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Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization

What is SEO?
If you have a website, you've probably heard people toss around those three letters that can mean raging success if done correctly, or certain doom if you fail to implement it just right: SEO. Search Engine Optimization is the practice of researching your business and your competition, then using those findings to tailor your website content for the optimal user experience. SEO is a field that's always evolving. Our goal is to optimize your lodging website content and give you the social media tools you'll need to expand your online presence beyond the website itself.

Since nobody uses their phone book anymore for anything except as a booster for their toddler, it is vital in today's market that your website is found easily and quickly in search engines. However, most innkeepers don't know how to optimize their website for search engines and have little time to implement the most effective methods. Search engine optimization is both a science and an art, and BnBwebsites is committed to using only best practices in making your website accessible and prominent.
What You Can Do to Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
To search engines, two of the most important elements are relevant content and fresh content.  Therefore, the quickest way to improve your rankings is to provide relevant and fresh content for search engines to find.  

Relevant Keywords
Search engines are looking for particular keywords to determine whether your content is relevant to the people searching for your type of website. Your website should be full of the most powerful keywords for your specific services in your specific area. You can use resources like the Google Keyword Planner   to find out which keywords are the most important for your website, but oftentimes this is something innkeepers are more comfortable hiring a professional to do for them.

It can be a bit overwhelming and time consuming for someone unfamiliar with website construction to figure out which keywords to use. However providing your website provider with important detailed information about your area or services can be very helpful in identifying which keywords are most essential.

One important thing to remember when implementing keywords on your website is to avoid using the same keywords repeatedly in an awkward or illogical way.  Search engines sometimes flag websites with too many identical words as "spam" websites and will sometimes remove your website from their database.  So, a page with large blocks of keywords rather than well-written, easily readable text which smoothly incorporates keywords could hurt your website rather than help it.

Fresh Content
The easiest way for innkeepers to improve their search engine rankings is to provide fresh content for web users.  Although it can take a little time to learn about, social media platforms are the usually the simplest way to publish fresh content on a regular basis.

Although your website should always have up-to-date prices and information, editing a website frequently isn't always possible or necessary when you can simply put new content onto a blog.  Blogger is owned by Google and is a terrific free resource for people who want to start a blog.  The look of your blog should coordinate with your website and other branding material so that your web users have a seamless experience when going between your website and your blog.

A blog is the perfect place to put the fun content that gives your potential guests a little more information about your inn.  A seasonal photo showing your property with changing leaves along with a paragraph of text announcing an upcoming event in your area only takes a few minutes to put on your blog, but it can be a powerful way to entice your guests with the possibilities for adventure while also implementing some important keywords for your area.

Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
Facebook is easily one of the most powerful tools for promoting your website and your property on the internet.  A weekly Facebook post doesn't have to be a huge job.  Simply showing a photo of a delicious breakfast at your B&B or your pet snuggled up by the fire to announce that you're pet-friendly is a great way to make regular contact with your potential guests while providing keywords on a very popular and highly ranked website.  Of course, you should make sure that every post includes a link to your website!

It also helps to build up a following on Facebook so that your guests can see and then share your posts with their friends to expand your reach to even more potential guests.  Some innkeepers offer discounts or other incentives to people who "like" their Facebook page.  Another idea is to offer a random drawing or giveaway of some sort if you reach a certain number of "likes" on your page.

Using tools like Twitter is simple if you are writing on your blog and posting on Facebook.  In that case, a simple link to what you've already posted elsewhere is all that's required.  Twitter only allows one or two sentences per "tweet" so it may also be a place to announce a last minute vacancy or a special discount.

Pinterest is an image-based social media site and can be a wonderful way to showcase your photos.  Guests can share their personal photos or you can build a collection of your own photos for other people to share with friends.

TripAdvisor and Other Review Websites
Sites for customers to share their opinions and experiences with businesses are here to stay and grow in popularity every day.  Although websites like TripAdvisor can be a source of some anxiety for many innkeepers, it can also be a useful tool to promote your inn.  Having a TripAdvisor icon or review widget on your website or blog can show confidence in your business and provides a powerful linking opportunity.

Although the world of SEO can seem daunting, there are more and more resources being created all the time that can be helpful to even the busiest of innkeepers. For a free, professional, no-obligation website analysis to see how you can improve your current website ranking, contact us today!

This information was written by Larisa Hicken and was originally published in the October issue of Innkeeper Magazine.
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