According to Retail Dive, in 2017 “more than 65% of consumers conduct online product research before stepping foot in a store.” Meanwhile, Statistic Brain reports that 57% of hotel bookings occur online.
What is SEO and how does it impact my hotel?
People search for information using specific keywords. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing will show the results according to specific guidelines and algorithms. SEO (Search Engine Optimization), is all about making your website easy to find for the billions of people using search engines on a daily basis. According to Smart Insights 6,586,013,574 searches are made per day worldwide.
What about SEM?
SEM (Search Engine Marketing), is also about making your business more visible via major search engines. However, the difference is that SEM is achieved with paid advertising. This is done by bidding on specific keywords and building a campaign around it. The difference between SEO and SEM is that you have to set a specific budget for an SEM project, while SEO can and should be a constant effort in your hotel that doesn’t involve high costs.
To get a better understanding of how SEO and SEM work , check out the infographic from Apollo Creative Solutions.
Where does my hotel fit into the SEO craze?
How visible is your website among all the results of a search engine page? Have you ever Googled your hotel and found the webpage listed below other booking platforms, or even worse, listed under your competition? Wouldn’t you like your website to be the first result? Can you imagine the results and the amount of bookings you could get if your official website was one of the top results when people search where to stay your city or neighborhood?
Get more bookings with SEO oriented content
If you are still reading this article and haven’t already forwarded it to your internal SEO oriented content team, we are happy to tell you that there are some simple tasks of which you can start yourself.
With its changing algorithms, threatening competition and data overflow, SEO repurposing may feel a bit overwhelming at first. However, don’t let it overwhelm you. As a start, go through the following checklist that Google sorts through before determining if your website can rank higher than where it currently stands:
The structure of your website (loading speed, index, headlines, etc.)
Your website’s content (internal and external links, images, videos, etc.)
Your site’s relative authority based on who mentioning your business and is linking back to your page.
- Make sure your site is mobile friendly (everything from the welcome page to the booking page should look attractive on a phone, tablet or desktop).
- Always keep the consumer’s user experience in mind. If the loading time is too long, or the link sends them to an error page, guests can loose interest and close your window in a matter of seconds.
- Use shorter URLs and meet search engines requirements (meta data, tags and ask your tech team to check out these EDRM Duke Law considerations).
- Add precise title tags and try to include keywords (Use words that your consumers could be looking for in search engines, tools such as Google Suggest, Answerthepublic.com or Moz.com).
- Don’t miss the chance to rank quality images higher by adding alternate names to your images. For example: CentralParkAtNight.jpg is better read by Google than DSC01823.jpg
- Squeeze as many videos and animations in as you can. In addition, add closed captions or subtitles to your videos. A high percentage of videos on mobile devices are watched without sound.
- Add links (you’ve probably got more than enough internal links featuring your hotel’s content, however, increase the possibility of ranking higher by adding external links. For example: city guides, neighborhood highlights, embassies and consulates’ websites, etc.
- External links will also be amazing for cross marketing with restaurants, museums, shops, and all the attractions in your city! Create your own guides with links to city landmarks, images, and maps or connect with a professional travel writer to create your hotel’s Neighborhood Guide on Arrivedo.
- Join the social media craze. Add widgets and ways people can easily share your page or article on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
- Update your contact information on your website and social media. Make sure your email address, phone number and customer service are at top of their game and that all this contact information is always up to date.
In a competitive marketplace such as the hotel and tourism industry, it’s crucial to optimize digital experiences that will make your site visible to potential guests. Secondly, it’s important to have enough support so that website visitors actually book your hotel.
There are no risks or small efforts not worth going for in the pursuit of more online visibility. The expected result will be achieved by adding creative and technical elements, however, many tasks are simple activities that you can start doing today and do not require high-tech tools or high-cost platforms. You can also team up with SEO oriented platforms that will take care of both the technical optimization and content creation, leading more traffic to your website.
This is an exciting time for hotels and the travel industry, a time where travelers are better informed and open to put forward a bigger budget for the option that they connect with best. Make sure that your company is fully engaged with the goal of being more visible online. With some technical support and improved front-end content, your efforts will start paying off sooner than later.