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5 things to consider when aiming for hotel-related keywords

July 26th, 2013 | | Posted in category Search Engine Optimization Vertical Search Engines

When it comes to adding diversity to search results, Google always has something nice to offer. Depending on keywords you target, the first page of SERPs may include 3-5 blocks of different types of search results. Luckily, you can check your universal search rankings with Rank Tracker and see how well you're positioned in each block.

If you aim for hotel-related keywords, your tapestry of Google's first page will be particularly vivid. Yesterday we published a detailed article on hotel SEO, and in this post I'll sum up the main things you should consider when aiming at hotel-related keywords.

1. Hotel search results in the US have been recently updated with carousel for local listings.

In other words, all the local listings you'd previously find as a separate block as part of your organic listings are now moved to the top:

I think introduction of carousel is good news for both Google users and SEOs. The former get their local results in a more engaging form. The latter get more space on the first page of SERPs left to fit their sites into organic results.

2.       Using image extensions in PPC ads for hotel-related keywords is likely to increase CTR.

Image extensions (see the image above) are eye-catching in any niche, but it's particularly vital for travel/accommodations, because it’s there where people expect to see images. "Sometimes it's easier to 'show' rather than 'tell' when promoting a business," states Google AdWords' announcement of the image feature. Couldn't agree more!

Also, as you can see from the screenshot above, many webmasters have already started making use of it, so don't lag behind.

3.       For hotel-related sites, Google has a special Hotel Finder block.

Hotel Finder is a service by Google that finds accommodations for selected destinations and dates and then marks hotels on Google maps. It's now incorporated into Google SERPs (see the image above).

So how do you get into Hotel Finder results?

Google Support suggests only common steps recommended for Google Places optimization.

What you should have in mind is that the actual booking process in Hotel Finder is supported through external services like booking.com, venere.com, HRS, agora and so on. Getting your website listed on these sites might be helpful for your inclusion into Hotel Finder.

4.       Rich snippets are vital for hotel-related organic queries.

We've already noted that the first page of hotel-related search results in Google is extremely diverse in search results types. As you can see from the image above, there's a local listing carousel, two PPC blocks, a Hotel Finder block and few organic search slots.

With such a variety of eye-catching results, rich snippets are crucial. You'll want your CTR really high when your site makes it to the first page. For more information on how you can apply schema markup for hotels, visit schema.org.

5.       Organic results are dominated by hotel booking and review platforms.

If your query is general ("hotels new york" vs "holiday inn express new york"), your search results will be dominated by the review-type catalogs: booking.com, tripadvisor, venere.com, and expedia. Alongside with optimizing the site of your hotel, add your hotel to as many of catalogs as possible. This will increase your chances of showing up in both organic search results and Hotel Finder.

As you can see, there're various aspects to keep in mind when aiming for hotel-related keywords. They're summarized in the diagram below:

And do you have any experience in optimizing sites in this niche? Share your feedback in the comments below.



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