Essential SEO for Hotels
SEO for Hotels, B&B’s and Guesthouses can be a confusing mine field especially for a beginner running multiple parts of a business.
To help this blog post will give you Essential SEO Tips to Improve your Hotel website Google ranking.
If you want to go into more depth on this topic download our Webinar, Essential SEO Tips to Improve your Hotel website Google ranking, share this post now to view the webinar.
On Page SEO
Set a Realistic Goal…
Have realistic expectations
So you want to rank higher in Google and appear on the first page, don’t we all. The first step to improving your SEO for your Hotel B&B Guest house and increasing your google ranking would be to set a realistic goal.
Appearing number 1 for Hotels in the UK may not be a realistic goal. A realistic goal however maybe appearing number 1 for Hotel B&B and Guest house locally in your city.
Your goal maybe to increase traffic by a certain number of percentage, whatever you goal is you should define it as its the target you will be aiming for.
When setting your goal remember there are people who make a career from SEO. SEO is a long term investment, expecting to see instant results is unrealistic.
The higher your website ranks the more clicks you will receive. This could lead to increased direct bookings or more opportunity to interact with potential guests, this is why SEO for Hotels is so important.
For more on what SEO is and why its important see our SEO page.
Hermish.com have a fantastic graphic of what elements make up on-page SEO.
Before we dive into each element there are two things which need to be done which sets a solid foundation to build on.
The first thing is to have all your technical on page SEO in order, by technical on page SEO we mean meta tags, Headings, page titles, webmaster tools, sitemaps, page speed etc.
For a FREE HOTEL WEBSITE REVIEW sign up here. The review will compare digital media best practice to your website and also suggest recommendations.
The second part of your foundation is knowing your target audience.
Who are your target audience?
You need to know who your target audience is? If your answer is anyone who wants to stay with you, you should be concerned.
If you want to improve your hotel google ranking define your audience. The reason for this is to
1. Ensure you are creating the right content for the right people.
2. Better understand how to create content that connects benefits to the reader needs
3. Increase bookings due to 1 and 2.
Now we want to give you practical tips to take away, many sites say know your audience and fail to provide how you go about finding your audience. Here are a few ways that can help you can find your target audience.
Existing Data – You should have a database of customers who have stayed with you in the past. Collate this information and look for patterns to build a guest profile.
Google Analytics – Who is currently visiting your site
Questionnaires – Collect information on why people are staying with you.
Social Data – Facebook and Twitter
Julie Neidlinger breaks this down wonderfully in this post. She also developed a handy dashboard that anyone can add to their Google Analytics account instantly to get these stats.
You will be able to determine, the age and gender, Interests, where and how people are viewing your website.
I would recommend using a free product called Survey.io for user surveys.
A survey is only as good as the insights you gain from it, you will want to ensure you:
Know what you want to learn from each question.
Make questions short and easy to answer, this will help improve the the completion rate.
Think hard about whether or not you want to offer a prize for taking a survey. A prize may help increase participation, however some people may only respond to get a prize.
If you have a Facebook page navigate to the insights tab and you have a wealth of information at your finger tips.
Go to your Facebook page and look for the Insights tab
You then want to navigate to People
Head to Twitter Analytics ads.twitter.com and find out more about your followers. Learn about your audience’s demographics, interests, lifestyle, and purchase behaviours and leverage these insights to create the most relevant messages and help you identify new audiences to reach out to.
From the Analytics drop down on ads.twitter.com, select Audience insights.
Once you have done this now you want to look for patterns and create some character profiles for your customers.
For example using Xtensio you can easily create buyer personas to help with keyword research.
You will want to include the below in your character profile.
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How will your target audience find you?
Understanding the customers journey is key to answering this question. You want to be present at the first stage of dreaming / inspiration and you want to be there at the intent stage of the booking journey.
Now you understand your audience and why they stay with you. This should mean you now have a better idea of what your audience searches for.
Key Word Research – What do your target audience search?
What Keywords are your audience using? How do people search for stay in your area? Which question does your website answer? What search terms will people use?
Your research should show you why and what type of person stays with you.
