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Hotel SEO: Strategy & SEO Tips For Small Hotel Websites

September 20, 2019
Posted in SEO
September 20, 2019 Brett Farmiloe

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Hotel SEO: How To Drive More Online Bookings Organically

Reaching prospective guests in the hospitality industry is challenging. 

Fortunately, through our experiences in optimizing small hotel websites for search engine optimization, we have developed a unique approach to Hotel SEO.

The end result? A more sustainable and predictable flow of online bookings made directly through your website.  

No more (or significantly less) middleman. Affiliates. Adwords. Just organic search as a critical element to your marketing strategy.

In this post, we will share a client story as well as some best practices when it comes to hotel SEO.

Let’s start with our client results that were achieved in 12 months of digital marketing:

  • 10x year over year growth in online presence with organic search traffic (2,810 webpage visits per month to 27,800 webpage visits per month)
  • 12x year over year growth with organic search impressions (56,700 impressions for search terms per month to 644,000 impressions for search terms per month)
  • 10x increase in direct bookings
  • Best. Year. Ever.

Here’s a partial look at what we did for this small hotel through our SEO services:

Hotel Results Box

The Hotel Results box is typically the first result to appear in a search for hotels on Google.

hotel results box

To appear in the Hotel Results Box on search engine results pages, Google needs to be aware of your hotel’s existence. Google becomes aware of a hotel’s existence through a few ways. 

Option 1: Send Information To Google Directly

Hoteliers can create a Hotel List Feed that includes room and package metadata. You’ll then select a delivery mode to share your hotel information with Google. You can then choose to use Google’s Price Configuration tool to define your hotel itineraries. And finally, you can provide additional data like Fenced Rates to control the accuracy of the data being displayed online. 

If all those one-time tasks sound like a lot, it’s because it is. That’s why Option 2 is sometimes appealing for more boutique hotels without an in-house Technical team team typically found at a luxury hotel.

Option 2: Send Information To Google Partners

Google has more than 200 relationships with online travel agencies and aggregators like Tripadvisor to collect information about hotels. If sending data to Google directly sounds like a headache, sending data to one of these aggregators should be a feasible alternative. 

While there is no guarantee that all accommodations will be shown in the hotel results box, sharing hotel prices with aggregators should better the chances that your hotel will appear in this coveted area of a search results page. 

Local SEO For Hotels

Beyond the Hotel Results Box, a solid Hotel SEO strategy starts with Local SEO.

What’s Local SEO? And how does a SEO company like ours approach local SEO for a hotel?

It’s pretty simple. It starts with Google My Business for Hotels

local seo hotel

First, sign up for Google My Business to verify and claim your business. Or, if a listing for your hotel already exists on Google Maps (likely!), then you can claim that listing

Then, Google recommends engaging with customers. You can do this by rebranding your hotel’s listing, reporting any inappropriate reviews, removing out of date images, and adding a site manager.  

hotel google my business

Finally, you can manage your hotel’s details. These details including the listing of hotel amenities, business hours, booking links, and more

hotel details google my business

Google My Business is just one of the many ranking factors in regards to Local SEO. But, it’s the first domino to fall.

The next steps after polishing up your Google My Business profile is to ensure the accuracy of your information on all major search engines and directory listings. This list can include Apple Maps, Bing Places, Factual, Foursquare, Infogroup, Facebook, and more. 

Hotel Answer Box

Create content that answers frequently asked questions by potential guests. 

These questions are the ones guests ask while at your hotel – and the questions they ask themselves before arrival. 

hotel answer box

Through keyword research, we’ve identified long-tail keywords and created content for hotel SEO clients like:

  • What are the best hotels near SPECIFIC AREA
  • What are the best hotels near SPECIFIC LANDMARK
  • How much is a hotel in CITY NAME?

Another goldmine for hotel marketing content? The searches related to section at the bottom of a search engine result page (serps). 

hotel seo searches related to

SEO content creation through blogging is one of the best ways to see inbound traffic increase from search engines. Here’s a graph showing what happened to Google search traffic when we created four high quality pieces of SEO content per month for a hotel’s website.

organic search traffic

Traffic grew 10x – and so did direct bookings. 

Hotel Meta Description & Page Title Tags

Page title tags and meta descriptions are what you see from a search engine result page.

hotel meta description title tags

In other words, these text descriptions entice a potential guest to click on the result to learn more about your hotel. There’s a science to increasing the click rates from these search result pages, and it starts with optimizing page title tags and meta descriptions. 

Start with your homepage. Does the page title tag say “Welcome” or “Home”? If so, that’s an opportunity to optimize to something that is searched often, aligns with your offering, and entices a potential guest to click. 

For example, “Home – Hotel Website” can be changed to “Modern Scottsdale Hotel + Spa – Hotel Website”

By optimizing page title tags and meta descriptions, your hotel will immediately get more visibility online for relevant search queries – and more clicks! That’s why these optimizations are something we aim to do in month 1 of any engagement. 

Other SEO Tips For Hotels

These are some of the main items to focus on with SEO for hotels. However, there are other SEO tips that are sometimes equally important in any SEO engagement. 

Those SEO tips? 

  • Reviews – attracting positive reviews to incentivize user clicks
  • Digital PR – link building with internal links and backlinks from relevant websites
  • Technical SEO – fixing issues like a sitemap, page speed, SSL, and more
  • Social Media – social media shares can help boost SEO rankings
  • Content Marketing – Creating relevant content for first page rankings
  • Mobile Devices – ensuring website content offers an optimal user experience

In other words, increasing bookings by increasing organic search rankings can be a lot of work. 

Let’s Review

Here’s what we covered in regards to Hotel SEO, and how hotels can use these methods to increase organic traffic and bookings. 

  • Hotel Results Box
  • Local SEO for Hotels
  • Answer Box
  • Hotel Meta Description & Page Title Tags
  • Reviews
  • Digital PR for Hotels
  • Technical SEO
  • Social Media

What’s Next? 

Now that you have the playbook, it’s time to execute. You can either execute a SEO strategy internally, or look to an SEO company like Markitors to assist. 

We have experience in doing SEO for hotels. We get results and practice what we preach. And we believe in having a good time while connecting our clients with customers.

If you are interested in working with us, get in touch with us. We will set up an initial call, run the numbers to see if an investment in SEO makes financial sense for your hotel, and then present our proposal. We’re always happy to do a free SEO audit

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Brett Farmiloe

Brett Farmiloe

Brett Farmiloe is the Founder & CEO of Markitors, a digital marketing company voted a best place to work 3 years in a row. He frequently contributes content about SEO, Careers, and Culture to Forbes, SHRM, Thunderbird, Huffington Post, Mashable, TIME, NextWeb, and more. And, as a dad of 3, he's about that minivan life.