SEO for Hotels: How to Boost Your Online Bookings
Forget about travel agents and holiday brochures. Your guests are searching Google to find the best hotel deals. If you're not getting ranked (aka page 1 of Google) you're losing out to your competitors.
How do you fix this?
Create a complete hotel SEO strategy, including keyword research, content creation, on-site SEO, and link building (off-page SEO). Use these four pillars of SEO for hotels alongside local SEO, and you're guaranteed to see results.
Boost your online bookings with our helpful guide below.
In this guide:
What is SEO for Hotels?
SEO, or search engine optimisation, relies on a collection of tactics to improve your visibility or ranking on the search engine results page (SERP). Whether your potential guests are searching for "best hotels in Miami" or "where to stay in London," these strategies and tactics ensure you outcompete your competitors appearing higher up the SERP.
Results higher up the search page always see more clicks and organic traffic than those lower down. If you're relegated to Google's second, third, or fourth page, forget about it.
SEO for hotels is a combination of standard SEO techniques, such as keyword research and content creation, as well as local SEO that targets specific local keywords and Google My Business listings.
Developing a Hotel SEO Strategy
In the following four sections, you'll get a snapshot of how SEO for hotels works. See our complete guide to search engine optimisation for a more detailed explanation of each tactic.
1. Keyword Research
First up: keyword research. Keywords are the words or phrases people type into Google to find the information they're after. Integrating these terms into your content ensures Google understands what your content is about and when you should appear in the results.
That doesn't mean you can use any keyword. You'll want to choose keywords based on two factors: competitiveness and search volume.
These two factors are a balancing act. Usually, the more competitive a keyword is, the higher the search volume. For example, the keyword "New York Hotel" is far more competitive than "Bronx Hotel." New starters should try to select keywords with a medium to low competitiveness and a medium to high search volume.
That's not to say that low-volume keywords aren't necessary.
As a keyword becomes more specific or includes more words, the lower the search volume and competitiveness. So-called long-tail keywords have a higher search intent.
Search intent refers to what a searcher wants to find based on their initial query. The closer you match your content to the search intent, the more likely you will convert them into hotel guests. For example, just searching for "hotels in Paris" shows less search intent than "boutique hotel for two in Paris."
There are four types of search intent:
Informational Intent: The user is looking for information about hotels in a specific location or tips about hotel booking. Examples include "Best Hotels in New York City," "How to find cheap hotels," and "Hotel Amenities to look for."
Navigational Intent: The user is looking for a specific hotel or hotel chain's website or page within that site. Examples include "Hilton Hotels website," "Marriott customer service," or "Holiday Inn in Boston."
Transactional Intent: The user is ready to book a hotel room. Examples include "Book a room at Four Seasons Miami," "Reserve Marriott Los Angeles suite," or "Buy Hilton Honors points."
Commercial Intent: The user compares options and evaluates different hotels before booking. Examples include "Hyatt vs. Marriott," "Best luxury hotels in Chicago," or "Reviews of the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco."
For best results, identify your primary keyword, usually "hotel in [location]" or "hotel near me." Then, create a list of secondary keywords related to your hotel's defining features, e.g., "pet-friendly hotel in [location]," "best budget hotel," or "boutique London hotel."
Use these keyword tools to identify keywords:
Once you've got a list of potential keywords, it's time to integrate them into your site's content.
2. Content Creation
SEO for hotels requires two broad forms of content:
Landing Pages for Services
Answering Questions with Blog Posts
First, landing pages refer to a page where you funnel potential guests interested in a specific aspect of your services. As a rule, every service should have its own landing page. Not all hotels will need multiple landing pages. If you run a small BnB, your landing page should solely target the location-based keywords described above, e.g., "best BnB in St. Ives."
Whereas, if your hotel specialises in multiple services – think spas, restaurants, gyms, conferences – create a unique landing page targeting long-tail keywords for each aspect.
Second, blog posts vary considerably depending on the type of hotel. Don't think you only have to target keywords related to hotels. If you're a local hostel, you could write an article about the best budget restaurants in your city or a backpacker's guide to your city.
Your content should always target your core demographics, answering questions they may have or exploring topics they'd be interested in. These articles won't generate immediate results. However, they do build brand awareness and establish your hotel as a regional authority. Plus, they're valuable resources to email guests coming to stay.
3. On-Page SEO
Keyword research and content creation are just two aspects of on-page SEO. You also need to consider these factors:
Meta Descriptions and Title Tags
Picture these as your online "elevator pitch." The meta description is a short summary that appears in search results beneath your website's URL.
