, hence linking to, only then, does the deal work for both parties. This does obviously take some time, patience, and good strategy on the one approachings’ part. Do remember what is most important is the ‘process,’ the belief in it, and the steps in it and no short-cuts! Experts who think can take a short cut, pay for some reviews, blogs, posts on social media, would perhaps benefit only for a short duration, eventually reach a roadblock with no imagination. 

Manual Outreach link-building process

The manual outreach link-building process works on the same process as the earlier mentioned Natural editorial link-building. one needs to vet the businesses in order words, the links one intends to reach out to, which means that firstly your content needs to be bad-SEO-proof, well conceptualized, thought-out, crisp, and with the right intention and clarity of language. henceforth, the targeted links need to be totally relevant to the content one has created already, have some value to offer to the targeted links and sites henceforth. if all these elements do match and are in sync, then one needs to also have creative ways to reaching out to the one person in the targeted links’ organization to correspond with and to sell one’s intentions and goals with the outreach. several elements resemble the earlier tactic of Natural editorial link-building process with the targeted links being of some DA in order to add value to ones’ page or site, hence linking back to ones’ page or a site in order to give them the vote of confidence! 

Self-created non-editorial link

this tactic in link-building is a little different. this process involves the creator of the content itself and does not need the authority of external links. The simple idea behind this tactic is to share your content on the most relevant social media channels/platforms where it would get the most visibility and would be appropriate for the platform namely Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and now of late one would imagine to include Instagram. this is the most simple yet assured way to get traction to your site and also get maximum eyeballs on your content. 

To all these different ways of link-building, some important notes to remember would be to always include a relevant call to action ( CTA ) button. One needs to be also kept in mind the location of the button and where does the CTA take the reader? 

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NOTES ON LINK BUILDING CAMPAIGNS

Like any branding exercise, link building too, needs careful analysis of the target market link in this case since one will be targeting links. one should make use of several sources to study links, backlinks, DA, page authority (PA), and several other metrics to evaluate a link. More than all that, first and foremost, one must always have a goal is mind, the big picture with the link building strategy which should eventually sync with the overarching goal of the organization of course. the goal of the strategy should always be for the long term and not a short term for the same reasons stated earlier in the blog. The process here should include finding the assets, the targeted links, figure the hook, the value one can add eventually to the targeted links, sites, creating the most apt content incudes data, products and services one might be involved in ( the offering ) and of course the people involved in the process. They should all be in sync with the goal and the vision of the organization, consequently the most optimum results out of the strategy. There are of course several questions one must ask before diving into campaign building which is as follows;

  • What types of links you need? 

These links would be most related to the domain or your homepage, links which could also be in sync with your products and services, links which could be also containing your brand, containing your keywords one could be targeting in the strategy. 

  • Finding link-targets? 

In order to find the link-targets, the process followed would be by creating content, find the hook or the angle by which one can link to the more authoritative, targeted links, followed by the outreach process and eventually follow up which is the most difficult task in the whole process. this certainly needs some patience on the one targeting and keep believing in the process until one gets the break one needs to do the link building.

  • Identify your target audience for links?

one must also figure whether the targeted links ( the creators of those link, sites ) share external links of others on their respective platforms since not all share content of others. This would be the responsibility of the one targeting links to check the history of the targeted links and only correspond to the ones who actually share and link back? this is vital in order to save oneself the time and effort it takes in link building. Other elements one must also look into are the DA, PA, blogger influence, and the likelihood of backlinking. 

  • Outreach 

The process of outreach has been mentioned above and should be taken seriously if one intends to go through the process. Apart from the points already mentioned in this process, another point to note would be to show that you are a genuine person and not a spammer, hence ones’ approach strategy really counts here. Whether one approaches the contact person in the organization as a real human very natural in a polite and humble way, computer bot with almost computer-generated like messages or from an authoritative angle which would for the most obvious reason be working in ones’ favor. ( You get the drift! ) 

  • How long does link building take for site raking? 

