Monday 15 October 2007

Spiking the Goggle search engine for fun and profit

Smart members of the tourism industry realized years ago that the future of booking trips for consumers was not in the corner travel agency store but rather on the Internet. Those firms that were out-of-the-gate first struggled to get customers and paid heavy fees to web designers to develope the first web based travel sites.

Consumers were wary of putting credit information into the hands of a virtual travel agency. But as transaction security techniques made huge leap forwards and with the advent of on-line currency (PayPal) consumers began to shop in earnest. At the same time Google began to become more famous than Jesus. Those same consumers turned to Google to find out where to spend on-line.

Now almost every travel agent in North America has decided to put a footprint on the World Wide Web. Problem is, how do these last-out-of-the-gate travel sites get noticed by Google freaks? When people use the Google search engine to find things, they pay attention to only the first few sites that are displayed by Google. Which items appear first is determined by the traffic the site attracts, the amount of items posted, the number of pages linked to the site, if Google software is used in producing the website and ithrough outright name purchase.

Its hard for a new website to get noticed by Google. Long established competitors have long established hundreds and hundreds of links to other site, there are years of content on their webpages and the sites have built in hits from a fans/customers who have bookmarked their sites a long time ago.

I was approached by an agency to help a travel website move up in the Google ranking. How? By posting 25 travel stories (all 500 words in length) on their site once a day, once a week. It is a modest contract and has taken too many hours on my part to make it a worthwhile assignment. However, I continue to service the account to see if the posting of the stories will increase the company's Google footprint.

I am not going to post any of the stories that I have supplied to the company - that would defeat the very purpose of the excercise. What follows though, is an example of a story I wrote for the client. It wasn't used because it got stale-dated before it could make it to the website. It is an orphan story and is posted below for my readers enjoyment/edification.

Music lovers heading for Bermuda the first weekend in October

The island of Bermuda is holding its 12th annual Music Festival, October 3rd to 6th. The festival allows guests to enjoy both the sounds of international performers and local culture, and this year features such big name performers as Smokey Robinson and Earth Wind & Fire.

The Bermuda Music Festival, formerly the Bermuda Jazz Festival, will be held at two venues, the Fairmont Southampton Beach Club and the National Sports Centre.

The Fairmont Southampton Beach Club, recently featured on the Amazing Race is a 593-room hotel near the capital of Hamilton. The National Sports Centre is conveniently located about five minutes away from the City of Hamilton in Devonshire Parish. International football, field hockey, cricket, rugby and many other sports are played at the stadium on a regular basis. The stadium holds 4,300 persons and is a great place to enjoy the wonderful sounds of the Bermuda Music Festival this fall.

Fans of the R&B group Earth Wind & Fire should get ready to "Groove" in Bermuda where the legendary band will put an exclamation point on an already jam-packed 12th Annual Bermuda Music Festival hosted by the Bermuda Department of Tourism.

Joining Earth Wind & Fire on the performance bill and will be on stage from October 3rd - 6th are: Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Natasha Bedingfield, and The O'Jay's. The star studded line-up makes this year’s festival the most high profiled in the history of the Music Festival. The concerts are being hosted by Steve Harvey.

"We have an incredible group of talent performing at this year's Bermuda Music Festival," said Bermuda's Premier, Minister of Tourism and Transport, Dr. Ewart Brown. "The addition of Earth Wind and Fire makes this year's music festival one of the hottest tickets Bermuda has ever seen."

Earth, Wind & Fire are one of the most musically accomplished, critically acclaimed, and commercially popular funk bands of the '70s.

The festival has a strong food component this year. Vendors will be selling “healthy” local foods at all the concerts.

Premier and Minister of Tourism Dr Ewart Brown said: “The Ministry of Health has just embarked on an extensive awareness campaign encouraging Bermudians to make healthier lifestyle changes. The potential attendance at this year’s festival is upwards of 17,000 people, and we saw the Bermuda Music Festival as an excellent way to assist in promoting this initiative; so we are encouraging all health food vendors to join us this year.”

Now in its 12th year, The Bermuda Music Festival is going back to its roots and will be held at the National Sports Centre, the site of the first festival. This year's festival is being produced by George Wein and his company, Festival Productions, Inc. Past performers include: Kenny G, Seal, Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, Anita Baker and Isaac Hayes, to name a few.

Tickets are on sale now. For additional details, tickets and package information, please visit the Bermuda Music Festival website at