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The SEO industry is a rapidly changing field with all these algorithmic updates (of Penguin, Panda, or the appearance of a more recent algorithm like Hummingbird) that arise every few months. This means that the SEO professionals who are in the hospitality, hotel and travel industry should stay up-to-date in this field if they want to retain their clients’ revenue and traffic in high standards. 

However, how prepared and how up-to-date are the SEO professionals to the SEO challenges that come up due to the algorithmic updates they keep coming up?

In this post we are going to review common SEO mistakes that are made by SEO professionals within the hotel, travel and hospitality industry. These common mistakes are based on real case studies and on websites. However for obvious reasons, we are not going to pinpoint these hotels. 

 

Thin Content

Problem

A high percentage of SEO companies that are responsible of the SEO strategy of their clients (within the hospitality industry) neglect systematically to pay attention to the content optimisation of their clients. In most cases, the content is not enough to help search engines understand what this page is all about. 

Solution

In order to resolve any thin content issues: 

•Create unique, meaningful and shareable content that will be written for users and not with the sole intention to manipulate search engine spiders. 

•Make sure that you create an organic text of 400 words or more (particularly within the homepage) and slightly less for the rest of the pages. 

•After you conduct a thorough keyword research for your client, ensure that you allocate properly within the webpage of the site the respective keywords in the right pages. In other words, when you want to optimise the section Accommodation, you cannot place keywords related to accommodation within the homepage (unless it’s a text link that points to the respective section of Accommodation). 

•Ensure that you will spread naturally the right keywords and key phrases (with your SEO copywriter’s co-operation) within the organic text. 

•Make sure that you will include some of the most important keywords for each page within the first 100-150 words of your organic text so that search engine spiders, understand what you page is all about. 

•Make sure that you use long-tail keywords. It is widely known amongst (SEO professionals but unfortunately not yet amongst hoteliers), that long tail keywords bring more targeted traffic that is likely to convert. In other words when we have users who use terms like ‘’hotels in Bristol’’, they still haven’t made up their mind. However, when they use a more targeted term, a long-tail key word, like ‘’luxury hotels in Bristol’’, the users are already in the booking process since they know exactly what they are looking for. Alternatively, to the term ‘’luxury’’, the (synonym) word ‘’5-star’’ could be used. 

Lack of Internal Linking Strategy 

Problem

Unfortunately most of the SEO professionals seem to neglect the use of internal links (or text-links) for their clients. The existence of anchor text within the organic text helps users and search engines to navigate easier within the site. Additionally, the SEO professionals seem to neglect the SEO importance of diverse and keyword-rich anchor text pointing to relevant pages. On the other hand, SEO professionals who use only one type of exact match key phrases are attempting to manipulate search engine rankings for one key phrase, which is easily detectable by search engine spiders. 

Solution

•Create diverse keyword-rich anchor text that will point to the respective page. 

oIf you want to describe your Hotel, do not use the same exact match anchor text (e.g. Hotel in Bristol); but based on the unique character and its USP use various anchor texts pointing to the homepage: e.g. 4 star hotel in Bristol, business hotel in Bristol, Bristol boutique hotel etc. 

oDon’t forget that the homepage is the most important page of your site; thus,  make sure that you have a logical number of internal links pointing to the inner pages of your site and also ensure that your inner pages point to your homepage by using diverse anchor text.

oAvoid using zero anchor texts (Click Here).

oUse not only exact match anchor texts but also hybrid anchor texts (e.g. Radisson Blu business hotel etc.). Search engine spiders are able to ‘’understand’’ from the surrounding text that you are talking about a luxury hotel which is located in Bristol. 

oOnce you create the text links (or internal link), make sure that they are functioning properly and they are properly directing to the respective page. If not, this error (broken text links) should be fixed; otherwise it can be a (low) quality signal for Google that this website is abandoned. 

