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We recently analysed how to write brilliant SEO copy for your website. This taught us the importance of creating compelling and meaningful content for your website, which, as a result will encourage visitors to stay longer as well as offer a higher quality of content that will make sense to search engine spiders. 

In a Hummingbird-world, where content matters more than ever, SEO copywriting has gained high importance. SEO copywriting can’t just focus on one keyword, nor can you just put in keywords or manipulative anchor text without it making any sense…

The copy for the website should be developed so that you are able to reply to complex conversational queries from your users. For example:

 ‘I want to find affordable hotels next to the beach in Malta? ’, ‘are there any cheap hotels next to Heathrow airport with Wi-Fi’, or ’cheap hotels in Clifton for £50 close to Queens Road’. 

It should be noted that the term ‘thin content’ was not mentioned, as we now take for granted that all websites should have rich, meaningful content, that replies to users’ queries. 

As highlighted in the past, longer form copies (as long as it’s not incoherent) convert better than short copies. Some of the most important SEO factors that can affect the presence of your hotel can be determined in the factors below: 

TECHNICAL SEO (onsite)

Apart from the evolution of SEO copywriting in the new standards of Hummingbird, technical SEO is still important and should be taken into consideration during the development of your content. 

Duplicate Content/ Canonicalization / Redirections

You can easily find out if your site has duplicate content issues (e.g. related to its homepage), this is easy to resolve and even in 2014 it still matters. Why is it a problem? This issue affects your PageRank as the distribution of the PageRank flow goes to two pages instead of one. 

In order to amend this issue you can make a simple move:www.myhotelwebsite.com and then you can try:www.myhotelwebsite.com/index.php

Seeing 2 pages with duplicate content can easily be fixed. The 2 options that you have are:

1. Resolve the issue with canonicalization (by ‘’telling’’ to search engines which of these 2 pages is your preferred one) using the rel=canonical tag. 

Or 

2. Another solution (which is the best one) is the use of 301 redirections (permanent redirections). By doing this for your hotel website you are getting a step closer to correct any onsite SEO mistakes that can hurt your site’s visibility. 

Heading Tags

The use of heading tags still matter when it comes to onsite (technical) SEO. 

The copy should be correlated to the targeted heading tag, focussing on the primary and secondary keywords. 

These heading tag elements help not only search engines to understand what this page is all about, but by placing the heading tags in hierarchical order you are showing which heading tag is more important. For users (who are mainly scanners) you make their life easier to focus on one part of the copy that they would like to read, rather than throwing a large chunk of copy without headings, paragraphs etc.  

For your convenience, take a look at the example below: 

 

Luxury Resort in {Area}

 

The content will be related to the description of your luxury resort. 

 

Family Holidays in {Area}

 

The content will be related to the fact that your hotel is family-friendly. 

 

Organic Restaurant and Beach Bar in {Area}

 not mandatory

 

The content will be related to the fact that your hotel has the only organic restaurant in the area or/and write content related to its beach bar. 

Meta Titles / Description

Meta titles or page titles will still matter in 2014 therefore your hotel website you will need to take into consideration its length and the creativity of each page title. It is also still important which keyword to place before the pipeline. 

The description carries no importance in terms of SEO, but it matters in terms of CTR, so make sure that you create a compelling description that will grab the attention of users when they see the description snippet appearing in the SERPs.

Anchor Text

Any manipulative methods that you may have used for your hotel pages in your website it is probably better to reconsider them! In practice, if you have an anchor text (with a text link) such as  a ‘5 star hotel in Bristol’ and for each page you use the same anchor text pointing to your homepage, it is pretty obvious to search engine spiders that you are trying to manipulate rankings for this keyword.

 It is time to amend your strategy by using synonyms or other key words that still define the unique character of your business. 

Instead of using the same keyword, you can use variations of synonyms; for example you can use terms like ‘’luxury hotel in {area}’’ or ‘’{area} luxury hotel’’ or you can avoid using the area, as search engines are now able to detect from the surrounding text where your business is located at. 

Redirections 

If your site suffers from 404 pages (Page Not Found), this is an issue that needs to be resolved immediately. Why?  Because having too many 404 pages is a low quality signal for search engines as they perceive your website as abandoned but also it creates a bad user experience for your website visitors as they are not able to find your page. 

In order to find out if your site has 404 pages there are 2 ways:

 1. Go to Google Webmaster Tools and check for crawl issues

Or

2. Use the site operator on Google search bar and review your search results(site:www.example.com). 

In the event you see 404 pages that are indexed you can either 301 redirect (optimal solution) to the most relevant page,  or the use of the metatag nofollow, noindex (by blocking these pages) . 

URL Optimisation

Excessive use of keywords in the URLs can be harmful for your site. URL optimisation still matters to SEO as long as you make a balanced and ‘wise’ use of your URLs. 

The use of underscores or any other symbols will only make it more difficult for search engines to read your URL and thus it is advisable to use hyphens with clean and descriptive terms. 

Structured Data and Breadcrumb Navigation

This onsite SEO task is an ‘investment’ for the future. For the time being, it has not been proven that it affects rankings (namely the use of structured data). However the valid use of structured data can improve your CTR with the use of rich snippets. In the future, if structured data matter to rankings then you can make the first important step by starting to work on your structured data via Google Webmaster Tools (Goole Webmaster Tools >  Search Appearance > Structured Data), from using the Data Highlighter for your business.

It is important also to ensure that your website is easy to navigate for users by having in place breadcrumb navigation. By also containing recognisable properties using RDFa mark-up or microdata you will help Google to make these breadcrumbs to appear in the form of rich snippets on SERPs. 

XML Sitemap

The XML Sitemap, as a part of the onsite (technical) SEO still matters in 2014. The sitemap.xml is readable from search engine spiders and thus for each page of your site you need to be extremely careful when you are editing the Priority and Frequency of your page. 

The more important your page is (such as the Homepage and the Accommodation page) the higher Priority and Frequency you should give compared to less important pages (e.g. Contact us, Photo Gallery etc). 

Robots.txt

The robots.txt is a text file has no direct effect on rankings but if it’s used incorrectly then it can have a negative impact on your crawling and indexing of your site and therefore your rankings. Thus, pages that should allowed or disallowed by search engine bots should be made under careful consideration, otherwise you can exclude by mistake pages from being crawled and indexed, hurting your rankings. 

Site Speed

According to Google ‘’high performance websites lead to higher visitor engagement, retention and conversions’’ and since it’s a practice that is favoured by Google, then you need to ensure that your hotel website follow all these rules by testing the speed of your website. You can measure the speed of your site by going to Page Speed Insights and make the necessary amendments.

These are some of the most crucial onsite SEO approaches and therefore they should not be neglected.

Any grey-hat / black hat SEO techniques (e.g cloaking, purchasing of old domains to manipulate rankings, purchasing followers on social media, link/blog networks, footer links, scraped content, hidden text etc) must be strictly avoided.  

In simple terms, if you find agencies that implement some of the above techniques or all of them in order to promote their own website, then it’s most likely to implement the same approach for your site.

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