The online marketplace for hotels presents an abundance of opportunities but also some challenges. The competition is fierce for hotels, motels and resorts vying to acquire more guests. No matter the location you are in you are battling not only other properties in your area for direct booking but also the online travel agency juggernauts.

Well executed hotel SEO services help your property and brand get in front of your ideal, ready to book guests.

Not everyone understands the importance of hotel SEO or what goes into Hotel SEO services so as experts within the hotel marketing space that has generated our clients well over $110 million since our inception we have put together the ultimate guide.

WHAT IS HOTEL SEO?


I’m going to take the approach that you know zero about this topic for the benefit of those who are completely unfamiliar with this marketing channel. Hotel SEO is the marketing strategy that builds your website’s organic visibility on search engines like Google and Bing. This is not to be confused with the paid ad section at the top of search engine result pages.

This organic visibility for strategic search terms gets your hotel or resort in front of prospective guest’s eyes so that you can increase your direct accommodation, meeting and event bookings.

WHY IS HOTEL SEO SO BENEFICIAL?


Organic search traffic is typically the most lucrative for hotels and resorts because targeting cold traffic with paid ads results in a not profitable campaign. The added bonus here is that SEO compounds over time. That is not to say that paid advertising campaigns are not beneficial but our typical approach here is that the paid ads support the SEO campaign and not the other way around. SEO grows over time with your business, unlike paid ads which stop the minute your campaign hits pause.

This makes SEO campaigns an incredibly cost effective way to generate more business for your hotel or resort and take more market share from other players in your segment. This is because we are targeting users with identified intent at multiple stages of the funnel.

This includes

  • Users who know they want to vacation and are researching destinations
  • Users who want to find the best hotel near attractions
  • Users who want hotels or resorts with specific amenities
  • Users who want to plan their wedding
  • Hotel SEO campaigns are a multi pronged marketing approach that builds brand awareness in addition to measurably increasing revenue. SEO traffic typically converts at the highest rates consistently above other online marketing channels.

HOW TO FIND THE BEST HOTEL SEO AGENCY


So now you know that you need to be maximizing your efforts with organic search marketing but how do you find someone to help you? Finding the best hotel SEO agency for your property might seem daunting at first but as with anything new it’s important to have a frank discussion and ask questions until you understand and have confidence in your hotel SEO partner.

A good first step is to familiarize yourself with the industry standards of pricing. Be careful with cheap SEO services; they tend to cost business more in the long run because SEO is a costly service to provide. It is incredibly labor intensive and if a service provider is not charging appropriately you can almost guarantee that they are not doing any of the work. Experts demand high compensation and that’s just how it is. Though, all campaigns should generate an ROI. So think of this as an investment that you’ll make money on and make your decision that way.

A few things you can ask a prospective service provider about

  • Hotel SEO industry experience
  • What their prices are
  • How they like to work
  • If they offer guarantees (if they say yes to this, you should run because they are likely manipulating factors that can get you penalized in the long run which only benefits their reporting)
  • What is their understanding of hotel marketing beyond SEO. This is important because of the complexities of online marketing for hotels this all needs to work in a perfect harmony.
  • Reviews
  • Case studies
  • What their approach would be

WHY IS HOTEL SEO IMPORTANT?


The market for direct accommodation, wedding and event bookings for hotels and resorts is volatile to say the least. You are not only competing with other properties but you have online travel agencies and even google to compete with so it’s imperative that you have your foot on the gas at all times.

ON-SITE HOTEL SEO TIPS

Improve the load speed of your pages
Search engines like Google reward hotel websites that create a great user experience, part of this is your website load speeds. There are a multitude of ways to do this but the specifics will be dependent on the issues your particular hotel or resort website faces.

This could include but is not limited to

  • Enabling file compression to reduce the size of CSS, HTML and JavaScript files
  • Minifying CSS, JavaScript and HTML
  • Reducing redirect depths – you don’t want a chain of these
  • Removal of render-blocking JavaScript
  • Implementation of browser caching
  • Improving server response time and performance
  • Considering a Content Distribution Network (CDN)
  • Optimizing images so they are not large file sizes

Website structure organization and optimization

Making things as easy as possible for users is going to have a positive impact on your sales direct accommodation bookings which is the primary goal of hotel SEO services.
Think about the path you want users to take on your hotel website. Create an easy to navigate website with clear headers and menus.

Consider all of your content and how it can be best interlinked to not only make things easier for prospective guests but also to improve the search engine visibility of your key pages.

Search Query/ Keyword Research for hotel SEO

It’s important to work with your hotel SEO agency to really define your target audience(s) so that everyone is on the same page.

Your property may currently predominantly service family travel guests but you may be opening new meeting and event facilities and thus want to target business travel and group bookings. These are factors that need to be discussed and outlined within your strategy.

Primary Search Terms/Keywords:

These are also known as head keywords, which typically dominate the search phrase focus for SEO campaigns. So these could include examples like Santorini resort, resorts Santorini and so on. These are high search volume keywords that can produce a large volume of eyes on your website. However, when it comes to the Hotel SEO game you want to truly be diverse with your focus keywords. This requires you to think beyond your tools and look to the SERPS, regularly as these can and do change. This is why head keywords while being a primary focus should not be the sole focus of your hotel SEO campaign.

