Hotel SEO: Is It Possible to Over-Optimize Your Website?

In the dawning of the age of SEO, website developers quickly learned the formula for making sure their sites popped to the top of Google web search results: Figure out the most popular search phrases, and pack web pages full of them. The more, the better—right?

Not anymore.


Go Easy On The Keywords

Google has caught on to the keyword-packing game, and rightly so. Now it’s not enough for a hotel website to simply contain those popular search phrases, otherwise known as “search engine spam.” To be ranked, the web page’s content has to contain useful information, not just catch words.

That means keywords can’t just be dropped randomly into the middle of a sentence. Not only is this annoying to readers, but Google’s algorithms have gotten smarter at spotting blatant key-word stuffing. Keywords must now be worked naturally into the web page content in a way that makes sense.


Some Keywords Don’t Work

In the “old days,” all a web designer needed to know about hotel SEO was how to type meta keyword tags into a pop-up box in their chosen website design software, then save and publish. It’s not that simple anymore.

Google pretty much ignores meta keyword tags – unless, again, you’ve used too many. Cram the meta tags with a hundred possible keywords, and Google may banish your hotel website to search engine results no-man’s land.


Back-Links Can Backfire

Put simply, back-linking is the art of sprinkling links to your hotel’s website all across the web. The idea is to plant links on other web pages, blogs, or social media sites, where interested parties are likely to see them.

Once again, back-linking isn’t as simple as it used to be, when web developers simply paid someone to load up a back-link paint nozzle, as it were, and start spraying. Google figured this trick out pretty quickly, and now penalizes your hotel’s website accordingly if it notices hundreds of identical back-links appearing all at once, all over the web.

Treat a back-link like you would a business card; hand them out one at a time, and let website connections build slowly and naturally. Agree to trade links with another site relevant to your industry. Post useful content on travel websites and blogs, and include that back-link as a logical part of the article.


Other Common Hotel SEO Mistakes

One biggie is using SEO to draw users to your hotel website without taking into consideration why they’re there. Okay, so you’ve figured out that users are Googling “Disney World hotel packages.” Seems like a no-brainer, but you’d darn well better make sure that once a user lands on that web page, what they’re looking for is front and center, and presented in a way that’s logical and easy to use. In other words, don’t make them work to get to the information they need, or they’ll move on—and Google will notice and bump your hotel website down to search result page one-thousand-and-nowhere.

Giving the Google searcher exactly what they’re looking for is one thing, but giving them something extra, something unexpected but appreciated, is even better. Examples:

  • Advice about what to pack and what to leave at home
  • Where to eat on a budget, where to dine on a splurge
  • Great local attractions they may not have heard of
  • Work with local businesses to offer coupons with a stay that includes lower-demand midweek nights
  • Include stories about positive things your hotel is doing to improve the local community

Another common problem is a slow turnaround time between discovering ways to improve the website, and actual testing and implementation of those changes. The web moves fast; a nimble web development process is rewarded with new and returning visitors.

Google will notice – in a good way.

Slow and steady wins the hotel SEO race! Let help you develop an effective strategy. Contact us today!