Hotel SEO: The Ultimate Guide to SEO for Hotels (in 2024)

Hotel SEO: The Ultimate Guide to SEO for Hotels (in 2024)

atlantis hotel

When it comes to marketing for hotels, the hotel niche is one of the most competitive niches. There are a lot of people competing for the top spots in the search engine results. You’ve got small hotels and hotel chains competing against price comparison booking sites and online travel aggregators.

All of this makes it difficult for hotels, especially small hotels, to stand out online. It’s even harder to attain higher rankings in the search engine results, especially with such experienced competition out there.

Lately, Google has taken their own steps into the hotel marketing niche. These days, it’s possible to book hotels directly through the search results. Without a strategy in place, fewer people will be visiting your hotel website every year.

All of this makes it increasingly difficult for hotels to generate direct bookings and rank their websites in the search engines. Thankfully, with an effective hotel SEO strategy, it’s possible to increase your hotel website rankings and grow the hotel revenue.

SEO For Hotels

Today, let’s take a look at the best strategies when it comes to SEO for hotels.

These will include both local SEO and general SEO strategies.

Implementing these tactics, whether on your own or with the help of an agency, is bound to have a beneficial impact on the growth of your hotel.

What is SEO For Hotels?

SEO For Hotels

SEO stands for search engine optimization. At its essence, it’s the process of making your hotel website more friendly for search engine users.

The results of hotel SEO, when implemented correctly, are higher website rankings and increased targeted traffic. This leads to an increase in direct bookings, which will increase hotel revenue.

It’s important to be generating direct bookings for your property through your hotel website. These bookings keep more revenue in your pocket. With direct bookings the hotel isn’t giving away a commission or percentage to a tour booking website or online travel aggregator.

This means hotels are able to provide a better quality of service for their guests. A better quality of service results in more bookings, recurring bookings, and positive online reviews.

There are different strategies and tactics that need to be implemented in order for hotel SEO to work effectively. Keep in mind that the impact of these strategies won’t be seen immediately. Hotels need to wait at least 6 to 12 months, at a minimum, for the best hotel marketing strategies to start working.

Is Hotel SEO Important?

Whenever future travelers search for anything, they’re provided with a list of results from the search engines. For the most part, people will click on the first, second, or third ranked websites.

After that, the likelihood that they will click on a website further down on the page drops dramatically. It’s safe to say that the majority of travelers will never venture past the first page of their online search results.

With this in mind, if you’re not visible to your target audience on the first page, then your guests won’t be able to discover you!

Poor search engine rankings makes it harder for you to grow your hotel business and generates direct bookings through your website. For any type of hotel, big, small, or chain, it’s important to be visible to your audience on the first page.

Now that you have a better idea about what SEO is , let’s jump into the different strategies.

#1 -Define Your Hotel’s Target Audience

hotel window view

The first step with any digital marketing strategy or hotels is to define the target audience. It’s important to understand the specific kind of people that are most likely to book a room at your hotel.

With this information, you can tailor your marketing strategy to target these people. This results in a more effective marketing plan and gives the hotel a better return on any of its marketing Investments.

To get started, analyze the current audience that’s booking rooms at your hotel. Take a look at their booking patterns, who they are, where they’re from, and what they like.

For example:

  • Small, boutique hotels will likely want to engage with middle to upper-class travelers. These might be couples or small families looking for a quiet, yet upscale accommodation experience.
  • With resorts, an ideal audience would be families, groups, or travelers looking to party somewhere exotic. It could also be retirees, older couples, or people looking to relax after working so hard.
  • Serviced apartments, like AirBnb, should consider targeting corporate travelers or long-term travelers. People that book places like this are typically travelling for extended periods of time.
  • Hotels in unique destinations, or those that provide adventure activities, would want to engage with millennial travelers. These are people looking for an escape and hoping to have the time of their lives while they’re travelling.

Once you have a better idea of your target audience, it’s time to start thinking about what they’ll be searching for when they’re looking for places to stay.

The terms that use in search engines are known as “keywords”. These keywords are the phrases a hotel website will want to be ranking for on the first page of the search engine results.

For example, your target audience might search for terms like:

  • Fun resorts in “your city”
  • Best adult’s only resorts in “your country”
  • Best boutique hotels in “your city”
  • Party-friendly hostels in “your city”
  • Best hotels in “your country”
  • Where to stay in “your city”
  • Budget accommodation in “your city”

This gives you a better idea of the search terms your target audience might be using. These are the keywords that need to be included on your hotel website. We’ll get into that with the next step.