Duration depends on several factors which include competitiveness in the concerned industry, the competitiveness of the keywords targeted, the types of link building, and the history and strength of your domain? There is no right or wrong answer here. 

 

TACTICS OF LINK BUILDING

Some of the tactics used in the process of link building would be namely content-based link building, guest blogging as the name suggests, ego bait which is another popular way of link building involving stroking the ego of whichever influence or website owner one is targeting. This is a more personal approach compared to the content-based link building done by many. The last one would be looking, hunting for broken links, informing the owners of the broken links, and politely asking or expecting a favor in return for their mistakes, its like a foot in the door opportunity.  

LINK BUILDING METRICS LIST

  • Page Rank on google toolbar
  • DA/ PA
  • Mozbar
  • Anchor text
  • Number of links
  • Linking to the Root Domain
  • Position of links on the page

  In the end, as discussed and emphasized by several experts the process and practice of link building is not a one-man process but to be done with the whole organization believing in the process! Link Building is a long-term process, needs to be done without taking any short cuts and should be taken seriously in order to see the desired results. It is up to the experts to really explain and discuss in lengths with the authors, creators of content, site-owners, agencies to understand the process of search engine optimization as well as link building, since they both go hand in hand. if done right and, the results can be enjoyed for a long time to come.   

References;

https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-link-building

THE TRAVELING ITCH AMONG INDIANS AMIDST THE COVID PANDEMIC

The past, the present and the future of travel in India from the perspective of the current scenario with the looming uncertainty of normalcy ever coming back?

yellow van on beach
Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) on Pexels.com

 

THE PAST

Without further ado, let’s dig into what COVID-19 has or is, or could be teaching us about our ever-so-taken for granted lifestyles, daily environment and god-given privileges (pun intended). Until early this year 2020, everything was going honky-dory for all of us and suddenly without any warning, that is what I like to believe and honestly will
live with here on out, against the more popular and infamous rumors out there about the origins, COVID-19 hit us BIG TIME! It was certainly like an atom bomb! Not that majority of us have experienced that in our lifetime, and with all due respect to the ones who have and live to tell the horrible tales, but a very subtle, from the corner of your eye kind of an attack! When one knows it’s coming and many of us cannot do anything possible to stop it, period. We can only make some basic preparations, that too with the biggest doubts in our heads given the numerous unknowns regarding the same.

Earlier this year in March 2020, India went into complete nation-wide lockdown. Life as we Indians knew it, or as we could not imagine, changed in a dramatic way! Let’s get down to some brass facts about the total impact of Covid-19 on the travel, tourism and hospitality industry in the country as far as I could gather.

  • Last year, number of foreign tourists in India stood at 10.89 million (mn), 10.56 mn the year before and 10.04 mn in 2017 1

THE PRESENT

  • Since then the story has changed drastically, with the figure for incoming foreign tourists plummeting to 1.01 mn in February of 2020 compared to 1.08 mn in 2019, registering year on year decrease of 6.5%. A similar trend was last seen in 2015. 2
  • As per World Tourism Organization ( UNWTO ), International tourism on a global scale could decline by 60%-80% this year 2020, resulting in a decline of $910 billion (bn) to $1.2 trillion (tn), placing millions of livelihoods at risk 3
  • As per World Travel and Tourism Council, the travel and tourism industry in India employs 12.75% of the country’s workforce. As per the Ministry of Tourism annual report 2019-’20, tourism industry employed over 87 mn people.4
  • The share of travel tourism in India’s GDP was  ~9.2% in 2018 compared to 6.8% in 2019, reflecting a dip then and even worse now due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it’s various restrictions
  • As per National Restaurants Association of India, the restaurant industry annual turnover is ~ $55 bn with direct employment loss to 7 mn people. 6 All under serious threat in the coming months.
  • The aviation industry which is a linked industry, could incur a loss of roughly under $4 bn in the first quarter of the financial year 2020-2021 as per Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, India, consultancy and advocacy agency 7
  • Regarding the hospitality industry, the organized sector i.e. the branded hotels, tour operators and travel agencies could be hit hardest with an estimated loss of just over $21 bn, with branded hotels incurring a loss ~ $ 15 bn alone8
  • Travel agencies are expected to take a hit of ~ $.6 bn , tour operators ( inbound and domestic) of ~ $3.5 bn, adventure tour operators ~ $2.6 bn and cruise operators of ~ $55 mn as per Confederation of Indian Industry estimates ( CII )

