Search engine optimization (SEO) for hotels is one of the best ways to ensure a consistent stream of new customers to your hotel.
Organic traffic now makes up 53% of a site’s total visitors, while traffic from paid ads makes up only 15%. Plus, 90% of Google traffic comes from the first page, and less than 2% of searchers make it past it.
When it comes to making your hotel visible online, the focus should be on local SEO for hotels, as most searchers will be including a location based qualifier in their search – for example: “hotel in Boston”.
As people search for hotels in specific locations, your goal when it comes to marketing your hotel should be to get into Google’s map pack.
What is the map pack? Well, to put it into simple terms, whenever you search a local business or service from Google, the search engine results page (SERP) will display the top three companies that the algorithm believes are relevant to your search.
Here is the map pack for the aforementioned search: “hotel in Boston”:
As an owner, manager, or marketer for hotels, your aim is to get your business or company’s website/business into that form as one of the top three.
Here are the things that could help you out.
What Factors Determine Local SEO for Hotels?
The top factors determining a hotel’s local SEO are reviews, business name, website content, and links to the website. Let’s discuss each element individually.
Reviews are one of the top criteria in local SEO ranking. Like any company, Google wants to serve its clients’ needs, which includes recommending companies that get great reviews.
Keep in mind that Google considers consistency and that new reviews have more bearing than old ones. Ranking in local SEO for hotels starts with providing excellent service—and asking satisfied clients to leave reviews.
Consistent Business Name and details
Your business name is a factor that can help you rank in local SEO for hotels. Take advantage of free online listings, such as Google Maps, Facebook, and Bing. Make sure to keep your name, address, phone number, and URL consistent and on as many sites as you can.
Remember, Google sees “Sheffield Avenue” and “Sheffield Ave.” as different entities, so minor inconsistencies can cause confusion in the location based algorithms.
As well as providing the necessary information to visitors, the copy on your website also plays a role of “telling” Google exactly what your website is about.
For single location hotels, your homepage should contain keywords related to your location. Multilocation hotels should have a dedicated page for each location that can rank individually for that area.
Links to your Website
Building both internal and external links is essential for SEO success.
Creating internal links is an excellent way for Google to determine which pages of your site are most worthy of being ranked.
Incoming links from other, relevant websites act as an endorsement to Google that your hotel’s website is worthy of prominence in the organic results. All else being equal, websites with more incoming links will rank better than competitors with fewer links.
10 Tips to Improve Your Hotel’s Local SEO
Given the factors that determine a hotel’s local SEO, here are 10 tips that will help you maximize it and land on Google’s list of top local hotels.
1. Create a Keyword Planner
The Google Ads Keyword Planner tool helps generate relevant keywords. You’ll be able to get keyword ideas and difficulty estimates that can help inform a content strategy. It’s free, so try it out now.
2. Optimize Your Hotel’s Google My Business
Google My Business is another free tool that can significantly improve your SEO for hotels. It is a necessary requirement to even appear in the map-pack.
As Google wants to show the most informative and useful results possible to a searcher, having a fully completed Google My Business, with high quality photos and information about your hotel’s availability, amenities and prices will give your profile a boost in the map.
3. Optimize Your Hotel Website’s On-Page SEO
The central concept in optimizing your website’s on-page SEO is to use relevant keywords in your website copy.
Ideally, you should use your primary keyword in the headline (H1) and one subheadline (H2). It should only appear about two times in every 100 words, but stay on the low end if possible to avoid keyword stuffing.
4. Build Links to Your Hotel’s Website
Create both internal and external links to your website. Internal links help Google determine the essential pages to you, and it will prioritize these pages. The more external links you have leading to your hotel’s website, the more Google will see you as a credible source of information for specific keywords.
Some cost-effective ways to build external links include offering stays to travel bloggers in exchange for a write up.
Once you’ve determined the keywords you want to use for your website, build on those. If you have travel keywords, partner with travel bloggers. Suppose you have food keywords, partner with foodies. Ask them to write relevant blogs that link back to your site.
5. Collect Reviews
As mentioned earlier, reviews help you rank better on Google. Here are some ways to get more reviews from your satisfied customers:
● Use a CRM to automate emails asking for a review once someone has checked out of your hotel.
● Assign one of the staff in check out to verbally encourage leaving a positive review.
● Include links on your website that will allow clients to review your business.
● Use your social media pages to ask clients for reviews.
Lastly, actively interact with your clients on Google My Business. If they leave a positive review, thank them. If they leave a negative review, thank them still and inform them of the changes you’re making to address their concerns.
Showing that you care about your customers’ experience can only put your business in a good light online.
6. Create Local Content
While it is essential to create general content about your products and services, it’s also important to occasionally post local content to strengthen your brand image. For example, you can post about events related to local sports teams or other local happenings near or in your hotel.
Additionally, here’s a list of things you can add to your site to help the local clientele find you:
● Use the names of the city and its suburbs in your content.
● Add your name, address, and phone number in your content.
7. Fix Your Hotel’s Technical SEO Issues
To have the best user experience, make sure that your site takes these factors into account:
● Loading time. Most people will leave a site if it doesn’t completely load in a few seconds.
● Broken links. When your site has too many broken links, Google will move on to another source.
● Messy URLs. Messy URLs will make your site look unorganized. Utilize this space instead of using your primary keywords.
● Mobile-friendliness. Your website must display correctly on smartphones. Over 40% of your clients will skip your site if it’s not mobile-friendly. Use Google Mobile-Friendly Test to check whether your site is mobile-friendly or not.
8. Improve Your Hotel Website’s UX / UI
When it comes to website design, you should be aware of UX/UI. UX stands for user experience, and UI stands for user interface. Your website must provide the best UX/UI to your readers. Here are some factors that affect this:
● Easy navigation
● Aesthetically-pleasing layout and colors
● Being easy to read
● Contain relevant information
● Being mobile-friendly
● Functional links
If any of these factors is missing, your site visitors might not enjoy his time on your website. Whether it’s not easy to navigate, contains text that’s hard to read, or not mobile-friendly, your visitors will rate the experience as low, and Google’s metrics will detect it.
Observing these user experience tips will make a significant impact on improving your SEO for hotels.
9. Audit Your Site’s Internal Linking
Internal links help Google determine the most important pages in your site and what each page’s role is. Make sure your interlinking pages are clear and easily understandable.
10. Track All Data and Metrics
The first step in tracking all data and metrics is to set measurable and realistic goals. For example, aim to be at the top 3 searches in Google in the next six months. Not having a plan might lead you to do many different things aimlessly.
You can do a monthly review of your site traffic and conversion rates and audit the whole customer experience to check what aspects you can improve on.
The industry average for hotel conversion rates is 2.2%. Set a realistic goal, a budget, and a timeline for your goals in SEO for hotels.
Author: Oli Graham is the Marketing Manager for RightlyWritten