Hotel Pic of the Week: Scandic Hotel Berlin Potsdamer Platz

The Scandic Berlin is a contemporary hotel with a minimalist Scandinavian style. Different areas of this hotel represent different seasons – the lobby for example winter. The same applies to rooms and suites at this 4-star hotel. Rooms at the Scandic Hotel Berlin can be chosen in a particular seasonal style. The hotel is centrally located at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin Mitte.

View more photos of The Scandic Hotel Berlin on Flickr

The Hotel and Travel Week

Tripadvisor banned from claiming reviews are real – profits up
early February 2012

Following complaints that hoteliers had posted fake comments on Tripadvisor to boost their own properties or sabotage others, the UK Advertising Standards Authority found that it was possible for “non-genuine content” to appear on the travel review website.
According to the advertising watchdog, reviews can be posted on the website without any form of verification. Therefore, Tripadvisor was told “not to claim or imply that all the reviews that appeared on the website were from real travellers, or were honest, real or trusted”.
The ruling came because Tripadvisor had advertised its services on the website, claiming that it contained “reviews you can trust” and are “honest” opinions from “real travelers” which was found to be misleading.
Tripadvisor’s official statement reads: “We have confidence that the 50 million users who come to our site every month trust the reviews they read on Tripadvisor, which is why they keep coming back to us in increasingly larger numbers to plan and have the perfect trip… We know that our users approach Tripadvisor with common sense, and make an educated decision based on the opinions of many. If people did not feel the insight they gained from our site was an accurate reflection of their experience they wouldn’t keep coming back…”
Indeed, Tripadvisor’s revenue has gone up by 30% during its first quarter as a public company and after spinning off from Expedia. Revenues are generated from click and display-based advertising as well as from subscriptions.

Personalized search results become concern
early February 2012

In January 2012, Google announced that from 1st March, search results on Google.com will incorporate content from a user’s Google+ network, highlighting links, photos and comments within search results. This has led to some concern, particularly about privacy.
As search and social media are becoming more interconnected, AYTM Market Research asked US internet users if they liked the idea of personalized search results. While 15.5% of the respondents said yes, 39.1% said yes, but that they were concerned with privacy at the same time. Almost half, i.e. 45.4% replied that they would prefer everyone to see the same search results.
According to AYTM, only 19.3% of respondents actively use Google+. An additional 20.3% have an account but do not use it and nearly 20% of respondents (19.5%) reported that they don’t know what Google+ is. This leads to concerns that Google+ may not fully represent a user’s social media life.
Twitter, especially disagrees with Google’s plan to integrate Google+ content, while not including that of Twitter and Facebook. Twitter and Google previously had a relationship where Twitter content showed up in Google’s real-time search results. However, the partnership was discontinued in July 2011.

Hotel Pic of the Week: The Beverly Hills Hotel Los Angeles

Dreaming of palm trees and sunshine in this icy European winter weather:

The Beverly Hills Hotel is a rather stunning hotel of the Dorchester collection and home to the rich and famous. – Right in Beverly Hills on Sunset Boulevard.

View more photos of The Beverly Hills Hotel & Bungalows on Flickr

SEO Tools : Software Review

Everyone looking for a little advice regarding which tools to use for search engine optimization (SEO) in order to to analyze and improve their search engine rankings should read on. There is plenty of tools on the market but only a few deliver what they promise.

Advanced Web Ranking is particularly search engine friendly.
Automated search requests can be penalized by search engines with a drop in rankings. Advanced Web Ranking however simulates manual search queries by pausing in between each search request. For search engines it is therefore indistinguishable from someone using a browser.
The software uses the following method: It queries a certain keyword, then the search engine returns a number of pages. Advanced Web Ranking downloads these pages and analyses them locally. These three steps are being repeated for each search query.

Advanced Web Ranking has been developed by Caphyon and is a comprehensive SEO software tool for web projects to boost website ranking. It has been re-written recently and improved.

