If you want to improve your visibility on Google to reach a geo-targeted audience, local SEO is your best friend.
Page 1 of Google’s search results shows features such as maps, localised organic search and knowledge panel (local pack) more prominently. Improving your local SEO will help you appear here for relevant keywords. For instance, when someone searches for “hotels in Auckland”, your Auckland property must have a verified Auckland address to appear in these Search Engine Results Page (SERP) features.
How does local SEO differ from general SEO?
The two streams of SEO are not very different. In fact, any good SEO strategy incorporates local SEO. If your goal is to reach audiences overseas, then international SEO should also be considered. The core tenets of all forms of SEO are same – on-page (good and optimised content), off-page (good quality backlinks to your website) and technical (website code and experience follows Google’s guidelines for search bots).
In this blog we look at a few key things you must have in place to be successful at local SEO.
1) Claim your Google My Business listing (a.k.a. Google Business Profile).
The starting point to effective local SEO is setting up your Google My Business listing as per Google’s recommendation. If you are a multi-location property group, set up different Google My Business listings for each property.
Listings must be optimised to include details about your property, photos, videos and amenities. Update your COVID-19 guidelines. Add your rates to show under Google Hotel Search. Bonus, if you’ve a STAAH booking engine, Google can be added as a channel so your rates and availability are automatically updated. Adding events and regular blogs is also highly recommended.
2) Request for Google Reviews.
Not only do Google reviews build trust and credibility, but they are also a known ranking factor. Request your guests to leave reviews on Google to improve your star-ratings. These reviews also show in search results.
Don’t limit reviews to Google. Turn to all other available channels for guest reviews as social reviews is a strong indicator for ranking. Get an online reputation management tool to help you manage and grow reviews to your advantage.
3) Optimise your website.
Adhere to all general SEO best practice guidelines for your website. This includes rich and unique content at its foundation. Technically, ensure mobile-friendliness of your website, the right tag and URL structures, a good user experience to inform your core web vitals positively (site speed and loading experience) and internal linking. Adding structured data is also recommended, especially your location data and amenities.
Are you new to SEO? Download our FREE E-Book on Hotel SEO for beginners here
Specifically for local SEO, it is important to have an About and Contact page with your name, address and phone number (NAP). This is also called citation. In fact, add the NAP to your website footer. If you have multiple properties, list all property names, addresses and phone numbers on the contact page and preferably footer as well. Link the location pages from a high navigation menu item – homepage is the best.
Fix all technical issues with your website. There are a number of tools available to help you run an audit of your site’s technical issues and how to improve.
4) Local link building.
The general link building principles apply to local SEO too with some additional effort to get linked from local blogs, neighbouring businesses, relevant directories and travel sites.
5) Post regularly on popular social media sites.
Remember your Google My Business also accepts blogs and event posts. Make the most of this opportunity.
If local SEO is on your to-do list, but you’ve been putting it on the backburner for too long, the above tips are an easy way to get started. Remember, for local SEO you are not competing against the whole world. Become a consistent and reliable source of local information. Marry it up with simple SEO best practice and see the difference.
Hotel marketing | Local SEO cheat sheet for property owners was last modified: April 11th, 2022 by