In today’s digital age, it is unimaginable to run hotel operations without having a strong online presence. Owning a website is no longer an option, if you wish to be relevant to your audiences and run a sustainable business. In this backdrop, having a formidable hotel SEO strategy is a must for every hotel, like for any other business today. This is why we bring to you the top SEO tips for hotels, so you can be assured that your online presence and visibility is bringing in the business that you deserve.
But first, let’s understand why hotel SEO strategy is so important in hotel distribution.
Hospitality is an industry that’s constantly changing, and there are a number of factors that influence these dynamics. The most significant of these are dictated by guests, of course. Guest trends are changing all the time, driven by their evolving needs, new technology and the platforms they access. Hotel booking or hotel distribution has also seen changes over the past few decades owing to these factors.
Being aware of the latest trends is absolutely imperative for hoteliers to stay competitive today. With millennials becoming the major target audience for hospitality businesses today, hotels are forced to adapt their marketing strategies to fit their modern lifestyles. That’s why hotel SEO strategy is now a critical part of hotel marketing.
Your hotel’s search engine ranking can make all the difference to your annual occupancy rates. With the overwhelming majority of bookings being made on the web through computers and mobile devices, one simply cannot afford to ignore hotel SEO strategy.
This is why, we have listed out some of the top SEO tips for hotels here that any independent hotel can go out and implement!
#1. SEO tip for Hotels: Keyword Research
Choosing the right keywords is an integral part of any hotel SEO strategy and the whole search engine optimization process. There are a number of powerful keyword tools available that allow you to monitor keyword trends for different words and phrases – they even provide filters to assess their popularity in specific locations. This allows you to pick out the best keywords for your target market.
Make sure the keywords along with the meta-titles are all filled in on every landing page.
#2. SEO tip for Hotels: High Quality Content
While focusing all the effort on keyword optimization, it’s easy to forget about the quality of content – this can turn out to be a grave mistake! Keyword density is an important aspect of content optimization but overdoing this can be extremely detrimental to your site. Engines like Google tend to look for semantic keywords while crawling over web pages, and words that are similar to the intended keywords. The best way to achieve this is by actually spinning out high quality content! Google’s algorithms are constantly being updated and the company is getting quite adept at finding and rewarding content that helps address an issue.
Five quick pointers to remember while drafting your website content should be that your content should:
- Be relevant- to the context, to your audiences and to the keywords you are targeting
- Be credible: online audiences can easily tell apart an “SEO write up” from a genuine one. Make sure you write content that is authentic and that can build trust. Nobody is going to make a booking with you if your site doesn’t feel genuine or trustworthy.
- Be easy-to-use: User friendliness of content is crucial to your business. Make sure your content as well as the overall UX of your website is simple and smooth.
- Be elaborate: Agreed you cannot write pages and pages of content to describe your room, amenities, etc. But make sure you don’t compromise on the details while trying to keep your content crisp and impactful. Pictures help, but keyword-fueled content can add that much more punch to your hotel SEO strategy.
#3. SEO tip for Hotels: Build online authority with links and backlinks
Web links play a massive role in your site’s online authority. The internet is structured in a manner similar to the human brain – where every site is capable of reaching out and ‘connecting’ to another site through links and backlinks. Google gauges a site’s authority partly through the backlinks it has. If your property is listed on a site that Google classifies as ‘high authority’, your own website’s credibility goes up and your online ranking is also positively influenced.
Building backlinks is a long-term hotel SEO strategy in that it takes time to gain the kind of authority that yields results. It can take months to years of link building to establish yourself as a serious authority site – but it’s a process that can’t be ignored, especially considering the importance of online ranking in running a successful hospitality business today.
#4. SEO tip for Hotels: Reduce page load time
Another absolutely crucial hotel SEO trick is to maintain a minimal page load time. The downside of living in the digital era is that impatience reigns supreme with instant gratification at the very core of everything we do. On the bright side, though, if you can cash in on this wave and deliver on the ‘instant’ expectation, you win!
A part of rankings on google is defined by how long your website takes to load. So, while you may be well-intentioned by providing prospective bookers with a score of images of your property and maybe even a video tour or two, you might want to reconsider this strategy. Images hinder the load time of your website, and so having just enough images will do you more benefit than stuffing your gallery with too many images.
This hotel SEO strategy helps you rank higher on google, reduces website bounce rate, and also improves your hotel website’s conversion rates. Even having the best website design could go to waste if it doesn’t load quick enough to entice the visitor to stay on, and possibly make a booking. So, play it safe and wise.
#5. SEO tip for Hotels: Make sure your website is responsive
Another very effective hotel SEO strategy that you cannot afford to miss out on. Apart from page load time, Google also favors websites that are mobile responsive. In other words, your website will be ranked higher if it is mobile-friendly and will see a drop in its ranking if it is not responsive. Responsiveness is nothing but optimizing viewing experience on a mobile device without having to zoom in or out, as we have traditionally used to.
Having a website as part of your Hotel SEO strategy, like we discussed, is something that is already considered mandatory and basic. The next thing you want to be focusing on, is targeting your mobile visitors which, statistically, is steadily on the rise. Considering the number of bookings that are made on a mobile device today, you should absolutely work on your hotel website’s responsiveness, if it is currently static.
Few important pointers to remember when it comes to your Hotel SEO strategy:
- Never give into the temptation of buying backlinks or links. This one is a strict no-no when it comes to Google’s terms & conditions and can potentially jeopardize your hotel marketing irreparably. You website runs the risk of being permanently removed from search results should they come to know of such practices. So really, this one is not worth it!
- Nothing happens instantly. Much like with life, our Hotel SEO strategy will also need constant monitoring and consistent effort. So, don’t expect things to change overnight. Instead, think of it as something that will yield steady results but will require persistence. Also, stay away from any consultancy or agency that ‘guarantees’ dramatic, overnight results. It has never worked and will never, for obvious reasons!
- Don’t go overboard with keywords: The thing about SEO is that it needs to be just right for it to bring in the kind of results you expect. Too much keyword usage (keyword stuffing, as it is called) can work against you, be it from Google’s perspective or from the visitors’. Being too conservative with keywords can also backfire, as it wouldn’t solve the purpose. So, make sure you use them cleverly, as and when applicable without overdoing it or underplaying it.
Once you’ve gone through all the trouble of diverting traffic to your website with solid SEO strategies, it only makes sense to ensure that they keep coming back there when they want to make a booking. Come up with creative strategies for this. A simple reservation process, clearly visible booking button, complimentary upgrades for mutually beneficial actions and innovative loyalty programs are all great ways to keep guests engaged and coming back to your site the next time they plan a trip!
Have you any more ‘SEO tips for hotels’ to add to this list? Do leave us a comment if you’ve seen an increase in your hotel occupancy from a Hotel SEO strategy that isn’t listed here. We’d love to hear from you!