Whether your hotel has 50 rooms or 5,000 rooms, the end goal is the same for hoteliers create a great guest experience from research to review. The beginning of the guest experience, the research portion, happens mostly on your hotels website.
At Fuel, we believe that creating kickass blog content for your hotel website is the first step in achieving this goal. We have created this guide to help you produce, maintain, and optimize the content on your hotel blog for the best possible user experience and ultimately, a #1 spot in the search results.
Here are the 10 steps we follow in creating kickass blog content:
- What Is My Topic?
- Who Is My Target Audience?
- What Are My Target Keywords?
- Who Are My Competitors?
- Pen to Paper (Or Fingers To Keyboard)
- Think About The Big Picture
- Add-In The Optimization Toppings
- Dont Forget The Technical Details
- Submit Your Content To Google
- Share It On Social Media
1. What Is My Topic?
The blog on your hotel website should contain a variety of topics. Of course, write articles featuring your on-site restaurant or the recent renovations made to your pool area. Self-promoting topics are important. But you also have to think outside the box.
One such outside-of-the-box idea is tangential content. This type of content is more indirectly related to your hotel. If you think of your hotel in broader terms, you are a travel business located in a specific city. Tangential topics would branch off of travel and your specific city.
For a hotel located in a beach area, content topics could be summer festivals, the best seafood restaurants, winter beach activities, safe traveling during summer months, or packing tips for flying on a dime. Think along these lines when deciding on your blog article topic.
2. Who Is My Target Audience?
Before we get further into the content creation process, lets remember to whom we are writing this blog article. The overall goal is to create an amazing user experience that turns page visitors into hotel guests. But who is your typical hotel guest?
Some hotels cater more toward families while others have amenities that young adults enjoy. Maybe during the winter, you have a lot of snowbirds or retirees stay for extended periods. Every hotel cant cater to every demographic, and that is fine! And some hotels can accommodate a few different audiences. For this article, decide who is the target audience.
3. What Are My Target Keywords?
Now that you have your topic and your target audience, its time to select your keyword(s). Start by thinking of how someone would search for your topic when putting it into a search engine. It might be one word or a phrase or even a question. To keep track of your main keyword and keyword variations you may want to include in your blog article, it is helpful to create a spreadsheet for your findings.
It is important to note, that during this step, you may find that your topic isnt as relevant as you thought. If the search volume for the keywords relating to your topic isnt high enough, you will have to revisit step one.
For basic keyword research, you can start with Google. Begin typing your keyword(s) into the search bar and see what predictive queries appear. Make note of those that are relevant to your topic. Moz has a free account option that allows you to research up to 10 keyword(s) per month. This site gives you insights into the monthly search volume, keyword difficulty, and SERP features shown for this query. Uber Suggest is also free and gives similar keyword information.
A good rule of thumb is to find a keyword(s) that have a search volume of 200-900. Much less than this and there arent enough users looking for your topic; much more and it will be extremely hard to compete with the existing content. In addition to your main keyword(s), you will want to have some variations of the keyword and additional relevant keywords to use in your article. You will want to view the other sites already ranking for your target keyword and find any keywords and phrases that multiple competitors are using. Be sure to use those in your article because you have already found that Google considers those semantically relevant to your topic.
4. Who Are My Competitors?
The best way to be sure your content is better than that of your competitors is to read what your competitors have written. Simply take your main keyword(s) and enter it into a search engine.
Notice if there is a featured snippet and how the content formatted. If there is a People Also Ask section, be sure your content will answer the questions shown. Is there a video carousel in the results that you could aim to be featured in?
Now, in new tabs, open all of the organic results on the first page. Skim through these webpages and see what types of content your competitors have created. Notice their layout and structure. Take note of the important information they have left out that you will want to include. The goal is not to copy these other webpages but to see what they have created and make your content better.
5. Pen to Paper (Or Fingers To Keyboard)
Its time to write! Before you get overwhelmed with a blank page, try creating an outline of your article. Make a list of the main points you want to discuss and any specifics within those. Then make note of how you want to introduce your article and how best to conclude your thoughts.
Remember, an outline means bullet points. You dont even need whole sentences yet. And be sure to order your main points from most important to least.
Once you have a basic outline, it is much easier to begin writing. It is also easier to write straight through your first draft not worrying about the grammar. After you have finished, go back and focus more on your wording, adjectives, and being concise. A great free tool to help you with grammar is called Grammarly. It is a Chrome extension that underlines incorrectly spelled words, verb tenses, and more.
As you are editing and editing again, remember to notice the tone of your writing. Is it more personal or professional? Is it consistent throughout? Take note of your pronouns. Did you start out using you and your but switch to his and hers anywhere? The key is to be consistent whichever you choose.
