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SEO for Hospitality: Our Bayside SEO Team Explain the Dos and Don’ts

26 Jul

You’re already listed on directories. You send out flyers regularly. You’ve even built up strong, mutually-beneficial relationships with travel agents.

If you ask us however, you’re missing one of the most potent tools at your disposal for driving bookings towards your business.

At iformat, we are the experts in digital marketing – in particular, we do a lot of search engine optimisation.

If you ask us, SEO is the secret to a more successful hospitality business!

In this blog we are going to use the hospitality industry as an example of how SEO can help all sorts of hospitality businesses, and what you should (and shouldn’t) be doing.

The SEO experts in Melbourne explain SEO dos and don’ts for hospitality

DO: focus on local SEO

Location is king in hospitality – as such, you’ll want to put a lot of thought into your location.

When people search for somewhere to eat or stay on Google, chances are they’re searching by specific areas. Think searches like “restaurant in Blackburn” or “hotel in Melbourne CBD”.

Let’s look at restaurants as an example – much of your customer base is going to be local.

Naturally, you’ll want to target the local area as part of your SEO strategy!

That means carefully choosing which Google searches (keywords, for short) you want to optimise your website for to include suburbs immediately around their premises. That means the suburb you’re based in, as well as the immediate surrounds.

Here’s a word of advice: in our experience, the more specific the location, the less competition you’ll face for top spots in Google. Be sure to keep this in mind when crafting your SEO strategy!

Click here to learn more about the principles of local SEO.

DO: understand your customer

This is the most important aspect of online marketing – nay, any marketing!

When it comes to search engine optimisation, this is the very first step. It’s also one that we see people overlooking all the time.

Think about your customer:

  • What’s their budget?
  • What type of person eats the food you offer?
  • How much are they willing to pay?
  • What type of accommodation are they comfortable with?
  • Are they price-driven, or comfort-driven?
  • What platforms do they use?
  • What kind of content and information do they respond to?

Once you’ve answered these questions and you’ve got a good understanding of your client and what they want and need. Then you can begin on the rest of your SEO and web strategy!

DO: choose keywords that will help you create leads

Say somebody Googles restaurant” – how do you know they’re looking for a bite to eat? They could be a kid doing a school project about their dream career, for all you know.

Something like “Thai restaurant delivery Ormond”, on the other hand? There’s a much higher chance they’re in the market for a meal!

That’s when you have to think carefully about which keywords are most likely to generate leads.

For example, if you are a budget hotel in Melbourne – obviously, there’s no point in optimising for “hotel gym” or “5 star hotel Melbourne” (got to remember to include your location, after all!)

DO: get your website redesigned

That’s because search engine optimisation is all about getting your website found – naturally, you need a website to start with!

And even if you have a website, that doesn’t mean you can’t give it a bit of a touch-up. If you’re still using an old plain-text monstrosity from the early 2000’s, we suggest getting it updated.

That’s because optimising your website is about more than content – there’s also a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that needs to be taken care of.

Not to mention, it’s a credibility indicator too – we’ve gotten so used to everyone having a website, that not having one (or having one that looks like it walked out of a 90’s dress-up party) can often subconsciously affect our decisions.

While there are free website tools out there (many of which have rudimentary SEO tools built-in), we suggest going to a pro for this part.

DO: get a Google Maps listing

As we mentioned above, location is king when it comes to SEO for hospitality businesses.

And where do we go nowadays for information about locations? Google Maps, of course.

Put yourself in their situation. You’re in a new part of town, and your stomach is complaining. You’ve got a hankering for a good spag bol, so you whip out your phone and look up nearby Italian places on Google Maps.

Your restaurant won’t pop up unless you register manually. If you aren’t on Google Maps, you’re missing out on a lot of potential customers and clients!

The benefits of a Maps listing go beyond that, however.

In addition to showing your location relative to the searcher, it’ll also include your reviews, contact details and opening hours.

Depending on how many fields you fill out, your listing may also present information about:

  • Wheelchair access
  • On-site parking
  • Price range
  • Atmosphere
  • Photos of your location and menu

All of which can help persuade somebody who’s on the fence!