 

Problematic URL Structure 

Problem

One of the most common problems that the SEO professionals seem to face is the structure of the URL. In this way, the SEO professionals who are supposed to be responsible for the implementation of URL best SEO practices for their clients are the ones that cause problems (unintentionally).  Most of the problems that occur within the websites of the hotels are the below: 

•Over optimised URL: http://www.examplehotel.com/luxury-five-star-castle-hotel-in-london/rooms-and-suites/london-honeymoon.html

•Poorly optimised URL: www.examplehotel.com/spa

•Use of underscores: www.examplehotel.com/spa_services.php

 

Solution

•The URL should not be more than 100 characters. By having a very lengthy or a very small URL, you need to find some kind of balance in the length of the URL.

oDon’t forget that if you create a very lengthy URL it will not be possible for this URL to appear in search engine results as it will be truncated. 

•Find a balance of the keywords that you want to use. You will have to decide that based on each client’s needs and the USPs that define your client’s hotel. For example, if you want to optimise one of your rooms that are located in sunny Mykonos or Santorini: www.examplehotel.com/accommodation/luxury-room-mykonos or www.examplehotel.com/accommodation/sea-view-rooms-santorini 

•Avoid using stop words (e.g. in, at, on etc.) within the URL, as they are not read by search engines spiders.

•Do not use underscores as they are not perceived as keyword separators by search engines. Instead, use hyphens. 

 

Meta Titles

Problem 

Most SEO or online marketing agencies proclaim they are experts; nonetheless, they make basic errors that retract their expertise. One of these basic errors is the use of meta titles (or page titles), one of the most important ranking factors.  Here’s an indicative list of problems: 

•Too lengthy meta titles, in which the SEOs just stuff keywords.

•Improper use of case letters (mainly annoying for readability purposes).

•Lack of targeted/primary keywords. 

Solution 

•Ensure that the characters do not exceed 70 characters in length (including spacing).

•Do not stuff keywords, but ensure that before the pipeline you have included your primary keyword that best describes your respective page. 

•Avoid keyword repetition; in other words do not use the same keywords for each page. Each  meta title should be unique, like your pages. 

•As a best practice example, if you have (honeymoon) suites in Bristol : Honeymoon Suites in Bristol | Example Hotel Bristol

Lack of breadcrumb navigation

Problem

Most SEOs neglect to assign this task to their development team. If so, they seem to neglect (unintentionally) a part about the usability of their client’s website. In this way: 

•The SEOs they do not fully comprehend the importance of breadcrumb navigation in lowering the bounce rates. 

Solution

•The solution is simple. Make sure that your website has breadcrumb navigation, as it will be useful for visitors for usability purposes.

•Make visually appealing breadcrumbs. 

•Breadcrumb snippets that appear on search engine results can improve your CTR. 

oFor more information on how to properly use breadcrumbs for rich snippets you can visit the respective page (rich snippets – breadcrumbs). 

 

Improper Use of Heading Tags

Problem 

The wrong use of heading tags that most SEOs seem be implementing can have a negative impact  on their clients’ rankings, as they are not taking advantage of the opportunity that is given to improve their clients’ performance.

•Generic heading tags (e.g.

Accommodation

). 

 

Solution

Once the SEOs understand the importance of heading tags for search engines and users, then it will be easier for them to use them more effectively. 

•Once you have created an organic text with keywords and key phrases, you should make sure that you create h1, h2, and h3 in which you place the most important (primary) keywords (in h1) and in h2 and h3 you place secondary keywords. For example, if you want to optimise your homepage:  

-

Luxury Hotel in Bristol

 

-

Business Hotel in Bristol

 

-

Conference Centre in Bristol

 

Each heading tag concerns the unique selling points of the hotel. 

