Hotel SEO: The Complete Guide to SEO for Hotels

Jai
2 min read
June 1, 2024

One of the worst things about the hotel SEO landscape is how thoroughly it is dominated by generic SEO guruspeak. From vague keyword research suggestions to calls for backlink optimization, it is as if whole textbook SEO templates have been plastered into top Google results.

But without adapting your SEO to the hotel industry, you’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole; it can only take you so far. What you need instead is hands-on advice—in other words, a combination of a hotel SEO plan and tactics that work for your industry.

In short, for hospitality, SEO involves doing a variety of things like:

  1. Local SEO 
  2. Google Listings
  3. Keyword optimization by room type 
  4. Blogs answering the FAQs of your travel destination

Lucky for you, we’ve covered all of these things and more in this guide. But before we dive into all of these tactics, though, let’s get you up to speed with the basics of SEO for hotels.

What Is Hotel SEO?

SEO for Hotel

Hotel SEO is the process of optimizing your hotel’s website to rank higher on search results of Google and other search engines. There’s a whole gamut of tactics and tricks to get this done, but the main goal of all hotel SEO tactics is always the same: to increase your web traffic and visibility, resulting in more bookings and revenue. 

To get a better hang around hotel SEO, let’s also cover some background on SEO first.

SEO is all about optimizing your website content to nab the top spot for search engine search results. Or, as Google puts it in their SEO started guide

“SEO—short for search engine optimization—is about helping search engines understand your content and helping users find your site and decide whether to visit it through a search engine.”

In other words, SEO is about boosting your brand online presence on search engines.

However, as we hinted above, when it comes to adopting SEO for your hotel, it will differ vastly in its implementation.

For one, you can’t compete for direct-match keywords like “hotel in Dubai”—those spots will almost always be occupied by OTAs with massive marketing budgets.  

Similarly, if boosting your direct bookings is at the top of your goal list, like a well-laid-out hotel WhatsApp marketing strategy, hotel SEO is another great tactic for increasing your online visibility and leads.

Let’s look at this in some detail.

Hotel SEO vs SEO & Why Is Hotel SEO Important?

There are clear-cut differences between general SEO and well-planned hotel SEO tactics. We already touched on two prominent ones above—competition with massive OTAs and the unique goals of hotel SEO—but there’s much more to dig through.

For instance, here are three more reasons: 

  1. With a good hotel SEO strategy, you can improve your conversion rate by targeting specific groups of travelers. For example, by creating pages for travelers looking for bars, clubs, etc. all relatively precise but low-volume keywords, you improve your chances of more hotel revenues.  
  2. It helps you improve the overall user experience (by focusing on Core Web Vitals, website user friendly for example) of people who find you online.
  3. It lets you cover and optimize for many keywords you'd otherwise miss out on.

So, one thing is clear: your doing SEO for hotels will involve completely different tactics.

The 7 Best Hotel SEO Practices You Have to Follow [2024]

As we said above, there’s a sea of generic best hotel SEO practices out there. None of them work. So you need to adapt. 

Here are the only SEO practices that will work for your hotel:

1. Google Business Listings 

Google Listings are the first thing to get in order when you’re thinking about hotel SEO. Why? 

They are generally the first thing your target traveler will get to see when they are looking to book a hotel, both because of Google’s dominance in search and its travel product, Google Hotels

If you haven’t already optimized your SEO for hotel with it, here’s how you can get started:

  1. Head to Google.com/business and set up a profile for your hotel.
  2. Fill in all the details about your hotel, like the address, check-in/check-out timings, and all the amenities on offer there.
  3. Finally, get your hotel verified by Google.

That’s pretty much about it. 

And while you’re at it, make sure you’re following the best practices for hotel business profiles as well. Here are a few to always keep in mind:

  1. Pictures are worth a thousand words. So make sure you post high-quality photographs and videos of your hotel.
  2. Fill in all the amenties you offer in your hotel. From food and drinks to activities and other amenities, they all make a difference. 
  3. Get your Google (and OTA) reviews in front. They are your free word-of-mouth marketing on the internet.

