12 SEO Tips for Hospitality Businesses

Want to show up higher in Google, Bing, Yahoo and other popular search engines? Follow these SEO tips specifically for hoteliers, restaurateurs and attraction owners. Our search engine optimization experts help TripAdvisor rise to the top of search results, and now they can help you do the same.

1. Write for people, not computers.

The three C’s: Be clear, concise and compelling. Don’t try to stuff keywords where they don’t belong (it’s an outdated tactic that doesn’t work anymore).

Action Item: Insert keywords naturally. Focus on adding useful information and personality, not endless keywords. Google rewards you with higher page ranking if visitors find your site helpful and interesting.

2. Search for how they’ll search.

Choose specific, targeted phrases to help travelers find you. “Italian restaurant”? Too broad. “London Italian restaurant” or “Italian restaurant downtown London”? Better.

Action Item: Use the free Google AdWords tool to find strong, relevant keywords. You can also ask friends and guests what search term they’d use to find you or a similar business.

3. Use your keywords strategically.

Make sure your keywords are in places where both search engines and busy travelers look for them: Your page titles, headlines and meta tag descriptions.

Action Item: Put keywords as close to the start of your page title as you can. That, and your meta description, are what people see first in search engines so be clear and compelling. You also want each page’s keywords to appear in the H1, or headline.

4. Choose consistent and relevant link text.

You’ll get some SEO benefit, and reassure people they’re in the right place after they click, which can help convert browsing visitors to paying guests.

Action Item: If possible, use the page’s title or headline as the link text (“Join our XYZ Loyalty Program” instead of a generic “Join our loyalty program”). If you can’t be that targeted, at least include the destination page’s keywords in your hyperlink text.

5. Keep your website fresh.

Search engines like frequently updated websites. You like higher page ranking. Keep your website fresh with new content and everyone is happy.

Action Item: Hotels: update special offers. Restaurants: update your online menus. Attractions: seasonally update homepages. Everyone: use the Review Snippets TripAdvisor widget to automatically pull in new reviews for a constant source of fresh site content.

6. Say no to Flash and PDFs.

This is especially for you, restaurants (we’re on to you). Why? Because search engines can’t read text in Flash movies and PDFs.

Action Item: Avoid Flash completely – it’s outdated and doesn’t work on iPhones and iPads anyway. And post your dinner menu as a web page, not a PDF. It’s a little less convenient for you, but the extra effort means more convenience for diners and more SEO benefit for you.

7. Be smart about photos & videos.

Search engines can’t watch videos or read what’s in your photos. But you can still get SEO benefit from these formats that engage travelers.

Action Item: Use relevant, keyword-rich file names (not Video_51500). For photos, include descriptive alt text, which search engines do read. For YouTube videos, include your keywords in titles and descriptions. And choose accurate tags that can help viewers find your video.

8. Optimize your social media.

Your online presence extends beyond your website. Putting in a little effort with social networks like Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter can pay off, especially as more people of all ages embrace social media.

Action Item: Make sure to fill out your About description on Facebook and Google Plus, and your Bio on Twitter, including keywords. And including a link back to your website is a must.

9. Focus on creating engaging content.

Want people to share and link to your site so search engines rank you higher because they consider you an authority? Ask yourself, “What do my customers want to see?” Maybe it’s beautiful photos of your rooms or a list of ingredients for your weekly specials.

Action Item: Ask guests what content they liked or would want to see on your site. You can ask during their stay or in a survey you link to when emailing them a post-stay thank you.

10. Listen to Google.

Want to start your SEO the right way? Pay attention to what Google says you should do – and not do – so Google can find, index and rank your site.

Action Item: As you might guess, it’s a good idea to follow Google’s webmaster guidelines. This free set of tips covers web design, content creation, the technical side of things and the all-important “quality guidelines” – the deceptive practices to avoid or risk harming your page ranking.

11. Don’t try to trick search engines.

They’re made by geniuses. You won’t outsmart them. So don’t listen to “SEO experts” who try to fool search engines with dirty tricks.

Action Item: Stay away from “black hat” SEO tricks and focus on the legitimate, tried and true tips here. Anyone promising top listings in Google or other search engines is either using paid advertising or making claims they can’t deliver without damaging your reputation – and your ranking.

12. Optimize your mobile site.

Especially for travelers, many mobile searches are trying to find something local – like a hotel or something to do – right away.

Action Item: Search engines use phone number to provide local search results, so include your phone number as HTML text. That way, it can be read by search engines and users can easily tap to call. And focus on shorter keywords – no one taps out long search strings on a mobile device.

Visit your Management Center on TripAdvisor for free SEO tips, marketing tools and more

Visit your Management Center on TripAdvisor for free SEO tips, marketing tools and more

Last Updated: January 10, 2018