Climbing the rankings of the search engine Google has been a key aim for brands ever since its advent in 1998 and there have been various ways to do it over the years. Less than a decade ago, the most popular method was through keywords and cramming as many of them as possible into copy so that it got discovered by Google’s ‘spiders’, which resulted in some very dubious content populating the worldwide web. Fortunately, Google got wise to this and altered its rankings to penalise sites that carried out this technique to the detriment of quality, resulting in better marketing techniques.
However, there are still methods you can use to climb the Google rankings and hopefully increase the exposure of your hotel to boost bookings – here are just a few of them.
1. Use videos to improve branding According to Net Affinity, 67 per cent of YouTube users watch videos when they are thinking about their holidays and 37 per cent view them when they are actively choosing destinations and accommodation, so they are a great avenue for marketers. What’s more, Google really pays attention to sites with videos, as they make up 62 per cent of searches. Try adding entertaining clips to your site such as behind-the-scenes tours, interviews with guests and staff and panoramas of the views from the windows to see if it helps you get discovered by the millennial audience in particular.
2. Optimise your website for mobile We have talked about this at length in previous articles, so do take a look through our archives for a more detailed examination of this topic. However, it’s worth reiterating that mobile search is booming thanks to smartphones, so you need to make sure that would-be guests can use your website on such devices. If pages won’t load or graphics don’t appear, they could well press the ‘back’ button and go to your competitors who have optimised pages instead.
3. Make the most of SEO Although we mentioned above that search engine optimisation has moved on, that doesn’t mean it has died out completely. Indeed, clever and relevant use of keywords can still help your website to stand out in the Google rankings. Make sure you use keywords and lowercase letters in your URL and also put longtail phrases such as ‘honeymoons in [resort name]’ in your content where they will fit organically. This helps people searching for specific trips and will be rewarded by the search engines.
4. Write and promote Sparkling content and the proper promotion of it can help you stand out above your competitors, so make the most of the WASP method advocated by Net Affinity: ‘write’ great copy such as travel tips, ‘add’ social sharing buttons so people can spread it around the internet themselves, ‘set up’ SEO and ‘promote’ your shareable content. This simple mantra should really make a difference to how many people view what you have written – and more views means greater exposure for your brand. This could lead to an increase in bookings because people are more likely to remember your name and look favourably upon your reputation when looking for accommodation.
Online booking Engine through Google and the other search engines are achievable even if you are a small, independent hotel with just a few rooms to offer, so why not try some of these techniques and see if it can make you stand out amid the much bigger fish?