Why SEO is the ideal strategic approach during the Corona crisis
SEO is a long-term strategy and the results of the optimizations are often not immediately visible. However, by working continuously, success can be maintained over a long period of time. According to the latest projections by researchers at the Institute for Health and Evaluation, University of Washington in Seattle, the corona pandemic in Germany has probably already peaked and is now in a downward trend. Nevertheless, it will still take a few months before daily life and thus travel behaviour returns to normal. This means that now is exactly the right time to become active in the field of search engine optimization and to do the homework that has been left behind. The earlier you start optimizing your website, the better. The longer you wait, the further ahead your competitors will be when you start!
Start with the SEO basics
In order to be able to do your homework, you first need a basic understanding of search engine optimization. Search engine optimization includes all measures that serve to increase the visibility of your website for the users of web search engines. It is about improving the unpaid results in the organic search engine ranking. Direct traffic and the purchase of paid advertising (e.g. Google Ads) are excluded. Search engine optimization basically starts with the following three pillars:
Technical SEO: This is about technical tricks regarding indexing, page speed or mobile-friendly usability. Also the structure of your URL, from the domain name to the path to the parameter values, needs to be optimized. Furthermore, source code must be cleaned up and encryptions have to be observed. The best way to do this is to talk to your technical partner.
Offpage optimization: This is primarily about building a network of backlinks, i.e. connecting your page to external websites via links. If many frequently visited external sites link to your page, this improves the relevance and visibility of your website. A current topic in off-page SEO is the so-called content syndication: If your own content is republished by other websites, this is considered a quality feature that will drive your page further up on Google.
Onpage optimization: While you depend on other players for offpage measures, you have the onpage optimization largely in your own hands. For example, improve your meta description, add alt attributes to images and formulate texts with added user value, which simultaneously increases your SEO ranking. If you want to focus on new target groups after Corona, the creation of special landing pages is advisable.
In addition to these distinctions, search engine optimization also refers to local SEO, international SEO and mobile SEO. Especially in the course of the Corona crisis, Local SEO for hotels gains a whole new meaning, which is why we will discuss this separately below.
How you should use Local SEO now
Before answering this question, it is necessary to clarify the meaning of local SEO. Local SEO is the local search engine optimization. In the wake of this, search engine optimization becomes a bit more "location dependent". Keep in mind that more and more users not only use the local search offer on their home computer, but also on the road. Why is this so interesting in times of Corona? For one thing, you have to find ways to maintain your cash flow despite closures and tourist travel bans. One possible example is offering a delivery or take-away service for the food from your restaurant. In this context, Google is already reacting to the Corona crisis with various new options. For example, the new attributes "Delivery" and "Takeout" have been added to Google My Business. Soon the option "curbside pickup", a kind of "drive-in", will also be added.
Setting the options in Google My Business
On the other hand, we are firmly convinced that there will be a local recreation boom after the Corona crisis, which will be accompanied by a short-term booking behaviour and shorter stays. This makes it all the more important for you to focus on potential guests from the region, ideally within driving distance. As soon as curfews are lifted and restaurants are allowed to reopen, it could also be profitable to target more local guests for your hotel restaurant. For these aspects, too, it makes sense to focus on local SEO. Accordingly, we have put together a few things that need to be considered:
Google My Business signals (distance, categories, keywords, etc.): To positively influence the search results of the local search, a Google My Business profile should be created as one of the first steps. This is the only way to make changes to the above-mentioned settings.
NAP signals (uniform NAP, entries in yellow pages): "NAP" means "name, address, phone number". Make sure that all entries on your website, in business directories, on social media channels, on rating portals and also on Google My Business match precisely. In this context, it is advisable to orientate yourself to the DIN 5008 standard.
Ratings (positive/negative, rating frequency, etc): Another important factor in the field of local search engine optimization are the ratings given. If you have only a few reviews so far, now is the right time to think about strategies to collect more reviews in the future.
On-page signals: In this context, you should focus primarily on content with a local reference as well as on structured data / schematic awards on the website, which will enable search engines to read the local reference and company information even better.
General website adjustments related to Corona
We have already reported on what adjustments you should make to your website regarding Corona. Since these are also important for search engine optimization, we will summarize the most important aspects again here.
Create a subpage with a statement about the Corona virus on your website
Add a banner on your website with a link to the statement
Start a "book today & decide later" campaign
Promote special offers via an Exit Intent Pop-Up
Remember that: DO NOT replace any existing content on the website
Author: Philipp Ingenillem - Online Birds Hotel Marketing Solutions