Criteria in Optimizing Hotel & Tourism Marketing Content
“How to Optimize Content for SEO” is a perfect example of a page we might want to optimize, so I will analyze the process based on this page you are reading.
You have to start with good content. Search engines are looking for content that stands out. It needs to be informative and engaging. They also want to know that it is Expert Material, Authoritative and Trustworthy (EAT). That is a subject on its own so we are not going to explore EAT at this time. The purpose of this article is to help you understand how to optimize your EAT-able content so it can rank high on search results.
There are literally hundreds of criteria that search engines evaluate to decide how to rank your page in their search results. Of course, this is all done automatically by programs that gather, store, evaluate and rank all pages on the Internet. This process is handled by million of lines of program code and systems. It is called the Algorithm.
You may have heard that Google has changed it algorithm and sites are falling off the net. That does happen!
It just means that Google has added or changed the step-by-step process by which it finds results. It may just be that it has changed the importance of some criteria – like speed, for example. In this case, slow sites may be hit and fast sites may improve in ranking. It could be any combination of process and criteria – any of 200 variables may change – and it is always evaluating, testing, adding to and tweaking them.
Top Search Engine Criteria
Now if you try to consider all of the criteria in optimizing your blog pages, guest posts and off-site articles, you will go totally potty. The trick is to know the top criteria. You are not going to find that out by studying algorithms. The best marketers are constantly testing and watching what works consistently. Professionals have a vast amount of data that they can process to establish the best practices. By studying what they do and joining the top masterminds, you can get a pretty good handle on what works.
What Works For Your Website (On-Site) Works Off-Site
My first book, WEBSITE, includes an entire section on SEO for your Webpage. The same process applies for blogs, guest posts and articles you write or have written on external pages (Off-Site). That is an important part of my second book, DIGITAL MEDIA. Chapters 3 and 4 (discussing “Content Marketing”) presume that you have read WEBSITE and already know about page optimization. In retrospect, I should have summarized that again in the new book.
So here are my key points – abridged and updated.
Top SEO Criteria for Page Optimization
1. Choose the right keyword (keyword research)
2. Create an effective title and URL
3. Have it form part of a header (a h2 tag)
4. Include it in the content 2 or 3 times
5. Use the keyword in the first sentence or two
6. Put the keyword in the title and alt text of a related image
7. Employ at lease one Google Suggested phrase
8. Create a Meta Description that contains your keyword
9. Add a Video
These are in order of importance. Do 1 to 4 for sure. These will certainly help you get ranked. If your term is very competitive, do 5, 6, 7 and 8.
You can also use content optimization tools to help validate your on-page SEO. YOAST Plugin for WordPress is a SEO validation tool that I use.
Your Keyword Research
It all starts with your keyword research. You need to select a keyword for you article that describes something that travelers are searching for. Naturally the word must describe your article. In addition, it has to be attainable. You need a word that is not too competitive and has good traffic. Good traffic means sufficient people are searching for it and it is a word that can convert. If you are looking to get more bookings, a destination name is not necessarily the best keyword. For example, people searching for Jamaica, St. Lucia and Barbados are typically not at the buying stage. On the other hand, if they are searching for a specific hotel, they are likely ready to book.
Use Google Keyword Planning tools to find the right word – a good alternative is KWfinder.com
So for this article, I am writing about Optimizing Your Blog, Article, Pages or Content for SEO. I might start combining all of these and seeing how it looks in the title.
Title and URL
Your post title (will become the URL) must have your keyword in it. I started this article by conducting a case study using a general keyword phrase, “Optimizing Your Blog Article Pages SEO”. A quick look at the search activity suggested that it is going to be very competitive. There are many big brands writing about this. We are not going to out-rank an established brand that has authority, great contend and years of experience in ranking.
And there are just too many pages in the results:
Optimizing Your Blog Article Pages SEO…5,930,000 results
” ” Blog SEO …………………..29,400,000 results
” ” Post SEO: …………………51,800,000 results
” ” Article SEO ……………….22,000,000 results
Using The Keyword Planner
Next go to the Keyword Planner and get the cost and the number of people searching.
