A good web presence is essential for hotels to succeed in the current digital era, and SEO in particular is a crucial component of a hotel’s internet presence. This article will explain hotel SEO, explain why it’s so important, and offer advice on how to make your hotel’s website search engine friendly with little to no investment.
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Hotel SEO: What is it?
The technique of improving a hotel’s website so that it appears higher on search engine results pages (SERPs) for pertinent keywords is known as hotel SEO. A hotel can increase bookings and get more visitors to its website by improving its search engine results.
As hotels rely on personalized marketing in their social media campaigns and email newsletters, so must the content published on the website also be high quality and relevant to potential customers.
What makes SEO for hotels important?
It’s crucial to have a solid SEO strategy because there are so many hotels fighting for internet visibility and reservations. Hotels should aim to rank highly in SERPs because 68% of online experiences start with a search engine. In addition, Hubspot found that leads from organic traffic have a 14.6% close rate.
The majority of visitors, according to statistics, only click on the first few results on the first page of search engine results, so it is crucial to rank in those top spots. In fact. a study by Backlinko has discovered that the top 3 results, on average, get 54% of all clicks.
In addition, organic traffic is proven to bring highly qualified leads, so any relevant organic traffic you get is incredibly useful.
So let’s talk about how to build a comprehensive hotel SEO strategy to rank higher in search engines, considering the nuances of the hospitality industry.
Tips for Building Your Hotel SEO Strategy
The first three tips will mainly cover WordPress settings, if you’re using a different CMS or a custom-made site, then scroll down to the tip #4. To focus on improving your WordPress hotel website’s SEO, you should take care of the following things:
- Having an SEO plugin
- Analytics set up correctly
- Pagespeed (caching and image optimization)
Let’s explore why these are important and how to set them up quickly and effectively, without any costs.
1. Install the right SEO plugin
Installing this will help with setting up the necessary SEO meta for each of your posts and pages, take care of the sitemap, robots.txt and various other important technical parameters.
Which plugin to choose? We recommend going with RankMath’s free plan. All in all, both plugins offer similar functionality, but RankMath offers setting up redirects for free, while you need a paid plan for that in Yoast.
After installing your plugin of choice, go through their simple set up process and fill out as much information as you can.
From this point on, you will mainly be using it to set the pages’ titles and meta descriptions.
2. Set Up Google Analytics and Search Console
To analyze search engine data, you need to set up two things: Google Analytics and Search Console. Why do you need them? You will get valuable insights into users’ demographics, search impressions, where they land on your website and much more.
Chances are, if you’re doing paid ads you already have Google Analytics installed. If not, it’s very easy: just install the Site Kit plugin from WordPress and go through the setup process.
Search Console is a bit trickier to set up. To prove ownership over the domain, you will need to go into the server’s DNS settings and add a TXT string to the record. If you’re using CPanel, then go into Zone Editor and change it there.
Another detail that people may not know is that Search Console and Google Analytics are not integrated with each other by default. You will need to create a Search Console link in Google Analytics to get the full benefits.
Our Real Estate SEO guide offers more information regarding benefits of this integration.
The integration is done in the Google Analytics Admin section. To find “Search Console Links,” select Property Settings from the Admin area by clicking the gear in the bottom left corner of the screen and then scroll all the way down. From there, setting it up is really simple; simply select your Search Console property and you’re ready to go.
3. Optimize page speed to improve Hotel SEO
It’s very important to have good load times and a responsive website when trying to rank for Google. Think about it: why would Google show its users slow websites? Meanwhile hotel websites are usually very resource-intensive, with many images, widgets and forms.
Thankfully, there is a simple setup in WordPress that takes care of this very well.
Page speed optimization in WordPress consists of two things:
WP Fastest Cache is an incredible free plugin that only requires a minute to set up. We’ve attached an image below with the settings that you can copy.
2) Image Optimization.
A big one for performance, just like caching it can increase your Google Pagespeed scores greatly.
Smush is a great free tool for image optimization, and you don’t even need to set anything up after activation.
