Cendyn and Pegasus have merged. To learn more about this exciting news and how Cendyn can help you drive direct bookings, enhance brand loyalty and drive profitability visit cendyn.com.

Learn More

Hotel SEO tips: How to find long tail keywords

When developing your hotel SEO, it often pays to be specific. The hotel industry is highly competitive;  there are a multitude of other offers competing for your general advertising space. Long tail keywords are a valuable way to differentiate your content from your competitors. A long tail keyword lets you customize your content based on highly specific and often niche search engine queries, which will often yield more positive results. Of course, before you can begin aggressively targeting these long tail keywords, you have to find them.

A brief overview of the long tail keyword

First of all, what exactly is a long tail keyword? If you imagine the popularity of search engine queries as a graph, you’ll see that it slowly curves downwards from most popular to least popular. These “least popular” queries form a long “tail” at the end of the bulk of the more popular keywords. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t worthwhile—far from it. long tail keywords can be more valuable than general keywords because there’s far less competition. Think about it: if you’re operating a hotel in Los Angeles, do you really want to reach the 1 million people today looking for a “hotel”? Or do you want to access the 1,000 people looking for a “Hotel in Los Angeles”? The more specific you are the more you’re likely to get hits from the customer base that’s interested in your business.

How to find long tail keywords

If you’re already working with an SEO specialist on your hotel website, the best thing you can do is have an open communication with the specialist about all the specific details of your hotel, including the precise location of the hotel, nearby landmarks and important activities, and your hotel’s key features and amenities. That will give the SEO specialist enough information to work on to do keyword research.

But finding long tail keywords is also easy enough to do on your own. There are several different ways you can search for long tail keywords to improve your hotel SEO:

Finding long tail keywords through related search queries

You can begin your search for long tail keywords by looking for related search queries on Google. Related searches appear in the text box as you are searching, or at the very bottom of the Google results page, next to the page numbers.

Begin by searching for hotels within your geographic location. For example, a search for “hotel in los angeles” comes up with the following related queries:

  • hotel in los angeles california
  • hotel in los angeles airport
  • hotel in los angeles downtown


As you can see, this search query gives you other avenues that you can look down for a more specific but potentially rarer search engine query. And that is just a starting point. Consider if your hotel is a “hotel in downtown Los Angeles.” Not only is that a keyword, but you can get other keywords from that keyword. The related searches to this query include:

  • standard hotel in downtown los angeles
  • hotel deals downtown los angeles
  • motel downtown los angeles
  • hostel downtown los angeles


You can continue searching for related queries until you no longer find queries that are applicable to you or until you have a wide assortment of different niches. In general, you shouldn’t use more than three or four long tail keywords per piece of content, but you can spread these keywords throughout the content inventory of your site. By focusing on a large variety of keywords within your content inventory, you’ll be able to draw in a broader spectrum of audiences.

Finding long tail keywords through unique amenities and benefits

Of course, you don’t have to rely upon a search engine to find the right keywords for your business. Remember: SEO is all about giving the customer what they want. So what are customers looking for that your hotel provide? What are your customers searching for? Think about the following examples of long tail keywords that are based on specific amenities:

  • pet-friendly hotel in New York
  • London Hotel with restaurant
  • Historic Chicago hotel with free breakfast
  • downtown Seattle hotel with WiFi

You can spin any of the your amenities into a viable long tail keyword because these are the amenities that your potential guests are going to be searching for. The easiest way to optimize your website is to make it easier for those who are already looking for it. This also provides valuable content for those who are interested in learning more about the benefits of your hotel. And once you’ve identified these long tail keywords, you can also use them to generate related searches.

Finding long tail keywords through your competition

Sometimes you need to know where you stand in terms of your competition. You can determine which keywords your competition is focusing on simply by looking at their website’s metadata; you’ll see the keywords that they are targeting in their source code. While you may not want to use the exact same keywords as a competitor—that will just put you in even more direct competition—you can use this as a jumping off point or to get ideas for your SEO and advertising campaign. And don’t feel too bad about doing this. Odds are that they’re doing it too.

Finding long tail keywords through analytics tools

There are a variety of tools that are designed expressly for the purpose of locating long tail keywords. Of these, one of the most popular are the tools provided by the Google Webmaster console and AdWords suite. In fact, Google offers a comprehensive Keyword Planner which will suggest keywords that you can use to optimize your website. There are also a number of other keyword planning tools out there if you want some more than what Google offers.


Google’s Webmaster Tools will also show you which search queries are actually leading users to your site—and some of the data may surprise you. Analytics tools will generally look for suggestions that are similar to your current keywords and will break them down based on popularity.

Using long tail keywords effectively

A long tail keyword should be used as the focus keyword of a page. It’s essentially treated like any other type of keyword. It should be included in the page title, the meta title, the meta description, the first hundred words of the page, and at least one subheading. It’s absolutely essential that the long tail keyword be inserted in an unobtrusive way or you may damage the readability and the value of your text. Other long tail keywords can be interspersed throughout your content once or twice, but it’s important to set a focus keyword and stick with it throughout.

Avoiding common mistakes with long tail keywords

As with any search engine optimization tactic, long tail keywords can be misused, and when they are, they can actually hurt your search engine ranking rather than improving it. Here are a few of the major issues that a hotel might experience when integrating long tail keywords into their text.

Using long tail keywords too often. Your long tail keywords should not be included more than three to five times depending on the length of your content, and that is including the page title. Long tail keywords should be treated just like conventional keywords; try to keep the saturation down to around 3.5%.

Adding too many different long tail keywords. You don’t need to incorporate more than two or three additional long tail keywords when you’re optimizing a page. In fact, the ideal solution would be to develop your content with a different article for each long tail keyword that you believe will be useful. The more keywords you use, the more strange your text will seem.

Inserting keywords in a clunky or artificial way. Long tail keywords tend to be fairly lengthy phrases, so they have to be integrated properly into a page if you don’t want them to be glaringly obvious. Long tail keywords also tend to have “stop” words in them, and that’s perfectly fine. You want to talk about a “hotel in San Diego” and not “Hotel San Diego.”

Long tail keywords aren’t just a search engine optimization technique; they can also give you valuable inspiration regarding the services, amenities, and features that your clientele is looking for. There are many ways to discover long tail keywords, whether you want to dig deep into your analytics or simply conduct a brainstorming session regarding the features of your hotel that seem the most marketable to you. Though long tail keywords may be only one tool in a digital marketer’s toolbox, they’re still one of the most powerful. With a few simple adjustments to your content, you can begin drawing in additional traffic as soon as your pages are indexed.

Nate Lane

Nate Lane

Nate Lane is a senior global director of business development, product development, and agency operations with 10+ years of experience driving growth and innovation as an "intrapreneur." He's an avid mountain biker, a coffee and craft beer enthusiast, and a proud family man. Contact him at nate.lane@pegs.com.

2 thoughts on “Hotel SEO tips: How to find long tail keywords

  1. In long tail keyword research Googe KW tool is better to be paired with tools like SERPstat. Gives me greater span and insight into competition level. Long tails can be artificially twisted – Google will show incorrect competition level for such keywords.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay on top of hotel distribution and marketing trends.

Sign up for Travel Tripper's newsletter to get the latest news, tips, and resources delivered to your inbox.