The tourism industry is worth billions of dollars.
Post the pandemic, people everywhere are dying to go to new places.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always translate to easy
An overabundance of online content means visitors are spoilt for choice.
So how can your hotel business stand out in the crowd?You need a systematic hotel SEO strategy to compete with travel bloggers, aggregators, negative reviews, and the searcher’s attention span. 😵💫
Wondering how you can navigate this impossible terrain?
You found the right sherpa!
By the end, you’ll not only know the basics to get started but also learn how to measure and improve your hotel SEO progress.
In This Article:
- What Is Hotel SEO?
- 5 Pillars of a Successful Hotel SEO Strategy
- How to Measure and Improve Hotel SEO?
Ready to check in?
What Is Hotel SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for hotels is a set of strategies and practices to improve your website’s organic visibility on search engines.
Simply put, it’s how you can get more people to find or stumble on your hotel during web searches on search engines like Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, etc.
A lot of SEO practices revolve around generating quality content. But it’s not limited to this.
The basic idea is:
Whenever a person searches using a keyword related to your hotel (Ex: ‘hotels in San Francisco,’ ‘holiday resorts near me,’ etc.), your hotel website shows up as the top search engine result!
Why Is Hotel SEO Essential?
Let’s explore why every business should use this digital marketing channel and why hotels like yours need it more…
1. It’s Practically Free!
Beyond the basic setup costs, you spend very little on SEO marketing.
Search engine optimization routinely delivers a much better return on investment (ROI) than paid digital marketing channels like Google Ads or social media promotions.
Because, unlike these channels, Google doesn’t charge you for each impression or click.
Good on them — and you!
2. Organic Search Is Probably Your Biggest Traffic Source
Thanks to Google being a completely free-to-use tool, organic web searches are typically the top drivers of website traffic.
As far as the travel and hospitality industries are concerned, 35% of their web traffic is organic, probably beating all other digital marketing channels.
Check out our 12 point Travel SEO checklist.
If people are landing on your website, they most likely Googled you first.
It’s a verb for a reason. 😏
3. DIY Travelers
Tourism is largely a user-driven industry.
This means individuals planning their holiday are the largest chunk of your target market.
Despite the abundance of packaged and group tours, more people each year prefer planning their trips the DIY route.
And where do they start?
You guessed it — they Google it!
SEO ensures your hotel website is up and ready for the millions of organic web searchers looking for crystal-clear information to plan their holidays.
4. Intense Competition
We’re not the first to say it and won’t be the last.
It’s hard to attract eyeballs, especially if you’re located in a popular tourist destination.
But an SEO strategy will help your hotel business stand out.
Unlike traditional ads that target people with or without an intent to buy, SEO marketing is all about nuanced targeting.
Because you generate content strictly around the user’s intent – attracting the right audience.
5. More Brand Awareness
Finally, you’re in the game for the long haul.
Organic visitors today could mean sales tomorrow.
Every page you publish that focuses on your user’s intent is an investment in the long-term relevance of your website.
The more your users come across your hotel’s name on Google search results, the more likely they’ll trust that it’s an authentic and reliable brand.
And that’s the long and short of why SEO should be an essential part of your hotel marketing toolkit! To plan your hotel SEO strategy, start by first understanding the typical audience who looks up hotels online.
Types of Searchers in Hotel SEO
Here’s a quick list of the various stages of holiday planning and what the traveler might expect from your site.
|Stage of travel planning
|Top of the Funnel (ToFU) searcherEarly stages of planning a trip. Unsure of basics like dates, destination, itinerary, etc.,
|Educational content about the pros and cons of various holiday destinations, best times to travel, things to do, etc.
|Middle of the Funnel (MoFU) searcherBasics are in place.Hashing out specifics such as hotels, neighborhoods to visit, the places to eat at, etc.
|Logistical information about travel times, weather conditions, what to pack, hotel fares, etc.
|Bottom of the Funnel (BoFU) searcherReady to book and pay
|Clear information about prices, discounts, offers, promotions, etc.
But hey. People are people.
These are just some examples of what people might be looking for. A detailed SEO strategy will cover much more than just this.
Ready to travel to that next place?
Let’s keep moving! 🛫
5 Pillars of a Successful Hotel SEO Strategy
Trust the experts on this — SEO wasn’t built in one day. 🏗️
It takes a series of coordinated activities over a long period to reap the desired results.
But reap you shall!
For a bountiful harvest of organic traffic, we recommend you start with a strong foundation of a website and build over it with great content and local SEO.
