SEO for Hotels
A simple (but effective) step-by-step guide to build a targeted SEO marketing strategy for hotel websites.
A Step-by-Step Hotel SEO Guide
Are you ready to attract more guests to your hotel through organic search? Keep reading to learn how a targeted SEO hotel marketing strategy can help you get found by potential guests online.
In this guide you will learn:
Intro to SEO →
Keyword Research →
On-Page SEO →
Off-Page SEO →
Best Practices →
FAQs & Resources →
What is SEO for hotels?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website or webpage to increase its visibility in search engines, like Google and Bing.
SEO is an important factor for any hotel looking to get more bookings, as the higher a website appears in Google, the greater the chance a potential guest clicks through to your website.
Think of it like housekeeping for your website.
Just as housekeeping involves cleaning and organizing rooms, SEO involves making sure your website is ‘clean’ and well-organized. Or in other terms: to ensure it is easily found by search engines so you attract more traffic to your site.
Did you know?
- 99% of people use the internet to search for local businesses. (Source: BrightLocal)
- Consumer use of Google to evaluate local businesses has leapt from 63% in 2020 to 81% in 2021. (Source: BrightLocal)
- Mobile devices are used for over 50% of all online searches. (Source: Statista)
A person searching for a hotel on Google may use a search query like “hotel near me” or “best hotel in [city name]”
They may search for specific features such as “pet-friendly hotel” or “hotel with pool”. Or they may even include their preferences in the search query such as “budget hotel in [city name]” or “luxury resort in [city name]”.
In order to benefit from SEO, you want your website to rank for these kind of searches.
Why is hotel SEO important?
Here are some of the benefits of using SEO for your hotel:
- Increased visibility: SEO helps to increase the visibility of a hotel website on search engines, making it more likely that potential guests will find you when searching for accommodations.
- Cost-effective: Compared to traditional advertising methods like print or television, SEO can be a cost-effective way for a hotel to reach new guests.
- Targeted audience: SEO allows a hotel to target specific keywords that align with their services, amenities, and offerings.
- Local SEO: Local SEO helps increase a website’s visibility for people searching within a specific geographic location. This can be particularly beneficial for hotels as it allows them to target people searching for accommodations in their local area.
- Building trust: SEO can help a hotel website to establish trust and authority with search engines and potential guests by providing high-quality, relevant content. This can also help to attract new guests and build a strong reputation in the community.
Hotels have to comply with various regulations such as local tourism laws, hospitality industry standards, and data privacy laws. Therefore, it’s important that the SEO strategies and tactics used by them are compliant with these regulations.
This ensures they offer accurate information about their services, protect guests’ information, and maintain ethical marketing practices.
How do search engines work?
Search engines work by crawling billions of webpages with their own web crawlers, known as search engine bots or spiders. These are then stored and saved in an index.
Google Search Essentials (formerly Webmaster Guidelines)
The Google Search Essentials define the actions that webmasters can take to make their websites better indexable or crawlable.
Read them here: Official Google Guidelines
The guidelines are based on three central aspects:
- Crawling – webmasters should support Google in finding websites.
- Indexing – webmasters should help Google to classify and “recognize” the content.
- Usability and user experience – webmasters should support the users of the websites in their use (usability and user experience).
Essentially, according to these Google guidelines, a website should support the search engine in crawling and indexing and ensure a good user experience.
Before you get started with SEO, there are a few prerequisites you want to check off first:
At a bare minimum, you want to make sure you cover these basic standards before embarking on doing SEO:
- Website Speed – Have a fast loading site so potential customers don’t get tired of waiting for things to load.
- Mobile Friendliness – Make sure your site works on mobile as over 50% of users browse on mobile devices
- Analytics – Setup Google Analytics, Google Search Console & so you can understand what is and isn’t working.
- XML Sitemap – search engines use this to get your site’s URLs
- Robots.txt – tells search engine crawlers where they can (and where they can’t go) on your site.
