The Ultimate Guide to Hotel SEO (2022)

The Ultimate Guide to Hotel SEO (2022)

Interested in hotel SEO?

No matter where your hotel is located, who your customers are, or how well-designed your website is, you won’t sell rooms, get venue bookings, or generate adequate brand awareness if no one’s visiting your site.

So, how do you get people to visit your hotel website?
Simple: by investing in hotel search engine optimization (SEO)!

But what exactly is hotel SEO, and more importantly, how can your hospitality business benefit from it?

Not to worry – we’ve got you covered.

In this article, you’ll discover everything about hotel SEO, how your business can benefit from it, and 11 excellent strategies you can use to increase conversions and outperform competitors. 

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Let’s go!

What is Hotel SEO?

Before we dive into hotel SEO, let’s first cover what SEO is.

SEO stands for search engine optimization – it’s a marketing strategy that focuses on boosting your website’s visibility and search engine ranking. This way, your website gets more visitors and potential clients, which is fantastic for any business, especially hotels!

Why?
SEO marketing is crucial for any business that relies on transactions. If you want people to make a hotel booking via your website, you first need people to visit it! 

And one of the easiest ways to get visitors is by ensuring your hotel website appears first on the search engine result page (SERP).

Why Do Hotels Need SEO?

Did you know that 90% of organic traffic is received by websites that appear on the first page of the Google search engine results page?

If your hotel has a spot on the first page of Google, you can rest assured you’re going to attract a lot of potential customers.

Here are four reasons why your hotel needs search engine optimisation marketing:

  • Increased exposure: Once you secure that number one position on Google, it can boost your website’s online presence, generate brand awareness, and help you knock out the competition.
  • Higher-quality leads: SEO digital marketing can help you target people with high purchase intent. If someone is searching for a specific type of hotel or a hotel with a particular feature in the area, it’s clear they’re very interested and you should capitalize on this. 
  • Cost-effective: Although SEO marketing can take a lot of time on occasion, it’s a more affordable hotel marketing solution when compared to paid ads. An effective SEO strategy can also help deliver commission-free bookings when travelers visit your website via a search engine.
  • Easy progress tracking: There are many free and paid tools like Google Search Console, Ahrefs, SEMrush, Google Analytics, etc., you can use to track your hotel SEO progress. These tools will help you track your site’s organic search traffic, keyword search rankings, click-through rates, bounce rates, and more.

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11 Actionable Hotel SEO Tips to Skyrocket Your Hotel’s Organic Traffic

Here are 11 ways you can boost your hotel search engine optimization efforts:

1. Do Comprehensive Keyword Research

Keywords are the search queries that users will type into a search engine to get an answer. 

To develop a keyword strategy, you’ll need to identify a few hotel SEO keywords that relate to your hotel and its features. For example, “boutique hotel in Chicago” or “Scenic hotels in New York City.”

However, you can come up with more specific hotel SEO keywords by thinking about things like:

  • What kind of people would like to stay at your hotel?
  • Why are people traveling to your city or town?
  • What makes your hotel stand out from others?
  • Do you offer additional services like conference rooms and wedding halls?
  • What attractions are near your hotel?

Once you answer the above questions, you can come up with long-tail, relevant keywords like “boutique hotel with outdoor pool in New York City” and “kid-friendly hotels in Chicago.”

But how do you know if the search terms you choose will prove successful?

By relying on these three things:

  • Keyword search volume: The number of times a keyword is searched for every month. Search volume can help you determine potential website traffic. The most lucrative SEO keywords have high search volume but low competition.
  • Keyword difficulty (KD): This is a keyword competition metric showing how difficult it’ll be to rank for a specific keyword. If your website is new, it’s a good idea to start by targeting low KD keywords with some search traffic. You can progressively target higher KD keywords once you start ranking for these terms. 
  • SEO keyword research tools: You can access the above metrics by using SEO keyword research tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Google Keyword Planner.

2. Create a High-Quality Content Marketing Strategy 

The first step to creating a high-quality content marketing strategy is understanding users’ search intent.

What exactly is search intent?

Search intent is the purpose or goal of a user’s search. Google’s algorithm prioritizes content that answers the search intent and provides value to readers.

An easy way to match search intent is to check out the top-ranking search results for a specific keyword to get an idea of what users are looking for. For example, we searched for “hotels with conference rooms Chicago,” and here’s the results page we got:

List of top-ranking articles for the keyword "hotels with conference rooms Chicago."
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As you can see from the results, searchers are looking for a list of the best hotels to host a meeting in Chicago. 

Once you understand the search intent, you can provide clear, thorough answers your audience wants. And you can drive traffic away from OTA (online travel agency) sites and get direct bookings.

