Google Maps Hotel Positioning - How to Stay Ahead of the Giants?
The hotel industry is facing a very critical situation at the moment. This was due to the pandemic that swept through almost the entire world last year. Now, things are slowly getting back to normal - one sign of this is the loosening of restrictions. Hotel owners can breathe a sigh of relief as they have been allowed to reopen their facilities. Are you one of them? That's great - read the article and learn how to increase your hotel's online visibility and attract new customers! I will present you the only effective alternative to promotion on paid portals like booking.com, tripadvisor, trivago etc.
Where to start with online promotion?
The vast majority of Internet users, looking for a comfortable stay in the Google search engine, first want to see photos, offer, how much does it cost, directions, and reviews of people who have already visited the place. The latter is especially important because, as research shows, almost 2/3 of people treat online reviews as a recommendation from a friend. Additionally, everyone wants to have all this information at their fingertips. Where can they find it? I know what comes to your mind, Booking.com, Trivago, meteor... If you run a hotel business you are well aware of how much all these costs and how high the commissions can be. But what if there was an alternative? A solution that will bring you many customers for a fraction of the price. Take a good look at the initial search results, which generally include Google Maps.
Local package view in search results
This is where you should start your whole adventure with internet marketing. A properly completed Google My Company profile will allow you to provide your customers with comprehensive information about your hotel in one place - at their fingertips. What is important, it is a completely free tool available for every entrepreneur!
If you don't have a Google Maps profile yet, visit our dedicated article that will help you set one up and come back here when you do. If you already have a GMB profile, I invite you to read the rest of this article, where you will learn how to increase the visibility of your business card, which keywords to choose and how to optimize your hotel profile.
Choosing the best keywords
Once you have your profile on Google, you should optimize it properly. In this step, it is necessary to choose your keywords correctly. You need to identify them so they:
- are searched by your customers,
- show up in the search results after entering a local package,
- correspond to your offer.
Surely at this point in your mind the question occurred - how do I know what people are looking for? Don't worry, tools will help you! When analyzing keywords, you can use Google's Keyword Planner, Google Trends, Surfer Local keywords suggestions
Or the number of searches that appears on the right side of the search box in the Google Chrome browser - only after installing the Surfer Chrome Extension plug-in.
Keyword Surfer Chrome Extension
Important! When choosing the right keywords, pay attention to geotargeting, i.e. adding the city where your hotel is located to the keywords, e.g. "hotel New York", "cheap hotel New York". This is how most Internet users search.
Technical optimization of a business card
Once you've chosen the best keywords, you can proceed with actions aimed at increasing traffic. Here, similarly to SEO optimization of your website - it is worth starting with checking all technical aspects of your business card. Why? Because the incorrect functioning of any of its elements can lead to a decrease in conversions. When optimizing your business card, check:
- the name of your company - whether it is correct,
- consistency of your categories with competitors' ones,
- correctness of your contact information,
- correctness of areas you have set up,
- opening hours,
- links to the website,
- opening date,
Surfer Local - the ideal tool for auditing your GMB profile
Positioning hotels on Google Maps is not a simple matter - which is why I'm here! I also know that many business owners have no idea how to go about optimizing their profile. Fortunately, I can help you with that too. Let me introduce you to a great tool that will help you generate a ready-made audit of your business cards - Surfer Local. It will tell you what your title should look like and tell you what categories to add and how many reviews you are missing from your competitors. You will also receive information on what words your customers should use when leaving a review after their stay in the hotel, in order to maximize its visibility. Follow the guidelines and the results will be awesome!
Audit at Surfer Local
The SEO benefits don't end there, as the tool allows you to generate position grids for a given keyword. This way, you don't have to travel all over the city, checking positions in every single corner of it. Now you only need a few clicks and you will get a black and white view of how your hotel compares to others within a 50 km radius of your company's headquarters.
Surfer Local - position grid
You can also turn on monitoring, which will allow you to see as soon as you enter the tool whether your positions have increased, decreased, or remain unchanged. As for me, it already looks awesome!
Surfer Local position chart
Statistics before and after optimization
I have recently optimized a GMB business card using Surfer Local. We didn't have to wait long for the effects, the result was incomparable - by the way, check it yourself! More than 10 times increase in visibility within a week!
