There’s no denying SEO is an important part of your hotel marketing strategy. Your direct website is a reflection of your hotel marketing and its overall Google ranking. The higher your business appears in the search engine’s results, the better placed your property will be to get seen, picked and clicked by guests.
But how can you make sure that the right guests find your direct website when there are so many other property websites competing for attention? In this blog post, we outline five ways to optimise your direct website for better online visibility, brand credibility and business results through SEO.
1. Keep your content relevant and keyword-rich
You can’t fool Google. Search engines reward websites that provide relevant content – pages that relate directly to specific search queries – with a higher ranking in their search results.
For example, if your direct website content is all about family-friendly accommodation, your property won’t rank highly for travellers searching for a hostel.
Google gauges content relevance by measuring how long users spend on a website, and how many pages they click. The longer someone stays on your website, and the more content they look at on different pages, the richer your hotel SEO value when it comes to ranking your website.
In order to attract quality traffic to your direct website – and engage those visitors – your content needs to match what they’ve searched for. Make sure your descriptions include the types of words potential guests would type into their search, and tag your photos with other keywords related to your accommodation type.
Google Keyword planner can help you analyse and find which words are most used in searches, but if you want to invest in a strong SEO-driven content strategy, hiring a subject matter expert can really pay off. For instance, blogging can get more people visiting your website. Google’s search algorithm just loves fresh, regular content.
2. Make your meta descriptions matter
Meta descriptions are coded website tags that tell search engines what your hotel website is about. They usually consist of one or two sentences, or a small paragraph, and include keywords that web users are likely to search for.
Meta descriptions are often used as ‘snippets’ – these are the blurbs you see under the page title in search engine results. Your page titles also need to include keywords, preferably at the beginning of the title for maximum hotel SEO benefits. You can try more compelling titles that include a reference to numbered lists, which are proven to increase the number of clicks – and thus your search results ranking.
Google’s blog does a good job of explaining how you can improve your website meta snippets.
3. Optimise your website images for search
It’s one thing having pretty photos on your direct website, but you need your images to be easily found before they can influence would-be guests to book directly. However, there are tweaks you can make to improve your chances.
For instance, as part of its search trawl, Google scans file names on websites for relevance. Make sure your images are named using descriptive but plain language. For example, ‘hotel terrace view’ is much more useful for Google than ‘image02’.
It’s also important to customise your ‘alt text’. This is the text that shows up if a computer can’t load an image properly. If you specify an alt text by simply stating what the image contains, you’ll only add to your website’s SEO value.
Then, you have to consider the size of your image files. Larger files can slow down website response times and affect Google rankings. So for a direct website, the JPEG format is ideal because it offers the best quality for the smallest file size. You can also check your website’s load time to make sure visitors don’t experience a slow-performing site.
4. Use links to build your online presence and credibility
Search engines like Google can find your web pages more easily if they’re linked to other forms of content. These links can be either external (to other websites) or internal (on your own website).
For example, internal linking could be used to direct a website visitor from your hotel restaurant page to your blog post on regional cuisine, or vice versa.
Links also help visitors to navigate your hotel website more easily by letting them click through to a relevant page rather than going back to a homepage to find what they’re looking for. Try to have between two and five internal links per page.
A strategic approach to internal linking can also help you direct traffic to the pages you want to rank highest in search results.
On the other hand, external linking offers a smart way to connect with other businesses and build your hotel marketing online presence. This could be as simple as a local tourism website recommending your hotel, or your own website promoting an upcoming festival in your area.
Such links are known as ‘backlinks’ and can have a big impact on your website’s position in search engine results because they indicate to Google that your content is useful and credible. A good place to include external links would be your own blog, but just make sure you only link to other trustworthy sites, as websites with poor SEO can drag your reputation and ranking down.
5. Check if your website works on mobile devices
According to Google, in countries like Japan and the U.S., there are now more searches made on mobile devices than on computers. In the future, mobile search will become even more important, which is why Google predicts that their algorithms will primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages. And while it’s vital to keep one eye on the future, there are other more pressing reasons why your property needs a mobile-friendly website. You don’t want to miss out on potential guests looking for last-minute accommodations on their smartphones!
By following these essential hotel SEO tips, you’ll be well on the way to optimising your hotel website and achieving better business results.
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