The title tag is the clickable headline seen in these results. These elements are critical for attracting potential guests to click on your website amidst the sea of options they face.
For instance, a well-crafted title tag such as "Luxurious Beachfront Resort in Miami – OceanView Hotel" coupled with a compelling meta description could increase the likelihood of someone choosing your site over others.
Every hotelier knows the importance of stunning visuals in appealing to potential guests. However, it's not enough to just have beautiful images; they need to be optimised for SEO. This involves giving your images descriptive file names and alt tags, ensuring they're in a format that balances quality with file size to promote faster loading times.
A well-optimised image can appear in search engine image results, giving you another opportunity to draw in potential guests.
With the prevalence of smartphones, it's more important than ever to ensure your hotel's website looks good and functions seamlessly across all devices.
This means having a responsive design that adjusts to fit any screen size, providing an optimal user experience whether the visitor is on a desktop, tablet, or phone. Google considers mobile responsiveness in their rankings. So, a mobile-friendly site will also score you SEO points.
The URL isn't just the address of your website or web pages; it can also provide valuable context about your site's content to both users and search engines. Having clean, concise URLs that include relevant keywords is a best practice.
For instance, a URL like "www.yourhotel.com/rooms/penthouse-suite" immediately tells visitors and search engines what they can expect to find on that page.
Effective internal linking can provide a roadmap to your website, guiding visitors through related content. For a hotel, this could mean linking from a blog post about the local area to specific accommodation options or from the homepage to special offers.
This not only improves user experience by making your site easier to navigate but also helps search engines understand the structure and importance of different pages on your site.
Site Load Times
Just as guests expect prompt service at your hotel, they also expect your website to load quickly. Slow loading times can lead to high bounce rates, with visitors leaving before they've even had a chance to see what you offer.
Improving your site's speed involves optimising all elements, from the size of images to the efficiency of code. Google has indicated site speed is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages, making this an essential consideration for SEO.
Schema markup, often called "schema," is a form of microdata added to your website that helps search engines better understand your content. For hotels, this could include information on amenities, star ratings, reviews, and price range.
When this information is included in your site's search result listings, it can significantly enhance click-through rates by providing users with valuable information at a glance.
User Experience (UX)
Beyond the specific SEO strategies, providing a great user experience on your website is crucial. A site that's easy to navigate, pleasing to the eye, and intuitive to use can keep visitors engaged longer, increasing the chances they'll complete a booking.
User experience is believed to be a factor in search engine rankings, meaning a well-designed site won't just impress your visitors—it'll impress search engines, too.
4. Off-Page SEO or Link Building
Link building primarily refers to backlinks. However, there are three types of links to consider:
Internal Links. Links between site pages. For example, if you've got blog posts about the best spas in Denver, include a link to your spa service page.
External Links. Links from your site to another site. Including these links helps evidence your content and boost your rank. For example, an article about the best restaurants in Chicago could link to each restaurant's website.
Backlinks. Links from another site to your site. The holy grail of SEO – prioritise generating high-quality backlinks from authoritative sources, e.g., the local newspaper or a major hotel review site, rather than hundreds of low-quality links.
Here are some simple ways for hotels to build backlinks:
Register your website at online hotel directories.
Receive links from your local hotel association or chamber of commerce.
Create high-quality content people will link to.
Ask clients, vendors, and other individuals to link to your content.
List your hotel on sites such as TripAdvisor.
Local SEO for Hotels
Google differentiates between local searches and global searches. Hotel searches almost always come under local SEO.
Local SEO for hotels involves getting rankings for location-related keywords, e.g., "hotels near me" or "hotel in London." And it requires hotels to appear in the Google map pack: this is the map banner that appears in Google results for local searches.
To appear in the "map pack," you must claim and optimise your Google Business profile.
Claim your free Google Business Profile. Go to google.com.business, and click 'Manage Now.' Complete all the necessary steps.
Optimise your profile. Add as much information as Google allows, including opening times, address, number, photos, and more.
Generate high-quality reviews. Ask guests to rate your hotel by sending them a link after their stay. The more 5-star reviews you get, the better you'll perform.
Build a Catalogue of Compelling Content
That's the basics of SEO for hotels. Employing these tactics will always generate better results than those who don't bother. Don't neglect search engines – they're your best friends for boosting bookings.
However, hoteliers rarely have the time or energy to keep up with content creation. That's where we come in.
Impeccable Writing will delve into your local region, find relevant topics, explore your customer base, and create a content calendar filled with exciting content guaranteed to get clicks.
Book a free consultation today to discover how we can boost your business!