Hotel positioning with Surfer Local
The next step is to successively acquire external links. While you are doing hotel positioning, you need to focus mainly on the so-called NAP (name, address, phone). These are the type of links that come from business directories on the web that store the contact information of companies.
Remember that links are one of the most important ranking factors in Google Maps and that it is the quality of the links that counts - not the quantity. When choosing a portal where you are going to add data with hotel location, check if it has high traffic and authority among Google. You can do this manually, for example by checking the positions of portals for selected keywords. Below I present you several websites on which your hotel should have NAP business cards
If you also want to create good link building for your website, it will help you not only with NAP business cards, but also with sponsored articles from the hospitality industry, posting online in forums and comments or links on other similar sites, e.g. from your contractors with whom you cooperate.
As a tip I can add that you can check on which websites your competitors have entries and if you find them suitable, add your company there as well.
Perfect online reviews
Local SEO can't happen without a good review acquisition strategy. This is a key element that not only influences the position of your business card, but also helps potential customers to choose the best rated companies, rejecting those that don't have a very flattering reputation.
As you can guess - you should run your business so that you have as many references as possible. Also, remember to respond to them.
If you want to learn more about reference management, read our dedicated article on Google Maps reviews.
You should also start positioning your hotel website on Google Maps by including good, sharp and properly exposed photos on your profile. Photograph all the interiors that you offer and add them to your business card. Your customers will be able to judge the quality of your offer based on them and use it.
Panel with pictures in GMB
While doing hotel positioning you also need to focus on your website. It should be user-friendly, mobile-friendly, fast and informative. Only this way, your potential customers, who will go from your business card to your website, will choose you.
It is worth preparing a proper SEO strategy here and performing specific optimization activities. If you need help from a professional in the SEO industry - feel free to contact us. We will be happy to do SEO audit of your hotel website for you.
Page load speed
This is one of the most important elements of a website, which not only affects its functionality, but is also a ranking factor. Your hotel website should be fast - no one likes endlessly loading elements. A user who doesn't get all the data on time will simply leave.
You can speed up your hotel website with this test, which will show you how it currently performs and give you suggestions on what you can improve.
PageSpeed Insights test results
In the hotel industry SEO, you also can't forget to make sure that it displays properly on mobile devices. Why? Because nowadays most of the society surfing the Internet uses phones - according to statistics, more than half of web traffic comes from this type of devices. What is more, this is another factor that affects Google search engine positions.
What happens if you do not meet this requirement? The user will simply leave your website and move on to the next search results - that is, to your competitors.
mobile accessibility test
If you want to check if your website is adapted to mobile devices use this test. And then correct the elements that load incorrectly.
User-friendly user experience (UX)
This is another important factor that affects the SEO of a hotel website. Unfortunately, it is not as easy to eliminate as the previous ones, as it usually requires looking at the site from a technical angle. Depending on the type of hotel website, the elements that need to be improved vary. Below, I will list some of the basic ones. Check for:
- the designed website is adapted to several language versions of searches, especially English (it is worth translating it into languages from which you have the most customers)
- the internal linking is correct, i.e. your users can navigate the site without any problems
- the contact form contains all the necessary fields,
- the website has friendly URLs,
- meta tags are correct,
- the domain authority is appropriate
- potential guests will receive all the necessary information
- and what I consider a must have for hotels - whether it is possible to book quickly with online payment.
Optimal content on the website
Once the technical optimization of your hotel website is done, you can proceed to the next step, which is optimizing the content for the keywords you chose earlier. Here it is important that you not only use the right phrases that will help you boost the search results, but also match the content to the needs of the customers.
Make sure to provide factually correct contact information and describe the location of the property. Fully outline the accommodations, amenities, and attractions that await your guests. Remember that your customers come from all over the world, so be sure to include them all!
A website and a Google business card
A hotel website and a Google business card are a perfect pair that together can conquer search results - both local and standard. This is because it goes hand in hand and every local business should focus equally on both. The rule is simple and should be remembered by everyone: A well-optimized site that you plug your business card into pulls it up along with you. The reverse is exactly the same - a well optimized business card positively influences the positioning of the website. Together they are unstoppable!
The benefits of promoting on Google Maps after a couple of months
Finally, I present you with another proof that hotel positioning in Maps really makes sense. Below I put the stats I got after positioning my hotel for a while. Is it worth it? See for yourself!
results of several months of positioning
conversion statistics on a business card