Most of the time, a guest’s booking experience will start with a search on the web, so having a well-designed website that can be easily found on search results is very important. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) can help increase your website’s visibility, drive more organic traffic, and ultimately get you more bookings.
Is it possible to manage SEO for your hotel’s website without spending a big budget? The short answer is yes! It is possible by investing some time and research, and by being ready to trial and error different practices on your site. Lucky, there are many resources to help you get started so you can manage SEO yourself, or hire the right hotel marketing agency / in-house expert.
In this article, we’re going to cover the most important SEO practices and the free tools that you can try right away.
First up, identify your audience
Optimizing your website to guest queries is essential. A guest searching for a property would typically begin by typing a few keywords on what type of accommodation they are looking for and where (e.g. Private room in Paris near La Seine).
Identifying your target market and guest personas is the first step to take before building your online marketing or SEO strategy. You can begin by analyzing the type of guests who usually stay at your property, what they like to do, and how you can help them. Not every guest falls under a fixed category but more likely than not, different groups will share characteristics that you can identify (e.g. adventure trips, romantic getaways, family vacations, business trips, wedding celebrations, etc.). Understanding your guests is essential to conduct keyword researches and make sure your hotel’s website provides the best booking experience.
Make sure your website is well-organized
Conduct your keyword research
Use heading hierarchy
Heading hierarchy is used to define which parts of your content are important, and show how they’re interconnected. Headings help users and search engines to read and understand the text.
Check your meta titles, meta descriptions, and URLs
Make sure that meta tags and the URLs are informative and contain targeted keywords for each page. These 3 elements are displayed in the search engine results pages. The target phrases must come first before your hotel’s name/brand.
Improve your pages’ loading speed
Add an alt text to all your images
Image alt text is an alternative text shown when an image is not displayed. Search engines do not read images but they do read the filenames and the alt text. This is additional content and it will rank your images in the image search engine so that users can find them. Make sure that the alt text is up to 120 characters long and that it’s a description of the image. Include your targeted keyword and avoid using “image of…” or “picture of…” phrases.
Focus on topics your guests are interested in and ensure to incorporate keywords. Blog articles can be about local recommendations on sightseeing and entertainment, travel tips, your hotel’s history or amenities, guest stories, upcoming local events, special tours, and much more. A blog is a great opportunity to optimize your hotel’s website and to drive more organic traffic. Make sure you’re optimizing your content for each post following best practices.
Acquire quality backlinks
Links to your hotel website from other trustworthy websites such as local press, online directories, travel sites, and local attractions can help not only to point guests your way but to improve your search rankings. As part of your link-building strategy, you can reach out to online publishers offering interesting content and letting them know about your property. Another approach here would be to partner with local businesses and make the links reciprocal.
Promote your content
Share your content regularly on multiple channels (social media, your newsletter, hospitality and travel forums, etc). Having quality content is great, but it is also important to reach the interested audience. Share your blog posts or website pages on Facebook, Instagram, online communities, and if possible, make them part of your email marketing strategy.
Get listed on Google Places, Google Plus, and Google My Business
These additional products offered by Google significantly contribute to your local SEO and online presence in general. Make sure the Google Maps marker is on the correct location, so searchers can easily find your hotel.
Make sure that your website is secure and SSL compliant
SSL certificates are digital certificates that provide authentication for a website and enable an encrypted connection. When installed on the web, it activates the HTTPS protocol and allows secure connections from a web server to a browser. Basically, these certificates communicate to the client that the web service host demonstrated ownership of the domain to the certificate authority.
Track and analyze your SEO performance
Working on your SEO strategy is a process of trial and error and hotel websites are no exception. Understanding if the targeted keywords actually work is essential. Google Analytics and Google Console are free services that can give in-depth insights into your website’s performance. Google Search Console helps to track performance, check impressions to see how many people view and click on your site from Google searches, their location, the top keywords you rank for, and much more. Google Analytics helps you identify which pages on your site get you traffic and which sites send you traffic.
There are many SEO tools out there that can help improve your website’s performance, plan upcoming blog content or give you insights into your audience. Here’s a selection of free tools.
The Cloudbeds’ Booking Engine can be embedded into your hotel’s website as an iframe. We also recommend creating hidden separate pages with iframes for every room type or optionally for every rate plan. Book a call and we’ll show you how it works.
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