None of the searches in the above list has anyone searching according to Google Planner. That is interesting. It’s a fact that Google Keyword Planner does not report accurately but based on this, I would change the title and strategy and look for an variation like how to optimize content for SEO. It’s a low competition word but check who comes up in the search. There are millions of pages to contend with and they are well established brands with high authority and trust. We just will not rank!
For the purpose of this case study, we will make the search more specific to travel and use “Hotel Marketing Content” as the main target.
Have “How to Optimize Hotel Marketing Content” in a Header
That’s it. See! The entire title is in the header above. That’s number (3).
I would next include an image and put the keyword phrase in the Title and the Alt tag. That is now done in the image at the top of the page. If you are using an image that you found on the net, be sure to credit the source. As you can see, this image above is credited to Digital Current. They will be happy that we used an image with their logo and have mentioned them in this article. It’s all part of the process of Content Marketing.
You will note that item (4) is completed as the keyword is included in the text several times.
It is included in the first sentence (5). It’s embedded in the image title, description and alt.
When searching Google for “how to optimize content”, you will see a number of suggested phrases listed under the search results. Content optimization tools is one that I like and have used in reference to the YOAST Plugin (7).
Meta Tags and Video
Finally, be sure to create a meta description (8) that contains the keyword. I usually just cut and paste the title. If you are reusing WordPress, you will find this in the Yoast Plugin – click ‘Edit Snippet’ under the Content area.
When all is done, your article should be in good shape with the on-page optimization. Next, you have to make sure it gets found with off-page optimization.
Add a Video (9) – If you have done everything and your are still not ranking, add a video that explains your content with original videos.
All of this will work if there are not a lot of major brands competing with you. If that is the case, you will have to do off-page optimization. In most cases, off-page activity is going to be needed to get you ranking well.
Off-Page Optimization with Bookmarks
Bookmarking Your Content with Social Media Links
The last step is sending links from social media sites to your content. Post a short note about the new page to your prime social account, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest. You can post to Reddit, Instapaper and many other bookmarking sites. Of course, you must do it right. A good number of bookmarks do not get indexed and are worthless. See more about this on our blog about bookmarking lined above.
Bookmarking is helpful and, in fact, you do need to do this as it is one of the signals in the algorithm. However if your keyword in very competitive, you will need to do more. Travel is one of the most competitive search terms and you will find that major brands and Online Travel Agents (OTAs) like Expedia, Booking.com, Airbnb, TripAdvisor and others dominate search results.
If this is the case, you will need to get links on relevant, quality 3rd party content – but not on Private Blog Networks (PBNs) – to make an impact.
Off-Page Optimization with Blogs
Article and Blogs Linking to Your Page
It’s all well and good getting your page set up so that search engines find it. The next step is getting other content and social sites linking to your page. You will aim to get high quality guest posts with relevant content writing about you. These need to be articles that are 3rd party guest posts that are not on your site and not related to you. The link must be one way to you. Do not link back to them as reciprocal links are discounted.
The article linking to your site will have text that says something like: “Click here for more information”. That is called the Anchor Text, which is covered in Chapter 2. Not more than 3% of these links should contain your keyword.
You may post your content on guest post sites or pay for an article on sites like Thrive Global, The Fritz and many others. These two sites mentioned are Google News Approved and if your blog qualifies and meets editors’ approval, it will be published in the News section of search. This can result in a huge boost to traffic.
Link all you blogs and article sites together in a chain or in a hierarchy structure (never reciprocal links). Strategic link structure is explained in TECHNOLOGY, which will be published next. You can register to be advised when it is launched at the link below.
Bookmarking these pages is also helpful. Don’t use your own branded network; you need to have 3rd party social networks that are related to your business. For tourism, use Travel or Destination social sites. You can build these yourself or work with someone who has a related network. Check for details
About This Page
“How to Optimize Content for SEO” was created as one of the Bonuses for buyers of my book, Digital Media. The bonuses are tactical information to complement the book, which deals with digital media marketing strategy. If you find this helpful, I would love for you to buy my books WEBSITE and DIGITAL MEDIA. Both are available on Amazon as eBooks and in paperback.
Marketing Hotels & Tourism Series: Website | Digital Media | Technology (soon)