Task: You should create a list of all search terms people could use. This is called Keyword research and is the foundation of your on-site SEO.
You should remember if you can’t fulfil the searchers intent you probably shouldn’t target that keyword.
To kick start your keyword research it helps to start with some wider search terms like “[city name] hotels” or “hotels in [city name]”.
You will then want to find all the major venues, attractions and events that happen near your hotel, Bed and Breakfast and Guesthouse such as “hotels near [venue]” or “hotels near [event name]”.
You also want to determine what your hotel’s unique selling points are. Are you a luxury B&B, perfect for families due to your large suites, are you dog friendly and ideal for walkers?
If you cater to families and your located in Snowdonia you will want to select Keywords which will help customers find you. For example one of your keywords maybe ‘Family Bed and Breakfasts in Snowdonia’.
Luxury B&B’s in [your location]
Family Stays in [your location]
Dog friendly Guesthouses in [your location]
You will want to have page titles, meta tags, meta description, image alt tags, URL’s which include this keywords.
See Backlinko’s comprehensive guide to keyword research for more help.
TO FIND OUT WHAT KEYWORD TOOLS TO USE SIGN UP FOR OUR SEO TOOL KIT
Choose the wrong keywords and the competition can be fierce
Keyword competition will also play a factor in the keywords you select to target, a small independent hotel or B&B will not really be able to compete for certain keywords since they don’t have the reputation, authority, links, etc.
Independent hotels and B&B’s also don’t have price comparison features and options that OTAs have in order to fulfil certain searchers intent.
Smaller Hotels and B&B’s will have more success with long tail keywords. For example someone who is nearer the end of the buying cycle may search for ‘en-suite room in [location name]’.
If you B&B has en-suite rooms and is in the location searched you should have your page optimised for that long tail keyword.
For more on Long tail keywords view our webinar where we go into more detail on long tail keywords.
Content Strategy – OK so you have driven traffic to your website what now? How will you engage your audience?
Well i’m here entertain me!
Your content is a direct line of communication between you and your customer. According to demandmetric.com 82% of consumers feel more endeared to a company after reading custom content.
You should be aiming to have unique relevant content which should include images and ultimately showcase your hotel’s USP’s(Unique Selling Point).
As well as showcasing your USP’s you should be answering any questions your customer will have and generally being helpful to your customer.
You can do this through producing regular content the easiest way is to have a blog. Write about local events, the things which make you unique (your breakfast, your location, the decor, surroundings) basically anything relevant which will engage your customers.
Your research on who your customers are and why they stay with you should help you with which content to produce.
Commit to a schedule of when content will be produces or pay someone to produce the content. There are many websites where skilled copy writers can help you for small affordable fee.
If you take a look at the image at the beginning of the post user experience is a high priority in relation to on-page SEO.
When a customer enters a search and lands on your page, your website should strive to uphold these 4 pieces of criteria
- Easy to Use and Understand
- Provide direct and actionable information relevant to the query
- Professionally designed and accessible to modern browsers
- Delivery high quality, legitimate, credible content.
For more on user experience on the design side see this post What makes a good Hotel Website? and in regards to the importance of mobile friendly sites see Why your Hotel Website should be Mobile Responsive?
Practical Tip to take away: Open a browser fire up your website and evaluate the design and usability, take notes from What makes a good Hotel Website? and see if your website meets bets practice. Or SIGN UP FOR A FREE HOTEL WEBSITE REVIEW and we can do this for you.
Internal links help users navigate and help establish importance to search engines by the number and quality of links to a given page.
In Brian Dean’s famous post, “Google’s 200 Ranking Factors,”
The number of internal links to a page indicates its importance relative to other pages on site.
Remember, search engine spiders follows links. It’s much easier for them to pick up your fresh content page from a link on your homepage than by searching high and low for it.
Task: Link to other pages within your website, such as a page of photographs, a contact us page or a page with local resources.
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So there we have it a guide to on page SEO for hotels.
If you really want to take control of your social media and start seeing a ROI (and I’m guessing you do or you wouldn’t have even visited my site), then this is the ideal first step SEO for hotels.