#2 – Start With a Keyword Research Strategy

doing keyword research

When it comes to SEO for hotels, using the right keywords is one of the most crucial components. Like I mentioned, these are the specific words and phrases that people are using in search engines to find your hotel website.

Should you want to do your own hotel keyword research, start by listing all of the possible search terms your audience would use. For example:

  • Hotels in London, England
  • Cheap hotels in London
  • Budget accommodation in central London
  • Best hotels in London
  • Hotels near Heathrow Airport

There are a number of different keyword research strategies that can be implemented. Each of these strategies can help you find relevant hotel key words that your hotel can target.

These keywords should be added to your website. It’s ideal for them to be included included on the main page and any relevant content pages or blog posts.

Choosing the right keywords is one of the most important practices and hotel SEO strategies. Ranking for the right keywords can generate direct bookings and allow you to grow your hotel business.

#3 – Optimize the Hotel Website Content

optimizing web content

If you’ve been researching SEO for hotel industry websites, you may have read that content is king. Content is the information that’s included on the different pages on your site. This is the information that ranks in the search engines and drives visitors to visit your hotel website.

There are a number of ways to optimize the content on your website for better rankings. Like I mentioned, this will help to generate direct bookings, which is likely the goal of most hotel properties.

Starting with the homepage, it’s important to include relevant hotel keywords. There should also be a H1 heading, or title, on the homepage. Make sure that an important and relevant keyword is used in this heading.

For example, a hotel in Toronto would want to use the “hotel in Toronto” search term as part of their H1 heading. This helps tell the search engines what your website page is about.

Next, after the heading, it’s important to include additional content in the form of text, images, and video. When it comes to text, there should be a minimum of 800 to 1000 words on your hotel homepage.

This text needs to include your targeted keyword, as well as any other relevant keywords discovered during the keyword research process. Break up the text using subheadings, H2 or H3, to make it easier to read. These headings also give you another chance to include relevant keywords that you’re hoping to rank for.

One of the main issues hotel websites have with ranking is a lack of on-page content. This makes it difficult for the search engines to determine what the website, and its individual pages, are about. It’s an important part of any hotel marketing strategy to include as much relevant content as possible on the website.

Along with your homepage, there should be other helpful content and website pages on the hotel website. The content that’s shared should be informative and helpful to your current and potential visitors.

For example, content can be developed in the form of blog posts, newsletters, articles, reviews, and helpful lists. Anything shared on the website that can attract your potential audience has the ability to generate more bookings.

Let me explain. When people are planning a trip they’ll be looking up information on the places they’re visiting. Someone travelling to London would probably searched for “things to do in London”. If they come across your hotel blog and read your content, there’s a chance they may end up booking at your hotel.

This is a simple strategy that’s overlooked by most accommodation properties. As I mentioned earlier, when it comes to SEO for hotels, helpful content shouldn’t be avoided. You might be surprised how many bookings are generated by helping people planning a trip to your area.

#4 – Make the Most of Google My Business

If you haven’t already, it’s essential to set up your hotel on Google My Business. Having an optimized Google My Business listing gives you a better chance of showing up for local searches, appearing in the Google Maps results, and generating more relevant local bookings.

Google uses reviews that come from Google My Business as part of their local ranking factors. Without reviews and an optimized Google My Business page, you’re leaving a significant amount of relevant local searches on the table.

Setting up and optimizing your Google My Business let’s Google know to display relevant results for searches related to specific geographic locations. For example, having an optimized Google My Business page for a website in New York City is going to make it more like that you show up for searches related to hotels and places to stay in New York City.

There are also a number of other benefits of having a Google My Business for your hotel. All of these can have a direct impact on your hotel SEO strategy.

With Google My Business you can list your hotel’s name, address, and phone number. This is related to the NAP of your hotel website, an important aspect of local SEO for hotels.

It’s possible to verify that your Google Maps location marker is in the correct location. This means visitors can easily find your hotel without getting lost or confused from inaccurate directions.

Google My Business allows guests to leave reviews and share photos. As a hotel, it’s possible for you to respond to guest reviews in order to maintain or improve your hotel’s reputation.

You can add your own unique photos of the hotel, hotel rooms, and the different facilities available. Additional details can be provided, such as helpful information about the Wi-Fi, extra amenities, disabled access, and anything else worth mentioning.

