What do people usually do when they’re looking for their dream hotel for their next vacation? Most people typically do a quick Google search. In fact, according to Google, every month there are 3 billion searches for hotels.
Wondering how to rank for these searches and beat your competitors? Aside from having a well-optimized website, incorporating local SEO as part of your digital marketing strategy is a must. A complete Google My Business profile, a presence on the top hotel directories, and an optimized website are crucial for your hotel to rank in search results.
In this article, we’ll be covering the basics of local SEO and how to use hotel directories to help your hotel rank on the first page of Google.
Table of contents
- How does local SEO for hotels work?
- What are citations?
- Hotel directories to gain citations for local SEO
How does local SEO for hotels work?
Searches usually consist of keywords such as “hotels in city”. Google uses a special algorithm (different from traditional SEO searches) that detects and returns these local searches, showing you the most appropriate results for this query.
These results are displayed in Google Maps, Google Search results, and sometimes in the Google Map Pack (the local map highlighting three businesses at the top of search results).
There are three factors that play an important role in determining local SEO rankings: relevance, distance, and prominence.
This factor determines how well a local listing matches a user’s search. For example, if someone searches for “best hotels in San Diego for families”, the algorithm will pull up the most relevant search results for this query. This is why it’s essential to help Google better understand your business by accurately optimizing your hotel’s GMB (Google My Business) profile.
How to enhance relevance in GMB
- Select the category that best describes your business
- Include services and service details
- Add your hotel’s highlights such as accessibility, amenities, crowds, and lodging options
- Include a detailed business description
The distance factor determines what businesses are closest to the searcher. If a user doesn’t include a location in their query and instead, they use the keywords “near me”, Google will determine which businesses will be a better match based on what it knows about the user’s location. This is usually determined based on past searches.
How to enhance distance in GMB
- Make sure your hotel’s address is accurate and matches the information on your website
- Make sure the pin is in the correct location in the map
- Include your location in your business description
Prominence refers to how well-known or popular a business is. For example, a historic hotel might be more well-known offline than online, and Google will take this into consideration. In this case, Google would benefit the historic hotel by considering it prominent in local search results.
How to enhance prominence in GMB
- Reply to all customer reviews
- Implement a strategy to get more Google reviews organically
- Add high-quality images of your hotel
Now that we’ve learned the basics of local SEO, let’s go over how to use hotel directories for local SEO.
What are citations?
Citations are online mentions of your hotel’s NAP on other websites or directories. NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. When your hotel’s NAP information is listed in directories, it increases the chances of your hotel appearing in local searches.
In order to successfully see results for your hotel, it is important to maintain consistency in all the sites where your NAP information appears. Mismatched directories not only can confuse customers trying to find your location, but it could also result in Google closely looking into your business.
Citations should appear where it makes the most sense for your business, meaning where Google expects them to appear. In this scenario, your hotel should be listed in travel and hotel room booking directories, where your target audience (people traveling) is searching for your services.
Hotel directories to gain citations for local SEO
Claim your hotel listing for free on Tripadvisor, the top citation source for hotels. This popular travel directory also offers free tools to customize your listing and include photos, reply to your customers’ reviews, and track your listing’s performance.
Hotels.com is part of the Expedia Group marketplace, allowing travelers to book everything they need such as activities and transportation for their trip in one platform. When you list your property with Hotels.com, your listing will automatically be displayed on Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, HomeAway, and Wotif, amongst other popular companies. This platform also offers free listing claiming and customization, as well as market insights.
This free platform caters to individuals looking to list their hotel, vacation home, apartment, guest house, or Bed and Breakfast. Booking.com’s services include listing creation, 24/7 customer support, and calendar syncing with any other directories your property is listed on. Booking.com also offers peace of mind for property owners by offering features such as property guest rules, damage deposit requests, guest misconduct reports, and guest screening.
Grow your hotel property business with Expedia’s free tools such as market insights, ideal guest targeting (business travelers vs weekend getaways), customer review insights, and connecting to your hotel’s reservation system.
As we mentioned above, BedandBreakfast.com is connected to other directories through its Partner Central. By joining this partnership, you’ll have access to tools necessary to build your business such as property analytics, offering deals and promos, photo tools, ranking scores and visibility, and over 100 software direct connections.
KAYAK’S Hotel Manager allows you to display your property’s prices and availability. This platform offers a feature to easily edit and update your listing details and add more photos. You’ll also have access to an analytics tool to measure property performance. If you’re interested in using this platform for vacation rentals, there’s a requirement for your vacation rental property to be booked through a booking engine partnered with KAYAK.
Claim, manage, and keep your listing up-to-date for free through Yelp. This directory’s features also include access to customer reviews, and click and call tracking. Other interesting tools include a “request a quote” option, appointment scheduling, and Q&A about your hotel.
YCS describes its platform as having a highly-user friendly interface allowing users to easily update their hotel property listings, set rates, and offer special promotions. This paid platform also offers customer support available 24/7. This platform recently launched an app to help hotel owners manage their listings from their phones.
This directory lists Bed and Breakfast properties only. BBOnline offers five different packages to choose from based on your business needs. Regardless of what package you choose, you’ll have access to customer support, listing analytics, and direct access to customer inquiries.
HotelsCombined allows users to compare hotel room rates by gathering information from the top 25 hotel booking sites worldwide, helping them find the best deal. By signing up for this affiliate program, you’ll have access to both free and premium listings.
Need help with your hotel directories?
Partnering with an SEO agency might be the perfect solution! Our team of Local SEO experts can help by putting together a strategy to optimize your hotel directories and Google My Business profile. This will help your business gain visibility on search engines for local searches related to your products or services.
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