Everyday we speak with hotels and advise them on our digital marketing recommendations. The area of search engine optimization (SEO) is a common topic of conversation and we will often provide audits. It is always surprising what we find. Despite SEO being a popular and important digital marketing strategy for many years, we often see many SEO basics still being missed. Outlined in the video above and the article below are the top three SEO issues that we come across. If you'd like to learn more about our SEO offerings please check out our Hotel SEO page.
#1 Onsite SEO Strategy
When we look at onsite optimization we're looking to see if the site has a keyword strategy and identify if that strategy is evident in the title tags and meta descriptions on the site. We do a deep crawl of the site and review all of these elements. In the visual below is a summary of the pages, title tags and meta descriptions from a select site:
In the above we can see that the homepage has a title tag and a meta description, however in looking at all of the other pages we can see that the title tags are basic, with no keyword strategy, and we see that the meta descriptions are missing.
Our recommendation is to have a focused keyword strategy for every page as this allows optimization for a broader set of keyword phrases. In the above if we look at the Neighborhood page, the title tag is just "Neighborhood - Hotel Name". This could be optimized for something like "hotels near the space needle" by having that keyword used in the title tag and meta description. Another example is the Offers page, this could be optimized for "Seattle hotel offers". So overall there is an opportunity here to broaden the keywords that this hotel is going after.
This is really low hanging fruit that that should be addressed regardless of your situation, your market, competition, etc. Are title tags and meta descriptions as important as they were 10 years ago? No, but search engines are still looking at them and they are things that impact the consumer because titles and descriptions show up in search result pages.
#2 Local Search UNAP
The next basic SEO tactics that we often find issues with is local search data and specifically your URL, Name, Address and Phone (UNAP). We have a utility where we can scan any business and see how they're performing. The biggest challenge and issue that we see with local search is inconsistencies with your information. See below for an example of our scan results:
The type of poor results you see above happens if no local search efforts have ever been taken, or if the local UNAP information has simply degraded over time. It happens all the time as properties change ownership groups or management companies. We also see it very commonly when a property goes from an independent to a brand (or vice versa) or when a building that wasn't previously a hotel becomes a hotel.
Poor visibility in local search engines like Google, Facebook and Apple often comes down to poor data and information about your business. Getting your UNAP information cleaned up goes a long way towards Google and other search engines having that confidence to show you in their local and in their map results.
#3 Site Speed and Performance
The third common SEO issue that we see with hotels is site speed and performance. This has become increasingly important, especially in the eyes of Google.
Google has a site speed tool where you can plug in any URL and get a detailed report of the issues that your site has. Here is an example:
The Google tool gives a score out of 100 for both desktop and mobile. As we all know mobile is increasingly more important if not even more important than desktop. The types of issues that this tool reports back are certainly more technical to fix and you likely would need a developer or your website company to address for you.
In summary, the top three SEO issues that we see for hotels are onsite SEO optimization, local search data quality and site speed and performance. If any of these are topics that you'd like more information about, or if you'd just like our recommendations on what you might be able to do, please get in touch with us today.