Is SEO Dead in 2017?

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Posted on Feb 3rd 2017

It’s a debate that rages on and on, and not least when it comes to online travel marketing: is search engine optimisation still relevant, or is it a dying practice?

Well I can confirm, SEO is alive and well – in fact, organic search consistently generates the bulk of website traffic for the small hotels and resorts we work with across Queensland.

As long as Google continues to be the world’s favourite way of finding information online, SEO will be too important to ignore. But it has changed considerably, with Online Travel Agents increasingly dominating the search results pages for your guests’ search queries. Unfortunately, OTAs are a necessary evil for most of our clients, but what role does SEO play in driving more of those all important direct bookings?

Local Search and Mobile

One of the biggest changes in the search landscape in recent years has been the merging of local results in organic search, referred to as the Snack Pack. Only local businesses can rank here, but OTAs still occupy some space with Hotel Price Ads. In desktop search results, these occupy a fair chunk of space, but on mobile search, the hotel’s own website and contact details are displayed far more prominently.

Since an impressive 53% of same-day bookings are made by consumers planning their breaks from a mobile device, you should all be seizing the chance to get your own hotel’s details seen by all these travellers browsing on a small screen. A mix of fantastic SEO and specific local activities is the way to do it, and luckily, websites that achieve a good ranking in organic search results are also likely to rank highly in the Snack Pack.

SEO and PPC

Although there has been no official confirmation from Google on this, search experts have noticed a positive correlation between PPC and organic search results. And when it comes down to it, you’ve got to have a pretty flawless SEO campaign and solid PPC if you want to dominate the search results pages.

If you’re firing on all cylinders SEO wise, you’ll notice better click-through rates on ads, while in turn, PPC can boost your organic rankings. Research reveals that pages that manage to rank on the first page of both organic SERPs and paid ads generate a better click through rate for both.

Optimisation For Google and Your Guests

Since the ultimate aim of any hotel’s SEO campaign is to drive more bookings via increased organic traffic, it’s not just ranking that’s important, it’s ranking for the right keywords. That way, you get the right guests landing on your pages, ready to book.

Effective search engine optimisation is about optimising content for your ideal guests. For example, is one of your major offerings complimentary in-room WiFi? Great! Include the words ‘complimentary in-room WiFi’ and Google will know what you’re offering and the guests who have free internet near the top of their priority list will find you.

Structured data, like Schema, also plays an important role in delivering data which helps search engines understand what your website is offering. Ultimately, it’s about providing information that’s easier for both Google and your guests to understand.

To summarise, succeeding at SEO in 2017 means having someone on side with the technical know-how to help Google index your hotel’s website, as well as having an in-depth understanding of your guests and what they are looking for.

How will your hotel manage SEO in the coming year? Let us know in the comments below!

RELATED PAGES AND BLOG POSTS:

- 6 Steps To a Better Google Ranking
- What’s Happening In SEO Right Now – 4 Key Trends to Watch
- Keyword Research 101: How To Uncover New Key Search Terms For Your Hotel

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