25 Hotel SEO Tips: Best SEO Strategies for Hotel Websites
These are the best SEO tips to rank a hotel website on the first page.
You’ll find a complete step-by-step guide.
And a high-quality SEO keywords list.
Here’s everything you need to improve your ranking in Google:
What is SEO for Hotel Websites?
Hotel SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of improving your website to rank higher on the search engine results page. Since the top 3 positions receive 54.4% of the clicks, SEO-optimizing your hotel website is a no-brainer. The higher you rank on Google, the more organic traffic you’ll get. Which obviously results in more direct bookings.
For example, let’s say you SEO-optimized a landing page for hotel rooms with jacuzzis. A potential client searches “best hotels with jacuzzi in rooms” and you show up on top of the Google search results. Congrats, you just got more hotel guests staying at your property.
Best Hotel SEO Tips
1. Renew Domain Name for 3-5 Years.
Renew your domain name to show search engines that your hotel website is here to stay. Google filed a patent about businesses that register domains for years in advance.
“Valuable (legitimate) domains are often paid for several years in advance, while doorway illegitimate domains rarely are used for more than a year. Therefore, the data when a domain expires in the future can be used as a factor in predicting the legitimacy of a domain.”– Google Patent
2. Fix Contact Information & Website Links
You should always link to your website the same way. Google sees www.example.com and example.com as two different websites. Let’s say a potential customer from Facebook clicks on your www link and a repeat guest clicks on your non-www TripAdvisor link. Organic traffic stays the same, but Google will see it as two different web pages.
This splits total page views in half and makes you look less relevant. Even worse, Google can view your web page as duplicate content. Phone numbers are equally as important.
Make sure your phone number is the same on TripAdvisor, Kayak, Expedia, OTA’s (if possible) and other travel aggregators. Different phone numbers create confusion and therefore offer a less satisfactory user experience.
3. Hotel SEO Keyword Research
In-depth keyword research is fundamental to any digital marketing strategy. You start by researching high volume relevant keywords that potential clients would Google. Then, you strategically use those search terms in your content (blog posts) to attract visitors to your website.
Keyword Research Tools
Here are the best keyword research tools for hotel business owners. Some research tools are free, while others are $100-$800 a month. Some keyword planners use Google analytics data, while others use high-quality NLP-based (natural language processing) data. You get what you pay for.
- Google Keyword Planner
- Ahrefs Keywords Explorer
- SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool
- Moz Keyword Explorer
- Neil Patel UberSuggest
Booking Search Intent Keywords
Since direct bookings or more hotel guests is your goal, targeting specific search intent is crucial. Someone searching for “Chicago hotels” is just starting their journey. While someone searching for “Hilton Chicago vs Marriott Chicago” has already decided on those two. Your job is to win them over with high-quality content writing.
After deciding on the right keywords, you have to find relevant keywords. Known as LSI keywords or semantically related search terms. For example, semantically relevant search terms for hotels are best, cheap, downtown, rooms, guests, [city], [state], etc.
Competitor Search Terms
Most high-quality research tools let you search which target keywords your competitors are ranking for. It’s as simple as inputting their website or a specific landing page. Which will result in a list of SEO keywords for hotels that you can try to rank for.
4. Topic Authority
Topic authority is one of the most important ranking factors for hotels and other travel industry businesses. Google intends to promote content from actual experts. You cannot buy it, you earn it. Luckily, Google constantly scans your website content.
Stay relevant. If your website features only one location, consider writing about local restaurants, local things to do, how your brand is different, interesting things about your location, nearby airports, etc. If your hotel website has multiple brands and/or locations, talk about types of services you offer or write a blog post about “10 hotels with breakfast buffets” if that’s what your hotels offer.
The more website traffic you get, the more relevant you are in Google’s eyes. That doesn’t mean hiring a bot farm. Google will penalize you for any black hat digital marketing techniques. Your web page must answer the original searchers intent without them going back to Google and re-doing the search.
Google’s E-A-T Search Quality Guidelines
The more related your content is to your brand and location, the more Google will promote your hotel’s website.
