A Duffers Guide to Hotel SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

If you walked into a room with a wall full of files that had no labels on you would not be able to understand what business is carried out in that room.

If someone held up one of the files and asked you 'What's in the file?' logically you would look for the label on the file that should describe the contents.

This what metatags are. They describe the contents of a file or in the case of a website, a page.

When a webpage is created the web designer has the opportunity to create 3 types of metatags for each page
  • Titles
  • Keywords
  • Descriptions

So far so good, but what do the Search Engines (ie Google) do with these metatags?

Have you ever wondered how Google knows what websites they need to display when someone does a search? Essentially they used to match words that are searched for with the word in the metatags. So if someone had the words 'Hotel in Paris' in their metatags and someone searched with the words 'Hotel in Paris' then that property would be displayed in the Search Results.

So what went wrong?

Essentially companies (ie SEO specialists....the companies that e mail you 10 times per day) attempted to manipulate the results by stuffing the metatags with keywords that would help your ranking on a Google Search even if your website was nothing to do with those keywords.

What's wrong with that?

Google of course makes its money by giving people the correct information they need when someone searches for information. They could not continue to allow people to cheat the rankings by entering keywords that were nothing to do with the website content.

So what do they do now?

We believe that Google does not put much weight on metatags anymore when deciding what pages to display in their results. They measure other factors ie The actual website content, not so much the keywords in the metatags.

So are Metatags useless?

Some people believe so, we like to cover all our bases and take the view that the metatags should be populated with relevant keywords, but we dont spend much time on it, we prefer to see time spent on Online Marketing which generates much better return for your time invested. If you have a Hotel Website from any of the big suppliers metatags are likely to be in use. If yu have a 10 years old website from your sisters brother in law, you may find that you need to spend some time on this.

Is it true SEO is dead in the Hotel Industry?

Again we cover our bases by trying to make sure websites are optimised for the Search Engines, but we do subscribe to the view that Search Engine Optimisation is becoming less and less relevant as other companies such as Booking.com, Tripadvisor, Hotels.com, Trivago etc dominate Search Engine Results. Do a search for 'Hotel in London' and you will be lucky to see a hotel website in the top 10. If they are, they are paying big money to Google. However there are still some niches that are worth pursing ie 'Hotel Wedding Venue in Wimbledon'.

Is there anything i can do to help my Search Engine Ranking?

Yes there is. By now we hope you have come to the conclusion, like us, that to rank well on Google surprise surprise......you have to have interesting/fresh/relevant content. GuestDiary websites have a feature called News and Events (This is even available in the App, so you can whip out your mobile phone and upload content to the website 'on the move'). We would like to see Hotels using this on a regular basis to add content to their website. The Search Engines send out 'spiders' that crawl all over your website, hoover up the content and store it in their databases. If they see you adding content on a regular basis they will send out the spiders more often and hoover up more content improving your Search Engine Ranking.

This is a contentious issue open to debate and subject to change, so we would like to repeat that these are our own views and opinions formed in June 2021.