You asked our SEO team and they’ve answered. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the SEO team has focused their attention on monitoring search trends very closely to find new revenue opportunities and plan for the reopening period. Here are their answers to hoteliers’ most frequently asked questions about SEO during COVID-19, as well as their expert recommendations for weathering the present storm and preparing for the future reopening of the travel industry.
What SEO strategy is being put in place during COVID-19?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the most important SEO strategies we’ve focused on is creating dedicated COVID pages with your hotel’s reservation updates, cancellation policies, precautionary health and safety measures, and the local area’s travel updates. These informational pages are incredibly important for keeping your customers informed and preventing negative experiences due to misinformation.
Different parts of your tailored SEO Strategy can be better leveraged during this time of crisis, such as:
Working on your Backlinks now will have benefits beyond increasing visibility after COVID-19. It will improve your competitive advantage to other hotels in your area that are not employing this strategy. Come together with your local partners. We can help by providing you with a list of existing backlinks and new opportunities to reach out to during this time.
Update Website Content
We can help update your website with messaging about COVID-19 policies for your guests and employees, which can include specific cleaning products, health and safety measures, extended booking policies, special rates, and partnerships you’ve put in place for your community.
Create & Promote Partnerships with Essential Workers
Many front-line workers and medical professionals aren’t able to go home while working to fight against COVID-19. This creates a unique opportunity to develop partnerships with hospitals and institutions to provide safe lodging for essential workers, which you can highlight on your website and social media. We can help by adding dedicated pages for local hospitals and promoting these partnerships on your website.
People are searching online more frequently during COVID-19, which will change Google trends. Because of this, ongoing monitoring is required to keep on top these changes so that we can recover quickly when the industry returns to normalcy post-crisis. The post-COVID travel industry may have different trends and your keyword strategy will need to adapt. Your SEO team at Leonardo is monitoring the hotel search trends very closely to find out any opportunities both during and post-crisis.
What value does a COVID-19 specific page provide? Can this help with SEO and have specific keywords for my area?
Every website should have a COVID page to answer guest questions about your business’ new policies and processes. “Creating a dedicated page to capture all relevant coronavirus traffic can help sustain some traffic loss” (Search Engine Land).
Our team has been actively researching COVID-19-specific keywords, trends, and search volume. Most trending keywords are informational and not transactional or related to hotels. Instead of trying to optimize pages for non-transactional keywords, the team has focused our attention on helping properties create dedicated pages and messaging around COVID-19.
This is an important page to highlight the precautionary measures being taken by your property for the health and safety of your guests and employees. This also helps your customers to stay informed with regular updates and help prevent any negative experiences due to misinformation.
What value is my website’s SEO strategy to increase the hotel’s ROI if I cannot accept bookings due to the travel ban?
Search Engine Optimization is a long-term strategy. It takes time to build as a website slowly gains authority with Google through our dedicated SEO Strategy. It also requires constant monitoring as your website does not exist in isolation and is always competing for the same online traffic and revenue as your competitors.
If you stop working on your SEO on-page and off-page strategies, all the competing properties will edge ahead as they continue to work on their SEO, putting you at a severe disadvantage post-crisis.
Pat Reinhart, VP of Digital Strategy at Conductor says “SEO-focused content is the most cost-effective and direct path to maintaining your business during economic downtimes. It requires a lower investment. And, it doesn’t have an on/off switch like traditional paid media campaigns, so it pays off long after the investment.”
Furthermore, your SEO Strategy also revolves around making sure that any guests still visiting your website will find the information that they are looking for. We do this by constantly monitoring search trends and ensuring that any information your customers are searching for is available on your site. This helps you form a good brand reputation with your customers which will pay off post-crisis.
How will my SEO strategy be affected if I choose to take down my website?
Organic search is a zero-sum game. If you take down your website, all of your competitors will continue on without you. Instead of staying at the front of the pack, you will fall behind in search rankings, which will make it more difficult for your website to recover when the industry comes out the other side. Hotels that continue with their website efforts will have a big advantage over those who don’t.
We know from previous recessions that when the travel industry rebounds, it does so abruptly and exponentially. Pulling the plug on your website will result in a slower start back up. The downtime can negatively affect your domain authority and drop your website in search rankings, with hundreds of competing websites ready to take your place. While many travel shoppers cancelled their trips in March, “53.1% of American travelers expect to be traveling in the fall, as September trips have seen an increase” (SEER).
In the Destination Analysts graph here, note how many American are planning to travel in 2020.
Can Vizlly websites utilize the new Coronavirus Schema Markup to help the visibility of hotels during closures?
Google recently launched a Beta version of this schema markup and we are currently looking into this. To help visibility, we would also suggest adding a FAQ page as it can be easily indexed by Google and answer common questions about your hotel’s policies that travel shoppers will be looking for.
Google has also released a new update for marking your business as ‘temporarily closed’ that won’t affect local search rankings. This means your hotel will be treated similar to open businesses and your rankings and online visibility will not be affected. It is important to update your Google My Business listing with the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Your Vizlly website has been built with a strong SEO-optimized foundation to maintain your position in search rankings during this crisis. It’s our job to continue to find new strategies to help our hotels weather the present circumstances and jumpstart your website when travel reopens. Talk to your Customer Success Manager about reopening strategies and ways to promote your hotel’s relaunch for a strong COVID recovery.
Written by Katrina Fowler, Content Specialist