- 1. Create a User-Friendly Website
- a. Versatile Content Management System (CMS)
- b. Intuitive Page Navigation and Content Hierarchy
- c. Optimized URLs
- d. Meta Descriptions
- e. Image Optimization
- f. Page Speed
- g. Mobile Friendliness
- h. Voice Search and Smart Assistant Optimization
- i. Link Building to Attract Traffic
- j. Conversion Rate Optimization
- 2. Generate High-Quality Content
- 3. Leverage Local SEO
- 4. Optimize for an International Audience
- 5. Master Technical SEO to Improve Crawlability
- BONUS: Optimize for Seasonal Trends
1. Create a User-Friendly Website
A website is your hotel’s online reception desk.
Let’s see what you can do to make it accessible, friendly, and helpful.
a. Versatile Content Management System (CMS)
SEO begins in the mists of time…long before your website ever existed.
It all starts with the right CMS — software that helps you create, edit, organize, and publish websites. Unless you plan on building your hotel website from scratch the old-fashioned way, a CMS will be essential.
A CMS enables you to bypass the backend each time you need to change something. And practically anyone on your team can go about the usual publishing and editing processes on it regularly, without much training.
But it offers you more SEO value than just ease of use.
Most popular CMS can:
- Generate sitemaps automatically (more on this later)
- Use custom SEO plugins for keyword optimization, link building, etc.
- Make technical SEO adjustments to keep the site light
- Facilitate an e-commerce-first infrastructure
- Offer multilingual site structure support
The choice of your CMS can make or break your SEO performance. So, consult with an SEO expert before you land a CMS.
b. Intuitive Page Navigation and Content Hierarchy
Ever heard of the 5-second rule?
No, we’re not talking about the 🍩you dropped on the floor!
Five seconds is how long most marketers believe it takes for a visitor to make a snap judgment about your website.
In that time, visitors need a clear map of your website.
Design the site’s navigation such that within the first five seconds, a potential guest should be able to answer:
- What’s the website about
- Where should they look for their answers
A key element of a friendly user experience is a prominent and eye-catching navigation bar that lists the biggest content categories — like the Kimpton Hotels website.
Their web design uses a no-frills aesthetic to ensure the visitor gets a clear view. Kimpton also puts up their ‘featured destination’ front and center for maximum impact
Feel free to use tooltips to draw attention to the pages or parts of the hotel website that you need the visitor to pay attention to.
Finally, it may seem merely cosmetic, but H2/H3 formatting is one of the easiest ways to signal hierarchy to the reader. These text formatting styles appear in different font sizes and styles for the various types of text on your page.
The science is simple — big text stands out.
This is an example of how it’ll look in your site’s HTML code.
<h1> Hotel Name </h1>
<h2> Tagline/Subheading </h2>
<h3> Services offered, Room types </h3>
So on and so forth.
Google uses H2/H3 formatting to detect content hierarchy and showcase relevant bits of content on its search engine results page (SERPs).
In the case of Kimpton’s featured destination, the formatting used for ‘Fort Worth’ gives the site a better chance to show up for queries like ‘fort worth boutique hotels’.
In fact, there it is on position #4 for this very query!
c. Optimized URLs
A URL isn’t some unseen bit of code.
Most searchers are savvy enough to glean the page type and even its position in the site hierarchy from the URL alone.
For example, what would you rather click on:
The second URL is transparent and inspires trust, leading to a better user experience.
Optimize your URLs by:
- Removing unnecessary numbers, words, or symbols
- Reducing length
- Making site hierarchy evident
d. Meta Descriptions
These are short descriptions of everything on the page — preferably within 120 characters.
If written well, Google shows your meta description right under the URL on SERPs to describe your page to the searcher.
Think of it like an elevator pitch for your page.
Searchers in a hurry will use your meta description to distinguish between similar-sounding pages and avoid clicking on pages that don’t seem helpful.
The ideal meta description is pithy and attractive — just waiting to be clicked on!
Google frequently writes its own meta descriptions.
But it’s a best practice to write the best possible meta description on your end.
e. Image Optimization
A picture is indeed worth a thousand words…
…if you let it speak for itself. 😶
We don’t need to convince you about the importance of high-quality images in tourism. It’s all about making your viewers believe in the magic of your destination. ✨
But when it comes to hotel SEO, think beyond aesthetics.
Much of your site traffic could be from Google’s image search.
So, how can you optimize the images on your site for Google?
Here’s a 101 list to ace SEO optimization for images:
- Use the .jpg format for the best results.
