When it comes to digital marketing, it can sometimes be easy to neglect strategy for “local areas” amidst all the planning that goes into your bigger picture marketing efforts. At Screen Pilot, we understand the importance of capturing this market for our clients. With over a decade of experience in the hospitality space, these are a few of the “Local SEO” digital marketing tactics we’ve found to be most critical for hotels and resorts.
Google My Business
There’s a reason this is first on the list. All hotels must ensure they have properly claimed their Google My Business listing in order to obtain as many users as possible. As Google places a heavier focus on mobile devices, claiming your hotel listing plays an even larger role. Oftentimes a business listing is the first organic result a user sees on their mobile device. If your hotel isn’t listed, say goodbye to hundreds, even thousands, of potential guests. It is imperative to keep your listings up-to-date as Google relies on these business listings to provide users with accurate local information; this can result in a coveted “local pack” organic listing.
With a map attached, local packs show the user exactly where your hotel is located and pays dividends when users are researching the surrounding area. Claiming your hotel listing will not automatically insert you in the local pack, but it is a giant leap forward in the process of capturing your local market.
Submitting your hotel to local directories is another important step on the winding staircase of Local SEO. It is crucial to have a consistent Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) across the web. Any misspellings or errors will confuse Google and, let’s be honest, just give users the wrong impression of your business overall.
Google My Business is technically considered a listing and it certainly deserves its own section due to its weight and authority. However, Google is not the only important listing option for your hotel and there are hundreds of local directories to consider. Submitting your hotel on sites such as Yelp, Merchant Circle, and EZlocal will not only provide great backlinks, but ensures your information can be easily found.
In case you were wondering – why, yes, Screen Pilot does offer a service to get your hotel listings up to date across the most important directories! You can read more about the power of map listings here.
Metadata – Page Titles & Meta Descriptions
Developing quality page titles and meta descriptions is often overlooked, as doing so tends to be tedious. Nonetheless, the importance of metadata has only grown over the years. Next to Google My Business, page titles and meta descriptions are the first items users will see in a Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Including your hotel location in metadata provides Google and the user with relevant information, potentially increasing rankings and click-through-rates. Google is getting smart enough to know where your hotel is located without including it in metadata, however, the point is to make life easy for any potential guest. Providing your location sends trust signals to the user and entices them to click on your property.
“Link Building” will forever be a hot-button item in the world of SEO. In fact, it made an appearance in another of our most recent blog posts. Yet too few people understand the process behind acquiring strong backlinks. For hospitality related businesses, it may seem difficult to obtain links outside of local directories. However, there are some pain-free options for hotels to increase domain authority with quality backlinks.
Start to develop partnerships with local travel bureaus and popular attractions in your area. Getting your hotel listed alongside these partners will tell Google that all of these quality websites are pointing to your site, therefore raising your authority.
If you’re a new hotel, you’ll likely have public relations efforts surrounding your opening. Reach out to publications (digital or otherwise), activate influencer marketing campaigns, or launch a social media initiative – all while requesting links back to your site.
Pro Tip: Perform a branded search in Google and click the “News” tab to find unlinked mentions, meaning pages on which your property is mentioned without a link back to your website. Get in contact with these sites and request a link to your hotel in the article. To sweeten the deal, offer a link in return that you can put within the “press” or “news” section of your website.
While schema may sound like a made up word, its impact on local SEO is far from fictitious. This tactic is more on the technical side of SEO, but there are plenty of user-friendly tools to assist even the most entry-level of SEMer. Schema markup is a code snippet that’s added to websites to provide Google with more information such as prices, reviews, and products. Google often features websites using schema in knowledge graphs and local packs because the schema makes it especially easy for Google’s crawlers to find the information it’s looking for.
For implementation, you can visit http://schema.org/Hotel to obtain hotel schema examples when you enter your information. The schema fields allow you to include NAP, description, reviews, price, and other crucial elements of your hotel. You can review your own code at https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-tool. When Google crawls your site, it conceptualizes this information and is able to pull it out for users in SERPs. This is placed into the attractive results you see below featuring reviews and price ranges. These small elements often play a large role in rankings and click-through-rates.
In closing, improving local SEO is the most important step your hotel can take to ensure it is capturing the surrounding market. These five steps are only just a few on the long list of important local SEO tactics. If you’d like more information about how your hotel can improve its local visibility, let us know how we can help.
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