THE FUTURE

After all these heavy numbers and obvious impact of the current scenario due to COVID-19, life would never be the same again for anyone! Some major changes coming up in the travel and hospitality industry would be as follows:

  • With the movement of people across state borders domestically, by any means of transport, there has been a lot of miscommunication regarding very frequent updates to the various state regulations, the so called standard operating procedures (SOPs), causing confusion for travellers. In such scenarios, is it really worth traveling at the moment?
  • Rise of the apps, video-calls, digital marketing overall, is gaining popularity amongst various Online Travel Agencie (OTAs), travel agencies, making all efforts to keep travellers interested in traveling post the nationwide-lockdown lifting or the covid-19 vaccine becoming available
  • Rise of digital wallets to facilitate payments on various platforms, since even if the traveller gets to the destination at this stage, he prefers minimum contact as much as possible, even more so now with the pandemic looming over anyone. Hence, the pandemic has also increased trust and adoption of online payments across the board.
  • Birth of contact-less deliveries concept for product packages and food through various online marketplaces
  • Preference to self-drive to the holiday destination than to travel by public transportation or by air, at least for the next year until the vaccine is out and widely available
  • This would also lead to people opting to go to near-by destinations and not venture too far, offering safety and easily accessible healthcare facilities
  • The travel and hospitality industry will have lots of changes. Branded hotels will be given more importance every time even with a higher price tag since these hotels will be perceived to provide proper hygiene-checks, medical facilities on call, safety and security compared to the others which will become a priority now.
  • The choice of destinations will change with more people choosing places with more amenities such as healthcare and emergency facilities as compared to ones that are without facilities and isolated
  • Another trend which is gaining popularity is the virtual tours by the big OTAs. Since people are hesitant to travel, one way the creative and big OTAs are engaging with their customers is through these virtual tours.  
  • Last but not the least, the blue color labor market is experiencing massive migration back to their hometowns and unemployment nationwide

Well, in conclusion, COVID-19 certainly changed the world’s respective societies and cultures and they will never be the same again, nor would they take any future pandemic for granted. The changes in the travel and hospitality industries are here to stay for a while. It will certainly take some time before people can muscle up to travel again to their favourite destinations, but this time perhaps with some reservations. 

Let me know what you reckon about the future of travel domestically and globally? Leave me a comment and we can start a conversation.

References:

REMINISCING THE VASTNESS OF THE SHANGRI-LA NAMED LADAKH AND MORE

leh palace
leh palace

Introducing the latest Union Territory of India, Ladakh, lying in the northern most part of the country as a crown jewel, which I call my second home, should be on every tourist’s bucket list !

If you are looking for peace and quiet, solitude to the most thrilling adventures and treks, from buzzing night life, meeting like-minded creative people turning into lifelong friends to taking the road less travelled and finding solace, Ladakh has it all, simply waiting to be re-discovered by you!  

  • mountain pass in the clouds
  • Tandi, last fuel station after Manali and before Leh
  • Pass Rohtang, on the road to Leh
  • Climbing to a pass on the road to Leh, Ladakh
  • Lamayuru in Ladakh