- Name every image comprehensively.
- Include keywords in the ‘alt text’ within a brief description of each image in the backend.
Take a look at the St. Julien Hotel & Spa website, which is a top search result in the image search for ‘spacious hotel rooms boulder co.’
One of the reasons for their success is their flawlessly optimized images with descriptive alt text (contains ‘2 queen beds standard room’), fast-loading image size, and image content that answers the intent.
f. Page Speed
Remember the 5-second rule we spoke about above?
Well, it applies if your site loads within those five seconds!
To check if it does, hop on to Google’s free tool to test page speed — PageSpeedInsights.
Unfortunately, most hotel websites (even industry leaders like Hilton) fail this test 🔴
How can you improve the user experience with a great pagespeed?
Here are some quick wins you can benefit from today:
- Compress images and all media files as far as possible
- Use browser caching to ensure that elements like logos and footers load faster
- Reduce the number of redirects on your site
But most importantly, make checking page speed part of your SEO routine and optimize it whenever you update your site with new content.
g. Mobile Friendliness
First things first: EVERY site should be mobile-friendly.
But you need a mobile-first site all the more if you position your property as:
- Budget accommodation
- Flexible stay, etc.
Simply because your potential customers are likely booking on the go.
So meet them there!
A great example is the mobile website for NY Moore, a New York youth hostel. Their handy icon for mobile accessibility features and an availability calendar that opens in a new tab aid a fast and clean direct booking experience.
Start by putting your site through the mobile-friendliness ringer with Google’s free tool to test this: Mobile-Friendly Test.
Then, optimize it for mobile devices with the following elements of design:
- Large font sizes
- Easy-to-click icons
- Compressed images that load faster
- Accessible contact information to place a call, send an email, or chat quickly
h. Voice Search and Smart Assistants Optimization
Planning for vacations needn’t be stressful anymore, thanks to voice search (Siri, Google Assistant) and smart speakers (Alexa).
On paper, they may sound very similar. But in reality, they both cater to a very different search experience.
People use voice search on their phones to look up quick trivia, numbers, timings, prices, etc.
But smart speakers can provide a more detailed overview of the topic.
When working with SEO, you need to optimize for both use cases.
For the most part, doing everything mentioned in this article (specifically: using Schema markup, leveraging zero-click searches, and having a Google Business Profile) will help you rank for voice search and smart assistants, too.
But you can adapt your keyword research strategy to get a chunk of the FAQ searches.
For example, most queries in the hotel SEO context surround these questions:
- How much does a night at YourHotel cost?
- What amenities does YourHotel provide?
- What’s the best time to visit YourHotel destination?
- Things to do at YourHotel destination.
Ensure your SEO content answers common FAQs and is optimized with the FAQs schema.
How do you know what people want to know?
Just take a look at the ‘People Also Ask’ section on Google search, as well as scan user-generated content on sites like Quora and Reddit.
Here’s the search result that Google shows when you voice search a popular FAQ about Mt. Fuji.
i. Link Building to Attract Traffic
While backlinks are not as important a Google ranking factor as they used to be once upon a time, high-quality backlinks remain important players.
For one, they bring you that sweet, sweet traffic from sources you otherwise would not have been able to tap into.
Let’s say a high-traffic travel blog links to your site.
This exposes your property to all its readers who are already looking for great hotels.
But don’t fall for black-hat SEO practices like buying backlinks.
Instead, earn them as part of a sophisticated PR push that targets top bloggers, news outlets, travel sites, and more.
Offer to write a guest blog on their sites and invite them to write about you.
For example, when leading travel influencer Brian Kelly (a.k.a. The Points Guy) reviews Disney’s Riviera Resort (and links to their website), the property gains potential access to his 300K+ followers on Instagram.
j. Conversion Rate Optimization
But this needn’t always be a direct booking.
Conversions could be a potential guest submitting their contact information for a newsletter or clicking ‘know more’ on a discount nudge.
At its heart, visitor converts when they take a desired action.
And conversion rate optimization is nothing more than pushing them closer to this point.
Since it’s a culmination of all your SEO efforts, we recommend you establish the basic practices mentioned in the rest of this article and monitor your progress on free SEO tools.
Identify your top traffic pages and double down on optimizing them first.
Then, ensure that all your website’s conversion points are easy to spot and access.
For example, if you’re using CTAs like ‘Book now’ or ‘Check availability,’ place them above the fold, in a bold font, and after some compelling copy, just like Moxy Hotel here.
