Content remains to be the king, irrespective of your business, location or your target audience. In this digital age, when the entire world is online, having a solid SEO strategy is essential to drive event planners to your hotel website. It results in higher rankings, increased volume of website visitors, and better-quality website traffic. Thus, understanding SEO is imperative for those hoteliers who want to generate leads and grow group business. The Australia edition of the 2019 Cvent Planner Sourcing Report found that the most significant influences for event planners are:
- Search engines (23%)
- Peer Recommendations (18%)
- Information on venue websites (17%)
Before we share the must-know SEO tips for hotels, let us first understand what it really is.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) simply means optimising your search engine results. This requires editing your website and updating the content details to increase your discoverability and generate more traffic on your hotel website. When we discuss search engines, most often we are referring to Google as it dominates the search engine market share. So, SEO for hotel marketers would mean making it easier for Google to find you. This would require you to focus on increasing your brand’s discoverability, authority, and relevance. Discoverability makes it easy for the leads to find you. Relevance and authority go hand in hand to differentiate your site to Google and make it visible when planners are searching for venues and partners.
In challenging times such as these, SEO becomes all the more important. As more and more people start to work remotely, your digital presence should become a priority. Remember, event planners want to find you – you just need to help them do that. We’ve already seen that event planners aren’t cancelling events; they’re moving them to a later date. Hotels that prioritise SEO marketing will certainly have a competitive advantage when it comes to being found on the internet today for all future events.
We’ve curated a list of top tips that might come handy if you are looking at getting started with SEO for your hotel.
Top 10 Must-know SEO tips for hotels
#1) Research and identify the right keywords
Keyword research is the first step towards your website’s success. A keyword is a term or a phrase that your target audience is searching for on the search engine. Utilising keywords is crucial for increasing your search engine position organically and attract more website visitors.
While your hotel’s website might rank organically for certain terms on their own, which is great, but it’s good to have a plan. Knowing which specific hotel-related keywords to go after can help increase your search engine rankings.
There are a variety of tools available online to help you identify your target keywords. Some are free to use such as Ubersuggest, Google Trends, Search Console and Keyword Hero; while some are paid tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, Screaming Frog, Moz Pro and Yoast SEO for WordPress.
You’ll need to create a list of keywords with the highest search volume, and then, apply these keywords to any content you produce, whether it be your webpages, blogs or any campaigns you may run. However, beware of keyword stuffing as that might lead search engines to penalise you. It is a good idea to stick to the keyword density and stick to the middle ground.
#2) Meta Tags Matter
Meta tags are those pieces of information that describe the content on your webpage. Search engines such as Google scans and reviews meta titles, page headers and descriptions, to understand what your site is all about.
To give a clear picture of your hotel website to the Google crawlers, make sure to use your primary keyword in the meta title, and provide a rich and detailed meta description. Doing so not only helps Google decide where to rank you, but it also helps your website visitors decide whether they think your content is worthy of their time.
Your web development team can help in editing and optimising the meta tags in the backend of your content management systems (CMS).
#3) Structure your Content
Having a well-structured content is vital for your hotel website SEO strategy. Breaking down your website headers helps Google crawlers to easily understand your content. Most CMSs such as Hubspot, WordPress or Drupal, provide simple ways to classify your headers. Just like the numerical rule of mathematics, these headers also need to be structured in the ascending order.
H1 is the main title of your page that appears on the search engine result page. H2 are your subheaders followed by H3, H4, H5, so on and so forth. Following this order to structure your hotel website also improves the readability of your content.
#4) Develop a Great Internal and External Link Strategy
Links are the backbone of SEO. Let’s just say that Google loves it when you link to other pages within your website and outside your website. Imagine this interlinking like a spider’s web where each link is a new thread. More the number of threads you have that lead to and from your website, the stronger will be your SEO.