Technical SEO is the process of making website and server optimizations to help search engines to crawl and index your site more effectively (and therefore help to improve organic rankings).
Technical errors can hurt a website’s ability to rank. There are potentially a lot of errors, but here are some of the most common that will have the biggest impact when fixed:
- 404 errors
- Broken backlinks
- Poor URL structure
- Duplicate/thin content
- Poor internal linking
- Poor website architecture
- Missing metadata (page titles & meta descriptions)
- Missing H1 tags
Reach more patients with hotel SEO services
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is the process of identifying the words and phrases that people use when searching for specific products or services:
Once you understand the keywords your target audience is using, you can optimize your website to appear for these in search results.
Think of it as a comprehensive review for your website. Just as a hotel manager might evaluate guest feedback and hotel performance to improve services, keyword research helps you understand what people are searching for online when they’re looking for hotels.
This information can be used to optimize your website, so that it appears higher in search results when people search for those keywords. In this way, you can attract more guests who are searching for the accommodations and services you offer.
Why is keyword research important?
Keyword research is important for hotels because it helps to:
- Understand what people are searching for when they are looking for accommodation, and to optimize their website accordingly.
- Identify the specific preferences and requirements of their target audience, which can inform the amenities they provide and services they offer, ultimately leading to more bookings and better guest experience.
- Identify the competition in the local area and understand what they are doing, so they can create a more effective SEO strategy.
What keywords are best to target?
Understand that there’s no “best” keywords, just those that are highly searched by your audience. With this in mind, it’s up to you to craft a strategy that will help you rank pages and drive traffic.
The best keywords for your SEO strategy will take into account relevance, authority, and volume. You want to find highly searched keywords that you can reasonably compete for based on:
- The level of competition you’re up against.
- Your ability to produce content that exceeds in quality what’s currently ranking.
Short tail keywords are broad, general keywords that are made up of one or two words:
Whereas long tail keywords are more specific and longer phrases that are made up of multiple words:
- Pet-friendly hotels in [city name]
- Luxury resorts with ocean view
- Family-friendly hotels near Disneyland
- Budget hotels in [city name]
- Hotel deals and discounts in [city name]
How to do keyword research for your hotel
To start keyword research: put yourself in your customers shoes.
What words, phrases and terms might they use in order to find solutions to these problems? These are the keywords you want to find and target.
Here is a simple process to follow:
Step 1) Make a list of broad topics
Create a list of general topics related to your business. These might correspond to product categories, services or anything you believe your target audience would be interested in.
For example, broad topics like:
- Luxury Accommodations
- Family-Friendly Hotels
- Pet-Friendly Lodging
- Beach Resorts
- Business Hotels
Step 2) Expand topics into a list of phrases
Now you want to take those topics and expand them into a list of related phrases to target.
Imagine yourself as a buyer looking for your product or service and ask yourself: what would I type into Google?
Whilst keyword research tools are useful here, you can do this for free by Googling your keyword.
For example, Google “luxury accommodation” and you’ll get a list of related questions people ask (which you can answer with blog content):
As well as related searches which may uncover other keywords to target:
Step 3) Analyze your keywords
Once you have a list of potential keywords, you need to gauge which terms are worth targeting.
You’ll need to use a keyword research tool here to pay attention to the following keyword metrics:
- Search volume
- Search value over time
- SERP features
But most importantly, you want to consider relevancy and search intent:
For relevancy, you want to ask yourself:
- Are these keywords relevant to my business?
- Do I have a chance of ranking for these terms based on the competition?
- Is ranking for these keywords going to have a positive ROI?
If you can answer YES to the above questions, chances are you have picked a relevant keyword
Search intent is the goal and purpose of a search query in Google. When someone searches for something, they are typically looking for more information before performing an action.
Search intent falls in four buckets:
- Informational – Searchers looking for information, they’ll use words like: how, what, why, when etc.
- Navigational – Searchers trying to find a specific site, they’ll use words relating to the service/product/brand
- Transactional – Searchers looking to purchase, they’ll use words like: buy, cost, pricing, cheap etc.
