Top SEO Tips in 2020 For Hotels And Motels – 7 Experts Chime In

In any given city in the US, there are literally hundreds, if not a couple thousand of hotels and motels for visitors to choose from. Suffice it to say, the competition between the owners of these establishments is fierce. Given that fact, it’s essential for hotels and motels to have a solid strategy for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Additionally, focusing on local SEO is crucial for those establishments wanting to sell out rooms, which is the obvious objective of every hotel and motel. Yet, it can be a daunting prospect to formulate concrete SEO strategies that will lead to a visible and effective search presence. In this article, 7 marketing experts discuss the top SEO tips for hotels and motels.

Focus On Technical SEO

“The best thing hotels can do in 2020 is to focus on technical SEO, which is often overlooked, but critical to SEO success. Google has indicated time and time again that having good content isn’t always enough to perform well organically. It’s through the optimization of technical factors of SEO, such as website infrastructure and speed, that allows search engines to crawl websites and index them correctly. If your hotel website isn’t being crawled or indexed, then they might not show up in Google and they’re definitely not going to rank as highly. Addressing not just on-page SEO will give hotels, motels and any website in the hospitality industry a solid foundation for success. 

Technical SEO focuses on making the website more accessible, easier to navigate, and easier to understand for users and Google. By improving your hotel website’s technical and structural issues, you can get higher rankings in search results and drive more high-quality traffic to your website. Other elements of technical SEO to assess and improve for your website beyond speed, include robots.txt, xml sitemaps, title and meta descriptions, nofollow directives, duplicate content, website errors & redirects, URL and domain structure. 

The better you do these technical SEO elements, the better your chances are of robots understanding your website and elevate your current on-page SEO. It’s a win-win. There are numerous, free resources available for Tech SEO, even for the non-techy people. It can seem intimidating, but, tackling one element at a time will make a huge difference in the short and long-term performance of your hotel website.”

Lexi Grafe, Data Strategy & Analytics Consultant, Elementive

In 2020 Voice Search Could Really Open Up The Market For Smaller Hotels And Motels

“Voice search is going to be huge in 2020. 20% of searches in the Google App are by mobile and this set to grow rapidly next year. Most voice searches are for local services so it will be really important for hotels and motels. 

Voice searches are typically longer and use natural language. Instead of typing motel vacancy near me, a voice search could be is there a motel near me with a free room for one night. 

It’s challenging coming up with keywords that target these natural voice searches. Most SEO tools are struggling to catch up with this latest trend. One tool that does help is the free tool Answer The Public. Searching for hotel near me came up with a few good suggestions such as what hotels are near me right now or where’s the nearest hotel near me. 

In 2020 voice search could really open up the market for smaller hotels and motels. Try and put yourself in the position of your guests. What would they be searching for? Google picks up on related questions, so ranking for what hotels near me allow dogs could mean you also rank for is there a dog-friendly hotel near me or which hotels near me will take dogs. These related queries can really add up.”

Alison Wright, CEO, Simply Hatch Ltd 

Raw Website Speed And Performance Is The Determining Factor

“For hospitality websites – perhaps more than any other industry – raw website speed and performance is the determining factor in SEO. 

Think about it. Search engines exist to deliver the best possible results to people who use them. That means they’re focusing more and more on user experience, which isn’t something you can fake. And a big part of the visitor’s experience on your site is how it performs. 

Do you like a spinning loading graphic on your phone or laptop for 5 seconds before you see actual rooms and rates? 

Of course, you don’t. And your potential customers don’t, either. 

First, run a Lighthouse audit (web.dev/measure) to see how your site stacks up. The first of the four scores – performance – is the most important. If you’re seeing red or yellow, you have some tuning to do. 

If it’s not green (i.e., 90+), open the report and check out the suggestions. Hopefully, they’ll be easy ones, like optimizing images. (Render-blocking CSS shows up a lot here, and it’s a tougher nut to crack.) Do what it says, and run another audit. With luck, you’ll see an improvement. 

There is every reason to believe that this performance score factors heavily into search engine algorithms, particularly Google. They want to deliver a better experience to searchers, and a faster site is a better experience. This will help you more than just about anything else you can do for your SEO. 

One other thing on performance: Mobile-first indexing is a thing for pretty much every site in the world. Basically, that means that Google only sees the mobile version of your site. (Lighthouse usually uses an emulated Nexus 5 device.) If your site isn’t mobile-responsive (or ideally AMP-ready), you’re in a really bad spot. Remember, it’s about user experience, and a non-mobile-friendly site delivers a really bad UX on smartphones. 

Make your site fast, and make it mobile-friendly. Your rankings (and bottom line) will thank you.”

