There is no question that search engine optimization (SEO) is critical when trying to rank highly on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Higher rankings on Google, Yahoo! or Bing result in more organic traffic flowing to your site, which is an important source of traffic.
According to Hotel News Now, at least 30-35% of hotel website revenue is generated from organic SEO listings. While SEO best practices are well documented, they change frequently; Google, the largest and most used search engine, changes their algorithm determining which listings appear at the top of SERPs at least 500 times a year.
So how does one keep up with these constant changes in algorithms and practices? The first step is to keep a current list of proven best practices. Obviously, this list must be updated frequently to stay up to date, but using current practices will allow you to rank higher on SERPs.
Additionally, you should also create great, unique content that invites travelers to explore your website and generates conversions. Engaging content can be in the form of social media profiles, blogs, or website copy. Content that will really attract travelers may include detailed information about nearby attractions, guides written by locals, and recommendations for the area. You and your employees are experts on the area! Tap into that knowledge when creating content guests want to see. Content helps improve organic rankings because your site caters to more keywords and will therefore increase visibility.
Guests visiting your website are more likely to remain on your site for longer periods of time and may visit multiple pages, increasing their exposure to your brand and signaling to search engines that your site should be ranking highly. The content can also inspire a traveler to visit your property and entice them to book with your hotel. Consistent, informative content that is relevant to your hotel or B&B and cannot be found elsewhere on the Internet is key to improving SEO and encouraging conversions.
Another way to keep up with the ever-changing SEO best practices is to constantly track your performance. Multiple tools are designed to help you determine how your SEO tactics are working. For WordPress users, the Yoast SEO Plugin gauges the effectiveness of your SEO efforts on each webpage. The Moz Open Site Explorer allows you to analyze any website for SEO metrics and can be a great way to monitor how your site stacks up against competitors. These applications and your tool of choice to report your website metrics provide a clear picture of how your site is performing and where it needs improvement.
Lastly, if you don’t already provide an excellent user experience for mobile users, ensure your site is optimized for use on mobile devices. Last spring, Google updated their algorithm to give preference to listings with mobile sites because so many Google users search on their mobile phones and tablets. Hotels without mobile sites are losing search traffic and bookings to hotels with excellent sites because they are ranked lower on the SERPs.
SEO best practices are always changing and the best way to keep up is to constantly monitor your performance and create fantastic content. Doing so will drive organic traffic to your website, increase the amount of time guests spend on your site, and will increase booking conversions.
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