6. Think About The Big Picture
Now is the time to add headers to your text. This is not only helpful for users to make the content easier to read but also important for optimization. Google pays attention to the headers on your page and it is a factor when determining your pages ranking.
Remember back to your competitors. Your goal is to create content that will outrank them. Consider adding videos or images to your blog article. Dont overload the page because this can slow down your page speed. Think like a consumer. What type of images or video content would you want to see when reading your article?
Be aware that you are using high-quality images and videos. And if you are using images from other sources, it is best practice to use an image caption to note that source. Be sure that all of your images have ALT text. This tells Google what topic this image is related to and is also used for seeing-impaired users.
Create a click-worthy title for your videos. It is a good idea to upload all of your videos to YouTube first then your webpage. You can then capitalize on the users searching on both platforms. Remember to use your keyword(s) or variations in your video titles and image ALT texts.
7. Add-In The Optimization Toppings
Continue thinking about the big picture by adding elements to your article that will be helpful from an SEO standpoint. Remember the questions you saw in the search results under People Also Ask? You can add FAQ schema to your webpage with these questions and their answers.
It is okay if the answer to these questions is already somewhere in your article. Adding this HTML tag to your page gives Google a better understanding of what your page contains. It can also improve the way your webpage appears in the search results. Your FAQ section could appear under your title, description, and URL. This increases your real estate on the search results and gives searchers more of a reason to select your webpage.
Have you ever seen the star ratings in a search result listing on Google? This is called AggregateRating schema. Please note, only install this type of schema for your hotel as a whole on one page of your website. However, it is acceptable to use install rating schema on other webpages for things like your on-site restaurant or events.
Another great optimization topping is linking, both internal and external. If your blog topic was about area events, link to the information page for those events. If your blog topic was about a special you are running that month, link to the Deals & Specials page on your website. A general rule is to always make external links open in a new tab to defer users from leaving your site and not returning.
8. Dont Forget The Technical Details
Once your article is complete, edited and the extras have been added, its time to post. When adding your new blog article to your website, dont forget the technical details that are very important from an SEO perspective.
The title tag, meta description, and URL you choose will make a difference in your search result ranking. Google specifies that a title tag should be within 50-60 characters and a meta description should be 150-160 characters.
When writing your title tag, remember back to your competitors titles. You want to stand out in the search results. Be sure you have keyword usage in the title, and give as much detail so the searcher knows exactly what they are getting when they click your link. Use your meta description to continue the details and preview what your blog article contains.
For your URL, stay as close to your title as possible. Be consistent across your website in your format and style, but we recommend using lowercase and a - to divide your words.
9. Submit Your Content To Google
You want to be sure that Google knows you have created new content as quickly as possible. Within Google Search Console, which is a free tool, there is a tab titled URL Inspection.
Put in the URL for your new blog article. Then, you will hit Request Indexing for this page. Now, Google is aware of your new webpage, will send it bots to crawl your webpage and it will get indexed quicker. The quicker it is indexed, the quicker it can appear in the SERPs.
10. Share It On Social Media
Finally, anytime you create new blog content on your website, you should share it with your Followers. Whatever social media networks you are on, be sure to create a post inviting your followers to read and share your new article.
Pro Tip: This is another good filter to run your content through in the conceptualizing stage. Is the article I am about to write noteworthy enough that someone would want to share it on social media?
Other great outlets to share your new content with are your local DMO (Destination Marketing Organization), the social media pages of vacation planning sites, and travel magazines. Look for media outlets that have similar clientele as you but arent in direct competition. It is as simple as writing a quick email telling the receiver what your article is about, who your hotel is, and inviting them to link to your content or share it on their social pages.
11. BONUS: Remember The Conversion Funnel
No matter what the topic of your article is, you are still a hotel wanting to put heads in beds. While not taking away from the value of the content you have created, look for natural ways to put your brand, amenities, or specials into the article.
It is normally easiest to insert a sentence with a link into the introduction or conclusion paragraphs. Create a call to action that is relevant to your blog topic. If your blog topic was about winter beach activities, the next logical page for the user to visit would be the winter specials page. Present this offer to your reader with a link placed naturally in the text. (i.e. Dont put the link in the word HERE.)
As a leading provider of advanced software solutions and digital marketing services for the hotel industry, Fuel helps independent hotels, resorts, condotels, and management groups maximize market share and profitability. This is achieved by providing a comprehensive suite of software and marketing solutions including: the Fuel Booking Engine, Fuel AI-Powered CRM & Marketing Automation, Fuel Mobile App & Digital Key, Fuel Gauge Analytics Dashboard, website development, SEO, SEM, email marketing, social media, and analytics services. Through these solutions, Fuel helps properties drive more direct bookings and reduce reliance on third-party channels. To learn more about Fuel and to take your travel marketing to the next level, call (843) 839-1456, visit the website, listen to the #1-ranked Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast, and follow Fuel on Facebook and Twitter.