Hotel SEO made Simple – Part 29 min read
In Part 1 of our Hotel SEO series, we covered the importance of SEO for your hotel’s website and what you need to do to organically rank 1st on Google for your hotel name.
However, there are more steps you should take to optimize your hotel website performance and rank higher for other important keywords or terms other than your hotel name.
This is what we call ‘SEO Fairy Dust’, actions that you can implement in addition to the fundamentals which will help your hotel website perform better and be found more easily with more than just your property name.
In this article, we address the topic of technical SEO and 5 simple yet effective actions that will have a direct impact on your hotel website’s SEO and increase your traffic. The best part here is that these steps do not require you to be a coder or developer.
5 Technical Hotel SEO Tips to Optimize your Hotel Website
In order for your hotel website to rank 1st on Google for more then your property name, you need to consider the following ranking factors:
1. Choose the right permalinks for your Hotel Website
Permalink stands for ‘permanent link’ and every page of your website has a different one. It includes your domain followed by a slash and a word or phrase. For example: hoteldomain.xyz/activities. While you can’t (and shouldn’t) change your domain for each page, you are able to add the last word(s) of it, what shows after the ‘/’, making this the specific address for a specific page.
The permalink should be kept simple and relevant, because visitors use these URLs to visit your site and search engines use it to index them. According to accuranker, if you average 8 words or less after the ‘/’ in your URL, there’s a serious increase in page rank than if you have more. So remember, less is more when creating a permalink.
In addition, much like the keywords that you use across your website content, keywords in your permalinks help Google understand the content on your web page. It’s very important to use a rich keyword in it. For example if the page is about the activities in New York, use the phrase “/Activities in New York” in the permalink.
For example, let’s say you’re working on your rooms page, and you decide to call the page ‘Dream’. Your permalink will then become your hotel website’s domain name followed by “dream” – which may sound dreamy to you, but won’t make much sense to online searchers or Google bots that crawl for relevant content to optimize or penalize your hotel website.
Above all else, you must always think about what your guests will search for, and not what you think will look or sound good.
2. Customize Your Meta titles & Meta descriptions
Meta titles are the singular line of text you see in Google’s Search Engine Results, after the page name that you can customize. A Meta description is the text below your page title and URL, which serves as a short description of that page.
This again can be very helpful information to Google and to your visitors. This is why it’s important to include relevant info in each meta title and description. The meta title should include the most important thing about the page and the meta description should summarise the content that the visitor will find when clicking in that link.
Remember, Google truncates text that runs over a certain character limit. To guarantee that your meta titles/descriptions show correctly in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and are effective, make sure the meta title is under 50 characters and meta description under 150 and above 70 characters.
If you’re missing or have poorly written meta information for your pages, it can result in potential visitors not noticing your website in Google search.
3. Optimize your Headings
Headings help your website visitors and Google understand and organize your page content. In each page of your hotel website, you have different headings to guide your visitor, so they work as signposts defining which parts of your content are more or less important and how they’re interconnected.
The different headings you have on each page should follow a hierarchy, starting in H1 and followed by H2, H3, etc to provide structured information to google bots as well so they can understand the most important information of each page.
According to SearchMetrics, 80% of first-page search results on Google use an H1 header, so it’s very important to guarantee that each of your website pages has at least one H1 heading, and that ideally should be your page title. Your page title should also contain your targeted keywords, meaning the most relevant words to your content.
After that, you should use an H2 subheading for less important content, followed by H3, H4, and so on. Only H1 should be used once per page, all the other headings can be used more than once and according to the relevance of each piece of content, in that page.
4. Add Alt Text to Your Hotel Website Photos
Alt text stands for ‘Alternative text’ which is the text description of the images you use on your website. Using alt text helps Google to read and identify the image content, which not only provides relevance to your content but also helps your photos to rank higher in Google Images.
Make sure all of the images you use on your hotel website have Alt Text to guarantee your pictures show first in Google Images. This way, the best photos of your hotel will be the first on display and link to your hotel website.
It’s extremely important to make sure your pictures show first in Google Images. This way, you will guarantee that the first images are yours and taken by a professional rather than someone who stayed and the hotel yet doesn’t have a bright future in the photography business.
5. Customize your 404 error page message
The 404 Error happens when you’re trying to access a page that no longer exists or cannot be found. This causes user frustration and website abandonment. To prevent this from happening and guarantee that your visitors still navigate through your website even if they have a wrong link, you need to create a custom 404 page.
This page should mention that the page they were trying to find no longer exists or it was moved and give them links to the most relevant pages on your website.
These links on your 404 page are very important because they give your visitors a way out of the error page without exiting your website.
6. Content Originality is Key
Last but not least, if we’re talking about hotel website content, there’s one very important premise: don’t copy content from other websites to yours.
For example, let’s say you are creating a page about the monuments around your hotel. The temptation to copy and paste from tripadvisor might be real. However if you do this your website can suffer in rankings and traffic losses, because Google will identify this as duplicated content.
Google will then assess and acknowledge only one of them and it will not be yours. This is particularly true when competing against a website that has published the content for a longer time span, and therefore had more time to be crawled for content relevance.
In a sea of hundreds of factors, It’s important to focus on what you can control. If you implement all these actions your position will improve over time and therefore your visibility and consequently your website traffic will too .
SEO is a never-ending process that requires dedication, time, and knowledge because Google’s ranking factors and their importance are always evolving and changing so it’s crucial to be always on top of the latest trends and updates.