SEO for Hotels and Resorts: Your 12-Step Manual for Top SERPs

by Outranking
Updated On: October 10, 2023
SEO for Hotels and Resorts: Your 12-Step Manual for Top SERPs

SEO accounts for 65% of hotel revenue from the direct bookings channel and if you want your hotel to be booked completely, you have to put in some SEO efforts. For this, you have to plan unique hotel SEO strategies, along with an SEO content strategy that answers a user’s search query.

But what other elements should be present on your hotel SEO checklist? For the hotel owners out there, we’re giving out a list of SEO tips and SEO practices that will ultimately increase your revenue.

Why is SEO Important for Hotels and Resorts?

SEO involves optimizing your website and online content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) when relevant keywords are searched. In this context, SEO can help hotels and resorts by:

  • Improving Online Visibility: Your hotel’s website and online content can appear on the first page of search engine results, making it easier for potential guests to find you when searching for accommodations in your area.
  • Increasing Organic Traffic: By creating high-quality, informative content that is optimized for relevant keywords, you can attract more website visitors who are interested in the services your hotel offers.
  • Enhancing Guest Acquisition: By creating helpful, informative content that addresses the needs and concerns of potential guests, you can build trust and credibility with potential clients, making them more likely to choose your hotel for their travel needs.
  • Cost-Effective Marketing: Optimizing your online content for relevant keywords can attract relevant traffic to your hotel’s website without paying for advertising.
  • Measurable Results: SEO provides measurable results, allowing hotels and resorts to track their website traffic, keyword rankings, and conversion rates. Tracking your hotel’s SEO success helps you allocate your time and resources more efficiently and improve your bottom line.
  • Staying Ahead of the Competition: In the highly competitive hospitality industry, your website can outperform your competitors, lead to higher online visibility, and ultimately more bookings.

By creating a comprehensive SEO content strategy, your hotel or resort can attract more relevant website traffic, increase your bookings, and ultimately improve your overall business success.

Make Your Hotel The Best In Town With These Steps

Step 1: Construct Website Architecture Based On Your Core Service Areas

The first step to implementing better SEO for a hotel or resort is understanding your core areas. This involves identifying the key areas of the hotel or resort that connect with its core offering.

To break down your hotel or resort’s website architecture into core offerings and an extended list of sub-areas, first identify the hotel or resort’s core services. For example, your hotel may offer accommodation, dining, and event spaces. Each of these core services can then be broken down into further sub-areas.

Here’s an example:

Core Service AreasExtended List of Sub-Areas
Accommodation1. Room types (standard, deluxe, hostel, suite) 
2. Amenities (pool, gym, spa) 
3. Location (beachfront, city center) 
4. Accessibility (wheelchair-accessible rooms, pet-friendly rooms)
Dining1. Restaurant types (fine dining, casual dining, buffet) 
2. Cuisine (Italian, Asian, American) 
3. Menu items (vegetarian, gluten-free, seafood) 
4. Dining experiences (outdoor, rooftop, private dining)
Event Spaces1. Venue types (ballroom, conference room, outdoor space) 
2. Capacity (small, medium, large) 
3. Audio-visual equipment (projector, sound system) 
4. Catering options (buffet, plated, cocktail reception)

In this example, the available core service areas are accommodation, dining, and event spaces. Each of these core services is broken down into further sub-areas, such as room types and amenities for accommodation, restaurant types and cuisine for dining, and venue types and capacity for event spaces.

By breaking down the website architecture into core offerings and sub-areas, it becomes easier to conduct keyword research and develop a plan that targets the hotel or resort’s key areas. Improving your hotel website’s SEO, it becomes more visible to potential customers who are searching for relevant keywords. Additionally, it can ensure that your hotel website is structured in a way that is easy to navigate for users, improving their overall experience and increasing the likelihood of them making a booking or reservation.

Infographic of potential hotel core service areas and their corresponding subareas.
Breaking down these areas can set you up for success when you’re in the keyword research phase.

