Ways to Boost Your Resort Website’s SEO
Consider working with a specialist and producing original content.
With many people acting as their own travel agent by searching for accommodations online, it’s all the more important that your resort is easy to find on major search engines such as Google—the number one travel website today, according to MMGY’s 2017 Portrait of American Travelers report. “If a resort can show up high on page one of a search engine, they have an opportunity to present offers and get a direct booking,” says Michael Cottam, founder of travel-guide website Visual Itineraries. Search-engine optimization (SEO) is ever more crucial to ensuring that visibility.
The first place to start: a resort’s website. Jasmine Sandler, SEO consultant and CEO of Agent-cy Online Marketing, recommends beginning with a full audit and competitive review of site performance. Next, develop a keyword strategy to increase unique visitor page views and build a content marketing plan to support SEO. Once those are in place, the work doesn’t stop. “SEO is an ongoing monthly practice and does require management,” Sandler says.
One of the best ways to improve search-page presence is to make your resort visible on location-based searches or searches for nearby businesses. To do this, create a Google My Business account and verify the resort’s address, and be sure to include the city and state in your website’s page titles and descriptions. (Location-based searches are key for optimizing searches on voice-controlled devices. You can learn more about voice search in the Outlook 2018 issue of RCI Ventures® magazine.)
Even with good location-based SEO, competing with online travel agents (OTAs) such as Kayak can be a challenge, as their wealth of backlinks to properties and substantial spending on SEO usually puts them at the top of search results, often outranking a resort’s own home page. “The big OTAs dominate page one for even brand-name terms,” Cottam says. Resorts should therefore consult an SEO specialist, though that doesn’t mean a lot of money is required. Cottam says that by filling your website with high-quality images, videos and service content, you can help counter the backlink advantage OTAs have over resorts. “The OTAs’ weak spot is rich, original content,” Cottam says. “Resort operators should focus on professional photography, video, drone aerial video and virtual tours.” Sandler agrees that building content pages and linking out to local affiliates will help as well: “It’s about creating a specific online brand that resonates with the area and the people and becoming a resource of information,” she says.
Image credit: iStockphoto