It’s no secret how important it is to have a robust and professional website to market your Hotel or Restaurant business.
Building a great website for your business, however, is just part of the equation. More importantly, you need an effective strategy on how to scale your hospitality business with the help of your website. The answer to this challenge lies in driving quality traffic to your website utilizing a variety of Search Engine Optimization tactics.
The internet is full of tips to rank your website on the first page of Google, but it is important that you learn certain tips and tricks and deploy strategies that are tailored to work specifically for your business website.
If you are searching for an action plan to improve your hotel or restaurant website's ranking and traffic, this blog will provide you insights and tactics that you should be implementing to drive more traffic to your hospitality business website.
We recommend making a list of the pointers below and using it as a checklist while working on your website and online marketing campaigns. (Keep in mind, you can also trust INNsight to design and manage your website for you and let the professionals take care of your digital marketing.)
So, before jumping straight into the to-do list, let’s educate you on some of the basics of internet marketing.
What is SEO!? You might have seen this ubiquitous acronym while developing your business website.
Initially, many considered SEO, or Search Engine Optimization as simply doing keyword research, stuffing the keywords on the website, and building tons of backlinks to rank on search engines.
Today, the strategy around SEO has changed significantly. Today, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a continuous process of improving a website for better user experience and user engagement of the targeted customers to make them perform activities that yield a profit to the business. This holds more true with search engines like Google continuously updating and improving its search algorithms to improve the user experience. You have to stay abreast of the latest Search Engine changes and tune your website and tactics to perform in accordance with evolving standards.
SEO is crucial for your Hotel or Restaurant Business. This is because Search Engine Optimization:
Now, you know the reasons to invest your time and effort on Search Engine Optimization; let’s further explore and learn about On-Page and Off-Page activities that comprise Search Engine Optimization best practices.
Simply saying, On-Page activities are the actions taken by you that result in changes made to your website. And Off-Page activities are the efforts made outside of your website to drive more traffic from a Search Engine Results Page back to your website.
|On-Page SEO||Off-Page SEO|
|- The major elements of On-Page SEO are done while building the website.||- Any activity can be done only after establishing the website.|
|- Focuses more on User Experience.||- Concentrates primarily on Link Building.|
|- Good On-Page results in better User Engagement.||- Good Off-Page results in the increased authority of the website in the niche.|
|- It tells the search engine what your site is about.||- It is what other sites communicate to search engines about your site.|
|- Content Creation is given utmost importance.||- Utmost priority is given for achieving high authoritative niche links.|
|- Activities are mostly carried around: Content, Code, Internal Link Flow, Engagement items.||- Activities are mainly carried around: Link building, Local Factors, Google Authorship, Social Factors.|
|- It is simple to perform if you have a good Content Management System.||- It is comparatively hard as you have to create good relations in the niche.|
Now that you have a fair knowledge of SEO, On-Page, and Off-Page activities. Let’s dive into the practical steps that you can keep in mind while optimizing your hotel or restaurant website.
Keyword research is a crucial task to help rank your hotel or restaurant website on search engines. Keywords are what your target audience is searching for, and through which they can find your website. Once you acknowledge who your target audience is and for which search terms you’d like to rank for, framing your content accordingly will become easier and improve the chances of your hotel being found in search engines.
1.1. Identify Your Primary and Secondary Keywords
Primary keywords are words that you can use to describe your hotel. You can include your hotel name or the city name as well.
Secondary keywords add a little bit more detail to your primary keywords. While creating secondary keywords, you can get specific about your property. Include the name of a popular attraction that is located nearby your hotel, or highlight your property’s amenities.
Try and finalize about 3 to 5 secondary keywords and one primary keyword for your property.
1.2. Target Long-Tail Keywords
Targeting long-tail keywords is a smart SEO tactic that very few businesses implement successfully. Long-tail keywords have less search traffic, but they sure have high conversion value.
A person searching using long-tail keywords is looking for something specific, and when they find that keyword driving them to your website, there is a high chance of them converting,
A short query like “San Francisco Hotels” might have a higher search volume, making it challenging to rank and be identified amidst the noise.
On the other hand, long-tail queries like “Luxury Hotels in San Francisco near Union Square” could be comparatively easier to rank for and give you higher conversion rates and drive qualified traffic to your website.
1.3. Leverage Keyword Research Tools
Google Search Engine - A common way to research and find top keywords is by using the search engine itself. When you type in the search bar, Google will automatically suggest similar keywords. You can also find more keywords at the end of the search results.
There are many paid and free keyword research tools available on the market. Here are a few tried and tested ones -
Now that you have a bunch of keywords in your arsenal, it's time to put them in good use! The page title, meta tags, and webpage URL play an essential role in the SEO of your hotel or restaurant website. Make sure you have your targeted keyword in all these areas of the webpage.
2.1. Keyword-Rich Title Tags
As per Google, an ideal length of the page title is between 50-60 characters (Although a longer title isn’t prohibited). Add the important keyphrase smartly on your page title so that it does not look like you stuffed keywords!
P.S. Always write for the user, not for search engines.
