Let’s face it, in this digital age having a website has become a necessity for all businesses (especially hotels). Like in your physical offices, the goal is to get people to visit your website. So how can you attract visitors to your site?
Search engines are how people find your website.
You must rank higher because the higher your ranking, the more visitors your website will receive.
Just a well-designed website does not cut it nowadays if no one gets to see it. So everything has to be intentional when designing your website for your hotel, from the design structure to the way your content is placed on your hotel website.
One MUST execute search engine optimization (SEO) for their hotel’s website to achieve this.
In this blog, you will find a detailed explanation of Hotel SEO that will help you rank higher in the search engines.
You may want first to understand what SEO for hotels is. Suppose you want to jump right into the how part; feel free to skip this. Instead, let’s dive right into it, shall we?
What is SEO for Hotels?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing and improving the quality and quantity of website traffic while ranking the website (including hotel websites) higher on search engines (like Google, Yahoo, and Bing) result pages (SERP).
It enables you to enhance your internet visibility, improve website traffic, and promote hotel bookings.
Just a reminder, SEO is an important part of a hotel’s overall digital marketing strategy (so keep working at your email marketing, social media, etc).
Discover Why Hotel SEO is Important.
Whenever your audience searches for anything, they get a list of results from the search engines.
Since they think the top-ranked website will provide the greatest answers to their questions, it is more probable that clicking on it will be their initial step. No one will often click on the second, third, or fourth results.
As per the survey, The #1 Result In Google Gets 31.7% of All Clicks. ~Backlinko
The final result on the first page brings this proportion down to 2.2%. The likelihood of reaching the second page is very low. (In actuality, even you won’t!)
If you are not visible to your audience on the first page, then odds are, they won’t discover you.
So let’s look at how these six useful measures will help you start your SEO for hotels campaign.
How to Do SEO for Hotel Websites The Correct Way
Various hotel SEO tips are available. Here is a list of all the angles you need to understand and use, along with tips to help you learn the most important ones.
- Define your target audience
This is the foundation step to performing SEO on your hotel website. First, you must identify your target market, including who they are, what they enjoy, and how often they make reservations.
A resort is likely to target leisure travellers (families/groups), and a hostel would target budget, solo travellers, and backpackers.
When you clearly understand your target audience, consider the queries they will make when looking for a place to stay.
If you are a resort, your ideal audience might search for the terms like
● Resort in “city.”
● Best/Top resorts in “city.”
They are referred to as search phrases. Find several and specify one key term that members of your audience frequently use in searches.
These search terms are simply KEYWORDS. Let’s explore the what, how, and why of keywords.
2.Start with keyword research.
One of the essential elements of SEO is a keyword. People search for websites using these terms and phrases.
Write down all potential search terms that your audience might use. For hotels in the Maldives, the following terms are recommended:
● Hotels in Male, Maldives
● Cheap hotels in Malé
● Best hotels in Malé
● Hotels near Meeru island
● Hotels near Maldives airport
It’s simple to get started with tools like Ubersuggest and Google Keyword Planner. You must type a keyword into the search bar (or list of keywords).
How to find keywords on UberSuggest?
- Head over to Ubersuggest
- Type in your term decided in the earlier step. For instance: Hotels in Malé, Maldives.
- You will see the search volume, SEO difficulty, and CPC. Scrolling down, you can see other related keywords.
- Next, check the keywords that have more search volume and higher CPC value.
How do keyword research for hotels in Ubersuggest?
Take into account search volume.
First, you need to understand what search volume is.
The quantity of searches made for a certain keyword or term over a given time (week/month) is what is known as the search volume.
Therefore, your best hospitality keywords are ones with a higher CPC value and more search volume.
For example, The search volume of hotels in London is 89K/month.
(This means 89,000 searchers are searching on Google for this keyword per month.)
Imagine getting that many email responses?
Food for thought, no?
How to find keywords on Google?
Go to Google > Search for your targeted keywords.
When you start typing, Google will suggest some related terms in the search bar.
An example of search terms suggested by Google.
It will also show related keywords at the end of the search results.
These hotel SEO terms must be added to your list as well. It is one of the tried-and-true methods for raising your website’s ranking.