Use pop-ups, but place them strategically so as avoid interrupting the reader’s flow.
Ultimately, conversion rate optimization will be an ongoing process and a collaboration between marketing, sales, and design teams.
2. Generate High-Quality Content
Remember the types of travelers we explored above?
The one thing common to them all — they’re all looking for information.
But to stand out in a sea of free online information, you’ll need a thorough content strategy.
Let’s start building one.
a. Focused Keyword Research
One doesn’t simply start writing SEO content without keyword research first!
Detailed keyword research will allow you to understand different keyword trends, expand your content buckets, and target low-hanging fruits first.
Let’s work with an example:
We’re conducting keyword research for a hotel and casino property in Las Vegas.
And we’re ALL in. 💸
Let’s explore the keyword research and selection step-by-step and cover all key considerations for the process.
i. Select Seed Keywords
First, let’s list ‘seed’ keywords that form the foundation of our entire keyword strategy. These are the most pivotal keywords that you want to rank for over time.
How to find them?
Use Google’s auto-suggest feature, go through your competitor’s website, or refer to your own marketing material. Remember to work in your USP within these seed keywords — something your property stands out for.
In this case, we can work with:
- Best casino in las vegas
- Casinos in las vegas
- Las vegas hotels with casinos
ii. Analyze Keyword Difficulty and Search Volumes
It’s time now to run them through a keyword research tool for accurate information on how many people search for them each month.
We recommend using Ahrefs — a top-tier keyword research tool. But you can choose from a number of free and paid research tools in the market.
Here’s what we find for these keywords in Ahrefs
We can now click on each to study their data in detail.
Before we do, here are some common terms to understand:
- Keyword difficulty indicates how difficult it may be to rank for the keyword
- Search volume shows the approximate average number of people searching the term on Google each month.
This speaks to a general trend in keywords:
High-volume keywords tend to be harder to rank for.
There are simply more web pages fighting for all those users searching for a very relevant keyword.
But the more specific and detailed (or long-tailed) a keyword is, the lower its search volume usually is.
Because fewer people are using long-tailed keywords.
So, going back to our original list of seed keywords, we target the highest volume of searchers with ‘casinos in las vegas’, right?
While ‘casinos in las vegas’ has a MUCH higher search volume of 5700, ‘hotels with casinos in las vegas’ (search volume: 400) might be easier to rank for based on its keyword difficulty (0).
And here’s the icing on the cake — ranking for the low-volume keyword might be worth losing the traffic of high-volume keywords.
Low-volume, long-tail keywords usually denote a refined search intent. These searchers are more sure of their needs and are seeking more in-depth information. If can deliver it to them, you can look forward to conversions. 🤑
For example, a searcher browsing for ‘casinos in Las Vegas’ may just be browsing out of curiosity. But someone looking at ‘safest casinos in Las Vegas’ has probably hashed out their priorities and knows what type of property they seek.
In other words, people searching for specific, narrower keywords are more likely to be bottom- or middle-of-the-funnel (MoFU or BoFU) searchers.
Does this mean you give up the pursuit of all that sweet, sweet, high search volume traffic for ‘casinos in las vegas’?
But you can keep targeting these keywords alongside a diverse range of topics for all kinds of searchers.
This brings us to —
iii. Target E-E-A-T Keywords
In 2022, Google gave a clear signal to SEOs. Their algorithm ranks content based on:
This means merely targeting high-volume keywords needn’t be your priority anymore. Instead, the EEAT matrix can guide your keyword selection process.
Go after a bunch of keywords that demonstrate these four attributes in your content. This way, Google will improve your domain authority and, soon, you’ll be able to rank for tougher keywords, too!
Also, there’s only so much you can write on ‘best casinos in vegas’. 😅
So, instead, split your keywords into various ‘clusters’ or categories that target all the different things your potential guest is looking for.
You can figure this out by looking at Google Trends, your guest reviews, competitors’ content, and simply getting to know your potential guests better!
A few examples of hotel SEO keywords in clusters are:
- ‘Things to do’ keywords like:
- Poker tournaments 2023
- Las Vegas night tour
- Grand Canyon tour package
- Gambling safety keywords like:
- Gambling laws Nevada
- Slot machine odds
- Casino blackjack rules
- Amenities-related keywords like:
- Best casino food and drinks
- Poolside casino
- Casino buffet
Plus, when you run these keywords through Ahrefs, you see a diversity of keyword difficulties and search volumes as well.
Need help to figure out the perfect combination of keywords?
