How to make optimise a hotel websitePart three of the SEO for hoteliers series:

Part one

Part two

Last time, we looked at what you shouldn’t do when trying to search engine optimise your website, so now let’s take a look at how you can get yourself in Google’s good books, and bring in more visitors to your hotel’s website.

Here are ten tips to think about, when designing and adding content to your website:

1. Create content

Creating and sharing high quality content is essential if you’re going to become Google’s new best friend. One of the simplest ways to do this is to create a blog, which you regularly update with information that interests and engages your target audience.

So if you run an adventure hostel, for example, you may want to create and publish vivid accounts of days out tackling roaring white water rapids, or scrambling up mountain peaks. This will interest your target audience, and demonstrate to Google that your website is capturing your visitors’ attentions.

It’s essential to think hard about your audience, and what will interest them. A big mistake is to write about yourself, or your business too much. Always remember the marketing cliche ‘what’s in it for me?’ – if your audience aren’t getting anything from your content, then you shouldn’t be publishing it.

2. Complete proper keyword research

This is one area where a lot of people fall down – they don’t do enough keyword research before jumping in. Rising to the top of the search rankings is a challenge that takes time and effort – so you need to make sure that you’re banking on the right words and phrases.

Google’s own Adwords tool is one of the best for this. You can enter appropriate keywords – such as ‘hotels in the lake district’ – and see how many searches your enquiry receives each month. It will also show you how much competition you will have to reach the top. In the simplest terms, if you find keywords that are highly relevant to your business, have a lot of searches, and low competition - you’re onto a winner.

This research can be a little more complicated, however, as we shall explore in a further post covering this issue.

3. Think Meta

Each page and post that you create, has meta data attached to it. This is basically information that the search engines use to understand your content, and optimise when and where it’s displayed.

This may sound complicated, but in reality, it’s not, thanks to a handy WordPress tool called Yoast. Simply install the plug-in, and you’ll see extra fields displayed when you are adding a new page or post.

You can also change the settings, so that the URL is based off of the post title – so rather than www.example.com/post12345 you can use a far more relevant address, such as www.example.com/top-10-hotel-seo-tips.

You can also add meta descriptions for your pages, which Google will usually display whenever your page shows up in a search.

Taking care to manage this meta data can have a big impact on SEO, as it helps both the search engines and humans using your site understand what it is that you’re actually offering.

4. Create a site map

Google looks over your website using automated bots known as spiders. These crawl across your pages, assessing how valuable they are.

To make it easier for them to find what they want, creating a site-map is essential. This is effectively a road map for the bots, to make sure they can easily find what they want, and to ensure that they don’t miss out on any of your great content.

Again, creating a site map is as simple as installing a WordPress plugin. This time, search for Google XML Sitemap, and follow the instructions.

5. Don’t forget the pictures!

Your content isn’t just the text on your website, it’s also the images. Make sure that each post you upload has an image attached and, if possible, try and make it an original image.

You should also ensure that your images have relevant titles and descriptions – another great place to slip in some relevant keywords.

6. Create a great website

It’s no good having the best content in the world, if it’s frustrating to access it. Google, and the other search engines, actively penalise webpages that take too long to load, are those that are messy or illogical to use – so make sure that you don’t cut corners when it comes to planning out your site, and how it’s structured.

While having images and rich media on your site is great, you may want to limit the size of these items, as they can affect how quickly your site loads, and bring down the overall user experience.

7. Be responsive

Whether it’s mobiles or tablets, the way people view content online is changing – so your website needs to be flexible enough to change with the times. Having a ‘responsive’ website simply means that the layout changes to adapt to whatever device the visitor is using to access it.

Generally, most modern WordPress themes will take care of this automatically for you, but it’s worth checking that your site is working correctly, by accessing it from a number of different devices.

8. Sign up for Google Webmasters

Webmasters is a simple solution – offered by Google – which lets you see how effective your efforts are. Once you’ve signed up, you can submit your site-map, see if there are any problems with your site, and also track how effective your keyword choices are. We’ll also look at this in depth in a future post.

9. Get good value links to your site

Google also looks at the quality of the hyperlinks that are coming into your site. This means that – if a high quality website links to your website – your website looks good by association – and vice versa if spammy websites are linking to you.

A simple, ethical way to do this is to guest blog for other websites. Find an authority website for your topic, and offer to contribute a post on something you know a little about. You’ll usually get a chance to create a small bio section, and that’s where you can add your valuable link,

10. Be natural

The simple fact is that the algorithms that Google and the others use are now incredibly complicated, and they know when they’re being swindled. For this reason, the key tip to bear in mind, when engaging in SEO, is that you should act natural at all times.

Don’t try and crowbar in keywords where they don’t belong, don’t try to be sneaky by purchasing links from shady websites.

Simply aim  to create and share high quality content on a regular basis, and to make your website as valuable for your audience as you can.