2.2. Optimize H1 Tags
The H1 Tag in your webpage’s HTML is an important heading because it provides the highest level tag that tells search engine and webpage visitors what your specific page is all about. For the best results, try to include keywords and the hotel name in the H1 tag.
P.S. Your webpage should have only ONE H1 tag.
2.3. Write SEO-Friendly Meta Descriptions
A well-written meta description improves the click-through rate to your website from the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Consider these three features while wiring your webpage’s meta description:
2.4. Utilize Short and Descriptive URLs
Your web page URL is one of the most basic yet key components of your SEO success (or failure)! Having a lengthy URL can appear suspicious or just plain messy to your visitors.
For example, https://isuite.innsight.com/hotel-restaurant-search-engine-optimization-seo
When you look at this simple, short, and descriptive version of the URL, you know exactly what you are going to see when you click on it!
Headings are used for organizing a document into sections for easy understanding for the reader. The HTML tags H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6, are used to define headings and subheadings.
It is highly recommended to include your primary and secondary keywords in your H1 tag.
But make sure that you don’t stuff the H tags with keywords. That’s a big NO-NO!
As people say, “Content is King,” we have some tips that you can focus on while creating your content copy:
4.1. Use Your Target Keywords
Now that you have a bunch of keywords describing your website in your quiver, you can include them naturally in your content. Do not write content just for the sake of stuffing the keywords. Your content should have a flow to it that keeps the reader glued to your website and has contextual relevance and uniqueness. Do not simply copy the content or stuff keywords into a garbled block of text--write unique, thoughtful, well-laid-out content that sprinkles in some of your researched keywords and offers a pleasant and worthy read.
4.2. Keyword Frequency and Making Use of LSI Keywords
You can delve deeper by making use of LSI keywords.
What are LSI keywords, you ask? LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. They are conceptually similar words that make it easy for search engines to understand the topic of the content on a website.
When Google scans your webpage, they find similar terms like “Hotels,” “accommodation,” “lodging,” “amenities,” “stay,” and “rooms.” Judging from these LSI keywords, Google concludes that the webpage is about a Hotel.
Use LSI keywords wherever it makes sense to do so. Remember to be subtle and reader-friendly when including them in your copy.
4.3. Writing Unique Content
The best advice for writing content would be to keep it simple and unique. If your content is difficult to follow or confusing for your readers, they’re not going to waste time trying to understand what you’re saying. There are multiple other hotels and restaurants in your area. Do not say what everyone is saying.
Highlight your hotel’s USP’s (Unique Selling Points), specify your hotel’s amenities and services, write clear information about your property’s location, and other details, on your website. Keeping your content copy clear and to the point is one of the best ways to stand out from the competition.
Image optimization is an often-overlooked element of Search Engine Optimization, but hotels and restaurants that take the time to optimize pictures on their website will find it can bring notable benefits to their marketing efforts.
5.1. Add ALT Text for Images
Search Engines are not able to read an image and discover what it contains. Instead, they consider ALT TEXT to determine what it describes and why it might be valuable for users.
5.2. Implement Image Titles
A Title Tag shows a brief description when you hover your mouse over the image. It can be used as CALL TO ACTION, or to give details about the image. A Title Tag is great for improving website usability.
Note: Title Tags do not affect your SEO, but Alt Text does!
Internal Links are links on your webpage that direct a user to a different page on your website itself. Internal linking is used to properly structure your website and show the search engine the interconnection among the various links on your website. These links can keep the reader on your website for longer and also help in increasing the authority of your website.
Whereas External Links are links on your webpage that direct a user to a different website altogether. External linking can be done when you want to link to a reputable or trustworthy source, thus improving your hotel website's credibility.
A Website Sitemap is a file containing information about the pages, videos, other files on your website, and the relationship between them. Search engines use this file to more intelligently crawl your site and establish its authority.
7.1. HTML Sitemap
HTML Sitemap is an HTML page that contains links to all of the webpages on your website. HTML Sitemap is like a road map for your website and is purely intended for users to navigate your website.
7.2. XML Sitemap
Unlike an HTML Sitemap, an XML Sitemap is used by search engines to crawl your website. The XML Sitemap can be uploaded to Google Search Console to give Google an overview of all the webpages on your website. That is why it is imperative to create a Sitemap for your hotel website.
7.3. How to Create a Sitemap?
Today, there are various online tools available on the internet, which can help you generate a sitemap for your hotel website in a few clicks!
7.4. Where Do I Submit My Sitemap?
These are the simple steps you need to follow to submit your XML sitemap to Google:
See the figure given below:
The starting letters of a website address (HTTP) are the code that allows your computer to connect with the website, namely the Hypertext Transfer Protocol. However, that code works just like a connection, and it is not secure. But, when there is an SSL certificate on your site, it becomes "HTTPS," which ensures the security of your website as the data that is transferred between the web server and client is encrypted!
8.1. Why does your hotel website need an SSL certificate?
One of the major advantages of an SSL certificate is that it is user-facing. This means that anyone who visits your website can see that you have this added security feature. But more importantly, SSL is imperative to the security of your guest’s data, and data privacy and protection is paramount to your business operations. Internet users will expect that your website is secure and you are following data privacy protocols to protect their personally identifiable information.