Apart from the above, make sure you also optimize for another essential marketing tool, i.e., Google Hotel Ads.

For a detailed step-by-step approach, we highly recommend you go through Google’s get started with a hotel business profile section

2. Optimize Keywords by Room Types

We'll be straight about this one. You’re not competing on high-volume, exact-match keywords like “hotels in New York”, etc., with the top search results; not in any meaningful way at least. This is exclusively the turf of big brand OTAs and, nowadays, increasingly, Google Hotels. 

So you need to be creative and this might take a few frustrating trials and errors to get it right and instead go for specific hotel keywords. 

What you need to do is find and go for keywords that most OTAs don’t go for, ones that don’t come with that high of a search volume but present a high probability of booking confirmation. In marketing-speak, they are specific, high-intent keywords that the bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU) prospects go for when looking for a quick solution to their problem.

Get this right with your hotel SEO, and you will undoubtedly see good results in a few weeks. Here’s one example:

Quad Rooms

As we said in our guide on hotel room types, quad rooms are an important type of hotel room, one that hotels cannot neglect if serving a wide range of guests is their goal. It's quite evident from its search volume, too, with “quad rooms” alone getting a good monthly search volume of 880.

So here’s what you must do: create SEO-optimized pages that make the specified offering of quad rooms, optimize it for on-page SEO, do some careful off-page SEO, and you will be ready to go.

“quad rooms” is just one of many untapped examples of keywords to optmize for; make sure you cover others too. 

3. Cover Your Branded Keywords

Optimizing your hotel SEO for branded keywords is all about covering search terms that include your hotel’s name in search queries. 

It also means tailoring your hotel marketing for travelers who likely already know you—whether through your marketing or their previous stays with you—and are, for this reason, far more likely to book more easily.

A good example is” Hilton Hotel Thailand.” The query easily gets ~140 monthly visitors, and when you look at the top results, they’re unsurprisingly occupied by pages of Hilton hotels. 

For both Google Hotels and its website, Hilton makes it to the top, as you can see below:

Brand SEO

SEO for brand hotel

As we’ve said before, creating pages for such keywords is vital because:

  1. You’re not competing with OTAs, which generally tend to go for high-volume keywords.
  2. You’re optimizing for travelers in a high “buy phase” as they already know where to want to book from.
  3. It increases your chances of direct booking, and hence pocketing higher revenue.  

To sum up: make sure you’re covering branded keywords for the hotel SEO plan.   

4. Hotel SEO by Activities and Amenities  

This is another cool hack in your hotel SEO tactics: creating and optimizing your pages based on activities and amenities.

Like the branded keywords from above, people searching for specific activities and amenities in a given city are very particular about what they are looking for. For this exact reason, they are also highly likely to book much more quickly.

Again, there’s little competition from OTAs here, either, which makes your efforts more likely to stand out in search results.

Here are a couple of example keywords:

4.1  Luxury Spa Hotel in Delhi

Head to Google and look up the search results for “luxury spa hotel delhi”. As of this writing, after a couple of top Google Hotels profiles and OTAs, the following top result will be that of a hotel: The Imperial, New Delhi.

This specific query gets anywhere from 50-100 search volume. In other words, optimize for this, and you’re capitalizing on simple high-intent traffic that can help you boost your direct bookings.     

4.2 Hotel With Conference Rooms

Many corporate or travel agents specifically want hotels with conference rooms. It's no wonder, then, that “hotel with conference rooms” receives a healthy monthly search volume; a 1000 monthly searches to be precise.

As you probably guessed, all the top results are occupied by hotels, as you can see below:

The searchers here are travelers specifically looking for hotels with amenities such as conference rooms. Unsurprisingly, after Google Hotels listings, the top results are dominated by top hotel brands such as Hilton and Marriott. 

For this reason, there are no excuses not to optimize your hotel SEO for covering terms of this sort.     

5. Optimize for Core Web Vitals 

Core Web Vitals are a collection of metrics that tell you about the user experience on a website. 

