If you typed “hotels in your region” on Google, would you find your own property?
If it does not appear in your search, you should consider an SEO strategy. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and consists of processes to make a page rank higher on relevant searches.
When a website ranks high on Google, it receives much organic traffic. This is the best audience because you do not have to pay any commissions for them to see your hotel.
If you want to rank higher in searches and stand out from the other properties in your area, check out these six tips:
- Optimize your technical SEO:
First things first, the Google indexing algorithm has to be able to crawl your website. You have to ensure it matches basic Web Standards, technique, and version programming language.
Every year, there are new techniques and tools in web design. If your website was designed years ago, it probably has unnecessary code and outdated plugins. It is imperative that you regularly check on your website’s “backend” (where the code lives) to keep the website running as smoothly as possible because these errors affect the load speed of your site and consequently decrease its ranking.
You can use this tool from Google to analyze your page loading speed: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/. You insert your website URL and wait a few seconds to see how your page loads on desktops and mobile devices. This tool will show you the problems you have to fix to improve the loading speed. There is also another tool which works similarly, but its results might be a little easier to read: https://gtmetrix.com/
If it has a low score, you can attempt to fix your website yourself following the suggestions or ask a web developer for help – they will fix the errors for you.
You can also optimize images to load faster. You can change their resolution using Photoshop or other available online editing tools. Just make sure you do not sacrifice the image’s quality; otherwise, it will not be appealing for your audience. If you use WordPress for your website, you can also find handy plugins which reduce the size of your uploaded images automatically (e.g., Smush).
Speaking of plugins, removing unnecessary ones and regularly installing updates also improves the load speed and security of your site.
- Do keyword research:
Keyword research is used to predict which terms someone is likely to type on Google to find a business.
As an example: if a traveler is looking for accommodation in Luxembourg City, they will search for “best hotels in Luxembourg City”, “hotels near the Luxembourgish museum”, “room for family in Luxembourg”, etc.
This means that you can write descriptions on your hotel pages with these keywords.
To have an overview of the relevant terms for your business, you can search for “hotels in your region” and see the words that stand out on the headlines.
As a golden rule, you should always write detailed information on your website. Even if you did not focus on specific keywords, someone looking for what you offer will be more likely to find your hotel that way: if you write “our hotel has a spacious green area and an outdoor swimming pool”, your page will be classified as relevant for someone looking for “hotels with pools in your region”.
- Write relevant content
Writing information articles and blog posts is a great way to improve your rankings.
Google algorithms rank pages, not entire websites. That means if you write quality content, you can target a range of relevant keywords and rank more pages.
When someone is traveling to your area, they search for sights, culinary experiences, car/bus routes, etc. As a local, you can provide them with useful information and local tips.
As an example, if your hotel is located in a wine-making area, you can write about kinds of wine, wineries nearby, and wine routes.
People interested in your area will reach your website. This creates opportunities for you to direct them to the hotel’s main page or booking engine. Also, potential customers will see your property as a reference in the region, which influences their booking decision.
As to how many posts you should create, it depends on the time you have to invest in them. Focusing on quality is key here. It is important to attract visitors, but also to keep them engaged with the content.
- Optimize title tags, meta description, and URLs
- Title tag and meta description:
Title tags and meta descriptions are the first things users see in a search.
The title tag is the clickable headline that describes the page. Google algorithm matches searches to these headlines.
To create a good title tag, write a short and engaging phrase about the page and add keywords to it, e.g., “Well-located hotel with pool in area X”. If it is a post about regional experiences, your meta title can be something like “7 unmissable experiences in region X”.
The meta description is the brief text below the title tag. It does not influence directly on raking, but it increases the chances of clicks. So, write an engaging description of what that page is about. This is just a glimpse to entice the user to read the whole content.
There is a very useful WordPress plugin called Yoast which allows you to define your meta tags and descriptions easily.
URLs, or your website addresses, should also describe the content of the page. This makes it easier for users and the algorithm to know what it is about.
Confusing URLs usually are indicative of bad code as well. So, Google places these pages in lower positions.
Take a look at the example:
Clear URL: https://nameofyourhotel.com/family-room
Confusing URL: https://nameofyourhotel.com/room.php?pageid=11
The first URL is more accurate and easier to read. Keep URLs simple and separate words with a hyphen (not an underscore). This makes it easier to remember.
- Focus on user experience
Google rewards websites with good user experience. Ensuring that your hotel website is easy to navigate gives you a competitive edge.
Potential customers have to find relevant information with just a few clicks. If the website is not intuitive, they will just close the tab and go to the next one.
When a page does not get interaction, the algorithm understands the content is not relevant for the audience. This makes the bounce rate increase, which is one of the metrics used in the ranking.
Mobile-friendliness also plays a big role these days. The number of users browsing on the internet through mobile devices is getting greater and greater.
Research shows1 that in 2017, 45% of travelers in the United Kingdom planned their entire trip using only mobile devices. The statistics for some other countries are even higher.
If your hotel website is not mobile-friendly, it will not only decrease in the search rankings, but also miss an important audience.
To find out whether your website is mobile-friendly, you can use this tool from Google: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly.
If your website is not mobile-friendly, you should consider having it redesigned. Or if you are just about to have a new website designed, make sure that it is built with a proper mobile functionality in mind.
- Make the best of local SEO
Businesses that have a physical location should make the best of local SEO.
Google My Business is a platform where you can register your business for free. It will appear in common searches and on Google Maps.
Keep relevant information (e.g. name, address, telephone) updated for users to contact you. You should also add a link to your website and inform visitors about your working hours.
This is a highly efficient way to improve SEO locally. When someone is browsing on Google Maps or looks for a specific area, they will find your hotel more easily.
You can also use this channel to engage with your audience by answering their questions and reading their reviews about your property.
Implementing an SEO strategy that works
Assessing the current SEO performance and planning an efficient SEO strategy will help your hotel stand out from the crowd. A high position on the ranking also increases brand awareness, customer loyalty, and credibility.
With these six tips, you can start analyzing where your website needs improvement. It takes time and involves testing, measuring results, and adapting the strategy whenever needed.
RegiÔtels has a team of tourism marketing and SEO specialists who would be glad to help you with any questions or consultancy. Please get in touch for more information at [email protected] or visit our website at www.regiotels.com.