It’s easy to create and verify the Google My Business for your hotel. Keep in mind you will need a unique listing for each property, if you’re managing more than one hotel under the same chain.

#5 – Ensure the Website is Mobile Friendly

google mobile friendly test

These days, the majority of Google searches are happening from a smartphone or mobile device. With that in mind, it’s important to have a responsive hotel website that’s easy to use and navigate on mobile devices and smartphones.

Start by heading over to the Google mobile friendly test website to check if your website is mobile-friendly. If it is mobile-friendly, there’s not much for you to worry about in this regard.

If your hotel website isn’t mobile-friendly, the mobile friendly test results will show you how to fix the issues. With this information you can follow along and fix any issues or speak with your website designer for a solution.

After fixing the mobile responsiveness problem, test the website again to verify that it will work on smartphones and mobile devices.

Here are some helpful things to consider when switching to a responsive website:

  • Check that your website has a reasonable loading speed on desktop and other mobile devices
  • Don’t forget to include the ‘Viewport Meta Tag’
  • Use large font sizes that are easy to read
  • Check that the button sizes are large enough to work on mobile and that they’re formatted properly
  • Regularly perform mobile testing
  • Upload compressed and properly sized images

Having a mobile responsive website will improve user experience. This can help generate more hotel bookings. Mobile websites are also a Google ranking factor, and switching to one can improve your website rankings.

#6 – Work on the URL, Page Title, and Meta Description

web design

The website URL, meta description, and separate page titles each play an important role when it comes to SEO for hotels.

Implementing the right strategy in these locations can help improve rankings and make your hotel website easier to navigate.

What is the Website URL?

The website URL is the address at the top of the page that brings people to specific pages on your hotels website. For example, the URL of this website is “WizardofTourism.com”.

How Do You Write an SEO Friendly URL?

A URL that is SEO friendly is one that is easily understood and includes relevant information. The URL should include the targeted keyword.

Stop words and underscores should be avoided. Use hyphens for splitting up the words and never use specific years.

For example, a confusing URL would be “https://hotelwebsite.com/booking.php?pageid=8”. This is confusing to the website visitor and doesn’t do you any favors in the search engines.

On the other hand, a URL that’s clear and easy to understand would be “https://hotelwebsite.com/double-rooms/”. A URL like this makes sense to the search engines as well as to your website visitors.

What is the Page Title?

The page title, otherwise known as the title tag, is an on-page HTML element. This is what tells people about the content on your webpage.

In WordPress, the page title is the title you add at the top of the blog post or website page where it says “Add title”. In the search engine results, the title is the main heading that’s displayed at the top of the page information.

Where Do You Find the Webpage Title?

Using WordPress, and most other popular website platforms, it’s easy to find and change the page title.

Usually, there’s a text box with the “Add title” or “Title” text displayed. This area allows you to set a specific title for your webpage.

How Do You  Write an SEO Friendly Page Title?

Always includes the main keyboard in your page titles. It’s even better if you can start the title with the main keyword.

With that in mind, put together a title that describes the website page most accurately. It should be easy and obvious to understand, for both website visitors and the search engines.

When it comes to length, the title length should be between 50 and 60 characters. If it’s greater than 60 characters, it might not show up completely in the search engine results.

For example, a page title for your homepage could be “Dreams Tulum | Luxury Resort in Tulum, Mexico”. For inspiration, search on Google for hotels in your area. Use the top-ranked results as a guideline for creating your own page titles.

What is a Website Meta Description?

The meta description is the text summarizing a page’s content.

This information is shown in the search engine results immediately after the page title. Descriptions can range up to 160 characters in length.

How Do You Write an SEO Friendly Meta Description?

Using WordPress, it’s easy to change and update the meta description for a post or page. On different platforms the process will be slightly different.

When you’re writing a meta description, there is some information that should be included. The hotel should be described completely in the description. It should also include your main keyboard.

The purpose of the meta description is to make visitors click on the hotel results in the search engine results. This is an essential part of a good hotel SEO strategy and can help to increase website traffic.

#7 – Add Alt Text to the Website Images adding alt text to wordpress site

Image alt text is the text that’s displayed on a website page if the image isn’t available. This can happen for any reason, but is most likely caused by a slow internet connection or image upload issue.

There are a few reasons to use image alt text as part of your hotel search engine optimization strategy. For starters, this text can be used to improve user experience.

