How to get more bookings for your accommodation business (Part 3)
Part 3: Search Engine Marketing
This is part 3 of a 4 part series on how to increase bookings for your B&B, hotel or other accommodation business.
In part 1, we looked at online reviews as a way to get your customers to spread the word for you. Part 2 outlined considerations when listing your business on booking websites. In part 3 of this series we look at using search engine marketing as a business development tool.
Search Engine Marketing is an art and a science. It is a complex field and impossible to cover in a single blog post. However, here is a quick overview of how you can begin to improve your website’s visibility in search engines.
Can Google actually see your website?
If your website was built in an older technology such as Flash, its content may not be visible to search engines (nor to people using IPads and smart phones!). Try searching for a few keywords on Google where you would expect your website to come up (e.g. your brand name) and see if it’s there at all. If it isn’t, your actual website structure and technology might be to blame. You may need to consider having some changes made to your website structure, or even a complete redesign.
Find out what people are searching for
Use the Google Keyword Tool or get your marketing consultant to help you find out what people are searching for. Take the results with a pinch of salt: if you operate in a small niche market, there may not be enough searches for the keyword tool to pick up. Instead, use your common sense and define some relevant keywords, e.g. “B&B in Ocean Grove” or “pet-friendly accommodation Geelong”.
Place the keywords on your website
Optimising a website for specific keywords is a complex task involving many factors and should probably best be left to an experienced consultant. As a general rule, you should place your keywords in page headings, page text and URLs, targeting one keyword per web page. Of course your website must stay attractive and easy to read for human visitors, so don’t go over the top.
Get some link juice
Placing keywords on your website is only one part of the equation. Google places a lot of value on links pointing to your website. For example, it would be a powerful signal if another (preferably popular) website linked to your website using the link keywords “B&B in Ocean Grove” or “pet-friendly accommodation Geelong”. This would show Google that other website owners think your website addresses this topic, giving your rankings a boost. Of course there is much more to this, but the basic idea is that the more popular your website appears, the more Google likes it too.
Give it some time
If you have a new website, don’t expect to rank highly overnight. Rankings take time to build up. It can take several weeks for search engines to index all of your pages, and the longer you have had your domain name, the better.
Can’t wait or need an extra boost?
Try Google AdWords to appear on page 1 of Google today for your chose keywords. Bid an amount you are willing to pay for each click, and Google will instantly begin sending targeted website visitors your way.
Google AdWords can be a great tool to boost your website traffic, particularly in the low season when you are struggling to fill your bookings. However, you should make sure that your website is attractive and well optimised to convert these visitors into bookings.
Contact us if you need help
We offer search engine optimisation services and manage Google AdWords campaigns for our clients. Please contact us if you would like some help or if you’re unsure where to start.
Coming up: in Part 4 of this series we will look at using search engine marketing to increase enquiries