To reach Ladakh, also termed as the land of the high passes, land of mystic lamas, the broken moon-land, the last Shangri-La or the little Tibet, one has to go through some of the highest passes in the world, crossing over 7,000 meters above sea-level, in the northern Himalaya ranges.Although there are a few ways to get there namely by air and by road, the journey to Ladakh, primarily Leh, the capital town in the Union Territory which stands at 3500 meters elevation, largest and most second most populous UT of India. It was previously also known as Maryul. The journey to Ladakh by can be taken by air with several directs flights from the capital town of New Delhi. The journey by road, also has a couple of routes, either by Kashmir or via Manali. We highly recommend the more popular one, i.e. by road, through either of the routes mentioned above. If one drives through Kashmir, a scenic route of course through some of the longest tunnels in India cutting the mountains and going over the passes namely Namikala pass ( 12,139 ft) above sea-level, also known to be the gate to Kargil and is situated on the Srinagar-Leh highway, Fortula Pass (13,478 ft) again situated on the Srinagar-Leh highway. Both the passes mentioned fall in between Kargil and Leh and one descends towards Lamayuru village post Fotula pass. The Zojila pass ( 11,649 ft ), due to its strategic location, stretches to roughly 348 kms, is considered the lifeline of Ladakh. The pass was briefly captured by the Pakistani army back in 1948 during the 1947 Indo-Pakistan war in order to capture Ladakh, but later the Indian army seized it back in the famous Operation Bison. Although the route to Ladakh has its own charm with panoramic views of the Zanskar ranges and the Himalayan ranges, the route via Manali to Leh, also my favourite is something only to be experienced once in a lifetime! This route takes you through some of the highest passes namely Baralacha ( 16,040 ft ), a confluence of three ranges Pir, Panjal and Zanskar post Keylong in Lahaul. It is ill adviced to continue the journey in harsh conditions over the pass and is advisable to return to the nearest village of Jispa for the evening. The other passes enroute are namely Taglang La Pass( 17,582ft) accessible through the popular 21 gata loops or hair pin loops, considered also the second highest Zanskar range in Ladakh with Upshi on Leh side and Sarchu on Manali side, being the nearest places to rest. Another pass which comes enroute is the Lachungla Pass ( 16,600 ft ) close proximity to Pangong Lake and Sarchu. Due to its easy accessibility to tourists, its popular for tourists stopping and taking in the panoramic view of the valley around. The countless meandering at times, open straight as an arrow highways all the way to the horizon literally, the countless ascends and descends off the mountains, the brief and rarely almost impossible obstacles on the road, as if surely imagined by the gods themselves, as if to safeguard the lost Shangri-La from outsiders. These would be the takeaways from the road to Leh by anyone traveling on them, waiting eagerly to get back up there the next time!

Ladakh, UT, is spread over 59,146 kilometre square area Srinagar and Anantnag in the Kashmir valley to the west, Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh to the south and Kyrgyzstan visible to the north. In another description, it has the Tibet autonomous region to the east, Himachal Pradesh to the south, UT of J&K and Pakistan administered Gilgit Baltistan to the west and south-west corner of Xinjiang across the Karakoram pass in the north, all as per Wikipedia.  

Now, having a good idea of its geographical location for one’s curiosity, this blog would try answer some of the most obvious questions people have been searching for currently when one searches for Ladakh, apart from the military situation built up in Leh! Being the locals from the region, we would certainly like to leave the military situation to the experts and not speculate here, and focus on what we know best, that is the region. We would try answer some of the basic questions regarding Ladakh.

As we explore into the what, where, how, is and why, we answer some of these as per on the ground per se.

What type of land is Ladakh?

What is Ladakh famous for?

Is Ladakh safe?

How do I plan a trip to Ladakh?

When are the best months to visit Ladakh?

How much does Ladakh trip cost?

How do I reach Ladakh?

What type of land is Ladakh? Ladakh is a cold desert with much of the year, the winter months of October through March also extending into April, being cut off on the main highways due to heavy snowfall, but still accessible by flight. It has Leh and Kargil as its two largest districts with Indus, Shyok and Nubra on the Leh side and Suru, Dras and Zanskar on the Kargil side respectively.