Just get in touch with Startup Voyager for expert SEO services for your hotel and hit the SEO jackpot! 🎰
b. Video Marketing on Social Media
Hearing crickets on your social media pages?
Well, here’s one way to reactivate them.
A 2022 survey found that 88% of people buy a product or service after watching a branded video.
This can’t come as a surprise in an image-centric industry like tourism.
Dedicate resources to a video marketing strategy that highlights:
- Cleanliness and safety practices
- Scenic locations
- Guest experiences
The SEO payoff?
It increases your chance to show up on Google’s video results page, improving impressions and overall domain authority.
Plus, you can repurpose video content across social media to attract more viewers to your website.
Use each platform to showcase a different side of your brand:
- Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook to highlight scenic views and lifestyle your property offers
- Twitter, Reddit, and Quora to respond to people’s practical concerns about their stay
- LinkedIn to highlight company culture and brand values
And always remember to leave clear links and directions to your website.
Measure the SEO payoff of your social media strategy by quantifying the traffic attributable to these channels.
The Ritz, London, went all in on their video marketing strategy. They partnered with the local daily, Evening Standard, to create a classy but in-depth ‘behind the scenes’ video that captures The Ritz’s opulence and builds an intimate connection with the viewers.
c. Non-blog Long-form Content
Finally, reach out to potential customers beyond your hotel website — inside their inboxes — with newsletters, emailers, and resources like ebooks and travel planners.
When done right, content marketing can expand your scope from a place to stay to a brand that resonates with the reader’s overall lifestyle.
It’s also an excellent way to keep people engaged during the off-season or for other reasons that curtail traveling, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Tennesse-based luxury hotel Blackberry Farm takes the blog one step further and turns it into a full-fledged online magazine.
This biannual publication encourages readers to live out the Blackberry farm lifestyle through stunning photography and captivating content. It’s a jumping-off point for the reader to learn more about the property and increase the number of direct bookings.
But, regardless of your format, some fundamentals never fail. Make sure your content:
- Speaks to the readers’ needs and not just sells your product
- Uses simple, everyday language without talking down to the reader
- Is relevant to seasonal trends and current affairs
- Includes calls to action (CTAs) to drive conversions
3. Leverage Local SEO
Last-minute, direct bookings via local search can be easy pickings.
But only if these travelers can quickly spot your hotel website online.
Optimizing for local SEO will help you ensure this.
Local SEO is a bunch of Google Search features allowing searchers to spot relevant results for local keywords that include terms like ‘near me.’
But even without this, Google can detect the searcher’s location from the IP address and show results in that particular region.
The irony is, unlike other keywords, you can’t rank for a ‘near me’ or other local search queries simply by targeting it in your content.
Instead, follow these sets of practices to strengthen your local SEO game.
a. Structured Data for Rich Results
This happens when you Google ‘bed and breakfast near me’ in New York.
You get a ‘hotel pack,’ a SERP feature tailored for hotel searches, for New York. The cluster of pins on the map will show you more relevant hotels with a bubble for tariffs.
Plus, we get many other search results, ranging from review sites to booking aggregators, catering to the same locale.
If your hotel shows up on these rich results, you too can shine with:
✅A top spot on the page
✅Brag about rave Google reviews
✅Invite a direct booking lead even before a reader scrolls down
Wondering how your property can get under this limelight?
Schema Markups for hotels.
This is a type of code that lets Google pick up the unique characteristics of your hotel website to showcase them as these rich results we saw earlier.
With a little bit of coding, your property can show up for relevant searches in the form of hundreds of types of rich results, such as:
- Availability of rooms
- Distance from selected destinations
- Contact information, etc.
And all of this before the user even visits your site.
For example, Grand Park Royal Cancun ranks second in the hotel pack for ‘cancun resorts.’ In this screenshot, we can see its Schema markup code for the ‘address’ attribute
If appearing on the Google SERPs is like sending an invitation to the searcher, showing up with a rich result is like opening your door wide and waving the guests in!
b. Google Business Profile
Google Business (formerly Google My Business) is an exhaustive business registry — think yellow pages, but on steroids. 💪
Over the years, it’s been instrumental in getting newly established and small business owners to gain online visibility.
It’s free to sign up for, and Google offers detailed instructions on how to do it. All you need is basic information about the nature of your business, locations serviced, timings, contact information, etc.
Finally, you’ll need to verify this information via phone, email, postcard, video recording, or a live video call.