- Commercial investigation – Searchers researching prior to making a purchase, they’ll use words like: best, review, comparison etc
Not only is it important to select good keywords, but also to pick keywords you have a chance of ranking for.
For example, if you want to rank for the keyword: “Beachfront Resort in [City Name]” but your page doesn’t feature beachfront accommodations or information about your location’s proximity to the beach, you are not meeting a searcher’s intent. As a result, you may struggle to rank for that keyword.
Find profitable hotel keywords
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO describes specific elements of the pages on your website that you control, such as:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Header tags
- Internal linking
Why is on-page SEO important?
On-page SEO is important for hotels because it helps to ensure that their website is easily found and understood by search engines, which can increase visibility and drive more traffic to the website. This can ultimately lead to more guests booking stays at the hotel.
For example, if a hotel offers a specific amenity such as “Swimming Pool,” and that amenity is not mentioned on the website or not prominently featured, it will be less likely for the website to appear in the search results when someone searches for “hotels with swimming pools” or related terms. On the other hand, if the hotel has optimized its website with the amenity “Swimming Pool” as a focus keyword, it will be more likely to appear in the search results when someone searches for that term, and hence, more likely to attract guests looking for hotels with a swimming pool.
Additionally, on-page optimization can also help to improve the overall user experience of a hotel website, which can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates. For example, having a well-organized and easy-to-navigate website with clear calls to action such as “Book Now” or “Check Availability” will be more likely to convert website visitors into hotel guests.
On-Page SEO Checklist
- Use short & descriptive URLs – this helps people searching to understand what your page is about in Google.
- Write a good title tag & meta description – these show up in Google and help searchers understand what your page is about.
- Linking to relevant resources – this helps users to navigate your website.
- Optimize your images – give them a descriptive filename and alt text.
- Add schema markup – this helps search engines to understand your content
- Add internal links – these help Google understand what your page is about and to navigate your website.
Get actionable insights into your hotel SEO
What is off-page SEO?
Off-page SEO refers to specific actions done outside of your website, such as getting backlinks from other websites or social media.
What is link building?
Link building is the practice of building one-way hyperlinks (also known as “backlinks”) to a website with the goal of improving SEO. Common link building strategies include content marketing, building useful tools, email outreach, broken link building and guest posts.
Why is link building important?
Link building is important for hotels because it helps to increase the visibility of a website on search engines. Google, for example, use links to a website as a way to determine the authority and trustworthiness of a website.
The more high-quality links that point to a website, the more likely it is to be considered an authority in its field and be given higher rankings in the SERPs (search engine results page).
This increased visibility can drive more traffic to a website, which can lead to more guests for the hotel.
Link Building Tactics:
- Guest posts (either DIY it or use a done-for-you guest post service)
- Buying backlinks (like authority links)
- Content marketing (like linkable assets or editorial links)
- Tried and tested SEO methods (like blogger outreach, broken link building
- Using what you’ve got (link reclamation and brand mentions)
Additionally, link building can also help to establish a hotel as a reputable and trustworthy provider of hospitality services, which can be a key factor in attracting new guests. High-quality links from reputable websites in the travel and tourism industry can be an indication to potential guests that a hotel is well-regarded in the field.
Link building can also help to increase referral traffic to a hotel’s website, where visitors are directed to the website through a link on another website. This can help to enhance brand awareness and reach new audiences who may not have otherwise discovered the hotel’s website.
In summary, link building is important for hotels because it helps to increase visibility, establish reputation and trust, and drive more referral traffic to their website, which can lead to more bookings and satisfied guests.
Get high quality backlinks
Hotel SEO Best Practices (+ 4 Tips)
- Use HTTPs (SSL certificates)
- Make sure your web site pages load fast
- Target a relevant topic that has traffic potential
- Meet search intent
- Target a topic you can compete for
- Use your target keyword in your page title, H1 tag and URL
- Use a short (but descriptive) URL
- Write a good title tag and meta description
- Optimize your images
- Write good content
- Add internal links
- Get more quality backlinks
4 Actionable Hotel SEO Tips
Here are some things your practice can do to begin the process of developing a good hotel marketing strategy.