Consider long-tail variations of keywords.
Long-tail keywords can be simple to incorporate and better convert the audience.
For example, a person searching for “hotels in New York” is probably just browsing. On the other hand, someone searching in the following way is very much specific:
● Beach resort in the Maldives
● Hotel in the Maldives near Meeru Island
Consider the keywords used by your competitors.
You can even search for the keywords your competitors are targeting.
Go to Ubersuggest > Type in your competitor’s URL
Let’s say: https://hotelsforgays.com/ is your competitor.
- You will see details of your competitor’s domain overview, domain scores, number of organic keywords, etc.
- As you scroll down, you can check the top pages from their website and estimated traffic.
- You can even find the SEO keywords as well. Look for search terms relevant to your audience, and then add them to your list.
Avoid keyword stuffing (a.k.a. trying to repeat keywords throughout the page like some repetitive salesman). Google hates this stuff.
3.Work on the Page Title (Meta Title), Meta Description, and URL
The URL, meta description, and page title are crucial components of your hotel website’s SEO strategy.
These are the important elements that’ll be displayed in the search engine results.
The page title, sometimes called a meta title, is what your viewers will see when they open your website in a new tab in their browser. Both your users and the search engine robots read them.
The text that is highlighted in the below image is the title of your website home page.
An example of how a title appears in search engines.
Where do I find the page title?
Visit your website first to get the title of your page. Use a took like SEO Meta in 1 Click to see the title of any page
After you discover the tag, the title of your webpage is made up of such content.
Techniques to write an SEO-friendly page title
Write a title that describes your hotel in the best way.
- It should include your keyword.
- It should be easy to understand for both users and machines.
- Its length should be between 50-60 characters.
An HTML tag called a “meta description” summarises the information on a page. Right after the meta title, search engines display the meta description.
This is the second most important factor that can make or break your ranking.
How to find the current meta description of your website?
Step 1: Use the same method we used to obtain the page title. Access your website, right-click the page and select “view source” or “inspect element” to access the source code.
Step 2: The “meta” tag can be found after the “head” tag. There, it makes mention of the meta description of your website.
<meta name= “description” content= “Experience a truly authentic Maldives at the Palm Beach Island Resort and Spa, In a blissfully natural setting brought to life by the vibrant soul of our island”>
Technique to write SEO-friendly meta description.
The meta description is crucial for hotels’ SEO. Write a meta-title while keeping the following things in mind:
- Your meta description should describe your hotel thoroughly.
- It should contain a keyword.
The main goal of the meta description is to give the searcher information that will persuade him to click and navigate to your website.
An example of a good meta description:
A well-written meta description that is loved by Google as well as searchers.
A URL is the address of each page on your hotel’s website. It may sound silly how a webpage URL is a part of your SEO strategy. A proper URL helps you go a long way in the SEO journey.
Technique for writing SEO-friendly website URLs.
- Your URL should be clear and easily understood.
- Clear URL: https://yourhotel.com/queen-rooms
- Confusing URL: https://yourhotel.com/rooms.php?pageid=9
- Include your targeted keyword, but don’t stuff the extra keywords (max 3 words in the URL).
- Separate words with hyphens (dashes) instead of underscores.
- Don’t use connecting or stop words. (stop words like: is, of, for, with, etc.)4.Optimize Your Website Content
Content is KING (just like Bill Gates said in his 1996 speech) and a sure-shot strategy for the SEO of your hotel website.
First things first, the content of your home page. Firstly, you need to add the targeted keyword in the h1 tag. Then, add the same targeted keyword into your page’s first paragraph within the first 100 words.
Write at least 1200 to 1500 words, including the keywords and their synonyms, for your homepage.
There is a good probability that you will rank higher on the search engines if you have more relevant and valuable material. As a result, your target audience can interact with you, and searchers will receive all the information they need from such content.
For good results, you can produce material that draws in your audience through blogs, articles, and newsletters. This helps you to use the material to target a large number of keywords.
5.Include Alt Text to Images
If an image cannot be displayed, an alternative text called image alt text will appear. Creating appropriate alt-text for each image is crucial for the following reasons:
● The search engines don’t understand images. Adding alt text to the images will give context to the search engines so that they can index your images accordingly.