Once you do, you can control how your business appears on Google’s local search, Google Maps, and Google Shopping – AKA the places guests are searching for you!
But only if you keep this business listing up-to-date with the help of the latest:
- Exact Google Map location
- Business hours
- Contact information
- Information on amenities, services, menus, prices, etc.
- On-location photos
- Updates on events and offers
Not to mention, your guests will be key in keeping your Business Profile alive and flourishing. Invite them to post pictures and review your property regularly.
Here, we see how The Inn has leveraged its ample photos and positive Google reviews in its business profile. Clearly displayed addresses and contact information also inspire trust.
And don’t be afraid of negative Google reviews. It’s your chance to address customer concerns head-on. Put your customer service team in charge of responding to reviews in a mature and compassionate manner.
c. Optimization for Zero-Click Searches
But wait a second, isn’t SEO all about getting clicks?
Yes and no.
Of course, you want people to land on your hotel website, explore its content, and book ASAP.
But even if they don’t, optimizing for zero-click searches will keep your domain top-of-the-mind for the searcher AND Google.
So, what exactly is a zero-click search?
This is simply a type of Google search in which the searcher finds answers to their queries without clicking on a result.
And Google loves them.
Because it’s all about making a seamless search experience for the average user. SEMRush found that nearly 25.6% of desktop searches result in zero clicks.
Some examples of zero-click searches in the context of hotel SEO are:
- Distance between destinations and/or properties
- Tariff and availability
- Contact information
- Business hours
- Basic amenities
Schema markup and a Google Business Profile are the foundation if you want your site to show up for queries related to this list.
Besides this, ensure your keyword research strategy covers FAQs about your property, such as popular things to do, destinations, etc. Just like you’d optimize for voice search.
Plus, careful text formatting for H2/H3 should help your content get picked for the ‘Featured Snippets’ section of SERPs, just like Slickdeals and Hotel Chantelle here.
4. Optimize for an International Audience
The ‘revenge travel’ trend has reset the clock for the tourism industry.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) reports that international tourism has gone back to its pre-pandemic levels, with nearly 235 million people traveling abroad in the first quarter of 2023.
How can you get a piece of this cake?
Open your windows to the world with international SEO!
a. Non-Google Search Engines
Google simply doesn’t have the same access to many internet users abroad.
Some call it the ‘great firewall of China’ while others simply recognize it as different preferences.
People in these markets rely on other search engines, such as:
- Yahoo in Japan
- Baidu in China
- Yandex in Russia
- Cốc Cốc in Vietnam
- And many more!
But you don’t have to worry about all Google alternatives out there. Bring in the marketing big guns to recognize the most critical international markets for your strategy and start from there.
Then, collaborate with your web design team to figure out if you need:
- A ccTLD (Country Code Top Level Domain): Ex: www.yourhotel.fr. Get this if you own a property in the country or want to hyper-localize its content. However, they might be more expensive since it’s essentially like setting up a new website.
- A gTLD (General Top Level Domain) with language specifications: Ex: www.yourhotel.com/lang=fr. Use this if you’re simply translating content for your international audience.
- A subdomain on the existing site: Ex: www.fr.yourhotel.com. If you’re hosting international properties on your main domain, use a local subdomain.
- A subdirectory within the existing site: Ex: www.yourhotel.com/fr. If international content is only a small part of the website, just place it in a subdirectory.
Finally, set up a whole new SEO strategy for the market based on the search engine you’re optimizing for.
Remember, the fundamentals for SEO remain the same everywhere: relevant, user-friendly content ranks on top.
So you could (and probably should) repurpose some content from the parent site. This will ensure visual and tone consistency across all your web properties.
But figure out the quirks for targeting each search engine.
- Cốc Cốc adds a green tick against verified company sites
- South Korean Naver might launch an AI-based search engine soon
- Chinese Petal Search restricts users from accessing the Android Playstore
Going international with your SEO is going to be no different from traveling abroad for the first time. So keep the spirit of adventure alive and enjoy the ride!
b. Translated or Multilingual Content
If you’ve done your marketing homework in the step above, you already know your target languages.
But before you sign up for a second language class, you need a foundation to work on.
Check your CMS’ compatibility with your target language. The most commonly used CMSs (WordPress, Drupal, etc.) are mostly multilingual-friendly.
Whether you’re creating fresh content or translating from the parent website, make sure you look at the local keyword data.
Keyword research tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush will easily give you keyword information for multiple languages across countries.
Track these trends to ensure your translated content thrives, too.