Here are a few other factors to keep in mind when it comes to crafting content. Always try to be:

  • Authoritative: Ensure your content answers all the questions users might have. It must also be well-searched, comprehensive, and include helpful images and videos. 
  • Trustworthy: Ensure your content is based on reliable sources and remains up-to-date. For example, if you created a list of the best restaurants to try near your hotel in 2021, you’ll need to ensure the list is still relevant and includes only available restaurants in 2022.
  • Unique: Avoid copy-pasting information from other sites. Google’s algorithm  recognizes when a piece of content has been duplicated and will penalize your site for it. 
  • Reader-friendly: Make sure your blog content is digestible and accessible. You can do this by using short sentences, transition words, headings and subheadings, images, optimizing page speed, and more. 

3. Prioritize User Experience 

A positive website user experience will encourage visitors to make a hotel booking right there and then. If your hotels website has blurry images, long loading times, and confusing navigation, visitors will most likely leave the web page and head to an OTA site instead. 

Here are some ways you can boost your site’s on page SEO:

  • Create a well-designed, informative website with a homepage, about us page, contact details, direct booking page, guest testimonials, activities page, and more. Ensure your hotels website also has high-quality images and videos.
  • Boost your site’s page loading speed by compressing images, using a high-quality hosting network and content management system, and limiting plugins and redirects. 
  • Ensure your title tag (an HTML element that outlines a page’s content) is descriptive, mentions your hotel name, and has no more than 60 characters. 
  • Always create a unique meta description to boost your site’s click-through rate (CTR) on the organic search engine result page. 
  • Add a breadcrumb menu to help visitors navigate to a previous page or a website’s homepage without using the browser’s ‘back’ button.
  • Add page jumps to your content so readers can head straight to the information that’s relevant to them, preventing a higher bounce rate.
  • Use heading tags to improve the readability of your webpage. 
  • Add alt text (the alternative text shown when an image can’t be displayed) to the pictures on your site to help the search engine index your page correctly and help visually impaired people interact with your content.

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4. Improve Your Site’s Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to the elements on your website that help search engines crawl and index it. 

Here are a few ways you improve your site’s technical SEO:

  • Submit a sitemap: A sitemap is a file that includes information about your website’s videos, pages, and images and how these files connect to one another. Sitemaps help search engines understand your website’s structure to crawl it easily. 
  • Ensure website security: An unsecured website may drive away potential event planners or businesses that want to host an event at your hotel since they don’t want to jeopardize their personal data. 

    As a result, ensuring you have a secure website is crucial. You can secure your website by changing all website links to HTTPS and getting an SSL certificate.
  • Use structured data: Structured data or schema mark-up is code that helps search engines understand your content quickly and display it effectively. Maintaining consistency in your schema is crucial, meaning the information you communicate about your website must remain the same across pages. 
Review rich snippet for Luxury Gold Coast Chicago Hotel
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This includes your hotel’s name, phone number, address, opening hours, rating, and more. Structured data is helpful because it helps searchers see the value of a website before visiting it via rich snippets like reviews, recipes, and events. 

You should run a technical SEO audit once you’ve completed the above steps. SEO tools like Ahrefs often have technical SEO audit features to check various technical components of your website for you. 

5. Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly

According to research, more than 60% of Google searches come from mobile devices. This isn’t surprising since phones are more accessible and convenient to carry around, especially for people who are on vacation! 

So, if you want your hotel website to attract more visitors, you’ll need to improve your site’s mobile usability.

Here are a few ways you can make your site more mobile-friendly:

  • Avoid slow mobile pages
  • Keep resources crawlable
  • Optimize headlines for mobile interfaces
  • Avoid errors that lead to poor user experiences like unplayable videos and small fonts.
  • Ensure your button sizes are large enough to work on mobile
  • Compress your images 
  • Perform mobile testing using free tools like Google Search Console

6. Listen to the Power of Voice Search

With digital assistant tools like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa on the rise, it’s time to listen to the power of voice search!

According to Microsoft’s Bing Ads, the number of people using their digital assistant, Cortana, to voice search for hotels has seen a 343% year-on-year increase in the UK alone. Similarly, flight searches by voice search saw a 277% year-on-year increase.

Moreover, voice search can boost customer experience by helping potential clients sort out their booking details quickly – without even having to touch their device!

This is incredibly useful for people who are too busy packing to use their device to make a booking and for families who are driving and need to make a quick booking without going on their phones. 

Here’s how hotel websites can take advantage of voice search:

  • Ensure your website’s content is conversational and reflects how a natural person would ask a question. For example, “which is the best five-star hotel in Chicago?”
  • Write about tourist attractions and local destinations near your hotel.
  • Answer PAAs (People also ask) and FAQs in your content.