● The alt text helps screen-reading tools to describe images to visually impaired readers.
● There’s a thing called – an image search engine, which is of utmost importance in hotel SEO. Of course, you have to rank on that as well (as shown in the image.)
Adding ALT text will rank your images in the image search engine.
Adding alt text
Step 1: Right-click the page and select “view source” or “inspect element” to open your website’s source code.
Step 2: Find the <img> tag
Step 3: Request that the alt attribute is added to the image> element by your website’s designer or developer. Or you can add it yourself, assuming you have back-end access to modify your website.
Let’s write SEO-friendly alt text step by step.
● Describe the image or a topic specifically.
● Include your keywords.
● The length of your alt text should be fewer than 125 characters.
● Don’t start alt text with “picture of…” or “Image of…”.
6.Arrange Headings and Subheadings
Individuals and search engines can read and make sense of the text on your website thanks to the headings. They indicate which elements of your material are crucial and highlight how they relate.
The SEO of your hotel will benefit from well-structured content because it is simple for users to read. Additionally, headings offer you a fantastic opportunity to use your main keyword.
Below is how to find heading tags.
Here is an easy way to identify headlines. Headings and subheadings are defined using H tags. For example, H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6 are the different heading tags.
Step 1: Select “View Source” from the context menu when you right-click on a webpage.
Step 2: Look for H1, H2, etc. They must be contained in brackets like this.
<h1>This is my text</h1>
Step 3: Include the focus keyword in the H1 tag.
Step 4: Maintain the right hierarchy.
● Welcome to Meraki Boutique Hotel, London (H1)
● Our services (H2),
● Rooms (H2)
Remember that your material is for readers and internet searchers. At the same time, you modify the header tags (not only for SEO purposes). Once you’ve added these tags, check to see if your content is readable.
7.You Need To Optimize Your Website’s Loading Speed
Your website’s loading speed is very important regarding search engine optimization. With this byte-sized information generation, you must understand that you are dealing with an impatient audience. Ask your website designer or developer to help you walk through it all.
Ways to check your website speed:-
- Go to Google Page Speed Insight.
- Enter your website URL and hit analyze.
The page will give you insights into how your website functions in terms of its score for both mobile and desktop. In addition, problem areas will be highlighted, and you will get guidelines on resolving all your website’s problems.
Don’t stress too much over the technical details (a.k.a on-site SEO). Instead, focus all your efforts on using your insights as a hotelier. Optimization can improve the score; hence, ask your website provider to optimize it for you.
Here’s What You Can Do To Reduce Your Website Load Time:-
- Make use of caching plugins .
- Build your website with light frameworks.
- Make use of available plugins to reduce load time.
- Minify and combine files.
- Always reduce the number of redirects on your website.
- Avoid slow platforms like Shopify and Hubspot8.You Need To Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
Research studies have shown that mobile searches make up 60% of the bulk of Google Searches. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you develop a responsive hotel website as a part of SEO for hotels.
Here are the ways to check if your website is mobile-friendly:
- Head over to “Mobile-Friendly Test“
- Enter your website URL and hit the enter key or “Test URL” button.
The Mobile-Friendly Test determines whether or not your page is mobile-friendly. If your website is deemed not mobile-friendly, the issues to fix will be displayed. All you then have to do is follow the instructions or ask your website designer issues to fix them. Once all the issues have been fixed, run the Mobile-Friendly Test again.
Things you need to consider to make your website responsive:-
- Test your website’s loading speed on other devices as well.
- Always include the ‘Viewport Meta Tag’.
- Make sure your button sizes are large enough to function smoothly on mobile.
- Always make use of large font sizes.
- Make sure all your images and CSS are compressed.
- Last but not least, you must perform mobile testing.You Need to Build and Submit the Sitemap
As denoted by the name, a sitemap is a map for your website. It shows all the pages on your website and what they are. Hence, a sitemap is used as a file where you can list the web pages of your site.
This is done to inform the search engines about the organization of your site’s content. Search engines then read this file to crawl your site. This is where the importance of creating a sitemap as a part of SEO for hotels lies.
