News for the Hospitality Executive
Google Does not Have to Break the Bank
August 11, 2009 - The term “search engine optimisation” often strikes fear into the hearts of hoteliers and can be especially daunting for the independent hotel that has no marketing or PR department to charge these activities with. But SEO doesn’t need to be scary or costly if you break it down into segments and allocate time to each. This article will focus on 3 areas of search engine optimisation; content, link building and social media. Each plays a vital role in increasing your hotel’s website positioning in Google for your chosen keywords.
In order to understand the purpose of these activities, it is first crucial that you understand the fundamental reason the search engines reward websites with higher positions in the way they do. As an avid user of Google, I know I can rely on it. It doesn’t let me down. If I type in a keyword, Google returns relevant results for me. But Google has to do better than that – millions of websites competing for the 'top spots’ are relevant to my search. Google’s reputation as the ‘search engine of choice’ rests firmly in the hands of measuring criteria, otherwise known as “algorithms” and if it fails, the risk is that searchers go to an alternative engine. But, how does Google choose which websites to reward with page 1 search results for a given search term?
You should identify the keywords you wish to increase your positions in the search engine page results for, and use these keywords as 'anchor text' pointing the hyperlink back to the relevant page on the website. ‘Anchor text’ is a link label or link title and is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. A ‘hyperlink’ is a link from the text document to your website.
If you use Microsoft Word to write your content, simply highlight the key phrase you wish to make into anchor text, right click with your mouse and hit “hyperlink”. You can then add the URL address you wish this keyword to link back to. This is called “deep linking” and ensures that those reading your content can click quickly and easily to the area of your site that interests them.
Inbound links are of utmost importance to the search engines. If you have a host of relevant links pointing back to your website, you are demonstrating the importance of your hotel’s site. If you have no inbound links, the search engines will assume your website holds no content of value. Therefore “sourcing quality”, relevant inbound links to your website, can really up the anti when it comes to your SEO campaign. Acquiring inbound links is pretty simple; the key is ensuring they are quality links. Poor quality or irrelevant inbound links can be detrimental to your SEO efforts. Therefore “black hat” SEO (unethical means of acquiring inbound links, link spamming, links farms) must be avoided.
The best way of sourcing quality link-backs is by using your content
as a ‘vehicle.’ The all important anchor text within the content will form
the links back to your site. So, that’s half the job done. The second half
is sourcing websites relevant to your hotel to publish your content. Contact
travel websites and blogs that talk about your hotel’s destination. These
are ideal websites to publish your content to. By sourcing quality and
relevant links, you are not only adding value to your SEO activity, but
you are also widening your audience and will ensure traffic is coming to
your website from new relevant sources.
Social media provides new ways to connect with potential guests who you might not be able to get to otherwise. Moreover, it can spread your brand presence quickly and further than traditional PR methods. Undertaking social media activity is cost effective and enables you to meticulously pick social media sites that match your brand and audience closely. It also provides you with areas to publish your content to your target audience, thus increasing your inbound links to your site. Think of your website as a “city” and inbound links to your website are routes into your city. By creating more links from high quality and high visibility sources, you ensure there are more ways for your potential guests to find you.
Moreover, sites like blogger.com are owned by Google. Because of this, items published on blogger.com may also appear in the search results on Google when a relevant search term is entered. This again serves to increase your hotel’s online visibility, placing your hotel website at the centre of a spider’s web created by you, using only the most relevant outlets.
Making time for these SEO activities will make your hotel’s website more visible. Regularly updated content also serves to keep users returning after their first visit. If a site is never updated, there is no reason to go back and have another look – remember that! Don’t expect page 1 results overnight. With the volume of sites Google indexes for your chosen keywords, it is safe to say they are looking for positive SEO activity performed over a lengthy period of time. For newer sites, you may not see much of a change for 12 months. Remember, the design of your website can inhibit progress, A search engine-friendly and user-friendly site will enable you to increase positions quicker. Using Flash on your website isn’t always SEO suicide, but it can inhibit the search engines’ ability to index your site- if for example your textual content is imbedded in Flash.
GlobRes offers hotel website design with best practice search engine optimisation incorporated. This ensures your website can be indexed effectively by the search engines. The website is free when taken with the Guest Connect Web Booking Engine.
GlobRes provides the best hotel central reservation systems and hotel Internet marketing services for hotels around the world and operates a fully serviced support centre, offering assistance to hotels in English, Italian, German, Spanish and French.
|Also See:||Attention Hoteliers! Beat the Recession with Top Hotel Reservation & Marketing Tools! / July 2009|