The software still comes in 4 different editions: Standard, Professional, Enterprise, Server.
The Standard edition should be sufficient for hobby website publishers. Professionals who need to generate reports, print and email them to their clients, will at least need the Professional edition.

Advanced Web Ranking for Mac

Starting a new project is very easy. When opening the tool for the first time it asks for the domain name which is to be analyzed. In a second step, the keywords and keyword phrases need to be entered but they can also be imported from a website, CSV, WPG or XML file. Preferences with regards to which search engines are to be analyzed need to be set. Google will probably be the preferred search engine. However, Yahoo, Bing or other search engines should not be neglected, especially when working on projects targeting countries outside Europe. The tool offers  1000+ search engines to choose from when checking search results for different countries and languages, e.g. in google.co.uk rather than google.com. Depending on the number of keywords and domains and the internet connection, this step may sometimes take several hours. Once the update is complete, the results can be filtered and displayed in numerous layouts. For easy reading of reports, charts etc., domains and keyword phrases can be color-coded.

Summary of the main features of this SEO tool:

Search Engine Rankings
Easy and effective racking and analyzing of search engine rankings.

Google Analytics Integration
Advanced Web Ranking can now integrate analytics metrics from Google Analytics which helps measuring traffic and conversions for the keywords already in the projects. The advantage of this is that visitors and conversions data can be combined with the search engine rankings and link building information in one report.

Link Building
An important part of any SEO campaign is link building. Advanced Web Rankings has now integrated a link building module in order to have all SEO tasks in one place. With this module, comparing the link profile to that of competitors and discovering new linking opportunities becomes possible using the same tool.

Keyword Research Tool
The most important step when developing a search engine strategy is defining relevant keywords and keyword phrases. Whether keywords are relevant for a project needs to be analyzed and depends on search volume, search trends, niches etc. Therefore, the Keyword Research Tool is essential. This module helps finding additional keywords and keyword combinations, even if there is a pre-defined keyword list. For example, it uses data from Wordtracker, the Google Keyword Tool or Yahoo Search Marketing which is then imported.

Automated Reports, Backups and Updates
Essential for measuring SEO success. Creates reports which can be automatically sent to clients.

Data Privacy, Enhanced Security and Reliability
Stores all the data gathered from search engines on your local computer or server.

There is a 30-day trial version of Advanced Web Ranking which can be downloaded here: http://www.advancedwebranking.com/download.html

Advanced Link Manager

In order to identify backlinks to a website and keywords that have been used in the anchor text, Advanced Link Manager is another package sold be the same company.
With Advanced Link Manager backlinks can be found, tracked over time and visualized in charts. This is particularly useful when monitoring the success or failure of link-building campaigns. Link popularity of the backlinks can be analyzed and the development of a website’s link popularity over time can be controlled. The tool also helps keeping track of paid links so that they aren’t lost while still paying fees.
Link partners can be found and the quality of one or multiple domains of potential link partners can be checked in order to decide which domains are worth getting links from.
As with Advanced Web Ranking, comprehensive reports can be generated and personalized for individual clients. There are numerous templates for reports but bespoke reports may be generated, too.

Some of the data that can be collected using this SEO tool:

  • Domain Page rank
  • URL Page rank
  • Alexa rank
  • Number of links on the page
  • Links with nofollow attribute
  • etc.

Summary of the main features of this SEO tool:

Website Optimization
Website Optimization module for targeted keywords.

Comprehensive Competitive Analysis Tools
Helps keeping track of incoming links and competitors’ websites. Keeps track on competition.

Automated Reports, Backups and Updates
Essential for measuring SEO success. Creates reports which can be automatically sent to clients.

Data Privacy, Enhanced Security and Reliability
Stores all the data gathered from search engines on your local computer or server.

There is a 30-day trial version of Advanced Link Manager which can be downloaded here: http://www.advancedlinkmanager.com/download.html