Secondary Search Terms/Keywords:

This is where we continue to support and expand on our head keywords. Taking our Santorini example above a couple of examples could be

  • “Santorini resorts all inclusive”
  • “Luxury resorts Santorini”

These are great targets to include because you are attracting a buyer who really knows what they want specifically out of their stay. If you can attract their eyes, then satisfy their needs you will have a sale.

Long-Tail Search Terms/Keywords:

This is where we can get very specific and are typically more in the 3-6 word range.
Some more examples following on from earlier include

  • “Family friendly resorts in Santorini”
  • “Santorini resorts with infinity pools”

These searches are not always as attractive to search marketers because they are not searched as much as the head keywords are. But this is where many brands leave money on the table because the lower volume of search is not as alluring. This is where I need to point out that these searches can have a higher conversion rate than head keywords because you are getting users who are ready to pull the trigger on their booking and just need a hotel or resort like yours to satisfy their requirements.

Don’t ignore these phrases, get those guests in beds!

OFF-SITE HOTEL SEO STRATEGIES


If you are not familiar, off-site SEO, otherwise known as linkbuilding is more often than not the most labor intensive task in an SEO campaign.

Linkbuilding is the pursuit of building hyperlinks to your website. The goal here is to create links that are one way, from other websites to yours for the purpose of improving the search engine visibility of your hotel or resort for key search phrases.

Now, 9 times out of 10 these links should be one way, but on the odd occasion you may have a supplier for example that links to you as a stockist of toiletries and you also link back to for information for guests. This is perfectly fine, what we don’t want to be doing is engaging in reciprocal linking at scale in an effort to build visibility. That’s against the Google guidelines and the value is not going to be there.

There often is not enough respect for this particular area of SEO because the understanding of it is lacking but this strategy is worthy of investment. We need to recognize this part of SEO as a digital PR campaign because that’s essentially what it is.

It takes time and effort to build these links and depending on your location, what other marketing activities your property engages in and more. I can hear some of you right now thinking, ok but how do we do this for our hotel? It depends. Some options include content marketing, outreaching directly to publications, broken link building and blogger marketing opportunities.

Quality matters when it comes to backlinks. There are many considerations to make inclusive o

Authority: Does the website and page in question possess its own substantial strength? Links from low quality websites and web pages are not going to pass on an abundance of authority signals to your website.

Relevance: So, the website you found an opportunity on has good authority in the eyes of Google, the next consideration to make is whether the link is actually relevant. If you link to a hotel website from a plumbing blog for no valid reason it may not improve your SEO at all. In fact, it may have the opposite effect.

Link placement: The higher on the page that you can have the link placed the better. Sometimes this is not possible due to content structure but we would suggest avoiding where possible having your link buried at the bottom of the page or in amongst an abundance of other hyperlinks.

Anchor text: This is the clickable content for the hyperlink to your website. The wording here does count but the intention is for your backlink profile to also be natural in appearance. You absolutely do not want 100% of your links coming back to one specific page with one specific search term as the anchor text. You’ll run the risk of getting penalized by Google and nobody wants that. You can say goodbye to your online visibility. This can be a costly issue to come back from.

HOTEL LOCAL SEO


Capitalize on the local market available to you. While it is great to incorporate head keywords such as “Hotels in Boston” in your SEO campaign you should also be maximizing on your location so for example phrases like “Hotels near Fenway Park” could be targeted. When it comes to hotel SEO strategies you have to cast as wide of a net as possible.

You can and should implement a local attractions guide on your hotel website that is optimized well so that you can get visibility with an audience who is at the top of the funnel and early buying stages.

These are the people who are trying to decide if, as in this example, Boston is the right choice for their next vacation. Hotel SEO solutions that think outside the square are going to be the ones that attract the repeat direct booking customers that

Track hotel SEO performance metrics
As a data-driven SEO agency we know what matters when it comes to the performance of search campaigns.

Collecting the appropriate data means that you can discuss not just what is happening but you can put it into context with the “why”. The complexities of hotel SEO campaigns demand the attention of data-focused hotel SEO practitioners because of the rate at which the space evolves. The dynamic nature of this industry means that there are many moving parts.

Things we discuss and consider when looking at YoY data include

  • ADR changes
  • Length of stay changes
  • Parity issues for the month
  • SERP layout changes
  • Booking engine issues and/or changes

This is in addition to the typical SEO campaign metrics such as

  • Seasonality month on month
  • Search volume changes year on year
  • Search term visibility improvements

The reason these metrics are so important to track and discuss is that without them you really can steer the hotel SEO campaign in the wrong direction

WHY SHOULD I HIRE AN SEO AGENCY FOR MY HOTEL SEO CAMPAIGN AND STRATEGY?


Just knowing what to do when it comes to search engine optimization is not enough you need to know how when when to pull each lever to create the brain growth needed for your hotel resort
We have helped hotels and resorts globally reach their growth goals with organic search marketing

If you’re serious about taking your hotel revenue to the next level then get in touch with the hotel SEO experts at Ormi Media. Our team has worked with a plethora of brands in this space from independent hotels to large hotel chains. We understand what matters to you and the opportunities to explore. Book a no obligation consultation with our experts today.