Note: after installing both of these, you might get a message in WordPress about possible plugin conflict.
Don’t worry about this at all: WP Fastest Cache’s paid version can be used for image optimization, but since we’re only using the caching function there will be no plugin conflict.
4. Set up other necessary WordPress plugins
We do not recommend installing an excessive amount of plugins – they will bloat and slow down your website.
With that being said, there are some plugins that are simply a requirement in WordPress:
UpdraftPlus: Automatic Backups of Your WordPress website. Connect to your Google Drive and set up weekly automatic backups.
Simple Author Box: Adds an author profile at the bottom of every blog post. Very useful for SEO, and gives the blog a better look.
Easy WP SMTP: If you want to set up your hotel’s newsletter, receive feedback from site visitors and make sure that any and all forms on your website work, you need an SMTP plugin. Easy WP SMTP for us was the most reliable.
5. Master Your Keyword Research
Keyword research is the bedrock of a successful SEO strategy. This process involves identifying popular search terms related to your hotel’s services and using these keywords strategically within your website’s content.
The aim here is to increase your visibility in search engine results, helping prospective guests find your hotel more easily.
Using Keyword Research Tools
Consider using tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs, or Google’s Keyword Planner for effective keyword research. These tools provide invaluable insights into the terms your potential guests are using in their searches. Importantly, don’t overlook long-tail keywords. These are longer, more specific phrases that might have less competition and can align more closely with the intent of your prospective guests, thereby driving more qualified traffic to your site.
6. Optimize Your Website for Mobile
With the increased usage of mobile devices for web browsing and online bookings, optimizing your hotel’s website for mobile has become a necessity.
Mobile Responsiveness and Page Speed
Make sure that your site is mobile-responsive, meaning that it adjusts to fit the screen size of the device it’s being viewed on. Additionally, it’s important to optimize your site’s loading time on mobile devices, as this is a significant ranking factor in search engine algorithms.
7. Implement Schema Markup
Schema markup is a form of microdata that enhances the way search engines read and represent your page in SERPs.
Utilizing Schema Markup for Hotels
For hotels, schema markup can be particularly beneficial. It can help generate rich snippets in search results, such as ratings and reviews, prices, or availability status. These rich snippets provide potential guests with quick and valuable information about your hotel. Using Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool can help you implement and validate your schema markup correctly. This technique can significantly improve your click-through rate, leading to increased organic traffic.
8. Leverage Local SEO
Local SEO is a strategy that focuses on optimizing your online presence to attract more business from relevant local searches. For hotels, this approach is particularly crucial.
Enhancing Local Visibility
To optimize your online presence for local searches, claim and enhance your Google My Business listing. Include local keywords within your website content and encourage guests to leave reviews. Local SEO can boost your hotel’s visibility for local searches, helping you draw in more bookings from people searching for accommodations in your specific geographical area.
9. Cultivate High-Quality Backlinks
Backlinks are links from other websites that direct back to your site. They’re one of the top ranking factors for search engines, signaling that your website is a reliable and authoritative source of information.
Building a Strong Backlink Profile
Creating a solid backlink profile involves creating valuable content that others want to link to and actively reaching out to other credible websites for link-building opportunities. Strategies like guest posting, collaborations, and getting featured in industry round-ups or directories can be effective ways to earn high-quality backlinks.
10. Regularly Monitor Your SEO Performance
Implementation is just the beginning of your hotel SEO strategy. Consistent tracking and monitoring of your performance are crucial for understanding what’s working and what needs adjustment.
Using Analytics for Performance Tracking
Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to gain insights into your website’s organic traffic, keyword rankings, and user behavior. Regularly review these metrics to spot potential issues or opportunities for further optimization.
Remember, SEO is a long-term strategy, and it might take time to see the results of your efforts. But with consistent monitoring and tweaks, you can steadily improve your hotel’s search rankings, draw more organic traffic, and ultimately increase bookings.
Real SEO Estate is a free resource that provides businesses with impactful and efficient SEO knowledge, with a focus on the real estate industry. We’re committed to making SEO easy and transparent for our readers.