This is an excerpt from our ebook, A Hotelier’s Guide to Google SEO.
Most hoteliers we talk to are well aware of the importance of their website’s ranking on Google. But the question we often get is, how do I get to #1?
Ranking high in search engines isn’t just about the magic behind the scenes. The content of your page plays a large role. We’ve talked before about how important it is to create unique, engaging content for your site. In addition to headers and content, your website also has to be easy to use. If your potential guests cannot quickly find what they are looking for or do what they came to do, you’ll lose business.
These tags indicate the headings and subheadings among the content on your page and are among the more important on page elements for targeting keywords in Google.
Because people visiting your page typically will not read the entire page, headers are also important to capture the attention of users by allowing them to quickly determine the relevance of your page. With 77% of affluent leisure travelers using their smartphones to get travel inspiration in spare moments, it’s critical that your text is separated in a way that makes it easy to navigate.
There are six levels of headers available, but most websites use three or less. Each level denotes a certain hierarchy of importance, with one (H1) being the most important and six (H6) being the least. In order for them to work properly, they have to be in order, starting at one.
The H1 tag denotes the visible title of your page, so it should only be used once. The H1 tag also carries the most importance from an SEO perspective. Headings carry the H2 tag, and subheadings use H3. Since travelers are looking for very specific information, you will likely never have content long enough to warrant the use of H4-H6 tags.
In addition to assisting with keyword targeting in the SERPs, a well-organized page with appropriate headers also increases the usability of your site. Not only is this a direct ranking factor in itself, but better usability means that your users are more likely to return and ultimately book with your hotel.
In the past, creating high ranking content was easy. Webmasters need just sprinkle in a healthy dose of the right keywords and any page could climb near the top of search engine rankings. But today’s Google Search Algorithm is much more sophisticated, taking more cues from how users interact with your page as well as certain spam indicators.
With today’s Google, the most important factors of content include:
Content is the place where your hotel can really help travelers to see your establishment stand out from your competitors. While most hoteliers may not have the resources to create a publishing studio like Marriott, having well-written, engaging stories on your site will give you an edge over the competition.
Readability is key when targeting people reading online. At a minimum, your content needs to free of spelling and grammar errors, but it also needs to be easy-to-navigate, scannable, and it must contain short paragraphs and bullet points. This kind of writing may not win you a Pulitzer, but travelers will be able to find what they need easily, especially on a smartphone.
The freshness of your content is also important, as the presence of current content on your hotel’s website indicates to Google that your website is still relevant. Make sure your travel-related info is up to date and your pricing correct. Since rates change frequently, keep on top of your content to avoid surprising travelers when they get to the buying stage.
In addition to creating content that answers travelers questions right away, it is also crucial that the website for your hotel works well.
Some important elements for a usable website:
- All links are functional
- Travelers can quickly find what they came for
- The site is easy for a stranger to navigate
- It’s easy for travelers to directly book online
While user experience is a technical discipline, an easy way to think of it is to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Do not be afraid to use real subjects to test your website while you observe, you may be surprised at how many insights can be gleaned with such a simple test.
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