Finally, add an ‘hreflang’ tag to replica pages on the translated site/subdomain/subdirectory.
This bit of HTML code tells the search engine that the translated page is a mirror image of the specific parent page.
Doing this will prevent the search engine from picking both your pages for the same search query so that they don’t compete with each other.
Check out how the Accor group manages multiple countries and languages as subdirectories within the same site.
5. Master Technical SEO to Improve Website’s Crawlability
SEO is and always will be for humans first.
But you do need to look at a few technical aspects to ensure search engine bots can crawl and index your pages easily.
Let’s take a look at how technical SEO can save the day.
a. Sitemaps and Page Indexing
Google has a lot on its hands. You can’t blame them for needing a shortcut here or there.
Sitemaps are one of the ways you can help it out.
A sitemap contains all the URLs on your site in an .XML file so that Google bots or other crawlers can easily spot them.
If you have less than 500 pages on your site, you probably don’t need a sitemap right now.
But as the site grows, it becomes more complex and increases the risk of Google missing a page and failing to index it.
What’s an index?
It’s Google’s registry of all live URLs to show relevant pages to searchers.
Now, here’s where things get a bit more complicated.
You may not want some pages to get indexed because you don’t want them to appear on SERPs. Maybe they’re duplicate pages or paywalled content.
You can simply add a ‘noindex’ tag in the URL’s HTML.
This way, even if Google crawls the page, it won’t index them.
b. Security Configuration and Broken Links
To trust your site as a safe place for searchers, Google must believe that you comply with some minimum security standards.
A pretty basic one is to ensure your site uses the ‘https’ instead of just ‘http.’
Google usually warns users about visiting http websites, which could reduce your traffic significantly.
Thankfully, a simple process of acquiring a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate will add https to your URL.
Besides this, avoid having any 404 pages on your site. If a user clicks on a page and finds a 404, it increases your bounce rate and indicates to Google that your site is not reliable.
The same goes for broken links. Ensure all external links from your website lead to live and trustworthy sites.
The flip side of this?
If too many shady and unreliable sites are seen linking to your site, it could lower your domain authority. So, make sure to ‘disavow’ such unwanted external backlinks regularly.
Altogether, these basic measures will ensure that Google doesn’t detect any obvious security threats on your site.
BONUS: Optimize for Seasonal Trends
There’s a reason why we put this as a ‘bonus’ point.
Only seasoned SEO wizards with strong foundations can ride the seasonal traffic wave. 🏄
Which you undoubtedly are by now!
To get with this program, first identify peak seasons for your property. It could be:
- Big national and international holidays (Christmas, New Year’s, etc.)
- Small, local affairs (carnivals, harvests, eco-tourism, etc.)
- The most pleasant seasons of your geography
One business’ low season is another’s peak.
So, spot your opportunities. You could even have multiple peak seasons in a year!
Once you know the date, start planning your content and SEO activities at least six months before that.
Remember, if it’s a peak season for you, it’s the same for your competitors.
So, work with marketing to figure out what your unique value proposition this season will be.
A discount or perks per direct booking?
Consider setting up a category or subcategory on your site for seasonal attractions.
Once you’ve laid the foundation, it’s time to prep the content.
If you’ve been doing this for a while, update all your older content first. You don’t want a Christmas 2012 page to show up for a recent holiday search.
For fresh content, start with comprehensive keyword research. Try to capture current trends that affect the particular season. For example, if it were a pandemic-time Christmas, it would make sense to go for keywords like ‘safe holiday stays,’ ‘quarantine christmas,’ etc.
Finally, time your publishing to the T.
Check Google Trends to see when the search trends peak for particular keywords and plan to publish right before that window.
Based on this trend, we can observe that the searches for ‘christmas destinations’ in 2022 started climbing from September onwards, peaked in the middle of December, and fell after that.
What could this mean for your publishing schedule and traffic?
Only one way to find out:
Start planning and measuring!
How to Measure and Improve Hotel SEO?
This is the part where you do count your chickens before they hatch. 🐣🥚🐣
Or at least dig into intelligent, data-driven insights about your
chickens hotel SEO strategy.
Let’s first look at the tools you can use to measure your SEO effort and then explore some common metrics to draw insights from.
A. 3 Best Free SEO Tools for All Businesses
Still experimenting with SEO?
Start with this free suite of Google tools to plan and track your strategy.
1. Google Trends
This is the logical extension of Google’s near-complete monopoly on the search engine market.
