The Secrets of Hotel SEO: How to keep your content fresh on your hotel Web site

By Junvi Ola Principal, Hospitality Content Studio | December 09, 2012

If you want to be successful in Google's world, you have to play by Google's rules. However, this leading search engine recently announced the "freshness" update, creating yet another rule that hotel's have to play by in order to secure their spot in search engine results. The "freshness" update will affect 35 percent of total searches and will seek sites that are both relevant and recent for high-volume search queries. Now, why might this be important for the hospitality industry, you might ask? It turns out between 50-70 percent of hotel visitors and website bookings originate as leads from the major search engines, like Google and Bing. Traditionally, hotel websites are content rich vs. new rich, with descriptions and information explaining in detail every facet of the hotel and service, from bed linens to the capacity of a meeting room. The static, original content might be there, but fresh content is usually lacking, this being the biggest issue with current hotel websites after the latest Google algorithm updates. So if hotel websites aren't intrinsically fresh, how do hoteliers respond to the latest Google update? Here are eight ways your hotel can secure its place at the top of the search engine results.

Blog, Blog, Blog!

What a better way to keep your site fresh than with frequent, interesting posts? Having a blog on your hotel's website is an excellent way to not only supply your website with fresh content, but also help drive traffic to your site. It also opens up an unlimited option to add fresh content regularly, without affecting your hotel's main pages. Here, you can write about both hotel-related information and regional topics. It offers quality content that people want to link and share for a website that is not exactly in the content-creation business. Be sure to feature a blog on your sites main domain (www.yourhotel.com/blog), and not on a sub domain (blog.yourhotel.com) or a third party blogging site to ensure that any traffic you pull into your blog counts as a visit to your hotel's website. You should plan on updating your blog with fresh content once a week, and be sure to link back to inner landing pages of your site when appropriate.

Link Your Social Media

Because everybody enjoys being able to see what is going on in the world of Facebook even when they are just checking out where to stay during their weekend getaway. Real, up-to-the-minute Twitter feeds and Facebook interaction information are a great way to ensure that you are constantly broadcasting news about your hotel. Whether it's new promotions on vacation packages, group travel deals, or sweepstakes and giveaways, linking the news to your outside social media accounts can really bring in the business! This topical interaction can reflect your hotel's usage on social platforms, whether it may be a live Twitter feed, Facebook "like" buttons site-wide, or even Google +1 buttons. Social media interactions can certify that your fresh content reaches outside of your domain.

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Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.