9.How do you create an XML Sitemap?
The good thing is that modern-day content management systems automatically generate XML sitemaps. All you then have to do is simply enable it. But then again, just creating XML is not enough. After creating your sitemap, you submit it to Google Search Console.
Don’t let the name scare you; the process won’t require any technical input from you. At this stage, your website designer has to assist you, or an SEO freelancer or if you have a hired agency that can also help you. However, chances are that they might have already done this.
10.Structure Your Content
Search engines process information from your website using schema code or structured data. Schema is a very crucial part of your SEO strategies, and it is the best when it comes to the optimization of your hotel website. It sets up relevant information in an organized manner hence, giving users exactly what they need.
Here are some things you can add to your website’s schema markup.
- Street address
- Phone number
- Star rating
- Hotel’s surrounding temperature
- A picture of your hotel
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Typical room rates/price range
- Reception opening hours/check-in hours
- Map URL
- Features and services, such as a gym or pool
- A parent company, if you are part of a chain
- Languages that are spoken by your team.
Find out more details on Schema.org or ask your website designer to implement this.
The addition of structured data plays a huge part in your chances of ranking better and higher in search engines like Google. Therefore, structure data is one of hotels’ most important SEO tips.
11. You need to Utilize Google My Business (now called Google Business Profile)
Through Google’s search mechanisms, advanced hotel search options are bringing the right traffic to your hotel website. Google My Business presents you with a unique option of being discovered on Google Maps, and you must take advantage of this tool. So get listed on Google My Business (GMB) as it is an important step in your hotel SEO.
- First, you will have to check if you have access to Google My Business. If you do not have one, you must claim your listing. Then optimize it once your access is granted.
- Secondly, you must list your hotel’s name, address, and phone number (a.k.a. NAP).
- Then make sure that your Google Maps marker is in the correct location (so searchers can find your hotel).
- After that, make sure to provide additional details that are relevant to travellers looking for you. All amenities, such as Wi-Fi, disabled access, smoking area, etc., must be listed.
- Lastly, you must have a verified Google My Business listing if you are a hotel chain or hospitality. Have each one listed but maintain them through a single account.12.You Must Make Use of Google Hotel Search
2015 saw the introduction of a new look for hotel search results as part of Google’s ongoing search engine improvements. With Google Hotel Search, you are guaranteed to get traffic to your website (if you’ve followed our suggestions so far). The platform is exclusively for hotels that meet these search criteria:
- Hotels in “(name of town, city, or vicinity).”
- Hotel “Palm Beach in the Maldives”
Featured properties that use large fonts and images for hotel descriptions and their prices tend to take precedence over others on Google Hotel Search. The desired achievement for a hotel on Google Hotel Search is to rank first on the page’s listings. If a hotel uses images and large fonts, it will receive more traffic and, consequently, conversions. However, it is not an easy feat to get to the top of the page’s listing. Below are some ways in which you can increase your hotel’s visibility:-
High-definition photos are a must to increase conversions and clicks.
The first step is to become Google My Business verified. Then make sure that when you post images, you always save them with keywords in the file. For example, an uploaded image of the hotel pool must be named: hotel-pool-on-Male-Beach.
Get your hotel guests to post as many positive Google reviews as possible.
Reviews are the currency of Google My Business. They influence conversions and your organic search rankings. Positive reviews translate to organic visibility for your hotel.
Ensure you provide useful information, such as hotel descriptions and amenities.
Google My Business has a Details Card where you input your hotel information. From your phone numbers, addresses, Google maps geo markers, recent hotel photos, guest reviews, and amenities. It is imperative for you to post accurate information and to keep the information up-to-date.
With the advent of voice search – Cortana, Siri, Alexa, and Google – people gravitate more towards using voice search. Recent research statistics have shown that there has been a 34% increase in voice searches for hotels in the UK on Microsoft’s Bing Ads digital assistant, Cortana. Flights’ voice search has also seen a year-on-year increase of 227%. as indicated by Microsoft’s Bing Ads.
In the same vein, Google has seen a 20% increase in its mobile queries. Overall, there has been a 40% boost in digital assistants and voice searches in the past year alone. Voice search can increase your hotel website conversions exponentially. It is a reliable SEO strategy connecting you to qualified leads; hence, it is a means to increase those conversions.
