Travellers’ behaviour online has shifted significantly in the past few years. Now, people planning their travels are spending more time researching and locking in their plans well ahead of time. And since the pandemic, they are prioritising hotel websites with detailed and relevant information that is easily accessible to them. With this return to travel, there is also a return of online competition from OTAs and booking websites—making SEO optimisation for your hotel website more crucial now than ever before.
Time to Gear Up
One crucial thing you have to do is stay up to date on new SEO techniques and strategies. Utilising standard tools and systems like Core Web Vitals and GA4 can greatly benefit your SEO efforts. They’ll give you more insight as to how your website is running for a typical visitor, as well as data on how to improve this experience. More specific tools, like Destination Insights and Hotel Insights, are location-centred resources for hoteliers who want to know what users are searching for in their area and make sure their hotel ranks high in a specific location.
As with everything else online, running A/B tests can be helpful. Schedule regular audits (at least once a year)—you will get real data about your current online audience and how you can improve your strategies.
Best Practices for Your Hotel’s SEO
Most SEO optimisation practices are evergreen. Here are the factors that will boost your discoverability on Google and other search engines as well:
One of the important indicators that search engines take into consideration is loading times. A fast website is crucial, as slow sites are frustrating for visitors. And frustration will inevitably have a negative impact on your website’s rankings. If you’re not sure how search engines view your site speed, Google’s Page Speed Insights Tool can help determine if speed is one of the issues your team needs to correct. For example, more and larger files mean more load time. This is why it’s so important to make sure the files you’re uploading aren’t larger than they need to be. Also, you can enable compression so they take less time to load.
Pro Tip: Setting up lazy loading ensures that the content your visitor has open will load first and much faster than if all of your page’s content loaded at the same time. Enabling browser caching can also help, which means the page won’t load completely from scratch every time a user visits.
Speaking of speed, 53% of mobile users will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. And since it’s estimated that more than 70% of online users will browse exclusively via mobile devices by 2025, designing for the mobile user is critical. On top of that, Google’s mobile-first indexing feature means that the search engine looks at the mobile version of a site when ranking content. This makes it even more important to optimise for mobile devices. Ensuring that your hotel website is responsive and mobile-friendly is imperative both for SEO rankings and your overall marketing strategy.
Pro Tip: Use Google’s mobile-friendly test tool or manually check your web pages by viewing them on a mobile device. Particularly, look at their responsiveness and how they are rendering. These are both easy ways to see if you need to correct usability issues that can negatively impact your SEO.
Never underestimate the power of good visuals. Optimising your hotel website’s imagery contributes to image SEO. On top of that, it also increases your chance of being featured in Google’s snippets and discover feed. High-quality images in the proper file formats, with relevant file names, and compressed to the right size ensure your page speed and formatting are in the best shape. Sharp and clear images of your hotel’s logo, facilities, and rooms will enhance the rest of your content and promptly foster conversions.
Pro Tip: When it comes to imagery, search engines only see file names and captions. Creating alt text that includes keywords in your visuals will not only make your content more accessible to those with visual impairments, but it can also boost your SEO ranking.
Content that is clear and of high quality usually results in quicker and more substantial conversion rates. This is because it’s straightforward to comprehend and offers valuable information. Optimised content features elements like subheadings, title tags, meta descriptions, and sentence structures that are easy to read. Making use of headers and spacing to divide content into sections will also make your site’s content easy to skim. Most importantly, your content should be original (no duplicates), relevant (up-to-date) and should be able to answer any and all questions a potential guest might have when deciding to book with you.
Pro Tip: Maintaining a regular schedule for updating and modifying your website’s content is beneficial for SEO, even when there isn’t any new information to present to your audience. This routine keeps the content fresh and appealing. Search engine bots have a preference for newly updated content, and websites undergoing frequent updates are scanned more regularly. This increases the likelihood of getting a better ranking.
Ensuring your content is reader-friendly is particularly impactful when it’s coupled with a well-planned keyword strategy. It’s important to position keywords not only within your articles but also in strategic locations throughout your website’s framework.
When it comes to URLs, they should be short, to the point, and include your main keywords. It’s also best to avoid “stop words” and use only hyphens (-) to separate words in your web address. Including keywords within page titles, meta titles, and meta descriptions is crucial for enhancing visibility. This is also pivotal for making a positive first impression of your brand, as this content is prominently displayed in search results.
Pro Tip: Include semantic keywords (variations or synonyms) in your SEO strategy to ensure that you’re reaching your target market and not showing up in irrelevant searches. Using semantic keywords will also make it much easier and faster for search engines to determine how relevant your website is to a user’s search.
Link building remains a critical factor that search engines utilize to rank websites today. The more that search engines crawling your site find authentic links, the more pages they will index.
The link types most important for SEO
- External Links: Linking to relevant web pages outside of your own positions your content as a valuable resource. You can add external links to reference sources or share helpful information that isn’t on your site but is still relevant to potential guests. By linking to other sources, you show search engines that you value the quality of your content, even if the information is located elsewhere.
- Internal links: Linking to relevant content on your own website can increase the visibility of that content to search engines. Like external links, internal links are a way to provide relevant information to a potential guest. It also is a fantastic way to make sure search engine crawlers are not missing any pages when indexing your website.
- Backlinks: Curating quality links to your website from others with established authority in their niche markets can be extremely valuable. Here’s a useful resource on building effective backlinks. Always be mindful of your backlinking and don’t offer irrelevant links or pay for backlink services. Quality always wins over quantity, so it’s important to create an ethical and meaningful backlink strategy.
Pro Tip: The practice of deep linking (linking to specific passages, page sections, navigation, etc.) is often overlooked; a fact that you can use to your advantage. Google recently introduced passage ranking, where they can evaluate individual passages, so it’s safe to assume that deep linking is becoming more important for SEO. Making deep linking part of your strategy is a great way to stay ahead of the competition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Incorporating a detailed FAQ section or page on your hotel website can help potential guests in finding the information they are looking for. On top of that, it provides search engines with more information to showcase in their results. These FAQs should also always be marked up with structured data to maximise reach and ideally boost your chances of being featured on Google’s search result snippets and Map Pack.
Pro Tip: Keep an eye on your reviews across your Google Business Profile, TripAdvisor, and other review platforms. Even the most negative review should be publicly addressed and thanking someone for a positive review shows that you care about your guests’ experiences. Updated and optimised listings on multiple platforms help to ensure your hotel website appears at the top of local searches.
Sites with great user interfaces easily rise to the top of search results. They keep users on the page much longer, build trust, and give an overall better experience.
Making your hotel website’s navigation user-centric is not a difficult task. There are two simple rules to follow. Firstly, any page on your site should be accessible within three clicks for a user, so utilizing menus is crucial. This ensures users can easily navigate to the content they are seeking. Second, make it as easy as possible for users to go backwards by providing breadcrumbs at the top of the page. Both of these tactics will ensure a smooth user experience across your website and better overall conversion.
By adopting the aforementioned SEO best practices, your hotel’s website will gain enhanced visibility in search results. This approach will also enable you to rapidly connect with visitors eager to book a room. Optimising the keywords, content, images, and links will rank your website up on search engines as well as provide an optimal user experience.
It’s important to focus on providing quality experiences to your website visitors rather than using unethical practices to trick search engines into ranking your site higher. In simple terms, the effort and attention you invest in arranging your lobby and front desk to greet your guests should be equivalent. Similarly, crafting your SEO strategy should receive the same level of dedication and care.