“…the amount of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T)
is very important”– Google Search Quality Guidelines
5. High-Quality Content Writing
One of the most important hotel SEO tips is high-quality content writing. This includes:
- In-depth keyword research
- Writing based on searchers intent
- Usually long-form content
- Using long-tail keywords
- Writing for your target audience
- Staying relevant to your primary keyword
“SEO without content writing is like winking at a girl in the dark.”– R-A-N-K.COM
6. On-Page SEO
On-page search engine optimization is a form of technical SEO used for optimizing:
- title tags
- content writing
- internal links
- URL structure
- image ALT tags
- finding broken links
- user experience
- web design
- matching searchers intent
- average page speed
- site architecture
- and a lot more
Unlike off-page SEO, on-page SEO is fully within your control. If your hotel website was built on WordPress, you can add or edit everything yourself. If your web developer built a simple CMS, it’s also possible to do everything on your own. While it is possible, we wouldn’t recommend it. It’s more efficient and cost effective to hire a hotel SEO company to do everything for you.
7. Create Blog Posts
Writing blog posts is the core of any hotel SEO strategy. The more SEO blog posts you publish, the more topic authority you gain in the hospitality industry. At least, according to Google’s eyes. Link building in the travel industry is competitive, so article writing should be your main focus. Here are some quick SEO tips for hotels when creating blog posts:
8. Title Tags
Optimizing title tags is the easiest digital marketing strategy. They show up in the search engine results pages (SERPS), social media posts and on the top of your internet browser tab. Keep title tags under 60 characters, so they don’t get cut off by Google on mobile devices.
- Maximum 50-60 characters
- Include your target keyword
- Use emotions or SEO power words
9. Meta Descriptions for Hotels
Meta descriptions for hotels aren’t directly an SEO metric. However, they’re crucial for improving clickthrough rate (CTR). Clicks result in traffic to your wesite, which is crucial to any SEO strategy for hotels. Cheap hotel search engine marketing companies love to spam meta descriptions with keywords. Not only does this technique not work, but it’s also called keyword stuffing.
10. Blog Post Headings (H1, H2, H3)
Blog post or web page headings are one of the most important ranking factors for Google. Follow the heading hierarchy for the best SEO benefits. Here’s how to maximize SEO traffic to your hotel using heading tags:
(H1) Heading Tag
H1 headings are similar to title tags. However, here’s how they’re different. Title tags should be optimized for clicks from search engine results pages (SERPS). While H1 headings introduce the content your hotel guests will be reading. There should only be one H1 heading tag per web page.
According to John Mueller who coordinates Google Search Relations, H1 tags “help Google understand the structure of the page, just like it helps users understand the structure of the page.” Here’s a Youtube video of him talking about H1 tags.
(H2) Sub-Heading Tag
H2 sub-headings break up long-form content. They’re commonly used as titles for the paragraphs that follow. Which lets readers jump to sections that are most important to them. This helps fulfill searchers intent and boosts your rankings if they continue reading. Known as dwell time.
(H3) Sub-Heading Tag
H3 sub-headings are used to break up lengthy sections under H2 headings. Proper usage of H3 headings help decrease bounce rate.
(H4) Sub-Heading Tag
H4 sub-headings help break down an H3 section further. They use a smaller font sizes than H3.
11. Image Alt Text
Image alt text helps search engines understand what’s inside an image. While Google uses advanced image recognition, it can’t predict exact details.
For example, the Google algorithm can predict an image is probably a hotel room. However, it can’t predict that it’s specifically a Marriott Chicago hotel room. So here’s the best SEO strategy for image alt tags:
- Describe what’s inside your image in 3-5 words
- Use SEO-friendly words
- Stay relevant and accurate
This is also one of the best Instagram SEO strategies.
12. Internal Linking
Interlinking is the process of linking important pieces of website content to other relevant articles or web pages on your website. Internal links are very important for fulfilling searchers intent. They help customers read more about what they’re interested in and Google finds more of your content.
You see Google assigns a “crawl budget” for your hotel website. If you don’t properly interlink your pages, new published content may not be found for weeks or even months. Here’s the best SEO method for internal linking:
- Create a web page or article with general information about a certain topic
- Within the content, link to other web pages where your customers can learn more about sub-topics
For example, let’s say you write an article on the different types of rooms your hotel offers. Then, you create individual pages for each room category. That’s a perfect opportunity to link to the individual pages you created from your main article.
Internal linking helps your readers learn more about a topic without going back to Google and re-doing the search query. This increases dwell time and boosts your hotel ranking in Google.
13. Off-Page SEO for Hotels
Off-page SEO is crucial if you want to rank your hotel higher in Google. The sole purpose of this SEO tactic is to generate backlinks, increase website authority in the hotel industry and improve credibility. Here’s how to do that:
Hotel Guest Reviews
Ask your hotel guests to review you. This increases credibility and creates trust. Additionally, hotel guest reviews are full of long-tail keywords that attract organic searches.