What is Ladakh famous for? Ladakh is famous for its textiles like the pashminas from the Changthang region of Ladakh exported the world over, the long deep valleys, mountain ranges trekking and camping sites like Tsomoriri lake, Stok kangri, Chadar trek on the frozen Zanskar river and Markha valley trek to name a few, the confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers which makes up for a great spot to see people rafting, highest motorable roads in the world including the Khardungla La pass which leads into Nubra Valley, the white water rafting on the Zanskar river, Hemis National Park with many endangered species of animals like the snow leopard huge tourist attractions in the winter, Tibetan-wolf, Eurasian brown bear, red fox, Asiatic Ibex to name a few. Also considered one of the biggest national parks in the country. For the thrill seekers apart from the various adventures Ladakh has to offer, treks in the region, motorcycling to Ladakh from various towns like Delhi or Manali are rather popular. Every season there are dozens of Ladakh motorcycle tour packages being provided, one of the most thrilling experiences indeed!

  Is Ladakh safe? Of course, Ladakh is safe for all tourists that incudes any solo travellers too. Even though when there is some disturbances on the border but it is far away from the tourist towns and everyone is allowed to move around freely without any problems.

How do I plan a trip to Ladakh? That is simple, get in touch with us on our website Headnorth.in and we can help you curate all your travel needs or even provide you with great affordable Ladakh tour packages or you can get in touch with any of the several travel operators in the region.

When are the best months to visit Ladakh? The most ideal months are May through September, post which the temperature starts really dipping towards the negatives.

How much does Ladakh trip cost? Cost of your trip will completely depend on your personal needs and preferences, get in touch with us and we can follow up with a questionnaire in order to learn all about your needs and preferences.

How do I reach Ladakh? There are a few ways to reach Leh, Ladakh, by air, daily flights from Delhi, Jammu, Kashmir. You can even opt for the road via Kashmir or Manali routes. Both approximately take a couple of days or little over couple of days to reach Ladakh with a night halt at either of the place, but we strongly recommend if you would be looking at a road trip, take your time in reaching Ladakh and not miss the magic in between!

Conclusively, as we delve into the various facets of this beautiful most underrated lost Shangri-La of India, be sure to learn and hear more about the newest player in the tourism industry in the most promising destination to come up in the coming years!

references;

https://www.tourism-of-india.com/mountain-passes-ladakh.html

Trending TOPICS ON SEARCH!

searching currently…

So, this really got my attention, made me think about it from a different perspective. Although we know that we are in the middle of this crisis ‘ COVID19,’ and hence we know things are really not moving too well for most of the businesses just like mine, a travel agency in Ladakh, but of course I am certain we will bounce back stronger when things do start moving, the tourists do want to travel, but until then do what inspires you to move forward, inspire others in a similar way. We are simply concentrating on building a versatile, dynamic site as well as a strong process system, which should certainly prove fuitful when the toursim domestically does kick in!

Meanwhile, I was simply doing some homework for a post on our Headnorth.in social media pages, this is the travel agency company I run with my partner in the most gorgeous valley of Ladakh! As I was doing the hygiene work like punching in keywords related to Ladakh and trying to find something to write on our travel company and what we offer, my eyes popped open to something crazy, so I thought I might share here and look for reactions by yall?

It so happens that most of the keywords I had punched in ofcourse gave me back roughly 1500 different keywords under the keyword ideas tab on Google keyword planner tool. That is alright, on further looking into the sheet and trying to segregate all the relevant keywords related to my travel company and services offered by us in the region of Ladakh, Lahaul-Spiti and Manali, I noticed the competition column, which in layman terms simply means the times it is being searched for by users, ofcourse another thing to note here is that my settings were kept to India, and between the last one year upto July of 2020. As I quickly browsed through the medium and higher competition of keywords, I couldn’t help notice the keywords related to these for this table!!!

Table below, a screenshot of the keyword planner, magnify the table for clarity.. Can you tell me what you notice here on the sheet?

Hint : Check out the keywords list and the competition list. Let’s chat the reason behind those Highs and Mediums?

list of relevant keywords

Keywords in seo

let’s try reiterate things about search engine optimization and take it from there, in other words, branch out to different aspects of it since I truly believe one really needs to dig into the basic well, in order to really achieve the deserving results assuming having done all the homework right?