Should the image not be displayed, users are still able to determine what the image could have been.

Next, search engines still aren’t fully capable of completely decoding images. Using the alt text tells the search engines what your images are about. This way the images can be indexed accordingly and show up for the proper search engine keywords.

Finally, it’s possible to rank an image in the search engine results. People that only look at the website results when they’re using search engines. Some people are looking for images specifically.

If it’s the image of your hotel at the top of the results, this can help drive traffic to your hotel website.

How Do You Add Alt Text to Images?

It’s easy to add alt text if you’re using WordPress. Check out this helpful alt text guide for WordPress if you’re having difficulty.

Alternatively, depending on the website, you’ll have to alter the code itself. Start by searching for the <img> tag for a specific image.

Once found, add the correct alt text code along with the text you want to use. Don’t forget to include a relevant keyword.

Should you have any issues, ask your website designer or developer to help you.

How Do You Write SEO-Friendly Alt Text?

When writing alt text, the length of the text should be less than 125 characters.

Using a relevant keyword, or keywords, describe the image or the topic of the page.

Avoid using default alt text or including text that doesn’t have any relevance.

Improve Your Websites Loading Speed

Another one of the most important Google ranking factors is website loading speed.

Looking at statistics, people are impatient and don’t want to wait for a website to load. The longer your page takes to load, the more likely someone is to exit your website and visit one of your competitors.

To check your website speed, head over to the Google page speed insight tool. Enter the URL of your hotel website. Click on analyze to get the results of your website loading speed.

This tool I’ll show you a score for both mobile and desktop speeds. Using this score, you may have to make improvements to how quickly the website loads. The tool even has recommendations on how to solve any of the page speed issues the website is experiencing.

As a hotelier, there’s no need to worry about the technical details too much. Focus on the insights and any small improvements you can make on your own. Otherwise, speak with your website provider or developer and see how they can improve your page speed score.

How Can You Reduce Your Website Speed Loading Time?

Start by installing one of the many caching plugins available. Keep in mind these are only available for WordPress websites. Otherwise, use a light framework for building your hotel website.

Try to avoid having any redirects on the site. These can significantly slow things down, especially with websites that are already running slow.

Optimize the image sizes and considered using an image compression plugin. It’s also possible to minify and combine files, although this is better left to your website designer or developer.

#8 – Build and Submit a Website Sitemap

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZ24HuiolDs

A sitemap is a map of your website that search engines use to quickly crawl, or find, all of the different pages your website has. Without one, it’s difficult for search engines tell both find your hotel website and properly display all of its pages.

Sitemaps are files with a list of the web pages on your website. They reveal to search engines the organization have your website content.

Building and submitting a sitemap is an integral part of any SEO for hotels strategy.

How Do You Create a Sitemap?

Creating a sitemap is a simple process. If you’re not technically skilled, consider asking your web designer or developer to set up a sitemap for your hotel website.

If you’re using WordPress, there are a number of sitemap plugins that can be installed. Plugins such as Yoast can be used to easily generate a sitemap.

After the sitemap has been created, it needs to be submitted to Google Search Console. This is one of the best hotel analytics tools that can be used for keyword research and generating website traffic.

Submitting the sitemap to Google makes it easier for the search engine to discover and rank your content. Once submitted, the hotel website will be crawled regularly as Google randomly searches for fresh content.

#9 – Build Links

seaside resort lounge chairs

Link building is another important part of any local SEO strategy for hotels. This is the process of acquiring links from other websites. These links point back to your website and make it easier for website users to navigate across the internet.

Backlinks are also an important Google ranking factor. Each link, especially links from better quality websites, can help to give your website a boost in the search engine results.

Why Are Links Important For Hotel Website SEO?

Backlinks are one of the main elements of any effective hotel SEO strategy. When it comes to links, there are two main types. These would be internal links and external links.

Each search engine uses links for determining how well a specific page should rank in the search engine results. Links make it easier for search engines to discover new web pages on both new and established websites.

Finally, links make it easier for people to navigate to different websites or pages to find what they’re looking for.

What Are Internal Links?

Internal links are links from one page on your website to another page on your website. This is known as interlinking and can be helpful in your hotel SEO strategy.

Using internal links has two main purposes. First, it makes it easier for your website users to navigate across your website and find what they’re looking for.

Second, it shows the search engines which pages are related. This makes it easier for them to display relevant content in the search engine results.