Here’s what you should do to optimize your website for voice search:-
Your focus must always be on casual speech over technical keywords
The overall brand voice will be a point of note with hotels. Your website copy must be done using conversational language. You will find that this will be a key tactic once voice search takes over.
Where you once said, “the best 5-star hotel in Santorini”, now you must say, “which is the best five-star hotel in Santorini?” Anticipate how your audience is going to voice search.
Write creative and beautiful names and titles.
You must pay particular attention to your names and titles for your hotel to stand out when a user asks a question. Be more descriptive and concise, and every word must be intentional with a desired effect on the user.
Make use of long-tail keywords to improve long-term SEO.
Long-tail keywords will help you rank higher as they are more specific and focused, which means they convert better than short-tail keywords. As a result, they make you rank higher in mobile and voice searches.
Centre your marketing content around broader, general topics of interest.
Cast your net wide with broad content and general interest to your target audience for you to impact voice search. A quick and established to enable this is through topics about tourist attractions or local destinations near your hotel. Hotel guests will know the places available to them as well as activities.
Include all the information you can regarding the city where your hotel is situated, the type of environment, the people, the transportation system around the city, your hotel, exciting destinations and other general travel topics. These will attract the right audience to your website and your hotel.
Get links on other websites that direct traffic to your website. The more backlinks you have directing users back to your site, the more visibility you will get, and your website will become more popular. For example, get backlinks from your hotel associations, OTAs and other external sites.
Why are links important in SEO for hotels?
Links connect your website to other credible sites, and they are the backbone of hotel SEO. They help you build credibility in the industry. There are two types of links: Internal Links and External Links. Search engines use links to:
- To discover new web pages.
- And to determine how high or how low a page should rank in its results.
What are the internal links?
These links enable you to show your website’s content structure to a search engine. When you link your website’s pages from one page to another, search engines better understand the important pages and their interconnectedness.
What are external links or backlinks?
When we talk about external links, we mean the inbound links that your website will get from other credible websites. As you have already figured, they are the backlinks. They establish your authority and give your reader a sense of confidence in you. These links are of utmost importance in SEO for hotel websites.
There is a need to cultivate both online and offline relationships for you to be able to build these external links. For example, interact with other businesses that provide complimentary services to your hotel business, e.g. nearby event organizers and tourist attractions.
In addition, interact more with relevant websites with higher domain authority, and approach them for link building.
Remember that guest reviews and posts will also help you build trust, and users tend to gravitate toward where there is trust. So, encourage your guests to leave reviews on your website. This will go a long way in link building as well.
Here is how you can build external links or backlinks:-
- Get listed on sites directly related to the hotel and hospitality industry, such as TripAdvisor.
- Submit your website to online hotel directories.
- Register in your city’s hotel association or chamber of commerce and try to get links from their website.
- Focus on content writing for hotels in the form of blogs, infographics, or videos.
- Link with websites with higher domain authority in your content or higher ranking.
- Get people to link back to your content.
- Approach third parties or travel websites and offer your content to them. Then get a link back.15.Work on your Hotel’s Local SEO
If your hotel is popular with local audience searches, it will, in turn, receive the right traction from outside visitors. This can be achieved through Local SEO for your hotel. Below are some keywords that you can incorporate within your website content that you can use to promote your hotel regionally:
NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number)
Your focus keyword + city name in the
- Title tag
- Meta description
- or Header tag
Hence, this will be helpful when users search for, e.g. the Best hotels in your area.
Secondly, always begin with a citation – an online reference of your name, address, and phone number (NAP). This is an established strategy which helps search engines to evaluate your hotel’s online authority.
Include every information relevant to your hotel operations, i.e. your hours of operation, directions from the airport or within the city, business description, images, videos, modes of payment, and reviews. If you put all of the above in place and perfect your content and descriptions, you are ready to begin SEO for your hotel website.
Bonus: Track SEO Performance
Always apply analytics to your SEO strategies. Set SMART goals and measure them. Tweak what is not working and constantly review for your upward growth. Then, use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track your website’s performance.
