SEO-Friendly Web Design

Four important steps to using keywords and lay the foundation for a solid SEO-friendly website structure and hotel internet marketing strategy.

Research shows that over 80% of people use Search Engines to find and book hotels. To capture this essential traffic and increase hotel occupancy rates, it’s essential that your website is created with an SEO-friendly site structure at the start of the design process to maximise your online return on investment.

Step one: Finding the right keywords

Keyword research forms the basis of any website navigation and Search Engine Optimisation strategy. The right keywords can be identified through using keyword tools like Google Keyword Tool, market research and competitor analysis. When deciding on what specific search engine keywords to use, there are many different factors to consider which should be both unique and common to your specific hotel and the tourism industry. These factors include:

  • hotel location
  • rooms and facilities of the hotel
  • local attractions
  • what keywords your competitors are targeting

To find out more about how to find the right keywords for your website, read our article on Search Engine keywords.

Step two: Developing the keyword navigation for each page

Finding the right keywords might be like searching for the Holy Grail but once the keywords are found, your quest is far from over. Keywords must be used strategically to boost your Search Engine rankings. Segmenting your keywords into broad and narrow keywords (‘money’ keywords that will lead to hotel bookings) and will start to form the navigation structure for your website.

Broad high-level groups of keywords form the top level categories on your website navigation. For example, a hotel website like the Sebel Cairns have keyword groups like ‘Reservation & Rates’, ‘Make an Enquiry’, ‘Hotel Deals & Packages’, ‘Hotel Accommodation’ and so on.

Narrower subgroups of keywords allow your visitors to further drill down to find what they are exactly looking for. If you look at the Sebel Cairns’ website again, the category ‘Hotel Deals & Packages’ is broken down into categories targeting narrower keywords like ‘Cairns Romantic Getaways & Weekend Escapes Packages, ‘Cairns Mini Break Getaway, ‘Cairns Heavenly Spa Package’ and so forth.

Remember, Search engines love pages with singular themes. Taking time to structure your website hierarchy by primary and secondary keywords will allow you to create focused, optimised pages to target a small group of related terms, rather than needing to craft a unique landing page for every single word.

Step three: Placing the terms in your keyword themes prominently throughout the page

Once you have decided on the keyword theme for your pages, you need to continue to use this theme in your on page elements. These include:

  • Title tags: important keywords should be used towards the start of the title tag and word counts should be aimed at 10-12 characters.
  • Meta description tags: this is what people see in web searches. Word counts should be aimed at 25-27 characters.
  • H1 and H2 headings: make sure that your primary keyword or keyword phrase is included ideally at the start of the heading. Use one H1 heading per page to emphasise the most important keywords on that page to the search engines and
  • se H2-H5 headings to optimise for secondary terms – make sure these are used as sub-headings.

Step four: Develop useful, content-rich pages

On each page, weave your hotel related keywords seamlessly and naturally within the copy. The real trick to using keywords in your copy is getting the balance right and that balance is the difference between appearing on the front page of Search Engine rankings and being ignored by Search Engines as a result of keywords stuffing.

Remember the keyword position and correct placement is far more important than keyword density and frequency. Search Engines prefer that keywords used must be consistent for all elements on the page so they better understand what the page is about and rank the page for that particular keyword or keyword phrase.

The ranking or location of your hotel website on Search Engines is becoming increasingly important as the physical location of your hotel. Building a website without the correct SEO web infrastructure is like building a luxury hotel on the outskirts of town. It may look pretty but not many people will know about it unless they specifically know where to look. Similarly, creating an SEO technical infrastructure with both broad and narrow keywords that will rank highly on Search Engines is like building a hotel on the main street that is one of the first hotels that everyone notices.

About Keith Paulin

When not trying in vain to improve his golf handicap, Keith leads the team at iiWorks, a specialist company providing Digital Marketing Strategy Services for clients ranging from small business to national and international companies.
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