Google is your property’s best friend when you use it effectively. Every type of accommodation provider needs to develop an effective search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy, and small hotels are no exception.
Why? The vast majority of travellers are going to do a Google search to discover their options – and your Google ranking is what will determine whether or not your property gets found.
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.
Here’s what you need to know about how to get found on Google.
H2: What is SEO?
Search engine optimisation (SEO) refers to techniques and strategies that are used to improve a website’s rankings on the most popular search engines, including Google.
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.
H2: Learn the SEO basics
To earn a high ranking on search engine results pages, or SERPs, you need to know the basics of SEO.
Consider these factors and components when developing your hotel website:
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.
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 link building tips
- 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.
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 and 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.
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.
For small hotels, building positive reviews is critical to success.
- 49% of travellers won’t book a hotel without reviews (Statistic Brain)
- 81% of travellers find user reviews important (Statistic Brain)
- 70% of global consumers say online consumer reviews are the second most trusted form of advertising (Edelman)
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.
Stay up to date with SEO trends
The last thing that you want is to be the only hotel in your area that hasn’t adapted to the latest search engine algorithm change. You’ll quickly get left behind, and your search ranking will drop.
Knowing industry trends and constantly working to improve your SEO strategy is the best way to earn one of the top rankings on Google.The Little Hotelier blog covers everything you need to know about hotel SEO developments, Google algorithm updates and the latest online marketing techniques. Sign up today and get updates delivered straight to your inbox.
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