As Google evolves, the rules governing SEO change, and so do user experiences with search results.
Depending on what keywords you search for, the first page of listings include anywhere from 3 to 5 different blocks of search results. Each of these blocks have their own rankings, meaning your website can have a different ranking for each block.
The image above has three separate blocks: 1 for PPC, 1 for Hotel Finder, and 1 for the organic results.
If hotel-related keywords are a part of your business’ SEO strategy, understanding how these blocks work will be of utmost importance to you.
In this article, you’ll learn about 4 key things you should consider when targeting hotel-related keywords.
1. Using image extensions in PPC ads for hotel-related keywords increases CTR.
Image extensions provide value to content in almost any niche, but they’re especially important for the travel and accommodations market. This is where people expect to visually see what they’re looking for.
In Google AdWords’ announcement of the new image feature, they said “Sometimes it’s easy to ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ when promoting a business.”
Wouldn’t you agree?
If you aren’t using image extensions in your PPC ads, you’re already miles behind the competition.
2. Google has a special Hotel Finder block for hotel-related sites
Hotel Finder is a feature of Google that finds possible accommodations for specified destinations and dates then identifies suggested hotels on Google Maps. By default, it is now included in all hotel-related Google search results (check out the image above).
The way you get into Hotel Finder isn’t a straight-forward process, but Google Support suggests taking common steps recommended for Google Places optimization.
This means identifying external services in the actual booking process – such as booking.com, expedia.com, and so on – and getting your business listed on those sites.
The more times you appear in those listings, the more likely you are to appear in Hotel Finder.
3. Rich snippets are key for organic, hotel-related queries.
You’ve already seen the variety of blocks that may appear on Google’s first page when searching for hotels.
No doubt there are going to be a vast array of eye-catching results, all of which you’ll be competing against if your business makes it to the coveted first page.
Rich snippets are going to be crucial for you to achieve the highest CTR possible.
Check out this discussion on Moz to find more in-depth information on schema for hotels. It will help you greatly boost your CTR.
4. Organic search results are dominated by hotel booking and review platforms.
If you do a search in Google for something generic such as “hotels port louis”, you’re going to find that most of the results are dominated by review-based services – e.g. tripadvisor, booking.com, expedia, and so on.
Unfortunately, this is what many people do when starting their search for hotels. You can’t change or control peoples’ actions on the web, but you can change what pops up in the results.
It’s important to add your business to as many of these review catalogs as possible. This will greatly improve your chances of showing up in organic search results as well as in the Hotel Finder.
SEO is rarely a one-sized fits all kind of strategy. If you’re in the hotel/accommodations business, you need to take the above 4 things into consideration.
If done correctly, your business will start to see higher traffic and bookings as a direct result of a better SEO strategy.