Hotel SEO is scary. Every day, you get emails and phone calls from SEO ‘experts’ promising you the world, trying to get your money. The fact is, hotel SEO has changed dramatically the past few months. It is impossible to guarantee your hotel the first spot on Google, because Google can’t be gamed. Anyone who says otherwise is out to make money at your expense.
The good news is that any hotel website can rank admirably on search engines like Google if a few basic things are done. While no honest person can promise you the first Google result, you can reasonably expect to rank well if your hotel website is built according to Google’s published recommendations, if you write amazing website content and if you reach out to your local community as a way to gain organic backlinks. Anything else is a distraction that won’t significantly help you rank well, and could even hurt you.
buuteeq’s hotel marketing system crafts gorgeous hotel websites designed from the get-go to rank well organically on Google. No pie-in-the-sky promises, no snake-oil—we just do it right the first time and pass the benefits on to you. Request a demo below for your free account or call us to learn more.
Watch our webinar on hotel SEO for tech-savvy hotels (30:20)
Imagine if you had to pay your boat builder extra for buoyancy. It’s understood that a boat is expected to float—that’s the point of a boat! Google is the sea your website floats upon. It should be expected that a website designer crafts your hotel’s website with the ability to float—and that’s exactly what buuteeq does for hotels.
Instead of charging you extra for hotel ‘SEO services’, your buuteeq website is built using industrial strength technology and an information architecture that satisfies and exceeds all of Google’s best recommendations for organic search ranking. The days of constantly tweaking keywords, website structure, header tags and so on in order to rank better are over.
Recently, many hotels who paid SEO specialists for hotel SEO work noticed that their websites dropped significantly in Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs). The reason is that Google recently penalized websites for ‘over optimization’. If your hotel website appears to be over optimized for SEO, Google now actually penalizes your ranking potential. Hiring third-party SEO specialists can be very dangerous. We wrote a short guide on how to avoid these penalties: How to Avoid Over-Optimization.
Additionally, Google recently released two algorithm updates, called Google Penguin and Panda 3.5. These updates were specifically designed to combat search engine spam in the form of websites that rank well just because they had good SEO, instead of ranking well because they had great content. Here too we also saw hotel websites drop in the SERP rankings because they had been optimized too much. We’re proud to say that none of buuteeq’s clients lost any rankings in Google SERPs due to Penguin or Panda 3.5, which we demonstrated in this blog post.
In general, hotels who sign-up with buuteeq experience a boost in their Google ranking and then remain steady. The key to this is that we designed an information architecture that adheres to Google’s list of best practices as well as incorporating additional hotel SEO insight gleaned from our in-house team of researchers. In short, we crafted a system designed to rank your hotel's marketing content based on its quality. The better the quality, the higher it will rank.
buuteeq covers the technical side for you. The next steps to ranking well are as follows:
Write compelling, detailed and actionable content. The old maxim rings true about hotel SEO: “You can put lipstick on a hog, but it’s still a pig”. If your website’s content is thin, it won’t rank--no matter how good your SEO is. Therefore, the best thing you can do is to write article after article of amazing content that Google would be pleased to deliver to their users. Is there a local festival that brings in many annual travelers? Write a detailed article about it. Is there a local attraction that brings in visitors that you know a lot about? Share your insight by writing about it. The more quality words you craft, the more Google can rank you for. Be sure to include many images and, if you can, videos, because Google lately seems to prefer ranking content with multimedia.
Do your keyword research. What words do you expect guests to type into Google to find your hotel website? Thinking like your guests will help you write content hand tailored for them, making it more likely that they will find you. Additionally, you can use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to discover which keywords and key-phrases guests actually use to find properties like yours. In general, your homepage should be optimized for a combination of your location (city, state, province, region, country) and your property type (inn, B&B, lodge, etc.) Also, sometimes a major local attraction is necessary—for example “hotels near Disneyland” might be a popular key-phrase, or ‘bed and breakfast near the Grand Canyon”, and so on.
Social signals—what Google calls your ‘social graph’—are increasingly becoming more and more important. They may even outweigh backlinks in the near future. Basically, the more Facebook ‘likes’, Twitter ‘tweets’ and Google+ ‘+1s’ your web content has, the more likely it will be to rank well on Google. Google uses your website’s social signals to gauge the health and quality of your content. If you aren’t integrated with social, you could potentially lose your rankings over time.
Backlinks are still the most powerful thing Google uses to decide how to rank your website. A backlink is any link out there on the Internet that points to your website. Let’s say a local tour group links to your hotel from their website. That is a backlink, and it is a high quality one because it is local and within the same field as your website (travel and hospitality). Google ranks your website better if you have many backlinks that make sense.
That said, many unscrupulous SEO specialists have tried to artificially boost their clients’ website rankings by purchasing very low quality backlinks for them. Google has become savvy over the years and often discounts these kinds of backlinks—and sometimes, they penalize the recipient of those backlinks. It is therefore important that you gain quality backlinks organically instead of purchasing them from hotel SEO snake-oil salesmen or otherwise gaining them artificially.
Hotel SEO is a potentially scary and intimidating field, but buuteeq’s philosophy, as penned in a long but passionate article by buuteeq CEO Forest Key, is that it doesn’t have to be. Arm yourself with a little knowledge and then choose your vendors carefully and purposefully. buuteeq is not an SEO agency. Instead, we’re a product company that designs killer websites, mobile optimized websites, Facebook apps and more—that just so happen to also be optimized well for search. Read our hotel marketing overview to learn more about our Cloud DMS or request a demo below.
One of our team members will reach out to you shortly.