The hotel industry is as competitive as it has ever been. Book direct campaigns are springing up left and right. OTA’s are commanding more and more of the consumer's attention. How can a hotel compete? Is it rate parity? Could it be top-notch guest satisfaction?
Those are both ways that hotels can stand out in a crowded marketplace. They matter, but it won't ensure that you show up when it counts. What is it then?
The answer to this question is enhancing your hotel SEO.
I know that you have heard the SEO chants in the past from agency after agency. You are not sold on the concept of SEO. I’m not trying to sell you on SEO. This article is for people already doing some form of SEO.
Listen up; I’ve got some things that you may want to hear.
Search engines have made finding a hotel online a simple process. All you have to do is type a relevant word/relevant words into the search box. Voila! Lists of hotels pop up in the search results. The golden question is, how can you get to that coveted position number 1?
Well, that’s the trickiest part.
The search engine results page is a battleground for independent hotels, brands, and OTA’s. Luckily for you, SEO allows a small hotel or motel to compete with the big brands (as long as you follow a sound strategy). If you are already doing some form of SEO, and are looking for a little extra push, use these tactics to enhance your SEO.
Location In Titles
Focus on localizing your hotel. When people search for hotels, they are usually looking to stay near some point of interest. They could also be looking to stay in a particular part of town. Put the location of your hotel in the titles of articles and blog posts. By doing this, you can create a ‘business signal’ for those who search the hotels in your area. It can propel your content to the top, boosting your SEO efforts.
Many people value the opinions of others. The more reviews you have, the more credible you will become, and it will boost your SEO ratings. The best place to start reviews is on Google and Tripadvisor. These carry some hefty SEO weight, and you will soon start noticing the improvements.
Do Regular Speed Tests
This might not seem like such an important thing. Your guests should be able to find your hotel immediately (that’s where SEO comes in). When they do, they should be able to navigate without experiencing any issues. If your website takes 10 seconds to load, then most potential guests will leave.
Think about it. You spend 1 hour creating this great piece of content. Your site provides a poor first experience. You are lucky if people stick around to see it. It might be a good idea to rebuild and redesign your website. This way you will have the best possible user experience, with the best possible load time. You should also make sure that it is mobile friendly if it is not already.
Human readable sitemaps are useful to have somewhere on your site. If a user gets lost and wants to navigate to a particular part on your site, this will help.
You should also make sure that you have an XML sitemap for Google. This alerts their systems of the layout of your website. This ensures that they don’t miss anything on your site, and puts that page in the context of the website as a whole. These usually don’t take too long to complete and will help boost your SEO rankings.
Spelling & Grammar
No one likes reading a post that is full of mistakes. If you have someone that is writing your content for you, make sure that you keep errors to a minimum. If you are doing everything yourself, then at the least use a spell checker. You can also use a free program called the Hemingway Editor. It ensures that your article can be read by your target audience.
If you focus on these five simple steps, you can see noticeable improvements in your SEO efforts. There are many more things that you can do to help. These are some of the quicker actionable items that can have some of the most significant effects. SEO is becoming a little bit of everything. It now includes Web Development, UX & UI, and even conversion optimization. It can get confusing keeping up with all that is SEO. Focus on these five tips, & get the ball rolling in the right direction this year.