Creating a hotel SEO strategy may seem daunting, but when you cut through the technical jargon, it’s relatively straightforward. Search engine optimisation is simply about using the right words, in the right places. It’s about structuring your website in a smart way, so potential guests can easily find and book your property. To get you started, we’ve compiled 15 tips on everything from keywords and links, to site speed and mobile optimisation.
1. Create relevant content
The more content you have on your website, the more likely it will rank on search engines that scan your site. But it’s equally important that your content is relevant. By using carefully selected keywords, you can create quality content that is easily found online.
Think about your target audience, the topics they would want to read about and the words they would use when searching for information online. Combine this with relevant trending keywords and you’ll not only drive more traffic to your site – you’ll engage them with your content once they get there.
2. Add page titles and meta descriptions
While keywords are essential, it doesn’t mean they should be added anywhere and everywhere on your site. For example, page titles (max 65 characters) and meta descriptions (max 160 characters) should be seen more like a paid ad – use phrases that will stand out in search results. This will generate clicks and help you improve your website ranking as search engines find your pages more and more relevant.
3. Use alt text descriptions for images
An ‘alt text’ simply describes the appearance and function of an image on a webpage. They’re not only important for enriching your SEO – they improve your site’s accessibility for visually impaired visitors who use screen readers.
4. Check your content length
In addition to quality, content quantity matters. You need to write enough text for search engines to find you. Aim for 300-400 words on each page, and write clear, useful and relevant content – including your main keywords and phrases. That way, search engines are likely to favour your website over your competitors’ sites.
5. Research your competitors
To make sure you stay ahead of the competition, it’s worth checking out what they’re writing about on their websites. Are there particular topics that they’re mentioning more than once? Perhaps there’s a theme that isn’t being covered and you can capitalise on it? Knowing what your competitors are doing is the first step to improving your own content.
6. Use your site search data to find new keywords
Your website analytics tools can be the secret weapon in your hotel SEO strategy. If you regularly check what search words visitors are using to find information on your site, you’ll pick up on keywords that you aren’t currently targeting. You can then tweak your content and add current user search terms to improve their experience – and gain new website visitors.
7. Promote your content on social media
When you’ve gone to the trouble of crafting a great website blog, it’s worth taking an extra few minutes to make sure it’s seen by a wider audience. Think about what social media channels your target audience uses and share your content there. The more you share, the more visible you are to potential new guests – and past guests may even reshare any links you post to their friends. Building this engagement can support your hotel SEO strategy, increase your website traffic and bring you more bookings.
8. Focus on getting reviews
Even if you find reviews for your property on other websites, it’s worth engaging with these external content sources. They represent an opportunity for your name to be seen – and a chance for you to build links back to your website – something which will help your SEO. Strike up conversations with these reviewers to boost engagement and enrich your own website.
9. Use a custom domain
A custom domain (e.g. www.yourpropertyname.com) is the unique identifying part of a website that connects potential guests to you and your property. In the world of search engines and algorithms, using a custom domain gives your website more credibility and authority. It’s also an easy way for anyone to find your property and book directly with you.
10. Add security to your HTTP
The ‘http://’ part of a website address stands for ‘hypertext transfer protocol’ (HTTP), a method of sharing information between websites and website users. Some sites begin with ‘https://’ (HTTPS), where the ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’ – meaning there’s an extra layer of protection against malicious attackers. If you make your website more secure, you’ll rank higher in Google searches, as the search engine warns users against visiting sites that are not HTTPS.
11. Use a clear URL structure
Your website visitors should be able to understand the topic of a particular webpage at a glance, just by looking at the URL (the address extension for a given section). Keep your URLs simple, concise and relevant, e.g. yourpropertywebsite.com/rooms or yourpropertywebsite.com/events/weddings
12. Don’t slow your site down
There are few things more frustrating for internet users than a slow website. That’s why search engines evaluate your website’s loading performance in real time while visitors engage with it. Google actually rewards fast-loading websites with better search results rankings. You can avoid slowing your site down by uploading compressed images rather than large files.
A fast website is not only critical for your hotel SEO strategy, it’s essential for potential guests browsing on mobile devices. Check how your website is performing using the Google mobile speed test.
13. Have a mobile friendly website
More and more travellers are researching and booking trips on their mobile phones. So much so that Google has implemented a ‘mobile-first index’ in its search algorithm. If your website is not mobile friendly, it won’t be included in Google’s website crawls – meaning you’ll miss out on traffic and potential guests. You can see how your website is doing with the Google mobile-friendly test.
14. Create and maintain quality links
Your content should include links to other parts of your website (internal linking) and reliable outside sources (external linking) – this ups your credibility with search engines. Check for broken links regularly to avoid frustrating your visitors or getting penalised in rankings for a poor user experience.
15. Set up a Google My Business account
Google My Business is a quick and easy way for people to find information about companies. You simply upload your business details, and potential guests instantly see the information they need in Google’s search results. Best of all, creating an account is free!
All of these tips have the potential to improve your performance in search engine results, but remember that implementing a successful hotel SEO strategy takes time. Be patient, take things step by step and focus on content quality rather than quantity.
It’s better to have fewer pages with more relevance than to fill out your website with lots of superficial content. In the long run, an uncluttered and keyword-rich website will pay off with better visibility in search engines, more website traffic and increased direct bookings.
To learn more about improving SEO for your property website, download our free SEO and SEM guide.