Gaining a prominent position on a search engine is no easy feat these days. The dominance of OTAs and the sheer number of properties has created an intensely competitive space where rising through the rankings presents an undeniable challenge.
But with a committed and well-executed SEO policy, your hotel can gain a prominent position in the organic listings. And one of the most effective ways of improving your SEO is with a quality, regularly maintained blog.
How does blogging help with SEO?
When travelers are looking for a hotel or information on your destination, Google’s algorithm delivers what it considers to be the most helpful and relevant content to their search. So if your blog features quality information that Google deems relevant, your hotel will rank higher in its search results.
Building a successful blog requires certain key ingredients, including a solid content strategy, audience awareness, an authentic voice, and plenty of marketing savvy. The following post explains how to implement some of the latest SEO principles to create a blog that grabs the attention of the search engines as well as your readers.
1. SEO blogging is not about keywords
There’s still a misconception that blog posts need to be packed with keywords to boost SEO. Years ago, Google did give weight to the number of keywords in the race for rankings, but things have changed.
In 2011, Google released its Panda algorithm, which began penalizing businesses that were keyword stuffing and gave ranking priority to those producing original, helpful, and quality content.
Used as a guiding principle, your own posts should include an informative, entertaining, or insightful element. See each one as an opportunity to offer your readers a valuable message or tip that can’t just be dug up anywhere else online.
By striving for an original approach, you’ll automatically be noticed by Google—and by your readers. Along with boosting your SEO, providing useful content will also show that you genuinely care about helping potential guests, giving them a compelling reason to book with you.
2. Talk your guests’ language
Often, looking around the web to find inspiration from others is a sound strategy. Putting a local spin on popular blogging themes can be a great way to generate unique content quickly. The mistake is attempting to mimic a tone of voice, or writing in a generic style aimed at appealing to everyone.
Instead, imagine your blog as a personal conversation with your typical guest. How would you talk to them in person? What words would you use when recommending a tour, or when offering advice on the local neighborhood? By using the language your guests use, your content will be much more likely to resonate with them.
Ultimately, when you stop trying to manufacture a voice and inject posts with your own personality, it’ll instantly become easier to write with freedom and creativity. And when that happens, your content will really start to shine.
3. Produce evergreen content
As the name implies, evergreen content can be used year-round. It has long-term value beyond the date it’s published, so you can refer visitors back to it months or even years later. Some posts may need a few tweaks every so often to maintain accuracy, but generally evergreen content by nature is low maintenance.
In terms of generating ideas, start from the point of view of your guests. What types of posts are they likely to read when they’re planning a trip to your destination? What questions or expectations might they have that you can address?
If you predominantly attract families, a guide on top local attractions for kids or the best family-friendly restaurants in your neighborhood will prove helpful. For business travelers, you could create a series of “how to” guides covering topics such as networking or productivity tips for working on the road.
You might also want to interview local residents or business owners about popular annual events in your destination. The added bonus of event-based posts is that they can often be turned into a themed series. For example, an article on the Annual Pride Festival could be followed by a feature on the gay bars to visit after Pride.
From a planning perspective, evergreen articles are ideal because you can write a batch all in one go, giving you a base of content that can be used at any point in the year.
4. Remember to include links
To make life easier for your readers, your blog posts should always include links to the websites of the people, places, trips, or events you’ve mentioned. But you should also reach out to anyone related to the mentions you gave them so they’re aware that you signposted them.
Consider sharing published posts with local businesses and event organizers in your area. In some cases (such as in smaller locales), it might be valuable to share blog posts with the local tourism board. That said, it’s a good practice to initiate these relationships. An easy way to do this is by requesting photos or seeking more information.
This tactical approach can help you gain increased exposure by publishing content in a space beyond your usual spheres of influence.
It’s also essential to add links to specific pages on your website via the blog. If you’ve written a feature about a specific event or evergreen content, include a link to the respective specials or attractions page. Along with driving traffic to areas of your website with a direct call to action, internal linking can also give another big boost to your SEO.
5. Promote your posts
You might have written the most engaging, creative, insightful blog post that’s ever been created. And yet all your efforts could be in vain if you don’t bother to promote it.
In the digital age, it’s not enough to write great content. You need to shout about it to the rooftops. The vast majority of your guests just aren’t going to stumble on what you’ve written, so you need to let them know your posts are live and ready to read.
Post links to your latest article on your social media channels, marketing emails, and digital newsletters. Be sure to include a brief snapshot of what the post is about with a compelling reason that makes it sound worth reading. You could even partner with local influencers and ask them to share your content.
At the end of each piece, be sure to engage with any comments your readers leave, and include social icons to encourage them to share your content around. Give your posts a little push, and watch them take off.
Blogging with a strategy
As outlined, a successful blog requires a sound marketing strategy, forward-planning, and an awareness of key SEO principles. You’ll find more top blogging tips here, but the essentials we’ve mentioned are a great place to start:
Avoid keyword stuffing: The best way to grab Google’s attention is by writing valuable and relevant content.
Speak your guests’ language: Aim for a conversational tone that reflects the language your guests use.
Produce evergreen content: You’ll have a batch of content that can be referenced and reused in the future.
Promote your posts: Ensure your content gets read by promoting it on your social channels, marketing emails and newsletters.
Add links: Adding internal links to relevant pages on your own website will help SEO, while external links will signpost additional sources of helpful information your readers might value.
In the end, building and marketing a quality blog that offers genuine value to your audience will attract the attention of the search engines, which in turn will give your website the best chance possible of rising through the rankings.