SEO don’ts for hospitality

DON’T: forget about competition and search volume

Keyword selection is crucial – if you ask us, any mistakes made here can have dramatic consequences for the rest of your SEO strategy.

We see people making mistakes in keyword selection a lot. To help you avoid this fate, we’re going to give you the rundown of what keyword selection involves.

The first thing you want to understand in a broad sense is the competition vs. search volume ratio.

In a nutshell, you want to choose keywords that have relatively low competition and high search volume. That means lots of eyeballs seeing your site, and less competition for attention.

Just because a lot of people are searching for a phrase you’re interested in appearing for, doesn’t mean you should pour all your resources into it without checking competition levels.

If that phrase might have a lot of competition, you’ll be faced with more websites to fight against for visibility, including well-established websites like your McDonalds’ or Holiday Inns.

DON’T: resort to keyword stuffing

This is a common mistake made by first time SEO-ers.

They assume that since they’re targeting specific keywords, all they’ll have to do is fill their website to the top with the keywords they’re targeting.

That’s how you end up with abominations like “our hotel in Richmond offers the best cheap hotel in Richmond for backpackers in Richmond looking for cheap places to stay Richmond.”

Google’s not that dumb – they know when you’re trying to game the system, and may punish your website by pushing it down the search results.

If you ask us, your primary keyword should appear only 1% of the time in your text, tops.

Yep, you heard that right!

DON’T: limit yourself to only a single keyword

In our time performing search engine optimisation in Melbourne, we can’t even begin to tell you how often we see people sticking to only a handful of keywords.

Simply put, you shouldn’t only target one keyword, even on the off chance that particular phrase covers everything you do at your hospitality business.

Simply put, you need to cast a wide net.

By popping up for multiple searches, you maximise your exposure, as well as your chances of being discovered.

Not to mention, this also means you’ll be getting found for all of your different:

  • Packages
  • Rooms
  • Meals
  • Locations

However, be sure you don’t cast your net too wide, as this can lead to a dangerous lack of focus and relevant keywords not getting the attention they deserve.

Even if the wording isn’t a 100% exact match, Google is smart enough to recognise that certain words and searches are related.

Say you run a BnB in Dandenong – Google will probably recognise your business and its website as a suitable result for neighbouring suburbs too!

DON’T: use an agency that’s based overseas

As any hospitality manager knows, location is king when it comes to restaurants, hotels and BnBs – that’s the reason location is listed as the first item under “do!”

If you go with an overseas-based agency, there’s no guarantee they’ll have a good understanding of your local area. You can’t expect somebody who lives overseas to understand that a suburb likeToorak is one of Melbourne’s richest, after all.

This also applies (although to a lesser extent) to agencies that are based interstate. While not as dramatic, there’s still a divide between your agency and the situation “on the ground”.

The only way to be sure? Choosing an agency that’s based in Melbourne, with staff who live in Melbourne.

At iformat, all the strategy and planning is crafted right here in Melbourne. Our office is based in Brighton, and you’ll be working with a team who know the areas you work in, and the type of customer in that area.

All of which results in a better, more effective digital marketing strategy!

seo for hospitality

Need search engine optimisation in Melbourne?

Talk to our Bayside SEO company to take your digital marketing to the next level

There’s a lot that goes into creating a successful SEO strategy for a hotel or any other business.

Lucky for you our Bayside SEO team understand the art of SEO. Not only do we understand it – we are incredibly passionate about it.

More importantly, we’re darn good at it too!

  • More bookings and walk-ins
  • Greater awareness and visibility
  • Strategies that account for your target market and selling points
  • Qualified advice backed by experienced experts
  • A more compelling website that gets people in the door

Unlike other agencies that offer search engine optimisation in Melbourne, we’re based right here in Brighton. We’re always available if you have questions, and unlike agencies that rely solely on offshore workers, we know your area and customers.

If you want to take your SEO and digital marketing game to the next level, we are the digital agency to call to make that happen.

If you are interested in getting in touch with the SEO Bayside experts, you can contact us on 1300 88 64 50.