Considering the first page of search engine results receive 92% of all traffic, for your hotel to be found on Google you need to prioritise key components of search engine optimisation.
The first page of Google is such a competitive battleground and your hotel needs to get everything right to be in the eyes of prospective guests.
There are so many factors that go into creating a strong SEO strategy but here are seven ways your hotel can improve its chances of being seen by Google.
7 ways to keep Google happy
1. Plan your keywords effectively
This requires you to approach the task from the guest’s perspective. Think about what travellers would be searching for on Google when planning their travel and looking for hotels to book in your area.
Once you’ve thought about this you can develop a list of keywords you want to sprinkle throughout your website and analyse the traffic they drive before you implement them. A list of 10 is always a good start. It makes it easier for you to research and evaluate their effectiveness, and quicker for you to integrate them into your site. Review your keywords regularly in case your content changes and you need to update your strategy.
You should also create cornerstone SEO pages by merging multiple pages that relate to similar keywords – otherwise Google won’t know how to rank them and you won’t feature high on search results.
2. Create a ‘Google My Business’ account
Google My Business is a free listing that optimises all your hotel’s information into the right fields and makes it easier for travellers to get the details they want. This includes your hotel’s address and phone number, Google maps geo-marker, hotel photos, guest reviews, and other relevant information such as amenities.
Providing you complete your listing properly, with the features listed above, Google My Business makes your hotel website instantly more accessible to travellers searching on Google.
3. Consider using Google Hotel Ads
While Google Hotel Ads is a paid service it’s an effective way to get noticed on Google and Google Maps, and it allows guests to immediately begin the booking process. The other benefit is that you’ll only pay once your ad generates a click or a booking, and will only appear when travellers are searching for something that meets the specifics of your property.
It allows travellers to filter their results to suit their needs, meaning the ratio of bookings you get per click is likely to be higher and worth your investment.
Be sure to visit Google for more information and to see if this option is suitable for your hotel.
4. Track demand and search data
SEO is not a set-and-forget strategy. Hoteliers must be constantly on their toes to ensure they maintain their ranking, By keeping track of search and demand trends for your city, you can make more intelligent decisions about the content on your website.
Remember that seasonality plays a big role in what travellers search for so changing your keywords to reflect updates to your packages/promotions or blog posts is very important. It will also mean you’re setting your rates accurately.
5. Treat content as a priority
High quality content is always going to please Google’s algorithms and it will increase your chances of converting site visitors into bookings too. The more relevant and engaging information you can give travellers the better off you’ll be. Maintaining a blog is the best way to do this and ensure your content is always fresh. Consider publishing a post at least once a week, sharing it on your social media pages, and sending emails to your database too.
Content also means visual content. High quality images will help attract attention to your website on listings and impress your site visitors, and you can attach keywords to your images. You should consider investing in a certified photographer to implement a 360 degree tour of your property. This will appear on your Google listing as ‘See Inside’.
The more content you have the more backlinks and external links you can use to strengthen your appeal to Google’s algorithm and also increase the amount of traffic flowing through to your website.
6. Optimise your website’s functionality
Google now expects your website to be mobile-friendly and has adjusted its rankings accordingly. This means your site speed and responsiveness must be able to contend with travellers browsing and booking on their mobile devices.
The main issues you need to avoid on your website include using images that are too large, embedding large video or flash files, and not updating your website regularly. To do this you need superior website design, which you can find with a smart and intuitive website builder. This will allow you to stay on par with every change Google and other search engines make.
Optimising your site for mobile is a good idea in any case, as this is where the majority of bookings will happen in the future and where people are already doing a large majority of their searching.
7. Prioritise online reviews
No one is going to book a hotel on face value. You can spruik your property all you want but in the grand scheme of things, travellers will always trust their peers over you, at least before the first time they stay.
This is why you need verified reviews visible on search engines and metasearch sites, preferably five-star responses. To give your hotel as much credibility as possible you need to respond to as many reviews as possible, especially any negative comments. Guests want to see that you care about their experience and are working to improve your service and get to know them better.
There is no quick fix to your SEO and Google rankings, and there are many other tactics you can use than are listed here. It requires regular vigilance and updating on your behalf to maintain your Google rankings.
You can read more about SEO for your hotel here.