Optimizing local SEO is one of the best ways for hotels to boost direct bookings. This online marketing technique targets customers who are searching for hotels in a specific area, presenting them with the option to book right when and where they need it.
Google indicates that the vast majority of searchers use search engines to find local information and listings, and those searches translate to bookings and sales. If you aren’t optimized for local SEO, you’re missing out!
Interested in boosting your bookings with local SEO? Here are a few techniques to try.
Optimize with Google’s Tools
Google is ideal for ensuring you are optimized for local search. Google Maps is important. Many customers use it to find businesses, and you will want your hotel to be included in the results for relevant searches.
Google allows you to fill out a Google My Business page that will attach to local business results and Google Maps. Here, you can drill down into specific categories such as airport hotels, extended stay hotels, and more. You’ll also have the opportunity to create a small description. You can use this area to share a special promotion for those who saw your company on Google My Business.
Reviews on this page drive Google rankings, so if you encounter a pleased customer, invite them to share a review. You can email customers after their stay, provide business cards with the web address, or simply remind them of the option while they are checking out.
Also, Google Analytics and other webmaster tools can help you determine what keywords are popular with customers in your area so that you can work them into your content.
Localize Your Content
Your hotel’s website should go beyond the basics. It needs to include localized content, both to make the area more attractive to potential visitors and to boost your local search ranking.
Localizing content is as simple as creating a subpage that shares what there is to do in the area. If people are looking at staying at your hotel, they may be wondering what types of entertainment, dining, shopping, and attractions are around. When you provide this information, you are keeping customers on your website instead of sending them out to search for more information. You are also repeating the local keywords and phrases that will bring people to your site through search engines.
Within your website, you should also be using keywords specific to your hotel and the area. Terms like a luxury hotel, family friendly hotel, day spa, and budget hotel, are phrases that many people are searching for. When you link terms like these with your geographical location – for example, “pet-friendly hotel in [location]” – you are making your website more specific, which will help potential customers find you. It will boost your search engine results page ranking, so more people who are searching in the relevant area will find your business.
In all of your content, where relevant, include your hotel’s physical address and contact information. Ensure this information is consistent across your site and the web. Consistency is important in page ranking.
Finally, make sure that content is high quality. Provide information your customers want to read, and can benefit from. Filling your website with unnatural keywords and forcing them in wherever you can is not a formula for relatable content. This kind of behavior can drive customers away. Remember that you are trying to engage with real people, not just search engine indexers.
Encourage Local Linking
You will want to encourage other local websites to link to your hotel. Whether it is a tourism organization, a chamber of commerce, local businesses and groups, or other community resources, if it links to your page organically it builds your reputation with search engines and boosts your results.
Ideally, you have already linked to these external resources, so they will feel more inclined to link to your hotel.
Claim Business Listings
From web directories to review pages, your business can be mentioned all over the web. Claim these listings, or create them on popular websites. This will help you boost your hotel’s ranking on search engine results pages. Google and other search engines use listings like these to determine page ranks.
Use Social Media
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter help boost your ranking on search engine results pages. Do not let this part of your company’s assets slide. Be on as many relevant platforms as you can manage, and keep up with interaction and updates.
Having a strong social media presence makes it easier for customers to find you, boosts your rank, and gives your business personality. You can share photos, special deals, customer reviews, upcoming events, and other information of interest.
Through social media, you can add value to your brand, you can personalize your offering to make the business more approachable, and you can create a dialogue with your customers and potential customers.
Keep Track of Results and Keep Working
The success of any advertising and marketing campaign dictates whether or not a business should stick with it or try something new. While local search optimization is a great idea for hotels and other businesses, you need to be keeping track of what is working and fine tuning it regularly.
Don’t optimize your website and expect the work to be over. Once you have optimized your site, it is necessary to use analytics tools to see what keywords are driving people to your pages. You will also be able to learn where visitors are coming from, and how individual pages are doing. This information will help you focus your optimization on getting the best results.
Local search engine optimization works if you are willing to put in the effort and continue honing your techniques. When done correctly, the effort pays off in increased bookings, less reliance on online travel agencies, and a booming business with a great reputation locally and beyond.
Even small steps toward optimization are worth taking immediately so that you can get started boosting your business and get ahead of the competition.