For example, a review including “this was the best hotel in Chicago we stayed in”, will attract customers who search “best hotel in Chicago”. The more reviews you get with a positive sentiment that includes your target keyword, the more likely you’ll show up for those search terms.
Social media marketing is great for attracting your target audience. While Google does not care how many followers you have, they do care if your brand gets engagement. Having a great online presence on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc helps increase your credibility in Google’s eyes.
Travel influencers and travel agencies are a great efficient way of driving traffic and backlinks to your website. While most of these links are “no-follow links”, they still create credibility and increase website traffic.
Online travel agencies (OTA’s) such as Expedia are a great way of getting backlinks and hotel brand mentions. Most OTA’s won’t link back to you because they obviously don’t want to lose commission. However, every time your hotel brand is mentioned online, this benefits your overall online presence. Even if you don’t get a link back. Some OTA’s like TripAdvisor will link back, which drastically helps your Google rankings.
Guest posting is the process of writing an article on a travel industry website you don’t own. There are over 60,000 travel agents in the US. Most of those agents work for travel agencies that have websites. We highly recommend contacting each travel agency and other hotel industry related websites to write an article about your brand. Each backlink alerts Google that you are important and relevant.
There are millions of travel websites. Many of which have already mentioned your brand in their articles. Reach out to those website owners and ask them to link to you. Look for the anchor text (a target keyword) that would benefit you the most. This can be mentions of your hotel brand or even “best hotel in Chicago” type of keywords.
14. Link Building (Backlinks)
Link building is the process of acquiring backlinks through organic SEO techniques. This is one of the most important hotel SEO tips. You want to get other travel related websites to link to your hotel website. You can do this by:
- Guest posting on travel agency websites
- Guest posting on travel influencers websites
- Signing up with tour operators
- Signing up with OTA’s
- Partnering with local restaurants
- Partnering with local businesses
- Participating on podcasts
- Creating awesome infographics
- Listing your hotel on directories
If you’re having trouble with this, contact us. This is one of the most difficult tasks of hotel search engine optimization.
15. User Experience for Hotel Guests
User experience is a huge ranking factor for Google. These are some examples of a bad user experience:
- Website takes a long time to load
- Text moves down after loading
- Difficult to navigate
- Not mobile friendly
- Broken images
- Broken links
- Broken web pages
- Annoying pop ups
16. Mobile Friendly Hotel Website
In 2020, Google changed its algorithm to mobile-first indexing. If your website is not mobile friendly, you can forget about ranking your website on the first page. Some examples of a mobile-friendly website:
- SEO-optimized images
- Larger fonts
- Minimum 18px font size
- Hamburger menu
- Single column web designs
- Fast web-page loading
17. Improve Web Page Speed
Improving website speed is very important for a good user experience. Especially for mobile devices according to Google in 2018.
Improve Page Load Time
- Optimize images for screen sizes
- Provide image dimensions
- Use image compression tools like TinyPNG
- Enable GZIP compression
- Minify your CSS files
- Minify your JS files
- Use WP Rocket WordPress plugin
- Use W3 Total Cache WP Plugin
Website Speed Test Tools
There are a number of website speed test tools. We recommend:
Upgrade Hosting Providers
This can be simple or complex. If you’re on a VPS (virtual private server), it can be as simple as upgrading your hosting to the next level of hosting. Increasing CPU processing power and RAM. If you’re on a cheap shared hosting account, you’ll need a web developer or a hosting provider with excellent customer service.
For most small to medium size hotel brands, a VPS is more than enough for fast load time. However, for large hotel brands, a scalable hosting solution is necessary.
For VPS, we recommend:
For scalable cloud hosting:
18. Local SEO Tips for Hotels
While local SEO can be tedious, any travel business owner can do it. The goal is to show up for “near me”, location-specific searches and stand out in Google Maps searches. This is done by optimizing your hotel brand’s online visibility for location-specific search queries. Here’s what we recommend:
Google My Business (GMB)
Google My Business controls how your hotel brand shows up on Google Maps and organic search results. You’ll have to verify your ownership, phone number, address, etc and follow all the Google guidelines.
Consistent NAP Info
You won’t achieve local SEO without consistent NAP info. Every time you list your hotel property on any directory or website, make sure your business name, website URL and phone number is consistent.
Get listed on local directories. Every extra directory listing (citation source) is a boost in your SEO rankings. We recommend you start by creating a list of local SEO citation sources. Citation building is slow, but it’s great for acquiring authentic backlinks.
Hotel Online Reviews
Google, Yelp, BBB and TripAdvisor reviews are extremely important for your SEO rankings. Each review contains a goldmine of long-tail keywords.
