The hotel industry is as competitive as it has ever been. There are book direct campaigns springing up left and right. OTA’s are commanding more and more of the consumers attention. How can a hotel compete? Is it rate parity? Could it be top-notch guest satisfaction? While those are both ways that hotels can stand out in a crowded marketplace, that that wont ensure that they show up when the user is looking for them. The answer to this question is enhancing your hotel SEO.
I know that you have probably heard the “all hail SEO” chants these past few years from agency after agency and maybe you aren’t sold. Disregard this, because I’m not trying to sell you on SEO. If you are already doing some form of SEO, then listen up. I’ve got some things that you may want to hear.
Search engines have made finding a hotel online a fairly simple process. All you have to do is type a relevant word/relevant words into the search box, and voila lists of hotels pop up in the search results. The golden question is, how can you get to that coveted position?
Well, that’s the trickiest part. Hotel General Managers need to make sure travelers find your hotel first in the search results, or at least somewhere on page one.
The search engine results page has become a battleground for independent hotels, brands, and OTA’s to name a few. 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. Typically, 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 and it will propel your content to the top, boosting your SEO efforts.
You will be surprised at how 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 is Google+ reviews. These carry some hefty SEO weight and you will soon start noticing the improvements.
Do Regular Speed Tests
This might not seem as such an important thing, but it is. Your guests should be able to find your hotel immediately (that’s where SEO comes in) and 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 spent 1 hour creating this great piece of content, and most people won’t ever get to see it because your site provided an excruciatingly poor first experience. It would be a good idea to rebuild and redesign your website to 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 good to have somewhere on your site, just in case a user gets lost and wants to navigate to a particular part on your site. Having one could be the difference between acquiring a new customer, and having someone leave because they could not find what they wanted.
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 overall website. 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 riddled with mistakes. If you have someone that is writing your content for you, make sure that the mistakes are kept to a minimum. If you are doing everything yourself, then at a bare minimum use a spell checker to ensure that your spelling is correct. You can also use a free program called the Hemingway Editor to ensure that it reads easily enough for your target audience.
If you focus on these 5 simple steps, you can see noticeable improvements in you SEO efforts. There are many more things that you can do to help, but these are some of the quicker actionable items that can have some of the greatest effects. More, and more SEO is becoming a little bit of everything including Web Development, UX & UI, and even Conversion Optimization. It can get confusing keeping up with all that is SEO. Focus on these 5 tips, & get the ball rolling in the right direction for 2016.