What do you do when you want to find a hotel for your city break? Like many people you probably start your search using a search engine like Google or Bing. According to Google, millions of hotel searches are carried out every day. People want to find information about facilities, rates, reviews, availability and things to do in the area. Search engines deliver pages of results, but how many people click past the first page? Just 5% (Search Engine Watch). So how do you improve your chances of getting on that first page? By Search Engine Optimisation.
What is Search Engine Optimisation?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a way of increasing a website’s chances of being ranked highly in search results, thus increasing potential traffic and customers to the site. Search engines like Google and Bing use “crawlers” or “spiders” to index pages and pages of information on the internet and by using their own set of rules or an “algorithm”, they sort results in terms of relevance and popularity.
Why is it so important?
The higher you rank in the results, the greater your chances of attracting traffic. While SEO might seem complicated or time-consuming consider this, search engine marketing is free and reaches millions of potential customers worldwide, every second. Can you say the same thing about costly flyers and phonebook listings? Google is constantly developing and improving its services and results. So should you. Here are 5 ways to start improving your SEO.
SEO Tip 1 – Review Your Website
Take a hard look at your website. Think about how well it serves your customers and how user friendly it is. Search engines like well-designed sites. Make sure all the links are working and are relevant. Pages should link together., Search engines like site maps and appreciate pages with clear, appropriate titles that identity your hotel and location, for instance; Golden Bay Boutique Hotels – The Arcadian.
Your site needs to load fast, people will not wait patiently. Search Engines notice when users click away quickly and move to the next result. Customers and search engines don’t appreciate PDFs, Flash and Java script. Check that any media-rich files load quickly and can be seen by search engines.
Perhaps most importantly, given Google’s announcement in May 2015 that most searches were carried out on mobile devices, make sure that your site is mobile friendly. Google will continue to adjust its search engines accordingly.
SEO Tip 2 – Create Key Content
It’s not enough to have a well-functioning website. Both customers and search engines like unique, relevant, content. So think about incorporating a blog or a news section if you haven’t already. Make sure you update it regularly – diary a schedule. Think about what your potential customers might be interested in and you will probably find relevant keywords to help improve your chances of ranking higher in search results This is also a golden opportunity to emphasise your unique selling point, so if you are a boutique hotel with a new chef – write about it. If your gardens are having a makeover and will be fairy-tale setting for an intimate wedding – write about it. Get the local press to write about it too. Just a note about keywords, the days of “keyword stuffing” are over. Customers and search engines can spot awkward sentences crammed with repetitive words.
SEO Tip 3 – Use Your Locality
Search Engines are delivering more relevant and localised results. So check that your site emphasises the benefits and features of your location. What are your customers looking for, wanting to do, sample or visit in your locality? Incorporate those ideas into your blog or news, into page titles or descriptions. Make sure you have a map on your site. There may be hundreds of hotels in your area but are they opposite the best winery in town? Do they all have thermal spas? Are they minutes from the racecourse?
SEO Tip 4 – Quality Links
Just like arrows pointing guests your way, quality links from other trustworthy sites can help increase traffic and inform search engines about your site’s authority and relevance. So articles and links with the local press, online directories, travel sites and attractions will help. If you have partnerships with local businesses make the links reciprocal. One word of caution here, never pay for links and remember it’s quality not quantity that counts. Those clever search engines can spot bogus links.
SEO Tip 5 – Make Yourself Popular
Popular sites rank well so a fast loading, informative site with regular, fresh content is a start but you still need to embrace Social Media. Make sure you feature on sites that your prospective customers use. Whether it’s Twitter or Facebook, add these to your update schedule. As Google is the number One search engine it makes sense to join Google+ and Google Places.
These are just a few ways to improve SEO and utilise search engine marketing. Remember, great things take time so make adjustments to your site gradually. There are many analytical tools you can use to monitor your progress and watch your ranking increase.