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7. Create a Local SEO Strategy 

Local SEO is fantastic for the hotel industry since it can help you be more visible in the local search results on search engines. 

By focusing on local long-tail keywords, you’ll be able to eliminate some competition and target a potential customer who’s close to making a purchase. 

For example, if you target a local SEO keyword like “hotels in Chicago,” you might end up with hundreds of different competitors. 

List of hotels in Lake View, Chicago
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But you can eliminate some of that competition by narrowing your local SEO keyword to “pet-friendly hotels in Lake View, Chicago.”

List of pet-friendly hotels in Lake View Chicago
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Another way you can boost your local SEO is by creating a Google My Business Listing. 

Google My Business helps redirect visitors to your website directly. This way, visitors might feel encouraged to make a direct booking. Additionally, Google My Business displays your business on normal search results and on Google Map results, which can help searchers plan their trip on the spot. 

a Google My Business image for Claridge House hotel
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8. Focus on Link Building

Backlinks or external links are one of Google’s crucial ranking factors. Fortunately, there are multiple ways you can get other hotel industry websites to link to your hotel website.

For example, if your hotel offers one of the best spa experiences in Chicago, you can reach out to health and wellness magazines or news outlets to see if they’ll feature your hotel’s spa.

Here are a few other ways you can go about external link building:

  • Approach nearby attractions and ask if they’re interested in creating a partnership where you’ll both promote each other’s websites. Additionally, you can offer hotel discounts to people who visit one of these nearby attractions.
  • Produce high-quality, link-worthy content that’s valued by other sites
  • Get listed on sites related to the hotel and hospitality industry like TripAdvisor
  • Submit your hotel website to online hotel directories

But backlinks aren’t the only links you should be focusing on. 

The right internal links strategy can help Google’s crawlers and users easily navigate your site. For example, your hotel’s homepage should link to a page with room options and prices. This can boost user engagement and help search engines better understand hotel websites.

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9. Invest in Social Media Marketing

Okay we know this tip isn’t totally SEO related.

But it’s an important step to incorporate along with your SEO strategy.

Why?

97% of guests use social media to share pictures of their trips!

This gives hoteliers an easy way to attract a potential guest and show off their hotel brand.

Social media also significantly influences a potential customer’s purchase decision. In fact, 2 in 5 millennials admit that hotel and travel images on social media affect their hotel booking.

To get started with the social media side of your SEO strategy, you need to first identify your target audience – are you targeting millennials, families, business travelers, couples, or groups?

Once you figure out your target audience, it’s time to create Facebook and Instagram accounts and start posting videos, Instagram reels, and stories.

But what should your posts be about?

You need to post things to impress your potential guest before they even arrive!

Some good ideas include:

  • Attractions near your hotel
  • Videos of your hotel’s interior and exterior
  • Special offers, promotions, and deals
  • Announcements
  • Customer feedback polls
  • Upcoming events

10. Invest in Hotel SEO Software

Although there are no dedicated hotel SEO tools, the market has tons of excellent general search engine optimisation software that you can use to boost your SEO efforts. Some of them are:

Using these tools, you’ll be able to conduct keyword research, track your website’s performance, monitor search engine ranking data, and fix any technical SEO issues you might find. 

11. Partner with a Dedicated SEO Agency

Although it’s possible to create a hotel SEO strategy on your own, you’ll get better and faster results by partnering with an experienced SEO service agency like Startup Voyager.

At Startup Voyager, 70% of our client’s articles rank on page one for their target keyword. 

But that’s not all.

We’ve also taken a client from 0 organic traffic to 100,000+ within a year!

The best part?

We’ve achieved this with marketing strategies that relied on ZERO backlinks!

Oh, and let’s not forget that our SEO packages have helped our clients outrank giant sites like Forbes, Bloomberg, Cosmopolitan, Microsoft, and more!

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Key Takeaways

Here are some final SEO tips to keep in mind:

  • Keyword research is crucial for any effective SEO and hotel marketing strategy. It can help you target lucrative keywords that are worth your time. 
  • Ensure you churn out high-quality, value-based website content that answers your customers’ search intent. 
  • Your hotel’s website is a booking magnet tool and a key component of your SEO strategy. As a result, you must ensure your hotel website performs optimally and provides visitors with the best user experience possible.  

Last but not least, if you want to achieve 4x–20x traffic growth with high quality content and search engine optimization, it’s best to partner with a professional SEO service agency like Startup Voyager.

Connect with an SEO expert at Startup Voyager to learn more about our hotel SEO services and create a conversion-based hotel SEO strategy today!

About the author

Jayati is the Co-founder at Startup Voyager, a digital marketing agency with expertise in growth marketing. She has worked with top national newspapers in India, including the Financial Express and The Telegraph, writing cutting-edge content in information technology, finance, and automobile sectors.

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