Content marketing is excellent for Google’s E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). If you have an in-house writer that can write about local events or local businesses, it would really help your topical authority. Otherwise, consider our content writing services.
19. Confirm SSL Compliance and Configuration
Unsecured websites provide a bad user experience. A Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) secures the data that is transferred between your website and the client’s browser. Make sure to always hire a professional web developer to install your SSL. Properly installed SSL website will start with https:// and have a lockbox in the address bar.
20. Booking Engine Functionality
One of the best SEO tips for hotels is to have a booking engine on your website. Let’s say you’re redirecting your clients to Expedia or a different OTA. You’re practically telling Google to send your potential customers to Expedia directly.
We highly recommend creating booking engine functionality on your website using Sabre API or a preferred GDS of your choice. You can even embed Expedia’s booking engine on your website. Or even use a white label solution from preferred OTA, GDS or tour operator.
21. Keep Page URL’s Short
Web page URL’s should be short and SEO-optimized. Long URL’s get less clicks and confuse Google.
22. XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap includes a list of all your web pages, how recently they were updated and how often search engines should scan them. It tells Google exactly what content is on your website and where it’s located. Since Google’s crawl budget is limited, a sitemap is necessary.
23. Broken Links (On-Site & Off-Site)
Broken links promote a bad user experience. Imagine you click on a link hoping to read more and get a 404 “Page Not Found” error. Google penalizes websites with broken links. Why? Because it usually means your content is outdated or abandoned.
You can start by using the Ahrefs Broken Link Checker. However, broken links are not only found on-site. They’re also found off-site. There are many travel blogs linking to your hotel right now that are using old backlinks. Every broken link tells Google that your website has “changed” or is outdated.
Off-Site Broken Links
Broken backlinks are also one of the most popular off-site SEO tactics. This technique is a bit more complicated and requires high-quality SEO tools. You can use Ahrefs Off-Site Broken Link Checker which scans for inbound broken links. Then, contact each website owner and request that they update their broken links to the correct web page URL. This strategy is part of our SEO services for hotels.
24. Use Original Images
Google and Bing do not like to promote duplicate content or non-original images. Google’s algorithm can easily catch stock photos. Here’s how images that you don’t own affect your hotel rankings.
When a potential customer searches “luxury hotels in Chicago”, non-original images will be hidden and non-searchable. So, you’re missing out on a lot of organic traffic from Google image results.
Also, Google won’t count duplicate content (like stock images) towards your rankings.
25. Check if you’re blacklisted or blocking search engines
This is how to check if your server IP or website is blacklisted by Google or other search engines. Now when you want to check if your website is blocking search engines, you can check your robots.txt file or you can scan your website here or here.
List of SEO Keywords for Hotels
You want to target keywords with high search volume and low competition. Competition has to do with how many Google ads there are and how many hotel brands are using search engine marketing strategies.
- best hotels near [city]
- hotels closest to [city]
- best restaurants in [city]
- best bars in [city]
- kid-friendly activities in [city]
- things to do in [city]
- [city] hotels with in-room bar
- [city] hotels with free breakfast
- [city] hotels with in-room jacuzzi
- [city] hotels near [lake/river]
- [city] hotel discounts
- [city] waterfront hotels
- [your hotel] vs [competitor hotel]
- [your hotel] rooms
- [your hotel] amenities
- [your hotel] free wifi
- [your hotel] free breakfast
- [your hotel] pictures
When to hire a hotel digital marketing company?
Let’s say you’re having a hard time implementing our hotel SEO tips. Or maybe it’s not working out like you expected. Then, it’s time to consider a professional hotel SEO company.
You may be tempted to hire someone in-house. However, before you hire a full-time employee to do your search engine marketing, consider this. Full time employees require training, managing, workers compensation, unemployment insurance and worst of all they’re expensive.
Full time employees cost 2-4x more than SEO companies that specialize in hotels. We know what works and what doesn’t. We can tell you if something is possible or not.
How much does hotel SEO cost?
Every day, hotel business owners receive 17-20 SEO soliciting emails. Most are scams or use black hat tactics.
White hat SEO tends to range from $500-$10,000. Most $500 SEO packages are scams or simply don’t work. However, it is possible to get deep analysis, in-depth SEO audits, keyword research and top level analysis for $500.
These are the types of SEO services for hotels that we offer.
After contacting us, you’ll get:
- Free SEO website analysis
- Expertise of an SEO expert
- Less than 1 hour response time
Text us in 1 click.