8.2. How to get an SSL certificate for your hotel website?
You can get SSL certificates through a variety of certified-providers. However, if you host your website with INNsight, an SSL certificate is supplied to you at no additional cost as part of your package with us.
Schema Markup is a code used to help search engines understand and interpret specific pieces of data from your website.
But what exactly does that mean? Let’s show an example!
Google search for “Yosemite Westgate hotel address,” and the very first thing you will see is the accurate address card of Yosemite Westgate Lodge.
(Image source: Google.com)
That is a pretty straightforward example, but how does Google gather such information from a website? The answer is “Structured Data”!
If you're still confused about the Schema markup/Structured Data concept, you'll likely love this feature within Google Search Console, named Structured Data Markup Helper.
Tip: Once you’ve got your code ready to go live, make sure you use Google’s own Structured Data Testing Tool, which helps you to check it for errors.
Voice search is getting bigger each passing day!
According to Google, 20% of searches in the Google app are completed with voice, and 60% of the web searches are now performed on a mobile device.
It is crucial to optimize your hotel website for people searching for a hotel using Voice search.
We have a dedicated article, including various tips and strategies on how you can Optimize Your Hotel Website for Voice Search!
Research shows 47% of visitors expect a website to load within 2 seconds or less. And, almost 40% of visitors will close the webpage if it takes more than 3 seconds to load!
There are numbers of factors that influence how long each page on your website takes to load, here are just a few:
A responsive website modifies its layout based on the device being used to give the best user experience, especially ideal for mobile viewing.
Facts demonstrate that over 60% of searches online now come from a mobile device.
A website that is not optimized for all smaller screens can experience a downfall in their search engine rankings. This means if your website is not responsive, your website will get deranked in Search Engine Results Pages and guests will have trouble finding your business.
On-page SEO requires more work than just optimizing your title tags and meta description. You need to ensure that your content matches the search intent of your targeted keywords and continuously monitor your page speed & UX signals to help your pages rank higher in SERPs.
Off-Page SEO includes all efforts taken outside of a website to improve its search engine ranking.
Off-page SEO techniques can help your hotel/restaurant website appear higher in search rankings. Off-page SEO is unrelated to optimizing your site or content itself like on-page SEO. Instead, Off-page SEO uses tactics off of your website to increase your website’s authority.
In a nutshell, On-page SEO shows search crawlers what a website is all about. It helps search engines understand that a page is a good search result since it is relevant and useful for its audience.
Off-page SEO shows search crawlers that the website is crucial and valuable. It helps search engines see that a web page is a good search result because the brand and website are authoritative and popular.
The main motive of performing off-page SEO techniques is to get search engines to see that your website is authentic, trustworthy, reliable, and, therefore, a good search result. And that can be achieved by two important factors: Links and Reputation.
Link building is a big part of Off-page SEO techniques, but it goes way beyond that.
Search engines find links to your hotel/restaurant website as an endorsement. Since your website is valuable enough to be linked to by another website, search engines take this as a signal that your website is relevant and trustworthy. This is the reason why link building is one of the most important off-page SEO techniques.
It is crucial to note that not all links have equal value. Some links do exercise a considerable amount of control on search engines as compared to others.
So when you form a link building strategy, focus on gaining high-quality backlinks as we explained above from authoritative websites, with relevant content and relevant anchor text.
One of the most effective off-page SEO techniques that you can adopt is guest blogging since it helps in both link building as well as in building a reputation.
Let's discuss the three main goals for guest blogging:
With the right content on the top blogs, you can do all three of those things. If you are trying to achieve either #1 or #2, you will want to find blogs that have a good-sized and engaged audience. If you are trying to achieve #3, you need to pinpoint blogs with persuasive domain authority.
To look for more link building opportunities, look to your competitors and see what sites have linked to them. When you check the backlinks that your competitors get, you can find opportunities for your website to gain links from the same websites.
If a website has included a competitor (in an article roundup, directory listing, or featured post), it’s quite possible that the website will be interested in also featuring your site. So approach those sites and pitch them on mentioning and linking to your brand.
Setting up a website is just the primary step in building a strong web presence for your business. The next important step is creating a business directory and business social media profiles. Creating profiles on other authoritative sites shows search engines that you are a licit business with an established presence.
Also, these profiles often allow you to link back to your website, which further helps you to form a backlink portfolio for your business.
Create business profiles on all leading social media platforms and business directory sites related to the hospitality industry. Also, make sure to set up a Google My Business page as this helps your brand appear as a rich result in search.
Yet another way of building a reputation is by leveraging the reputation of others online. By using an influencer marketing strategy, it's easier to build relationships with other influential brands and invite them to share your website content and promote your business.
You can find strategic partnerships with other influencers who can help you get more exposure from the right audiences for your business.
We, at INNsight, develop Search Engine Optimized websites to get your hospitality website off on the right foot when it comes to search engine ranking. At INNsight, we use only white hat strategies and techniques to build quality and long-lasting organic rankings. We are a professional search engine optimization advisor that can lift your site above your competitors, helping business owners deliver their site to the top rankings on major search engines.