What Are External Links?

Also known as backlinks, external links are links to your website from other websites on the internet. The goal of any hotel link building strategy should be to get inbound links from credible, authoritative websites in the same niche or industry.

Backlinks are yet another one of the most important Google website ranking factors. Without them, it’s difficult to compete and makes it harder for your website to rank in the results.

How Can You Build Backlinks For Your Hotel Website?

It’s important to have a practical link building strategy in place. When it comes to hotels, both local and generalized links need to be built.

For local links, start by getting listed on sites related to the hotel and hospitality industry. This would include websites like TripAdvisor and other travel sites in your niche.

Another great local link building strategy is to submit the hotel website on any online hotel directories.

It’s also possible to register the website in your local hotel association or chamber of commerce. Links from these websites can all have a positive impact on your hotel link building strategy.

When it comes to getting general links, there are a few ways to accomplish this. Start by creating high-quality content. This can be done in the form of blog posts or videos.

Next, reach out to relevant bloggers and websites in your niche and share your content with them. Afterwards, ask them to link back to your content if they find it helpful and relevant.

Another great hotel link building strategy is guest posting. There are a number of travel blogs and travel websites that allow guest posts. Reach out to these websites with suggestions and regularly submit content.

#10  – Create Better Local Content

Earlier in this guide we spoke about optimizing your website content for search engines. After optimizing your existing content, the next best step would be to create better local content. This is content that will increase the relevancy of your hotel website, promote your rooms, and promote your hotel services.

Non-commercial, supporting content is effective at increasing the relevancy of your hotel website in the eyes of search engines. This type of content helps tag your website as a hotel digital property and gives a better association with your local geographical area.

Increasing relevancy makes it easier for search engines to rank your website. This can result in better rankings for individuals making local searches related to your hotel or accommodation in your area.

At this point, you may be wondering – how often should supporting content be produced?

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how often you’re creating new local content for your hotel website. The important thing is that local content creation is a part of your hotel SEO strategy and isn’t something that’s overlooked.

As long as the content strategy and implementation is consistent, the hotel website will reap the rewards. Consistency trumps everything else, making it ideal to choose a content schedule and sticking to it.

For help with content creation, take a look at our hotel copywriting service. We can help you create practical, relevant content that can promote your rooms, promote your hotel services, and increase the relevance of your hotel website.

#11 – Optimize the Booking Process

Is your hotel website getting traffic, but for some reason you’re not generating enough bookings from these leads?

This could be due to a poorly optimized booking process.

Optimizing the booking process and visitor journey for your hotel website can improve user experience and lead to more bookings (a part of your hotel lead gen strategy).

Let’s take a look at some of the ways to optimize the booking and inquiry process for users to maximize your website’s potential.

Make Calls-To-Action Obvious

For some people, this might be an obvious strategy when it comes to local SEO for hotels. Unfortunately, there are still a significant number of websites I don’t use an obvious CTA, or Call to Action, on their key landing pages.

Calls to action, as well as contact information, needs to be obviously displayed and easily visible. These should be found on all of the key landing pages on your hotel website.

Making it difficult to book a room or get in contact with your property will leave visitors to exit your website. This sends them to your competition and makes it harder for you to generate bookings.

Streamline Contact Forms

The hotel website should only collect information that’s absolutely necessary through any online forums being used. Fewer fields on online forms can lead to a higher conversion rate, especially for visitors using mobile devices.

A good strategy to follow is to keep the booking process and forms to as few pages and clicks as possible. Less than 5 clicks from start to finish of the booking process is ideal and leads to the greatest amount of people completing a booking.

Make Sure The Website Loads Fast

This was already mentioned in our guide, but it’s something that needs to be reiterated. The pages on your hotel website need to load fast. The longer it takes a page to load, the more likely a visitor is to abandon that page.

For example, studies have shown that more than 50% of mobile users will abandon a website that takes over 3 seconds to load. There are similar rates of abandonment for desktop users. This can have a detrimental impact on the amount of bookings you’re able to generate through your website.

When it comes to loading times, under-optimized or uncompressed images tend to be the most common culprit. Take a look at this post on how to speed up your website for a better idea on how to improve your website speed.

Hey! I'm Alexander - the founder of Wizard of Tourism!

About the author

Alexander has been working with business in the travel and tourism industries since 2012. With over a decade of experience, Alexander and Wizard of Tourism strive to help those in the travel industry grow their business online.