Major search engines focus on creating the best possible user experience by offering relevant information. Therefore creating quality content has become a deciding factor in SEO success.
1. Quality, Original, and Relevant Content
Since 2011, Google has rolled out a series of “Panda Updates” specifically targeting websites with “thin content”. This means websites who have plagiarized, copied, keyword stuffed, or duplicate content saw a significant drop in rankings. So how do you avoid getting penalized by Panda?
More than anything, produce meaningful content that is useful to users. Content must be unique, engaging, and valuable to visitors. Gearing your content towards a good user experience is vital to ranking well on a search engine.
Your content offers value to customers and gives them a reason not only to visit your site, but stay on your site. This helps to sway decision makers to use your services rather than a competitor’s.
*Tip: A sign of low quality content is a low click-through rate and/or a high bounce rate, in which case you may want to consider rewriting the content on that page.
2. Think About Keywords
It is not enough to merely draw more visitors to your site, but to attract the right kind of visitors to your site. Therefore, content that is rich with specific keywords will help prospective customers easily identify your site and be more likely to purchase. Identifying the terms people commonly search for when looking for a hotel near you is essential.
For example if you are a hotel in Seattle and you are targeting the keyword “Seattle art museum”, you’re more likely to not rank very well as most people searching “Seattle art museum” are not looking for a hotel to stay at. Instead, if you modify your keyword term to “hotels near Seattle art museum,” you will yield much better results.
Remember that you must include the keywords you want to rank for on a page or else it will not rank for those keywords.
*Tip: Typically, a hotel’s website should be optimized for their brand and location keywords. If your website does not include any brand or location terms, you probably will not rank well for them. Also consider using nearby attractions into your keyword strategy.
3. Keyword Usage
When writing your content, we recommend selecting a keyword and building content around it. Google does place heavy emphasis on having natural content, so do not force a keyword to fit in. Instead create content that sounds natural and seems logical to be placed there. A list of recommended places to use keywords would be:
- Meta Title and Meta Description
- H1 and H2 Headers
- Body Text
- Image Alts (keywords on the picture cannot be read by search engines and must be placed in Image Alts)
Search engines also have a synonym feature in which allows you to create natural variant keywords and target the same audience. Having various natural variants in your content is becoming a more common SEO practice and definitely should be considered when attempting to rank in search engines.
4. Keyword Placement
After researching your keywords, think about where you will place them on your page. A page can be broken up into different parts such as a header, body text, sidebars, footers, and more. In Google’s algorithm, it places more SEO weight in keywords that are placed in the body text and header over other areas in the page like a footer. Therefore it is always recommended to have you keywords in the header and body text of a page.
*Tip: It is best practice to try and use your keyword in the first 80-100 words of your body text.
5. Content Length
While there is no exact length required to be considered “good content”, a good range would be 500-800 words. You can still have content be considered “good” even if it falls outside of that range. Search engines take into account content relevance and usefulness over length.
So why do we still recommend a 500-800 word range? For guests who have never been to your property before, it is important to paint an elaborate and detailed picture of the experience they will have. Filling out the basic who, what, where, and why may not be enough. In addition, search engines like Google will always tend to favor longer content over shorter content.