So in order to start thinking about a good seo practice, one needs to start where all brands start, thinking about the audience, the right audience and fetching them where they are instead of thinking that they would come to them having a brilliant product or content for that matter? One really needs to get to their audience that means capture them where

single person or group in a crowd
target audience

they exist online or offline. In order to start thinking about the audience, one must first do all the home work regarding the demographics, psychographics of the targeted audience. Once you have a good idea about the target audience, one needs to relate to the kinds of questions queries the target audience will be feeding into Google or other search engines?

  • search on google
  • google search for yellow formal shoes for men

The more specific, descriptive the queries, which means the better the queries judged by the seo expert for the brand or the product or simply the topic one is trying to share, discuss, the better the capture of the target audience! This also means having spent some good quality time researching on the keywords which could be used to make up the content. As described in the previous blogs, keywords could come out of different types such as informative, transactional or just navigational. Navigational which simply means either informative, looking for some sort of information regarding what he or she might be searching for, which could totally be your product, service or topic for that matter, hence right keywords used by you in your content. Transactional refers to those users who have already decided on the product and are now most probably buying it, hence deeper in the consumer funnel, almost converted, customers for the product. Finally navigational keywords which refer to the very specific product the user might be looking for, hence already decided about the brand, price, place etc respectively.

Having said that, as long as the user’s intent is captured well by the seo expert regarding the content he or she is dealing in and how well the predicted keywords are in sync with the originality/ emphasis of the content, relevance of the content. All these small small factors will do the trick for the content creator!

A little mention of the long tail keywords here is a must, which are useful for the obvious reasons such as being descriptive, detailed, entails more than 3 words, which simply gives the users more broader and useful tool in the long run in seo. Keywords then also need to be compared to the competitors on some several parameters like the search volume, difficulty and traffic online.

All these are more interesting than just a mention here, as one will discover when you jump into it as it most ceratinly opens up a whole new window of opportunity to capture your targeted audience. There is no hard and fast rule about the highest search volume of keywords performing the best, instead one should try consider the ones with lessser competition with mid-level traffic and decent search volume. The real importance lies in the user’s intent and relevancy of the keywords to your content on the whole.

One also needs to look out for keywords stuffing as it only makes sense to use the keywords in a balanced way throughout your content, also watched and identified by Google and other search engines no doubt! The tools used for the keywords are many such as the Google keyword planner which itself suggests more keywords, relative keywords, one can make groups of keywords, save them on different word or excel files for future use for making content. One should go further than that and explore more tools like Google Trends, Quora and Redditt for content-ideas. Make use of Google autocomplete search results, Google trends for topics and several other online platforms/application which coulld help in the process? The trick is to use as many resources one can think of when trying to predict the user’s intent, that is the only way to capture them best!

I am ceratin there are many tools to use, if one looks for them, ofcourse for a price! Even, wordpress has severeal very useful plugins but for a price, so if someone is wondering about activating all these plugins here, one simply needs to upgrade from basic version like I need to, very soon 😉 I believe that is the only way to really use the platform and take advantage of all the amazing capabilities of the platform like WP!

Having spoken about the hunt and then right use of keywords for your content, ofcourse that does also come with many other facets of seo, in order to optimize the content written for Google in a structured manner, as also mentioned earlier in one of the blogs that is taking care of elements like meta description, h1 tag, social media linking, internal linking to name a few, which I hope to write about as I progress with these blogs, so look out for those 🙂

Happy search engine optimizing! 🙂

#keywords #seo #digitalmarketing #userintent #seogoodpractices #sharingknowledge

SEO- Some More Learning

Before we talk about seo specifically user intent and keyword research, lets have a look at what one seo-expert ideally needs to look into or be provided with?

Before one really starts working on seo, the expert MUST also work on the targeted audience. This means that one needs to really know the customers like the back of his hand!

I need to stress on the importance of user-intent and the keyword research part in the process of good seo practice. The closer the prediction on what the user will be typing in the search box, the better the ranking on the search engine, hence the better the results on the search engine result pages ( SERPS)! Isn’t that everyone is gunning for afterall?

