5 Creative Ways to Get Your Hotel on Page One of Google
As a hotel marketing executive, your primary job is to, well, market your properties. And you can’t win the digital game without also mastering search. Your goal? Land your hotel on page one of Google’s results when a potential guest searches for a property using relevant terms — because no one is clicking to the second and third pages of Google to find a hotel.
Of course, we don’t have to tell you the importance of search engine optimization. The problem isn’t knowing to prioritize search. It’s figuring out how to stay on top of a highly competitive and constantly evolving space. Traditional SEO is a start, but it’s not enough on its own to get you the results you need. To win and defend highly coveted search engine results pages (SERP) territory, you need to get creative.
5 Tips to Take Your Property’s Search Engine Results Position to New Heights
Here are the five things you must do to boost your SEO and stay ahead of the competition.
1. Don’t Ignore Your Backlinks
Backlinks have been important for the better part of fifteen years. Rather than relying on what a business’s website says about itself to assess authority, Google uses backlinks to validate those claims. Think of inbound links as the rest of the web vouching for you. If you’re doing a great job of providing informative content or a fantastic service, you’re much more likely to receive mentions and links across other social media accounts and websites. For that reason, Google views backlinks as a measure of authority. The more links “in the wild” that point to your site, the more reputable Google will consider your website to be.
While that’s the general premise of how backlinks work, it’s important to remember that not every link is equal. A link from a personal blog is going to be perceived as less valuable than a link from a more reputable site. To improve your property’s backlinks, identify local event spaces, sporting arenas, the Chamber of Commerce, and other places in your community that bring people to the area. Reach out to them and inquire whether your hotel could be listed on their websites as a place to stay if guests are visiting from out of town.
Use a free tool like The Hoth or ahrefs to check your website’s backlinks — and those of your competitors. These tools can uncover important competitive intelligence as you try to gain more inbound backlinks. More often than not, if you’re not showing up in search results, your inbound links are not as good as your competitors’.
2. Optimize Your Listings for the Local Search Ecosystem
Local search is exactly what it sounds like — search results that are tailored to highlight local listings. When users search for certain geographically specific phrases, Google returns a list of local businesses in addition to the typical search results. To get on that list, ensure your UNAP (URL, name, address, and phone number) are correctly listed in as many places as possible across the web. If Google finds your information doesn’t match across the various internet locations it checks, it won’t list you in the local search results.
To check whether your information is accurately listed, use this tool to scan Google, Yelp, Facebook and dozens more maps, apps, search engines, and directories for your information. Hopefully, you’re in good shape. More likely, the tool will return mismatched names, addresses, and/or phone numbers. If that’s the case, reach out to your digital marketing partner for assistance.
3. Don’t Just Monitor PPC Keywords. Monitor Negative Keywords.
It’s more than likely that you are running at least one pay-per-click campaign at any given time. You know which keywords to target, but do you have a robust negative keyword list in place? Negative keywords are search terms you don’t want to be associated with your property — think “worst,” “cheap,” “dirty,” or “bedbugs.”
Maintaining a list of negative keywords is a critical part of your search strategy. If a user searches for “Boston hotel near Fenway Park,” you might want to show up in search results. But if a user searches for “worst Boston hotel near Fenway Park,” you certainly wouldn’t want to show up. By disallowing your property to show up for search terms that include the negative keyword, you can ensure your hotel doesn’t show up for any search that would create a negative impression.
4. Claim Your Free Metasearch Listing
Metasearch is Google’s aggregation service in which they aggregate information from Kayak, Travelocity, and other online booking services.
About a year ago, Google announced that it would now be possible to appear in metasearch results even without paying for metasearch ads. And free is good, right?
Ideally, you’d be running an ad that highlights your property, but a free listing is absolutely better than no listing. Find out more about claiming your free listing.
5. Prepare for the Rise of Voice Search
At the time of this writing, mobile accounts for around 55% of internet usage. Not a surprise, given the easy accessibility of the devices in our pockets. As voice search continues to improve, it’s likely that its usage will also increase dramatically.
Consider the devices and services available even today: Google, Siri, Amazon Echo, and so on. Most voice searches are still transactional in nature — think, “how many ounces in a gallon,” “what time does X place open,” or “what date does X holiday fall on.”
To prepare for voice search, consider adding something along the lines of an FAQ page. If you have content on your website already in the format of a question with an answer, you’re going to be better positioned to potentially show up as people are searching for things like, “Nashville hotel near opera house.”
And, as the technology progresses, more and more devices will have screens that allow you to interact with your voice while performing another activity. For example, a voice search for a hotel near an opera house might lead to a map displaying the hotel’s location on the device’s screen.
Follow These 5 Tips and Your Hotel’s Search Ranking Will Undoubtedly Improve
As a marketing executive, you’ve got a lot on your plate. It’s okay not to try every idea listed above at the same time, but try to work your way through each of them over a few weeks or a month. Remember, the sooner you get to them, the sooner you’ll start seeing results.