- Add relevant keywords
- Optimize for local searches
- Start blogging
- Earn links
1. Add relevant keywords to your website
People looking for accommodations also search for specific features or services such as beachfront hotels, pet-friendly hotels, or luxury resorts. Incorporate long-tail keywords that align with your target audience’s needs and preferences.
For example, instead of solely optimizing your website for generic keywords like “hotel” or “lodging,” consider adding keywords like “beachfront hotel in [your city],” “pet-friendly hotel in [your area],” or “luxury resort in [your destination].”
2. Optimize your site for local searches
To maximize your visibility in local searches, implement local SEO strategies. Incorporate the names of your city, neighborhood, or nearby attractions in your website content, titles, and URLs. Ensure that your business is listed accurately on Google Maps and local directories to enhance local search presence.
3. Start writing useful content
One of the goals of hotel SEO is to attract more guests by improving your website’s visibility in search engines. Start a blog and provide valuable content that appeals to your target audience’s interests and needs. Share travel tips, destination guides, or insider recommendations to engage readers and position your hotel as a reliable source of information.
As your blog traffic grows, your search rankings will likely improve, making your hotel more visible to people looking for accommodations in your area.
4. Earn quality links
The number and quality of links pointing to your hotel’s website significantly impact search engine rankings. Acquire high-quality backlinks by creating compelling content and reaching out to influential bloggers, travel publications, and local businesses to collaborate or request links.
By generating quality backlinks, you not only improve your search ranking but also establish your hotel as a trusted and authoritative source in the hospitality industry.
Backlinks play a vital role in hotel SEO as they serve as endorsements of the content your hotel produces. Search engines like Google consider these links when determining page rankings.
- Not doing enough keyword research
- Not matching user/search intent
- Targeting keywords that are far too difficult
- Not building enough quality backlinks
- Breaking Google’s Terms of Service when building backlinks
- Missing out on internal link opportunities
- Not allowing Google crawl your content
- Not allowing Google index your content
- Having a very slow site
- Treating SEO as a one-time thing
How does hotel SEO work?
SEO for hotels means making sure that your website is optimised for both search engines and users. This makes your website more visible in relevant and organic search results.
- on-page SEO
- link building
- technical SEO review
- content audit
- local citation audit
Why do hotels need marketing?
It helps you set your business apart.
Your guests are your customers. A marketing plan not only helps you identify your target market, but it also helps your guests understand why they should choose your hotel.
A well-crafted hotel marketing strategy should attract new guests, retain existing ones, and raise awareness of your offerings. The primary goal is to encourage potential guests to make reservations or book stays online.
How long does hotel SEO take?
Typically, hotel SEO takes at least six months to deliver results.
In some cases, practices may start to see results like increased traffic, phone calls, and appointments, in faster timeframe than this.
Although typically 6 months is a good benchmark as SEO is a long-term strategy vs. a short-term strategy like PPC.
How much does SEO for hotels cost?
Prices for hotel website SEO depend on multiple factors, but the average cost for SEO is $1500 – $5000 per month.
If you’re looking to partner with a consultant or SEO expert, the average rate is $100 – $300 per hour.
We do guest posts better than anyone else with complete transparency. You get to approve all placements before they’re made and even the exact anchor text that’s going to be used. Site owners themselves will produce your content to guarantee its a perfect match.
Crafting the right message isn’t just a matter of choosing the right words. We develop site content and blogs using the latest tools to determine the right keywords and balance of terms to build high-performing content.
Sometimes, it takes more than just one service to make a difference. Multiple services working in concert can amplify the effect and create the growth that’s evaded you in the past. Talk to us about managed SEO campaigns built around any of your goals.
Too busy running your hotel to do SEO?
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