Understanding your hotel’s core areas is the first step to implementing better SEO for your website. By breaking down the website architecture into core offerings and sub-areas, it becomes easier to conduct keyword research and develop a plan that targets the hotel or resort’s key areas. This can help to improve the website’s visibility, and user experience, and ultimately, drive more bookings and reservations.

Step 2: Make a List of Keywords That Align With the Services of Your Hotel or Resort

Keyword research can be broken down into three simple steps:

  1. Gather the list of keywords in each of the core areas of your hotel’s website.
  1. If you have multiple core areas, repeat the keyword research step for each one.
  1. If each core offering area has multiple sub-areas of focus, perform the keyword research step again for each sub-area.

Research tools like Semrush and Outranking can take the guesswork out of the process.

  1. Identify the core areas of your website, such as accommodations, dining, activities, etc.
  1. Using Semrush or Outranking, enter your chosen core area in the search bar to gather all related keywords. For example, if you’re researching keywords for accommodations, you might use “hotel rooms” or “resort suites” as your main keyword.
Screenshot of generated keywords for the core service area "hotel rooms".
See all the possible combinations of keywords and phrases.

3. Exclude irrelevant or outdated keywords from your keyword research to focus on the most important ones.

Screenshot of keyword filters for the service area "hotel rooms".
Eliminate any words or phrases that are outdated and irrelevant to your offered accommodations.

4. Download the CSV file containing the selected keywords for each core area.

5. Combine all CSV files for your hotel’s keyword research into one for easier management.

List of service areas and relevant keywords for "Hotel Rooms" and "Resort Suites".
Compile your keywords on one list for easy access.

Once you’ve collected keywords for each sub-group in a core service area, you can move to the next step of keyword analysis. This may include analyzing search volume, competition in the hotel niche, and relevance to your target audience, and using this information to build a content strategy that enables you to create blog topics around the targeted keywords for your hotel’s website. But keep in mind that the placement of keyword phrases in your content should be natural. 

By following these steps, you can ensure that your hotel or resort website is optimized for search engines and reaches the right audience.

Step 3: Cluster Keywords To Generate Topic Ideas

Keyword clustering is the process of grouping similar keywords into clusters. This technique helps identify the most relevant and important keywords for a website, which can then be used to optimize the website’s content for search engines.

As a hotel or resort website, you can use keyword clustering to identify the most important keywords related to your business, such as location, amenities, and services. By grouping these keywords into clusters, you can create a content strategy that targets specific groups of keywords, making it easier for potential customers to find your website when searching for relevant keywords.

For example, let’s say you have a list of 289 keywords related to your hotel or resort. You can use a tool like Outranking to upload the keyword list and analyze it for clustering. Once the analysis is complete, you’ll have a refined keyword list with clusters of semantically related keywords.

Screenshot of grouped keywords relating to the keyword "Hotel rooms".
Make sense?

To pick the primary keyword for each group of clusters, you need to consider several factors such as the difficulty for success, the competition, and the topical authority. You can label the keywords based on their difficulty for success and analyze the competition to identify the dominant competitor for relevant keywords. You can also measure your topical authority and your competitor’s topical authority to gauge the competition.

It’s important to hire someone who knows what they’re doing if your hotel or resort doesn’t have an in-house SEO or marketing team because keyword clustering requires expertise and experience. Using a tool like Outranking for keyword clustering is also important because it simplifies the process and saves time. 

Step 4: Prioritize Your Hotel’s Content Calendar

To prioritize keywords for creating and optimizing content for your hotel or resort website, the first step is to create a list of primary keywords and groups that best represent the services of the hotel. Once this list has been created, remember to prioritize it to ensure that the content created is effective in driving traffic and engagement to your hotel’s website.

Outranking can help with prioritization by providing a priority setting from high to low. Three priorities can be set – High, Medium, and Low. Keywords containing alternatives, comparison, best, top, how-to, and educational guides can be categorized into these priorities based on their importance and relevance to the hotel or resort.

This table shows how to prioritize these keywords:

PriorityKeywords ContainingWhy
HighLuxury, Exclusive, Premium, Best, TopThese keywords can define your hotel as a thought leader and support important pages for the flow of information.
MediumAffordable, Budget, Deals, Offers, PackagesThese keywords can place your hotel among many competitors and attract price-sensitive customers.
LowHow-to and Educational Guides, Local AttractionsThese keywords can define your hotel as a thought leader and support important pages for the flow of information, while also providing valuable information to potential customers.

