It should come as no surprise that an effective SEO presence is highly dependent on your hotel’s social media activity. An active social media presence is key to naturally gaining relevant links that will ultimately drive quality traffic to your site and increase conversions. Without an effective social media strategy, your SEO efforts will fail to yield any meaningful results. With that being said, don’t expect obtaining any sort of SEO benefits without also developing an effective social media strategy. A 2015 study from SearchMetrics states that, “Google does not directly use social signals as a ranking factor but that there is a positive correlation between amount of social signals and rankings. Social signals remain important for brand awareness and to drive organic traffic.” A successful hotel marketing strategy requires Social Search Optimization (SSO), which incorporates a powerful synergy between SEO and social media.
Based on the same 2015 SearchMetrics study, top ranking URLs have more social signals. Across social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest, there is a strong correlation between the amount of social signals and ranking position on Google. We are consistently seeing the same boost in rankings for websites that are active on social media. Higher ranked websites seem to have more social signals like +1s, pins, shares, tweets and comments. This research undoubtedly proves that social media activity is critical to SEO success and vice versa. Now that we’ve established the importance of how social media drives SEO results, you may be asking yourself how you can effectively implement SEO techniques into your social media marketing strategy. Here are a few SSO best practices that you can use to optimize your social media posts:
When you begin optimizing your hotel’s social media profiles on Facebook and Google+, make sure you acknowledge that Google does index all the content that is displayed on your hotel’s channel starting with the description under the About section as well as the posts, comments, photos and videos. With Facebook’s own internal search engine algorithm known as Graph Search, it is vital that you optimize your profile according to how your target audience searches. In the About section, make sure to include keywords based on search queries that users would type in to find you. Also, write your hotel’s description based off of what your audience is saying about your hotel and use those positive comments to play up your strengths. Along with optimizing your description make sure to also customize your URL on every channel and keep your property’s name consistent. This will help ensure that your page can easily be found.
Use Relevant Hashtags
Incorporating hashtags into your social media posts is a must but make sure it is relevant, trending and searchable. Hashtags act like keywords that help your posts gain more exposure and visibility. The major social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram allow you to use hashtags to organically attract and gain new followers. To find out what relevant hashtags to use make sure to use the available tools provided on each social media channel. For instance, on Facebook use the Graph Search to get some insight on what hashtags are the most popular. For Twitter and Google +, you can find out what hashtags are trending under the trending topics section and Explore on Google+. When deciding which hashtags to use make sure it is relevant to the photo or video you are sharing. Also, if there is a discussion already surrounding an existing hashtag, you may want to retweet the comment to keep the conversation going. If your hotel is running a contest, this would be a great time to get creative and make up your own hashtag that is unique to your brand and encourage your audience to use it on their own feed. In this way you can increase your hotel’s brand awareness.
In order to create worthy content that is sharable, it is vital that your social media marketing strategy incorporates visual storytelling using highly relevant photos and videos. Appealing photos and videos not only entices prospective guests but will also improve conversions and encourage a greater call to action. Keep in mind the 80/20 rule, which is 80% of posts should be about the local area while 20% is about the hotel itself. Users are more likely to get excited about what the area has to offer, so make sure you are displaying these on social media channels. According to Shareaholic, Pinterest has generated more referral traffic for businesses than did Google +, YouTube and LinkedIn combined. Since Pinterest is solely image-based social network and has such a large impact on referral traffic, make sure to optimize the title and description of each pinboard and make sure to choose a category as well. For each individual pin, be sure to accompany it with a descriptive caption based on how someone would likely search that particular photo. Also, follow related boards to maximize your exposure with other interested users. Another tip that applies to all social networks is to make sure the images you upload are formatted and named correctly using descriptive file names and alt tags. This will help search engines accurately decipher what the image is in order to give better search engine results.
Last but not least, participate in related communities on social media. Cultivate and build relationships with your guests that will help you organically gain new followers, fans, shares, and +1. A great way to grow your audience is by running a contest and using a sponsored ad to promote it. Also, if you have a special offer running or if there’s a big event happening in the area, then you may want to reach out to relevant bloggers to inform them of your hotel’s story. This proactive way of finding out who your fans are can be a great way to turn these fans into brand ambassadors for your hotel. Proactively reaching out to your audience influences social sharing and allows you to gain more quality links; thereby increasing your site’s domain authority. Remember, the more user-generated content your social media encourages, the greater your brand presence and awareness.
If your hotel isn’t already using these SSO best practices, then you should reevaluate your social media process and incorporate these guidelines into your future social media posts.