What is hotel SEO?
Hotel SEO is a strategy that is used to improve a hotel website’s rankings on the most popular search engines such as Google and Bing. SEO stands for search engine optimisation, and it’s a technique that helps boost the organic online visibility of your business.
The theory behind SEO is that most search engine users are not going to sift through multiple pages of results in order to get the information they need or the products they want.
They are most likely to visit the top-ranking pages, which is why you want to earn a position on page one of results.
Why is SEO for hotels important?
Search engines are your property’s best friend when you optimise for them effectively. Every type of accommodation provider needs to develop an effective SEO strategy, and small hotels are no exception.
Why? The vast majority of travellers are going to do an online search to discover their booking options – and your ranking, especially on Google, is what will determine whether or not your property gets seen.
While it may be difficult to outrank large online travel sites, there’s still a lot you can do to help your property be discovered and stay ahead of your competition.
Here’s what you need to know about hotel SEO and how to easily get found on search engines like Google.
How to do hotel SEO the right way
To earn a high ranking on search engine results pages, or SERPs, you need to know the basics of SEO.
Consider these top six factors and components when developing your hotel website:
1. SEO keywords for hotels
Keywords are the terms and phrases searchers might use in order to find your property. Instead of generic keywords like “hotel”, opt for descriptive keywords that are unique to your business and location. For example, “eco friendly bed and breakfast in Newcastle”.
It’s important to incorporate keywords in a natural way rather than ‘stuffing’ them in, as keyword stuffing can be penalised by Google.
Also make sure to include relevant keywords in your website metadata:
- Meta title: The title of your website page within its HTML code. It is the title used by search engines when they link back to your page. Your meta title should be no longer than 60 characters.
- Meta description: The meta description provides search engines with comprehensive information about your website page. It doesn’t directly impact search engine rankings but does influence user experience (i.e. how likely someone is to click through to your website). Your meta description should be no longer than 155 characters.
2. Hotel SEO Links
There are two types of links that are important for SEO:
Internal links: These are links between pages on your website, for example a link within one blog to another blog.
External links: These are links from other websites to your website. The more external links you earn, the more valuable your site will seem to search engines.
SEO tips for hotel link building
- Link to other pages within your website, such as blogs, landing pages, a contact us page or a booking page.
- Reach out to local travel sites and tourism experts and encourage them to link to your property, as industry links are more valuable than random, irrelevant links.
- Get listed on Google, TripAdvisor and Yelp, as well as any other popular directories in your region.
- Sign up to social media sites that your guests are using, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
3. Hotel SEO Content
Fresh, accurate and relevant content is essential for SEO. Make regular updates to your website and consistently produce unique and interesting content to keep users engaged, and prove to search engines that you deserve a top ranking.
One easy way is to write a blog, ideally once a week. Include a target keyword at least once per blog (for example, ‘bed and breakfast sydney’) and don’t forget to add internal links to other pages on your website where relevant.
4. Hotel website user experience
A responsive, user-friendly website is crucial to earning the top ranking on Google. Do a quick health check to make sure your site contains no broken pages. Use Google Search Central (it’s free) to analyse your website and get tips for improving your user experience.
Also assess your guests’ experience when it comes to online booking. Firstly, are guests able to book on your website? Giving travel customers the ability to book instantaneously through your online booking engine will help ensure people aren’t navigating away from your site to book elsewhere. To get an idea of what that looks like, watch our detailed demo videos.
5. Hotel SEO online reviews
For small hotels, building positive reviews is critical to success.
- 49% of travellers won’t book a hotel without reviews
- 81% of travellers find user reviews important
- 70% of global consumers say online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising
What’s more, online reviews are one of the most important ranking signals for Google, which means they’re an essential part of any hotel SEO strategy. Ask guests to leave a review after their stay, and make sure your business is listed on key directories such as TripAdvisor, Google My Business and Facebook.
6. Local SEO for hotels
Local SEO is the process of optimising your online presence specifically for location-based searches: think of someone searching for a hotel on Google Maps, or typing “[CITY] hotel” into a search engine.
As you can probably imagine, local SEO is a critical consideration for hotels, as hotel searches are inherently location-based. The good news is that there are a couple of simple ways in which you can improve your local SEO performance.
- Google Business Profile: The most important aspect of local SEO is your Google Business Profile, as this allows your hotel to be featured on Google Maps and as part of the rich results displayed on the Google results page. Ensure you’ve correctly set up and completely filled out your Google Business Profile, keep it up to date with info and photos, and encourage and respond to reviews.
- Local keywords: Ensure your content, from website copy, to blogs, to social media posts, has a local focus. Add keywords relating to your location wherever you can, as this will help to push you up the Google rankings for relevant local queries.
Understanding where you sit in the market can also be a powerful advantage to make your hotel stand out in the local scene. Little Hotelier’s Insights tool is the perfect complement to your SEO efforts, allowing you to easily compare your rates with those of your competitors.
Tracking your hotel SEO strategy
Search engine optimisation is a quantifiable science with a clear goal – pushing your website up the Google rankings for relevant keywords, which in turn drives more website traffic. As an organic, long-term strategy, you need to ensure your SEO efforts are headed in the right direction, lest you waste significant resources on insignificant results.
In order to understand whether your SEO investment is generating a return, it’s wise to track the following metrics:
- Keyword ranking: As part of your SEO strategy you will have identified your hotel’s most relevant keywords and how you rank for them. You should regularly check whether this ranking is improving. Aim to get to the first page, ideally the top spot.
- Organic traffic: Are you seeing more organic traffic to your website thanks to your SEO efforts? Remember that there could be other factors driving organic visitors to your site, such as your social media efforts, so be sure to check the source of the traffic.
- Conversions: Getting an organic visitor to your website is just half the battle – you then need them to convert. The term ‘conversion’ can mean any number of different things, including blog subscriptions, contact form completions and bookings. Measure and analyse each type of conversion.
- Revenue: The ultimate goal of your SEO investment is to realise a return, so given what you’ve learnt using the metrics above, is SEO-driven organic traffic increasing your revenue? A tool like Google Analytics can help you find out.
Apply SEO best practices to your hotel website with ease
SEO is an arms race. With the overwhelming majority of guests now turning to the internet to find their next stay, you’ll compete against all the other hotels in your area for the attention of these travellers. If you don’t focus on SEO, you’ll inevitably fall down the rankings. It can be a lot to take on for the owner of an independent hotel, but luckily our team at Little Hotelier is here to help.
Build a search engine optimised website: Our simple and intuitive website builder allows anyone to create their own beautiful hotel website, no matter their technical ability. What’s more, every website template has been designed with SEO in mind, so you can be confident of getting on Google’s good side.
By Dean Elphick
Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of Little Hotelier, the all-in-one software solution purpose-built to make the lives of small accommodation providers easier. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at Little Hotelier. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance, and, ultimately, value for small accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations (and live their life).
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