By prioritizing keywords in this manner, the hotel or resort can create and optimize content that’s tailored to their target audience and effectively drives traffic and engagement to their website. With Outranking’s priority-setting feature, this process can be made easier and more efficient, allowing you to focus on creating high-quality content that resonates with your audience.

Step 5: Follow a Content Production Process

As you seek to implement SEO on your hotel website, it’s important to have a well-defined process in place for creating and optimizing content. Here are two expert tips to ensure you note down a thorough content creation and optimization process:

Screenshot of an SEO brief
Defining the expectations of your content through a brief like this promotes efficiency.

1. Create Solid Content Briefs

Before creating any content, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with your hotel website’s content. Creating an SEO content brief that outlines the purpose, target audience, keywords, and other important details will help you stay focused and ensure that your content is optimized for search engines.

2. Establish a Workflow for Your Tasks

Once you have your content briefs and content calendar in place, a clear optimal workflow for creating and optimizing content can keep you on the right track. This will help ensure that everyone involved in the process knows what they need to do and when they need to do it.

Using Outranking’s content planner can be extremely helpful in ensuring the success of your hotel’s SEO plan. Outranking offers predefined workflow status that you can customize to fit your needs, a Kanban view to see the stage of your documents at a glance, and an integrated tool to create content briefs or create content directly in your SEO content strategy. With Outranking, you can keep track of every document with a customized workflow and easily access any of your documents in no time at all.

Screenshot of Outranking's customizable workflow
Here’s a great example of a productive content workflow.

Step 6: Create SEO-Optimized Content for Your Hotel’s Website

Creating SEO-optimized content for each service page and blog is crucial for making sure your hotel or resort is spending money on content that will yield results. By optimizing your content, you can improve your website’s Google rankings and attract more organic traffic. This can lead to more bookings and revenue for your hotel or resort.

Outranking’s SEO content optimization and writing platform can help busy hotel managers who have limited time to write and optimize these pages to ensure the highest possible organic exposure. Outranking real-time optimization benchmarks against 20 competing pages from SERPs to provide real-time on-page SEO optimization of the most important on-page SEO factors. 

Screenshot of the SEO details for the article titled "SEO for Hotels".
Your content should score as high as possible in each category.

With Outranking’s advanced features and real-time SEO scoring capabilities, you can easily create content that ranks each and every time without spending too much time and effort. 

You can learn more about Outranking’s features from the following video:

Step 7: Optimize Your Internal Linking

Optimizing your hotel’s existing pages with better internal linking can greatly improve the overall traffic of a hotel or resort website. By analyzing the pages on the website that rank in the top 4-14 positions for keywords, the website can identify pages that already have some authority and borrow that authority to transfer it to the pages you want to rank higher for more keywords.

To optimize internal linking, look for pages and blog posts that rank between 1 and 10 and have a lot of light and dark green on the Outranking analysis. These pages are already ranking well and have some authority, making them ideal for internal linking.

Outranking can connect to Google Search Console to identify these pages and show internal linking opportunities. By linking Outranking to Google Search Console, you can easily see which pages are already ranking and which ones have the potential to rank higher with better internal linking. Outranking can then suggest internal linking opportunities for these pages, making it easy to optimize internal linking and improve your hotel website’s overall traffic.

Step 8: Acquire Backlinks and Local References for Your Hotel or Resort Website

Local citations are mentions of your hotel or resort’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) on other websites. Backlinks, on the other hand, are links from other websites to your hotel’s website.

Screenshot of a hotel's Yelp profile.
Include as much information as possible about your hotel.

Citations are the fifth most important Google ranking signal for local queries. If the same NAP details appear across many relevant and trusted websites, search engines like Google are more likely to have increased confidence that your hotel or resort exists, is operational, and that what is being said about it’s true.