But before that, lets look at the homework one needs to do in order to reach the user intent and keyword research stages? The seo-expert needs to study the targeted audience in detail, like its done in branding. One would know that in order to know their customers, there are some steps to be followed and NOT to be missed ever? In seo, these are quite the same but with a little difference. According to some references, I have been reading up, one reason simply came across clearly to me, it was to study the roadblocks? That is to say the problems faced by the users, the kind of questions they might post when looking, searching for some product, depending on their intent at the time of searching? Whether the questions posed are exact, direct or somewhat in the region or simply to do some research in order to weigh their options, in which case they would be more informative? Another question to be answered while studying the customers, and this part comes from branding or good market research or strategic market research, would be the demographics of the customers, whether they are males, females, the age groups they belong to, which background do they belong to, in short as mentioned earlier, the demographics and their psychographics- in short their interests and hobbies? Since these topics give a very detailed study if done right, one gets to know their target-customers better? Along with the demographics and psychographics of the customers, one needs to cover related informations such as if a customer is looking for a partcular type of shoes say gym shoes, then what sorta information ( related/complementary information ) the individual could be interested in? All these answers woud lead one to a very detailed picture of the targeted audience! Now, once the audience is clear, one can go ahead with building a relevant seo-strategy and then onto the content-marketing strategy.

When it comes to early non-negotiable steps to seo, although it can be more detailed, but we would be concentratin on the user-intent as mentioned a little earlier in the blog. They could be of two kinds namely commercial intent or informative intent?

The commercial intent would simply refer the exact types of product, including the shape, size, design and brand in mind. here, the user is very clear about what exactly does he or she needs to search for? The customer here is most likely to buy the product.

Some more examples of commerical intent could be the following ;

  • mountain bikes
  • new delhi design studio

Informative intent would be primarily for research, when the user maybe wants to do some reasearch and weigh his options. Exampes of informative intent would be namely such as;

  • best gyms in new delhi
  • accessories needed for gym
  • alternate to joining gym

The essential part would be simply that these queries ( what one feeds in the search engines ) as informative questions regarding the roadblock one user might have or even anything related to the same query such as alternate to gyms as given in the example above.

When it comes to keyword research for seo, as far as I have read and read, I feel a keyword is not just about looking for keyword which are most popular with high domain authority ( DA ) and page authority ( PA), which come closest to your niche business, which are popular in your industry, rather one needs to focus now on long tail keywords. Long tail keywrods are simply keywords which would be in more than 3-4 words, a phrase so to speak. This really works! And I also believe it is given its credit by prominent search engines like Google too!

Long tail keywords is something many woud ignore but BELIEVE it or not, it is something which will help one to get better results, also verfied by several articles I have been reading online! I remember this from my uni-days too when I was in my masters program. Anyway, the long tail kewords is ideally 3-4 words or more, a phrase so as to speak. There are reasons for it, and they make perfect sense really. The traditional keywords would be a single word or some semantic word, related, correlated compared to the long tail keywords. In the latter’s case, the group of keywords get more granular, descriptive, hence proving clearly the user’s intent primarily. All thanks to the smart users today! There is also the reason for the major competitiveness on the SERPS. Since when a user is looking for a specifc product, there will be a lot of major brands who are showing on the first page, for the most obvious reasons, with the help of their MULLAH! But, do not get disheartened since one needs to smart about the seo-practice, to believe in the system and follow the process!

Facts about the long-tail keywords compared to the short term keywords or just keywords

  • low competition
  • high traffic
  • high conversion rates

Conclusively, if one seo-fan like myself or an expert, does things the right way, although it is the long-road, one will surely see good results at the end of the process, but it is not to be taken lightly as the practice of SEO is a long-term one and one needs to keep their content- fresh and relevant in order to reap the real benefits along with all the good se practice!

I would explore seo more and more in the future and try share as much as possible.

Cheers for reading!

Digitally immersed Life !