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Mastering SEO for your hospitality business

Mastering SEO for your hospitality business

Mastering SEO for your hospitality business

In our latest Marketing Series blog we’re looking at SEO for your hospitality business (Search Engine Optimisation).

SEO is the process by which a website achieves a high ranking position in a search engine. Companies use SEO to make their web pages appear valuable to Google (plus others) and relevant enough to be given a top ranking based on specific searched terms and keywords.

For example:

  • Best Restaurants in Wigan
  • Quirkiest Bars in Bangor

It’s a fact that few people click beyond the first page after entering a search. Websites on pages two and three of Google get only 5.59% of total clicks. If you want your restaurant, bar or venue to be visible to potential customers, you really need to secure a position in the top ten listings.

There are many aspects that impact SEO, here we’ve outlined four to help you achieve success.

Determine the best keywords to manage SEO for your business

A keyword or phrase are the words your potential customer enters into a search engine to find something.

In order to determine relevant keywords for your business, you first need to consider what your target market is searching for in relation to your company. Those keywords can be classified as ‘long tail’ or ‘short tail’ and you want to ideally target a mixture of both.

If you’re an Indian restaurant in Oxford, your short tail keywords might be:

  • Indian restaurant
  • Oxford restaurant
  • Best Aloo Gobi

Your long tail phrases meanwhile could be:

  • Best cheap Indian restaurant in Oxford
  • Oxford restaurants with a five star rating
  • Where can I get a great vindaloo in Oxford?

The difference is the specificity of the search term. For short tail, there’s likely to be more searches and more potential custom. However, there will also be more competition and more irrelevance; there’s little point someone in Glasgow finding your restaurant online on Friday night.  Long tail will receive less searches but each search will be more relevant, of a higher quality and more likely to convert to custom.

To help you establish the best keywords for your business, and see how often people search for each term, you can use free tools like Google Trends or Keyword Tool. Try to find words that receive a decent number of monthly searches (100+) but have a medium or low competition rating.

Use keywords on your website

Now you’ve determined your keywords, aim to include them throughout your website. Use them as often as you can but remember to keep it natural and do not ‘shoehorn’ words in. Google will not be happy if you try to cheat the system. It knows everything.

A good way to include keywords without annoying readers (or Google) is to include them in the image ‘alt’ text. Search engines cannot view pictures, just the words used to describe them. So, when you upload images, videos and other content, include your keywords in the background descriptions and alt text to boost keyword frequency.

Develop a link-worthy site

Links are a big factor in how search engines rank your site and there are two types, backlinks and internal links.

  1. A backlink is created when an external website links to your site. The better the authority of the website that links to you, the better the link in the search engines’ eyes. Although backlinks can be quite difficult to obtain, hospitality companies can achieve them by seeking reviews from other sites or local magazines or getting themselves included in fan blogs etc.
  2. An internal link is when you create a link from a word or sentence on one page on your website to another. The linked word should be one of your keywords and should link to the page you would like to rank for that word.

If that’s confusing, here’s an example. You want to rank for the term ‘gluten free menu’. On your homepage include a decorative box informing customers that there is a gluten free menu. Hyperlink that phrase and redirect the reader to a dedicated gluten free page. The goal is that, should a customer Google search ‘gluten free menu’ they will find that gluten free page above all others.

Focus on local SEO for your business

The importance of local SEO for your business cannot be over egged. Its main purpose is to target people in the area where your business is located.

The first task is to make sure your business is listed correctly throughout the web. Add yourself to ‘Google My Business’ and claim a local business profile on all local directory and review sites. This will include Yelp and TripAdvisor, as well as other local directories relevant to your business.

Next it’s time to encourage local reviews from your customers. Get them to rate you on those directories as well as Facebook and Google and interact with those reviews, commenting as necessary. Every positive review is like gold to Google.

You don’t need to be an expert in SEO to take advantage of it. If you do nothing else, register yourself online and stay on top of any listings so you can earn quality, inbound links from others.

If you would like more tips on SEO for your hospitality business then please get in touch. When managed correctly, an SEO strategy can help you appear to the top of search engine results and have a huge impact on the success of your hospitality business.

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