Additionally, local citations can help people discover the hotel or resort online. People often turn to sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Booking to find and book hotels or resorts. These sites often dominate search results for local queries related to hotels or resorts, so it’s important to be cited there for searchers to find the hotel or resort.

There are two types of citations: structured and unstructured citations. Structured citations list the NAP of a business, while unstructured citations are contextual mentions of a business. To build local citations, focus on quality over quantity.

The following table lists the “big three” data aggregators and some popular industry and local sites you should aim to receive citations from:

Data AggregatorWebsites to Get Citations From
InfogroupTripAdvisor, Yelp,
LocalezeExpedia,, Kayak
FactualGoogle My Business, Facebook, FourSquare
Screenshot of a hotel's Yellow Pages profile.
This is another good example of what your hotel or resort’s profile should look like.

By implementing a strong local SEO strategy that includes acquiring local citations and backlinks, hotels and resorts can improve their online visibility and attract more customers.

Step 9: Optimize Your Page Speed and Website Experience

It’s necessary to optimize page speed and website experience for better Google rankings in 2023 for hotel and resort websites as it directly impacts user experience and influences search engine rankings. A faster hotel website with a better user experience leads to higher engagement and lower bounce rates, which ultimately results in better search engine rankings, more bookings, and increased revenue.

To quickly optimize page speed and website experience for hotel and resort websites, one can use better and lighter themes available on Codecanyon and Nitropack-like WordPress plugins. These plugins help to optimize various elements of the website, including images, code, and caching.

Step 10: Track Rankings Using Google Search Console

Connecting to Google Search Console and tracking the website ranking can increase organic traffic and improve your overall online presence. By analyzing the ranking data, you can identify pages that need better internal linking structure, uncover new content ideas, and improve or redirect underperforming pages.

Use the following to interpret the website ranking data and take appropriate action:

GoalActionRanking Data
Improve internal linkingFind pages that need better internal linking structure to improve PageRankHotel web pages with keywords in the top 4-14 positions
Build topical authorityUncover new areas and ideas to create fresh content that can easily rankHotel web pages with no ranking keywords in the top 20 positions that don’t align with the user’s search intent
Improve underperforming pagesExpose underperforming pages and either improve them or redirect themHotel web pages with no ranking keywords in the top 20 positions that don’t align with the user’s search intent

Tracking your website ranking through Google Search Console can help you identify opportunities to improve your SEO content strategy and drive more traffic to your hotel’s website. By optimizing internal linking, building topical authority, and improving underperforming pages, you can enhance the user experience and increase the likelihood of potential guests finding and booking your hotel or resort.

Step 11: Optimize Your Hotel or Resort’s Local Google My Business Account

Google My Business is a free service that allows you to provide more information about your hotel’s services when they appear in search results – this information includes photos, videos, business hours, and a delivery area. To optimize your listing for local search, follow these steps:

  1. Claim and verify their Google My Business listing.
  1. Ensure your hotel’s information is accurate and up-to-date.
  1. Add high-quality photos and videos of your property and amenities.
  1. Encourage customers to leave reviews.
  1. Use relevant keywords in your business description and category selection.
  1. Utilize Google Posts to share updates and promotions.
  1. Monitor and respond to customer reviews and feedback.

For example, you could add photos of your rooms and facilities, encourage guests to leave reviews of their stay, and use keywords like “beachfront resort” in your business description to garner more attention. 

Screenshot of Google search results for "hotels in Boston".
Each of these hotels showcases its amenities in its description.

Step 12: Focus on the Ultimate Goal: Leads and Conversions

Most hotel websites focus on organic traffic because it’s a cost-effective way to attract potential clients and increase brand visibility. However, focusing solely on traffic without considering leads and conversions can be a mistake. For example, a short-tailed keyword like “hotels” may bring in a lot of unrelated traffic. A more specific keyword like “beachfront resorts in Hawaii” may bring in fewer visitors, but a more targeted audience for a hotel or resort.

Remember to focus on leads and conversions because ultimately, the goal of your hotel’s website is to convert visitors into paying customers. Without a focus on leads and conversions, a website may attract a lot of traffic but fail to generate revenue or achieve business objectives.

