Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) tactics used to be all about finding ways to outmaneuver and out-think search engines. The problem with this approach is that search engines continue to outsmart our clever, sometimes devious, ways. New algorithms are continually updated and improved and can affect how your site is ranked in search results both positively and negatively.
The result is that SEO isn’t just a button you can turn on or off. Many sources claim to have the shortcuts, but at the end of the day, you can’t rely on exploits and caveats to drive your search rankings. Understanding the search intent of your users is a long-term approach, and the road to becoming king of the SEO hill is paved with relevant and meaningful content. In order to succeed and get your content front and center, it’s critical to develop and implement a lasting strategy from the ground up. If you adopt a simple strategy now and continue to stick to it, there will be less of a need to painstakingly adapt later on. Here are several things you can do to boost your hotel’s rankings in search and continue to remain relevant over the long haul.
Build An Online Presence
This might seem obvious, but building an online presence is much more than creating and publishing a website. However, websites like SquareSpace make creating a new website easier than you can imagine, and include many plug-and-play features that can get your site live in no time.
After publishing your site, look for site directories and review pages that would be most useful for your hotel. A quick search for “Hotel Reviews” on Google will give you a great starting point. Have you claimed your Yelp Business page yet? Have you submitted your business to the Google + Business listing? Below is a list of additional local business directories that are great starting points to maximize your online presence:
Produce Engaging Content
In other words, produce regular, valuable content for your audience (of course, it isn’t just for your readers), and publish it on your blog, industry magazines, social sites, etc. While keeping to a regular blogging schedule can be tricky, finding meaningful topics to write about shouldn’t be.
What are the most common questions posed by your customers? What questions do you wish they would ask but don’t? How can you help your clientele find what they’re looking for quickly? If your hotel is located in a popular tourist location, can you provide useful recommendations of things to do in the area? These topics all make for great content and will obviously help your customers, but will also help your website rank stronger in search.
Before you start publishing content haphazardly, however, you should take a step back and decide what exactly you want to communicate to your audience. What is your history? What is your hotel promise? Defining your hotel story early on will build the foundation for your content to live on and create a unique distinction between your local competitors.
Target More Long-Tail Keywords
To get more traffic to your website, you need to begin to think like your customer. Understanding what they’re searching for, what terms they use, and even how they talk can help predict what they’re trying to find ca.
Begin to take advantage of Google Analytics and Google AdWords Keyword Planner. Using these tools, you can discover what keywords people are using to find you on the web, which gives you the opportunity to create more focused content and even find more long-tail keywords that you could also be taking advantage of.
Follow Top SEO Blogs
There is an increasing number of thought leaders promoting new ideas, tips, and solutions that can help you reach your hotel goals and this is especially true for SEO. Following top SEO Blogs such as Search Engine Land, Moz, and Backlinko will provide valuable educational resources on SEO, including email subscriptions and updates that can help you stay ahead of the curve.
Develop Your Google+ Presence
Google+ has the reputation of being an under-utilized social network, but being listed on the most popular search engine’s social network is nothing to overlook. Google+ integrates with Maps, Local, and Reviews allowing business owners to further tap into what their customers are saying about them.
Creating Google Authorship accounts for your content creators will provide an added human element so that your users know the content on your website is actually being created by real people. By including profile pictures for your writers and your business, visitors will feel more inclined to share your content than if it was from a faceless business.
These and other factors make it practically mandatory for business owners to create a presence on Google+.
You already control the integral parts of your hotel. Why would your website be any different? If you are still working with a design agency or third party company to develop your site for you, it may be time to move over to a free or open source Content Management System like WordPress or SquareSpace.
It’s crucial to be able to maintain, update, and add content to your site at a moment’s notice so you can react in real time. It’s not enough to have an online business card anymore and hotels can no longer simply create static sites to get noticed so iterating and optimizing your site with frequent copy updates is crucial to staying top of mind of your visitors.
Do you have any tips for our readers on how to invest more deeply into digital marketing? Join us in the social conversation on Twitter: follow us on @HumanityApp