Google Trends essentially gives you vast, worldwide data on the most popular searches regarding:
- Their geography
- The rise and fall in their popularity
For example, here’s a glimpse at what shows up on the homepage for USA on Aug 21, 2023.
This organically reveals what’s on people’s minds.
But you can also input specific keywords and check their trends, as shown in the point above.
2. Google Search Console
Every website accessible to Google has a Google Search Console account.
All you need to do is verify yourself as the website’s owner per Google’s specifications.
Once you’re in, GSC gives you the juiciest insider information about every page on your website, such as.
- No. of clicks and impressions
- Rankings per page
- Rise and fall in website traffic and impressions
- Status of page indexation
You can also use it to submit pages for indexation or new sitemaps.
It’s the first place you must visit to understand your site’s performance.
3. Google Analytics
Finally, the champion tool of them all.
Both GSC and GA4 give you website insights. But only GA4 lets you analyze performance for your selected demographics on a much more granular level.
For example, if you’ve defined college seniors and young professionals between 21 and 35 as your key demographic, you can use GA4 to isolate and study their activity on your hotel website.
Plus, GA4 is more conversion-centric.
It lets you set up specific conversion events (such as ‘book now’ or ‘sign up for newsletter’) and track your user’s progress towards them.
But to be fair, GA4 is much more advanced than the other free Google tools.
So, it might make more sense to get someone trained in using it.
Or you can take up one of the several online courses to learn how to use it.
Once done, GA4 can unlock insights such as:
B. 7 Key SEO Metrics for All Websites
Don’t lose yourself in a sea of data. Track the most crucial metrics and maintain your focus.
Pick from this essential starter kit of SEO metrics.
This is the number of times your website or webpage was seen as a search engine result in any of its formats — listed result, featured snippet, image, knowledge packs, etc.
You can find information about this in Google Search Console (Performance Report), which also allows you to sort pages by impressions.
Expect impressions to rise slowly over time and fluctuate with seasonal trends.
2. Clicks and CTR
Clicks are the number of times people, well, click your page.
Too wide a gap between impressions and clicks might indicate something is wrong.
So, an impressions vs. clicks analysis is vital to everyday SEO.
Learn more about the impact of Click Through Rates on your SEO strategy here.
Your webpage’s search engine rankings significantly affect both its impressions and clicks.
Google’s intense and rigorous algorithm ensures that the top search results showcase only the best of the best content.
A 2023 FirstPage study found that the top 3 results walk away with 39.8% clicks. The no. 1 position has 27.6%!
So, will you show up on these positions or a competitor?
If you team up with an SEO expert like Startup Voyager, you’ll hike up to position #1 in no time!
4. Unique Visitors
While traffic is important, you also want to ensure that your website reaches newer audiences each passing day.
Measuring unique visitors will help you do this.
Once you spot them, you can track their progress through your sales funnel over time.
5. Bounce Rate
When a user leaves your website after just viewing a single page, it’s counted as a bounce.
Too high a bounce rate might indicate to Google that your site is not delivering value to visitors.
6. Pages Per Session
A user who browses more than a few pages per visit is more likely to convert than those who browse a single page and bounce off.
That’s why Pages Per Session is a critical metric to track via GA4.
7. Traffic Value
Sites like Ahrefs and Accuranker give you an estimate of how much it would cost you to bid for the keywords that you’re ranking for organically.
For example, let’s say your traffic value is USD 1000, and you’re ranking for ‘cheap hotels in Asheville county,’ ‘family hotel Ashville,’ and other related terms. This means it would’ve cost you $1,000 to rank for the same keywords vis Google Ads.
That’s $1,000 saved!
Kaching kaching 💲💲💲
If you have a well-thought-out and consistent SEO approach, it won’t be long before you start seeing four figures in traffic value.
Ready to dip your toes in that pond?
Reach out to us, and we’ll tell you how you can —
Five-Star Hotel SEO with Startup Voyager
You now see that hotel SEO isn’t as simple as writing something and ranking for it the next day.
It’s a long-term hotel marketing strategy that requires expertise, experience, and, above all, patience.
These can be hard to find while running a hotel business.
So why don’t you partner with an SEO agency that has all three in abundance?
Startup Voyager has a background in designing and implementing SEO marketing strategies for new and established businesses alike.
We’ve taken a client’s website from 0 to 100,000 visitors within a year — all without ads. And the following year, we developed content that routinely outranked government websites!
We won’t say it’s easy, which is why we’re up for the challenge!
Get in touch today for hotel SEO services and give us the chance to prove it to you 😎