Adam Smartschan, VP, Innovation & Strategy, Altitude Marketing 

Earning Links From Local Bloggers, Businesses, And Other Organizations 

“Earning links from local bloggers, businesses, and other organizations can make a big difference when it comes to ranking for competitive, local keywords. Here are a few ways to approach it: 

1) Make your venue extremely friendly to small local meetups. Having staff on hand who can help coordinate the digital component of the meetups, such as setting up an event on meetup.com, can quickly translate into more local links without much additional planning. 

2) Donating the use of your venue to a local charity can also earn links from them, especially if it’s an event that earns local or niche media coverage. 

3) Resource pages and guides to local businesses and attractions can act as linkable assets, and niche guides work even better. For example, a list of the best vegan dishes in downtown could earn links from those restaurants, local bloggers, and larger vegan blogs. 

4) PR stunts and genuinely noteworthy events can earn a variety of links. 

5) Creating a themed room or attraction in your hotel is a quick way to earn niche links, even if it’s only a limited-time offering. Offering a Doctor Who Honeymoon Suite would be a great way to earn links from dozens, if not hundreds, of Doctor Who blogs. 

6) Create package deals or discounts for local attractions, such as escape rooms, to tap into their link profiles as well.”

Joe Goldstein, Director of SEO & Operations, Contractor Calls

(Photo Credit: medium.com)

By 2022, More Than Half Of American Homes Will Have A Smart Speaker

“Voice search and smart speakers are making a big move. By 2022, more than half of American homes will have a smart speaker. And, they are using them significantly more and more for search. A Comscore study indicates that half of all searches in 2020 will be via voice. 

This move to voice search, especially voice search in the home, means that Google will be serving the featured snippet more often than ever. Not sure what the Google Featured Snippet is? It’s that highest result that comes in a box atop a traditional Google search result. It is used more than any other search result when giving the first result of a Google home voice search. Hence, obtaining this prime, highly coveted, territory for your brand has become more important than ever.”

Bob Bentz, President, Purplegator 

The 7 Ideas To Implement In Order To Gain Traffic Organically

“SEO for hotels and motels isn’t that hard. For one reason, because you are targeting locally. Below are the ideas you wanted to look at in terms of building awareness gain traffic organically in search engine. 

1) Build landing pages for each location e.g. ‘website.com/location_1 
website.com/location_’.

For creating multiple cities you might want to try this approach e.g. ‘website.com/city/location_1, website.com/city/location_2’. Note: this way you can target specific audiences and landed to specific target pages. 

2) Create 500 words minimum for each landing page (location page), 
bombarded it with details on the location such as e.g. What makes this hotel differ from another, what are the closest cool places to hang out, prices, amenities, detailed location, and how-tos to get to this place, etc. Don’t forget to use possible ‘long-tail keywords’ that searchers using such as: Affordable hotels near airport, motel with good amenities, best and affordable hotels etc. 

3) Create GMB business page for your hotels/motels 
https://www.google.com/business/ from here, your hotel can be seen in Google Maps and possible bookings can be happened from here as well. 

4) Create/add places in your GMB business page if you have multiple hotels/motels everywhere or in different cities. And add the URL/website on each GMB page. 

5) Make sure each GMB using the location as Keyword e.g. ‘website 
name + city + location’. 

6) Embed the map to your website for each specific location. 

7) Build location-based backlinks (.ph /.au/.ca /) etc. for ranking 
boost and website might gain authority in search engines as well.”

Carl Pantaleon, SEO Strategist, The Kidd Group

Tourists’ Queries, Compress Images, Install Plugins

“Target tourists’ problems and answer them through a blog – Identify the possible tourists’ queries related to your area and highlight the keywords that could work to rank your website. For this purpose, I recommend the free tool “Uber suggests.” Against every keyword, it gives you the search volume and SEO difficulty score. Now, where you will use these words? In the blog posts, publish high-quality informational blog posts from a tourist point of view. Embed your “call to action” for booking at your hotel; in the middle and at the end of the post. 

Compress Images or install suitable plugins – Hotels’ websites often contain images of their room, amenities, and location. It is a crucial part of their business, as displaying images are essential for generating leads. However, the images could increase the loading time of our website, and it affects the SEO ranking severely. I recommend two ways to fix this issue. 

Compress Images – It would make the image size smaller and would make the website load faster. 

Install plugins – Plugins are available that load the website page with text and keep displaying images while the user scrolls down. It is an excellent tactic to reduce the bounce rate and to increase the staying time of users on the website. 

Google is the #1 search engine, so I recommend using its tool to analyze the page speed insights. It would highlight the bugs creating hurdles in loading pages quickly.”

Jeremy Ong, Blogger, HUSTLR 

Optimizing the search engine results of hotels and motels is vital for these establishments to increase visibility and, ultimately, profitability. Ranking on the coveted first page of a Google search can be difficult, but it is feasible. These 7 SEO marketing experts have outlined numerous strategies to propel your hotel or motel into the top of the search rankings. Be it optimizing for voice search, to earning links, to creating a Google My Business page, these are all vital tips for the hospitality industry to employ in an effectual SEO strategy.

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