 

XML Sitemap

Problem

Most SEO companies that handle the accounts within the hospitality industry neglect the importance of XML sitemaps. The importance of sitemap.xml lies on the fact that it boosts the indexation process of a website. The sitemap.xml via the use of values like: Priority and Frequency, indicates to search engine bots which page within the site is more important. The SEOs neglect the use of an XML s sitemap in 2 levels (but they can equally hurt the indexation process of your site): 

•By omitting a tag, while the SEO professional prepares the sitemap, can ruin the whole sitemap. Usually most SEOs when they prepare the sitemap.xml and they are in the editing process, by mistake they delete a tag or the ‘’urlset’’ at the end of the sitemap.xml which means that the sitemap.xml will not be functional and you will see consecutive lines of incoherent  code which will not make any sense for search engine spiders. The worst part is that most SEOs do not correct it.

•Total absence of sitemap.xml. 

Solution

•Ensure that you have allocated proper values (in Priority and Frequency) for your respective pages.

•Each page should have its own Priority and Frequency depending on its importance.

•The most important pages should take a value in Priority: 1.00; not all pages should have the value 1.00, as it will be confusing for search engine spiders since they will not ‘understand’ which page is more important.  Thus, the most important pages will receive higher Priority and the pages with lower importance will get a lower Priority, respectively. 

oFor the same reason make sure to place all pages to be crawled on a daily/weekly/monthly basis (Frequency), according to the importance of each page.  

oDo not forget that search engine bots, depending on the importance of each page, have a certain ‘budget’ to allocate for each website. Don’t make them spend this (limited) budget in less important pages like ‘’Contact’’, ‘’Gallery’’. 

•Ensure that you haven’t made any errors in the XML syntax; otherwise your sitemap.xml will not be functional. 

•Most hotel websites have more than one language versions. Each language version should have its own sitemap.xml in its language version. 

 

Duplicate content issues

Problem

Another problem that seems to appear, by examining a plethora of websites within the hospitality industry is duplicate content. In other words, most websites (particularly their homepage) have 2 pages with the same content. How can you know that? Try this: 

 

www.example.com and then try to type this: www.example.com/index.htm or www.example.com/index or www.example.com/index.aspx or www.example.com/index.php . The common denominator is the same: they show the exact same content. What does this mean for SEO? The link equity is diffused in two pages instead of one. 

 

Solution

•In order to resolve this type of problem you need to 301 redirect your duplicate pages to the original page. An alternative solution is the use of canonicalization through the use of the rel=canonical attribute.

 

 

Lack of schema.org/structured data

Structured data can be found in mark-up language like schema.org. For the time  being the importance of structured data lies on the click-through-rate, but in the future structured data can play in important role rankings as well.

Problem

Most agencies have not yet implemented structured data for their clients which means that they are deprived of a unique opportunity of improving their CTR performance.

Solution

•Implement structured data that best define your business within your source code. So the schema.org for your business will be: Hotel (schema.org/Hotel).  For more information you can refer to the respective of Schma.org 

•If you want to have rich snippets appearing in the search engine results, then you need to implement the respective mark-up language: ‘’AggregateRating’’. 

If you are having a business within the hospitality industry and you have already hired a digital marketing agency or an SEO agency offering SEO services, have you noticed any of these omissions? 

 

Lack of Event Tracking Codes

Problem

Most SEOs seem to be one- dimensional by focussing only on SEO instead of pursuing a holistic knowledge on SEO by correlating it with conversion optimisation (the case in point it is not directly related to the onsite SEO but the optimal scenario is to correlate SEO and conversion optimisation). Part of the conversion process is A/B testing. In order to move on to A/B testing, the SEOs should process certain data that will help them decide they actually need A/B testing for their site or not. One effective way is the use and implementation of event tracking codes

Solution

•If you want to improve your client’s performance (in terms of conversion rates of certain elements of your site (like the Contact Form, or the Book Now button), just implement the respective JavaScript code within the code and then depending on the results you can work on the size of the buttons or the Call-to-Extra Tip

If you want to measure the performance of your hotel, you can use our newly created Hotel Performance Metrics Dashboard on Google Analytics Solutions Gallery. 

If you have a business within the hospitality industry and you have already hired a digital marketing agency or an SEO agency offering SEO services, have you noticed any of these omissions? 

 

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