Successfully operating a hotel digital marketing strategy can be complex, as the peculiarities and technicalities of how it works are constantly changing. Two factors you might have been focusing on for some time now, though, are search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
What Is SEO?
SEO is a way of ensuring a website can be found prominently in search engine rankings when people search words and phrases that the sites contains. It is an organic method of marketing that has been popular for almost a decade now, although it has changed considerably since the early days of keyword-stuffed short articles that were churned out online.
What Is PPC?
PPC is a method of paid advertising whereby advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked on after browsers see it on search engine listings pages. It is a way of ensuring visits to your site for a fee, rather than getting people there organically.
Why Should They Be Used Together?
It can seem strange to suggest buying keywords related to your hotel if you are already performing pretty well in organic SEO. Indeed, in many organisations, one strategy or the other is simply not bothered with. In other cases, PPC and SEO projects are worked on by different team members in completely discrete parts of the company, with no liaison between the two, or external marketing agencies are used to carry out PPC. However, if this sounds like what’s occurring at your hotel and both marketing methods are operating in a bubble, then it could be time to change your ways – because there may well be better results on offer if you run them in tandem. Despite the popular belief that it’s a waste of money to run both SEO and PPC, they can actually be very complementary and boost your return on investment when done properly. After all, both rely heavily on keywords: in PPC, they inform what content should be created, while they can provide valuable information on site structure in SEO. And the way people search is both reactive and responsive, so why not cater for both with two different yet interactive ways of marketing?
According to a recent study by Nielson, when a brand name appeared in both organic and paid search results, it attracted 92 per cent of total clicks. However, when the brand only popped up in organic, it attracted just 60 per cent of clicks.
Here are a few ways in which SEO and PPC can work together:
Extra Visibility On Search Listings Pages
If you have been working hard on your organic SEO and you also pay for a well-worded advert to appear on Google after someone searches, then travellers will see your presence at least twice when they perform a search for the relevant keywords. This maximises your screen coverage, reduces the space taken up by your competitors or online travel agents and boosts the likelihood of more traffic going straight to your website.
Better Insights From Both Teams
Because the teams who work on each type of marketing will have different insights to each other, their resources can be pooled for increased knowledge. For example, the PPC people will know what advert text performs best in terms of conversion, but this can be reused by SEO in meta descriptions and blog posts for maximum efficacy. On the flip side, SEO will provide information on what copy should be selected for the paid ads, which should improve the quality score and make the ad more effective. Using data from each side is sure to help you build a bigger, more comprehensive picture of the searcher and what they are looking for.
Improved Performance In Analytics
It has been relatively difficult to discover which words and phrases are bringing in web traffic since Google took keyword-level data out of its Analytics algorithm some time ago now. However, with a PPC campaign running alongside SEO, you have the ability to link AdWords up to the data you have gathered, thereby allowing you to establish which ones are performing well and focus on them for organic search. Meanwhile, using SEO can provide interesting insights as to which web pages are working most effective organically and the PPC team can then use that to tailor their ad copy to cover things like niche phrases and long-tail keywords, preventing wasting the wasting of money on terms that aren’t’ working.
Keeping Up With Expectations
High bounce rates can easily occur if web users click on a paid ad but find that the resulting page they go through to doesn’t match what the ad promised them in tone or topic. This can be the result of SEO and PPC teams working independently; after all, the PPC team may not have any influence on what the eventual landing pages are. However, with a collaborative approach SEO-based copy can be matched to the ads and vice versa, creating what’s referred to as a scent trail throughout the website. While you obviously won’t want to burden your staff unnecessarily by removing tasks from marketing agencies, it is vital to implement sharing of information between both teams if you are to promote your hotel to as many potential guests as possible.