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With the ever-increasing growth of the travel industry over the years, hospitality companies such as hotels and restaurants are seeking new and creative ways to make their name known in a crowded market. One of the best methods to achieve this is to have a solid and consistent online presence. That is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
A well-developed and proven SEO strategy will help the company’s website not only improve organic search engine rankings but also attract better and more qualified users to the site.
With the demand for U.S. hotel-room nights growing over 2%, and with the addition of nearly 950 new hotels and 112,050 hotel rooms in 2018, quality SEO has become even more important in giving hospitality businesses a chance to compete in what is already a very saturated industry.
Here are eight SEO factors to consider when optimizing your hospitality website.
As a digital agency serving the hospitality industry, we can tell you that one of the most important aspects to both users and search engines alike is for a website to have a well-thought-out, organized, and searchable hierarchy. Group content together in logical categories and internally link in understandable and convenient ways.
When conducting SEO for hospitality sites, keep in mind that both search engines and users obtain information about a site’s structure based on URLs. It is best practice to use a logical top-down subfolder hierarchy.
Aside from the typical onsite SEO additions such as keyword-focused page titles and header tags, “Schema,” or Rich Snippets, is the technical term for how websites communicate with Google to display important search results differently from other search results.
You have likely seen search engine results that appear with star ratings after you search—let’s say, for your favorite movie or your favorite recipe—that include pictures and links to different sections of a specific site under the main Google search result. Well, you can also add schema to your website for hotels and resorts, making it easier for both search engines and travelers to find exactly what they need.
In 2016, Google’s Mobile-First Indexing was announced and later implemented in 2018. This basically means that Google is ranking websites based on their respective mobile versions. Ultimately, you need to check that you have an accessible mobile-friendly website that is fast and easy to use—without any technical SEO issues.
When it comes to SEO management, fully responsive websites are much easier to manage when there are fewer technical issues to watch out for. Site speed is going to be even more important now with mobile-first indexing. If your website is slow on mobile devices, then its organic search rankings will also be impacted.
Not only is site speed an important element to for organic performance, but the user-experience that a fast site provides is also important. Nearly half of web users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less. They will abandon a site that has not loaded within 3 seconds.
Here are a few site speed facts to keep in mind:
Common high-value ways of improving website speed are utilizing Next-Gen image formats, using high-quality hosting with a content delivery network (CDN), limiting the use of plugins and redirects, and configuring browser caching.
Google has been adamant about its stance on non-SSL-secure websites. The lack of an SSL certificate may impact your site’s organic performance. So, if your website has any kind of contact form where a user’s information can be entered and submitted, Google will show a “this website is not secure” warning message in its browser. This will deter people from sharing information with you, and they will lose trust in your site.
Websites will likely experience a slight SEO boost for running securely on SSL. So, if potential loss of users is not enough to inspire you to install an SSL certificate on your site, hopefully, the improved organic search ranking will be.
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the DOJ publication of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design outline the requirements for businesses to build accessibility accommodations that enable the disabled public to access the same services as those who are not disabled. This would include hospitality websites.
Here is a helpful list to consider when dealing with ADA accessibility on your hospitality website:
Follow this simple rule: make your website with your ENTIRE audience in mind.
The local aspect of a hospitality brand’s website is a crucial one. Taking into account the user intent for a local search is the difference between getting traffic to your site and getting conversions. In order to perform in local search, a hospitality website need to include the following:
In hospitality, it is often undervalued how your social engagement factors into the overall brand trust online. Not only should you have a social sharing calendar, but you should also reply to comments and reviews across all platforms, including Google My Business. Users have increasingly been using reviews as a method for identifying the trust of a brand. Unaddressed negative reviews and comments are left to the users imagination about how trustworthy a brand is.
These are just a few of the factors that will help improve the SEO of your hospitality website. Contact AOR today to see how hospitality SEO can help boost your site’s organic performance.