When transitioning a hotel or doing a health check on your existing assets, knowing the current health of your website requires knowing the health of your search engine optimization strategy. The traffic realized from strong organic search placement comes at no incremental cost to the hotel and can be quite lucrative in production. While a variety of on and off site factors go into the optimization of a website, some of the most critical elements can be reviewed by even an SEO novice with this guide.
1. The simplest and most important on-page optimization factor for any websites are the title tags.
To see if your title tags are optimized, look at the title in your browser bar when on the homepage of your website. The first words should be a high value keyword- not your hotel name. This check should also be performed on interior pages of the website such as the rooms, offers and location pages.
2. After you’ve checked the title tags, if they are in place, it is safe to assume that the first keyword in the title tag is the primary keyword that page is optimized for. Check to see if the keyword is reflected in the on-page copy. It should be present in the headline and reflected one or two more times in the body copy.
Note: Syntax is not a deal breaker here- if the Title tag and heading list “Napa Valley Hotels” but the more colloquial “hotels in Napa Valley” appears in the body copy- that counts.
3. In order to attract interest, engagement, and links to your website, it is important to have sufficient content for users to have a meaningful experience.
Branded hotels require less content on their standalone websites, as do less competitive markets. In general, the following chart shows minimums you should look towards for content pages.
|Urban Market||18-25 Pages||15-20 Pages|
|Secondary City||15-20 Pages||8-12 Pages|
|Suburban Market||8-12 Pages||6-10 Pages|
|Destination Property||25-35 Pages||25-35 Pages|
4.Your number of inbound links tells you the popularity of your website content. Using a tool like Open Site Explorer, one can compare their number if linking root domains to that of your competitors. This shows how “popular” your website is. Ideal number of links varies by market, but in general, destination properties will have high volumes of press links and conference center hotels will have a high volume of links from associations who have hosted events on property, skewing their totals higher.
5. Site Speed is an increasingly important factor that impacts your search rankings. Free tools like http://tools.pingdom.com can report your average website load time, which should be below 5 seconds with most well optimized hospitality websites coming in between 2 and 3.5 seconds.
This is just a sampling of the factors that go into determining your website’s search engine rankings, but if your site has passed each of these health points, you are probably in a good starting position. If not, it is important to have a conversation with your search marketing agency about realigning your strategies towards strong search engine placement to ensure you are maximizing your most cost effective channel.