How to Evaluate an Agency to Help With SEO of Your Hotel or Resort Website

When evaluating an agency to help with SEO for your hotel or resort’s website, look for expertise, reviews, and results. Here are some tips to help you find the right agency:

Evaluate Real-World Experience

Experience matters in SEO, especially when it comes to your specific niche. Look for an agency with at least 5 to 10 years of real-world experience working with hotels or resorts. While many SEO principles, practices, and techniques can be applied universally, an agency with hands-on experience in your niche will have a better understanding of the competitive landscape, be more creative and innovative in its approach to strategy design, and ultimately deliver superior SEO results.

Check for Reviews and Results

Check online reviews and testimonials from past clients to get a sense of the agency’s reputation and the quality of its work. Positive reviews can help build trust with potential clients and improve your search engine rankings.

For example, if you’re a luxury resort looking for an SEO agency, you might ask about their experience working with high-end hotels and resorts. You might also ask about their creative strategies for targeting affluent travelers and their track record of success in driving bookings and revenue. It’s important to find an agency that understands the unique challenges and opportunities of your specific niche and can deliver measurable results.

When evaluating an agency, ask about their approach to these factors and how they optimize on-page content and build links to improve your search engine rankings.

In summary, when evaluating an agency for SEO services for your hotel or resort’s website, look for a proven process, creativity, real-world experience, and measurable results.

Hotel SEO Services Offered

When evaluating an agency to help with SEO for your hotel or resort’s website, here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:

1. Customized Approach

Ensure that the agency employs a customized approach to analysis and strategy design tailored to the unique competitive position of your hotel or resort. This should include industry analysis, competitive research, strategy design, implementation, and follow-up.

2. Real-World Experience

The agency should have hands-on experience in the hospitality industry and a better understanding of the competitive landscape. They should have a better understanding of the unique challenges faced by hotels and resorts in the industry.

3. Proven Results

The agency should be able to provide case studies and statistics that demonstrate its success in optimizing hotel and resort websites for search engines. For example, a good agency should have experience in optimizing hotel and resort websites for search engines and be able to provide case studies and statistics that demonstrate their success in the hospitality industry. They should also employ a customized approach to analysis and strategy design tailored to the unique competitive position of your hotel or resort. 

4. Creativity and Innovation:

Ask the agency what creative strategies they’ve implemented to help their clients stand out from the pack. Being creative is hard and expensive, but it’s worth it for superior SEO results. They should be highly creative and innovative in their approach to SEO and have hands-on experience in the hospitality industry. 

5. Contract Durations and Flexibility:

Consider the agency’s contract durations and flexibility. You want an agency that is willing to work with you and your hotel or resort’s unique needs and goals. Look for an agency that offers flexible contract durations and is willing to adjust its services based on your changing needs.

For example, your resort should evaluate an agency that has experience in the hospitality industry and offers a customized approach to SEO strategy design. The agency should be able to provide examples of creative and innovative strategies they’ve implemented for other hotels and resorts. Additionally, the agency should be willing to work with your resort on a flexible contract basis, adjusting their services as needed to meet the resort’s changing needs and goals. By considering these factors, you can select an agency that will help achieve superior SEO results and drive more traffic to your website.

Need Some Guidance? An SEO Strategist Can Help

If you’re running a hotel or resort, you know that having a strong online presence is crucial to attracting guests and generating revenue. And one of the most important aspects of that online presence is your strategy. But if you’re not an expert, it can be tough to know where to start.

That’s where an SEO consultant comes in. By hiring an SEO expert in the field, you can ensure that you have a solid plan in place before you even think about hiring an agency to execute it. An Outranking SEO consultant and strategist can help you with strategy, planning, and execution to ensure everything goes smoothly and you get the right results for your hotel or resort’s online presence.

An SEO consultant can help you identify the right keywords to target, optimize your website for search engines, and create a content strategy that will help you rank higher in search results. They can also provide ongoing support and guidance as you work to improve your SEO over time. By working with an SEO consultant, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re making the most of your online presence and attracting the right guests to your hotel or resort. 

If you’re serious about growing your business and want to stay ahead of the competition, contact Outranking today for achieving the best results.