You must also constantly check your site’s loading speed, responsiveness, and HTTPS security, which we term Core Web Vitals. This will help you ascertain whether or not your site is fulfilling all the requirements for it to rank higher in the search results.
How to use Google Search Console and Google Analytics?
These systems were created with an emphasis on simplicity. First, add your property to Google Search Console. This can be done using your Gmail Account. Then add your website’s verification code. Google Analytics follows the same simplicity. You can even install it yourself because it is that straightforward. If not, just ask your website developer or designer to add the Google Analytics tracking code.
How do you then track your hotel website performance in Google Search Console?
Google Search Console’s sole purpose is to help you monitor, maintain and troubleshoot your site’s visibility and establish its presence in Google Search results. Believe it or not, it is all for free. Below are the things you can track from the Google Search console:-
1. Impressions: This metric tells you the number of times your website has appeared in search results. Your impressions should also increase as you receive more visitors to your website.
2. Clicks: This metric tells you the number of times users have clicked your website’s link through search results (in a sense, the total number of visitors to your site).
3. CTR: Click-through rate measures the performance of your keywords, ads, and free listings. It gives the number of times your ads were clicked vs the impressions, thus, a ratio of total clicks you got from the total impressions.
4. Position: This metric gives the average ranking of your web page.
How to track your hotel website performance in Google Analytics?
Google Analytics (GA) tracks and reports website traffic. It gives you in-depth information on your website’s performance.
1. Organic sessions: These tell you the traction you received to your website through your SEO strategies.
2. Bounce rate: It also tells you at what stage users left your website and the total number of those who left.
3. Average session duration: It details the total average time spent on your site. A high average session duration means users are really interested in what they see, leading to conversions.
4. Goals or Ecommerce conversion: Set goals for conversion on your website. The top goal is that of bookings. Then you can measure the total number of bookings you receive through organic traffic.
E-commerce conversion is similar to the goal, giving you an actual booking value. Again, ensure you have an advanced booking engine that allows you to send data to Google Analytics.
Bonus-in-Bonus: SEO Tools
Here is a list of SEO tools you can take advantage of. They will make the process easier for you. However, do keep in mind that some of them have free and paid versions depending on your use:-
Here are a few frequently asked questions that a hotelier like you might have:
How do hotel search engines work?
Hotel search engines, commonly known as online travel agencies (OTAs), allow users to search for all hotel brands in one place. They can choose any hotel and book their stay by paying OTAs. There are a variety of hotels listed on these search engines minimizing the stress of travel bookings.
A few examples of hotel search engines are Expedia, Booking.com, and Agoda. You input your destination, and the search engine gives you nearby hotels based on reviews, star categories, and related information. You can also put all the features and amenities you need, and the search engine will show you listing results in accordance with your description.
How fast does hotel SEO work?
SEO is a process performed over a long period of time. Therefore, you must keep trying different strategies and parameters until you begin seeing the right results. Give it a minimum period of a month and a maximum period of 3 months for you to start seeing the results of those strategies. As SEO differs from industry to industry, the hospitality industry SEO is different. As such, the strategy must be a peculiar one.
Can I do SEO for my hotel on my own?
You can do SEO for your hotel on your own. Follow the steps in this blog, and you can hit the ground running.
What type of blog topics should I choose for my hotel website?
Here are some of the blog topics you can post up:-
1. Local attractions and events
2. Best restaurant and bars in your area
3. Best shopping spots
4. Most unusual attractions in town
5. The best summer (any season) activities
6. Specialized/Traditional food posts and recipes
7. Behind-the-scenes look at renovations or new features
How often should I write blogs on my website?
Once or twice a week. The proof is in the pudding; just ensure consistency in your schedule. A haphazard posting schedule will harm your hotel’s SEO. You have to maintain your blog publishing frequency.
These 15 proven strategies for SEO for Hotels can help you start your SEO strategy for your hotel. However, remember that all these techniques are not meant for quick fixes; they will take time to show the results. Therefore, you need to exercise patience.
Suppose we set all these technical considerations aside. In that case, SEO for hotel websites is just about giving searchers and visitors the greatest possible experience.