As any online marketer will tell you, SEO is an increasingly complex art to master. Not only are there more than 200 different factors which make up Google’s algorithm, the search landscape is constantly shifting, and each shift brings with it a new set of best practices to get to grips with.
To help your hotel stay ahead of the search marketing game in 2018, let’s take a look at some of the most important trends for the coming 12 months, and how you can get ready to embrace them.
1. SERP Features Are a Big Deal
It used to be that a number one spot in the organic search results was the Holy Grail for maximum website traffic. Not so much anymore, with SERP features such as local packs, Knowledge panels and featured snippets driving clicks away from traditional organic listings.
With the increasing prominence of SERP features, it’s essential that you analyse your property’s rankings for these features and keep a close eye on the features which are being displayed for your targeted keywords and could be stealing your guests’ clicks. You can do this using a tool like Rank Tracker. Based on the data you uncover, you may be able to identify new SEO opportunities – perhaps you can get a featured snippet for a certain query, or a Knowledge Graph panel?
2. Speed Matters
Speed is an important ranking signal and a major factor in overall user experience – which is in itself, a major ranking factor.
But how fast is fast enough? Google wants all website pages to load in under 3 seconds. Are your pages hitting this all important target?
Use Google’s page speed test to check on your pages current performance. Simply launch WebSite Auditor, create a project and specify the page you’d like to test under Content Analysis. The tool will pinpoint any on page factors that may be slowing your page load times down, and offer practical advice on how you can fix it.
3. The Rise and Rise of Voice Search
Google stats show that 40 percent of adults use voice search to find what they’re looking for online on a daily basis; and it’s a trend which is only going to escalate. This shift calls for a fresh approach to keyword research, with longer, more conversational sentences taking prominence over shorter keyword lingo.
Use Rank Tracker to research the kind of questions guests using voice search are likely to ask. Within a few clicks, you can have access to hundreds of potential questions you can target in your property’s campaigns.
4. Mobile Is (Still) Everything
We’ve been stressing the importance of the Smartphone market for years now, but there are still properties out there who haven’t got on board with the mobile revolution. With mobile friendliness continuing to be an important ranking factor in 2018, it’s something you simply cannot afford to ignore anymore.
As a first step, identify if your pages are mobile-friendly using Google’s mobile test. Simply enter the URL of the page you’d like to test, switch to Technical factors, and scroll down to Page usability (Mobile). You’ll be shown any problematic factors, if any, as well as advice on how to resolve them. Follow the tips, then repeat the test.
5. An Increasingly Personalized Search Results Page
Personalized search results integrate specific information about the user (including their location and search history) as well as traditional ranking factors. It’s a shift which has been happening gradually for years now, and as Google and the other search engines strive to offer only the best results for their users, it’s a trend that is here to stay.
Don’t panic: as it stands personalization doesn’t necessarily call for a big change in tactics on your part. Simply put; when a guest searches for one of your hotel’s target keywords for the first time, you’ve got to do all you can – using the above strategies and tried and tested SEO methods – to rank highly in the SERPs. If the guest clicks your website, that signals to Google that you’re their preferred choice and your listing will be more likely to appear featured highly in subsequent searches.
Are you ready to embrace the key SEO trends of 2018? Anywhere else you see search going in the coming months? Let us know in the comments below!