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What’s The Most Challenging Thing About Hotel SEO? Talking About Hotel SEO | By Thomas McDermott – Hospitality Net

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Like a rumor of bed bugs that goes viral, Search Engine Optimization or SEO has haunted hotel marketers since the beginning of digital marketing.

How do we rank better in search results?

The answers to these questions are ever-changing and, every year, they get more complicated.

SEO's evolution from black hat tactics like link farms, to the effectiveness of blogging, to the impact of your "Google My Business" listing leave even the savviest hotel marketers confused.

One thing we all agree on? With constant updates to Google's algorithm, wishy washy metrics on SEO reports, and all that technical jargon, half the trouble with SEO is just understanding how to talk about SEO.

It's easy to understand why hoteliers occasionally lack confidence in the strategies they pursue and what results they can reasonably expect from those strategies.

But it doesn't have to be this way. We'll break it down into four easily digestible components so you can tackle - and talk about SEO - with confidence and ease.

The first thing to understand about hotel SEO is that it's not like any other industry. And that's one reason SEO is so confusing for hoteliers. Once you understand that it's different for hotels than, say, furniture manufacturers, you're ready to adopt a hospitality industry-specific SEO approach.

Hotel SEO has four main components. Each one has a unique strategy all its own, with rules and KPIs that are unique to it.

Technical SEO has everything to do with how your site is built. A well-built site is technically fit enough to turn up in searches. In other words, Technical SEO allows the "all mighty" Google bots to crawl your site with ease.

Keep in mind, though, that things are going to break! That's the world we live in. So you need to monitor your Technical SEO and repair it as it breaks. After all, if your site can't be indexed, then it can't turn up in search. In that sense, Technical SEO is the backbone of your entire SEO strategy.

Run a check-up of your site's health through Search Console or SEMrush. In a few clicks, you can check the quality of your Technical SEO.

Directories don't get enough credit in the SEO conversation. Directories consist of search listings, map listings, websites and apps that house your hotel NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) across devices.

Your "Google My Business" listing is a directory, for example - and it's one of the largest and most critical directories out there for hotels.

But the list of online directories is long and distinguished.

When someone searches your hotel name in one of these directories, are you confident they will find what they are looking for? Is the name, address and phone number of your property correct? Some directories even include a link to your hotel website. Is it pointing in the right direction?

Directories are critically important to users finding and contacting your property with ease.

Good Directory SEO is consistent. When someone searches your property in Google Maps, the name, address and phone number is identical to what they'd find on TripAdvisor, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

Tools like Yext allow you to control all your listings simultaneously, view quality score reports for each listing, and check site traffic and views.

Brand SEO involves the use of keywords that include your brand name.

For example, if your brand name is Hotel Hugo, your Brand SEO goal is to rank for keywords that include the phrase "Hotel Hugo." Easy enough.

However, a comprehensive Brand SEO strategy should be a combination of paid and unpaid tactics. One of the biggest mistakes hotel marketers make is thinking about paid and unpaid search efforts on Google as entirely separate strategies.

The truth is, they work hand in hand. By separating the two strategies (goals, agencies, spend, reporting) hotel marketers do themselves no favors. The first step to creating true synergy between these paid & unpaid brand search is to understand how they interact with each other.

To start, let's look at Google branded search results.

In the example below, our brand search term is "Stanford Park Hotel."

Notice that a brand search has four main placements in a Google search result.

A good brand SEO strategy is the combination of paid and unpaid search efforts.

When all four pistons are firing at the same time, hoteliers stand the greatest chance of winning those all-important direct bookings.

The four components of Brand Search can be measured differently.

Warning: Be cautious about measuring those different placements separately because they all work together to achieve the direct booking. Instead, look at whether your direct bookings are up overall. Better still, look at your bottom-line revenue.

Non-Brand SEO relates to how well you rank for relevant keywords that don't have your brand name in them. For example, a relevant non-brand search term for the hotel "Stanford Park Hotel" would be "Palo Alto Hotels."

Let's take a look at the Google non-brand search results for that term:

Notice that a non-brand search has three main placements within Google's search results.

Notice that the Stanford Park Hotel does not turn up anywhere for the non-brand key term "Palo Alto Hotels" on page 1.

Why? For this particular keyword search term, the hotel is up against some pretty big roadblocks, including:

These are the struggles almost every hotel faces in the quest for relevant non-brand keywords. That's what makes Non-Brand SEO so challenging - and why paid search advertising is so important to the success of your Non-Brand SEO strategy.

Paid search ads will enable you to:

A good Non Brand SEO strategy looks like this:

The three components of Non-Brand Search can be measured differently.

Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 33rd year, is located in New York City, Fort Lauderdale, and Carlsbad, CA. Please visit:

Tambourine is transforming hotel e-commerce. The Firm has become an instrumental partner for elite hoteliers, hotel management and asset management firms seeking to outperform their compset, improve bottom-line profitability and decrease OTA-dependence.

We deliver targeted managed service programs that ensure maximum traffic and conversions across all digital channels. Our team utilizes our own best-in-class technology to empower your property giving you the confidence and ability to achieve your ownership's revenue goals.

The firm is celebrating its 35th year in business. For more information about Tambourine, visit

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What's The Most Challenging Thing About Hotel SEO? Talking About Hotel SEO | By Thomas McDermott - Hospitality Net

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