In the words of Google:

“Core Web Vitals are a set of field metrics that measure important aspects of real-world user experience on the web. Core Web Vitals includes metrics, as well as target thresholds for each metric, which help developers qualitatively understand whether the experience of their site is "good", "needs improvement", or is "poor".”

In plain English, this means it helps you improve your website's interactivity, visual stability, and speed—all of which are essential factors for a great user experience.  

Unsurprisingly, they are a critical part of your hotel SEO as well. Here are a few reasons:

  1. Boosting your Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), or how long it takes your website content to load on a user’s computer or smartphone, ensures travelers will actually stay on their computer or smartphone long enough for it to load up. The faster your website loads, the higher the likelihood of you converting a booking.
  2. Make sure your First Input Delay (FID), or the time it takes for browsers to act after users click, is as low as possible. A high score here means your website will be slow to load, which can irritate travelers to abandon their booking process in between.
  3. Finally, Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), or how the elements on your website work as it loads up, has to be good too. Make sure that your CLS score is as low as possible, i.e. 0.1 or lower; this ensures travelers have the best experience on your website—making them more likely to convert.

And that’s all about Core Web Vitals. Get these pointers on point, and you will give your hotel SEO efforts another much-needed boost. 

6. Voice Search

A good 56% of smartphone users now use voice search, as a report by Invoca shows. 

This means a good percentage of your travelers will likely look you up through voice search too. If past is any predictor of the future, those numbers will only go up from here.

Here are a few ways you can boost your voice search:

  1. Voice search is how people speak. So the simplest way to improve this is by writing in a way people naturally talk. 
  2. Build up your FAQs to ensure you’re answering top searched-for questions. 
  3. By optimizing for voice search, you will also stand out from the crowd, as few people keep voice search in mind while working on their hotel SEO.  

Make no mistakes. SEO for hotels is not to be taken lightly—you need every tactic in your toolkit. Improving your voice search results is another tactic that will help you in this. 

7. Optimize for Google Hotels

Introduced back in 2014, Google Hotels, Google's premium travel metasearch engine, has only grown stronger, now commanding the market share of travel searches in the hotel metasearch market.

In fact, even on Google search, look for a hotel and the top search results will include properties listed on Google Hotels by default.

Here’s a quick search result for “hotels in new york”:

As you can see, below the sponsored ads from Google Hotel Ads (the advertising solution on Google Hotels) and OTAs, the space on top is dominated by Google Hotels listings. 

Moreover, as soon as you click on the results, you will be taken out of the search results page and redirected to Google Travel, where you will find other hotel listings. The listings themselves contain all the details a traveler might need to make a booking—reviews, details about amenities, price, etc.

This means unless a traveler has a specific destination in mind, they are probably not looking at anything other than Google Hotel results. 

So if boosting your hotel SEO is the goal, Google Hotels is a non-negotiable tactic.

Boost Your Hotel Bookings With Hotel SEO

Hotel SEO is anything but easy. From competing with giant OTA competitors to treading through abrupt Google updates and the misinformation spread in the name of hotel SEO strategies and guides, you must be careful about where you seek information and what you do with it.

Follow our short guide, and you are bound to level up your hotel SEO efforts, improve visibility, and achieve what you really need in the long run: improved direct bookings.

Jai

Jai is the Head of Product at Brance. He has previously worked at Shuttl and The Body Shop, where he oversaw multiple domains, such as Analytics, Strategy, Operations, and Product. In his free time, you’ll find him Surfing in Kerala, Paragliding in Bir, or writing his travel blogs at offbeatgeek.in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is First Response Time important in inside sales?

First Response Time holds a great importance in inside sales because it influences customer satisfaction. Ultra-fast responses improve the chances of potential leads getting converted into paying and loyal customers.

What are the consequences of a delayed first response in inside sales?

A delay in First response time can result in missed opportunities, customer frustration, and a negative impact on conversion rates. Potential leads may lose interest or shift to competitors when experience a delay in response time.

What role does technology play in reducing first response time?

Technology plays a vital role in reducing first response time through automation. AI-driven chatbots streamline the communication process and enables faster interactions.

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