Having a great internal link strategy involves helping your website visitors easily navigate through the relevant information on your website page. This lowers your bounce rates and increases your chances of conversion. Ensure your landing page is well linked together. If you fail to do so, the Google Crawler may not find its way around your site easily.
When linking to an external resource, make sure the source is credible and is up to date. Only link to those outside sources that are relevant to your industry but not a competitor.
#5) Update and Upgrade
Search engines love fresh and original content. While ranking, they prefer new content above old, untouched content. Updated content is considered to be one of the best ways to double your website traffic. Needless to say, it does require a lot of time and efforts. As a solution, you may choose to write evergreen content that stays relevant to the test of time and also think about repurposing your existing content.
Start updating your content by fixing spelling or grammatical errors, improving accuracy and optimising keywords. Make sure to remove any broken links and add fresh, better ones. Don’t forget to update and include relevant multimedia.
Search optimisation is vital for every page within your website, not just the homepage, and should focus on the terms and industry content that meeting planners are searching for.
#6) Augment the Non-Textual Elements
For a good on-page SEO, it is essential to optimise all the non-textual elements on your web page. Non-textual elements include documents, videos, graphic images, audio clips, infographics etc. Optimising non-text elements helps to create a context for the search engines and increase the web page accessibility. Make sure all elements have a title and alt text description. This helps Google to understand the meaning of these elements on the page and how all the different elements of a page fit together.
Non-text elements that haven’t been tagged appropriately can confuse and damage the user experience, especially visually impaired or differently-abled people who use screen readers.
One of the best practices to optimise the non-textual elements is to ensure they have a caption containing the target keyword.
#7) Ensure a Responsive Website Design
Responsive website design means having a seamless user experience irrespective of the device on which your website is being accessed. Having a responsive hotel website requires elements such as navigation, text, images, blog posts etc. to be able to resize, scale, and visually adjust to any size screen it loads. This means the more your hotel website is mobile-friendly, the more likely it is to be rewarded higher rankings by Google.
If you really want to invest in your online presence, you need to convert your ‘static’ website into a responsive one. Having the former website design can drastically hamper your search engine rankings beyond your imagination.
#8) Reduce your Web Page Loading Time
Your site must be easy not only for bots to crawl but also for users to explore. That means it needs to load quickly. Search engines and users dislike web pages that take more than a few seconds to load. Your website performance also depends on the length of time it takes to load your hotel website.
Some other high-value ways of improving your hotel website speed are using high quality hosting with a content delivery network, limiting the use of plugins and redirects and configuring browser caching.
All this may sound very technical. That’s where you need to hire an SEO and digital marketing expert to take care of these aspects. If hiring a new resource involves a lot of costs, you can consider outsourcing your hotel SEO services.
#9) Build a Content Marketing Strategy
If you don’t already have a blog, start now and make sure to be consistent with the frequency of publishing the articles. Being consistent is more important while regularly updating the website. Over time, relevant images, video testimonials, resources and articles rich in keywords continue to build your website’s credibility on Google. The more information available, the more Google will be able to claim that your website is a thought leader on the subject. It will then reward you with better rankings for your efforts. Your content needs to be relevant to your target audience and in sync with search engine best practices.
#10) List your Hotel Website on Google Directories
One of the smartest ways of getting found on Google is to list your hotel’s name, address, and phone number on Google My Business (GMB). Google offers some amazing tools to increase your discoverability. Tools such as Google Places, Google Plus along with Google My Business allow you to build a community within the realm of Google. Therefore, having a presence on these tools can help get you on the right side of the world’s biggest search engine.
Make sure your hotel location is correctly marked on the Google maps. If you are a hotel chain or hospitality group, then have a verified Google My Business listing for each one – maintained through a single account.
Following the above SEO tips will improve your search engine results but it will also make your web site more user-friendly and enjoyable to use. Review your hotel website and find new ways you can improve search optimisation today.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO GET FOUND ONLINE, READ THE HOTEL MANAGER’S GUIDE TO SEO BEST PRACTICES