Using public relations to benefit your hotel website SEO

The old SEO mantra “Content is King” still rings true. But it’s not enough to publish a great piece of content for your website without creating a strategic plan to share it with your audience.

Whether you’re announcing your latest blog post, or promoting your plush new room upgrades, promoting your message with a tailored PR strategy can increase the attention Google pays to your website, driving extra traffic to your content by boosting your hotel website’s SEO.

In the following post, we’ll discuss the various merits and methods of different PR strategies, from working with PR agencies and influencers, to targeting journalists and getting strategic with social media activity.

When combined in the right way, PR and SEO can help your content stand out from the crowd, reaching a bigger audience and positioning your property higher in the search engine results.

The battle for online attention

According to WordPress, 87.2 million new posts are published online every month. So it’s hardly surprising that even the most amazing content can struggle to rank highly in organic search.

It can also take time for Google to index a new blog post or a page that’s just published. To speed up that process, you need to bring whatever you’ve published to Google’s attention. Top tactics include:

  • Sharing your content on your social media channels
  • Targeting journalists and sending out press releases
  • Working with influencers to promote your content
  • Including links to your content within your hotel newsletter

Crucially, all of these options require getting backlinks to the key pages of your hotel website. If Google sees that you’re getting lots of quality backlinks, its algorithm will deem that your website is producing valuable content. The net result is a boost in organic search results.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the various ways you can combine PR and SEO to grow your online exposure.

Work with influencers

A lot of hospitality brands are now working with social media influencers to gain exposure. And for good reason.

Getting a well-established blogger to talk about your brand (and link back to your website) can generate a lot of extra social likes and shares. In turn, this increases the odds that other high-profile websites pick up on your coverage and also link back to your website.

Working with an influencer can be especially effective if you’re building your marketing around a special event or launch.

For example, if your hotel has splashed out on a stylish room upgrade, you could invite a well-known blogger to stay at your hotel, talk about their experience on their blog and social channels, and then have them link back to your hotel homepage and Rooms page.

Dedicated tools such as BuzzSumo can help you find influential social media users, blogs and websites, which you can then contact directly.

Getting content to go viral

It’s fair to say that a good chunk of luck, great timing, and some nifty out-of-the-box thinking are all needed to get a piece of content viral. That said, a unique story with some stellar marketing can certainly drive a serious amount of attention your way and deliver some major SEO benefits.

Big budgets certainly aren’t necessary, as proven by the destination marketing organization of Inuvik (billed as “Canada’s coldest tourism destination”). Their Facebook Page earned 6.8 million impressions over the year after being transformed into an information-rich resource of user-generated photos, videos and blogs.

While far from an everyday event, this example proves the power of great PR when a little-known destination that has seemingly little to play with.

Strategic with social

Social media should be an essential tool in your promotional toolbox. While Google doesn’t count social shares in its ranking algorithm, social media can help you earn likes and links, which in turn will give you a ranking boost.

But it’s not enough to just copy and paste a promotional message to your hotel’s Facebook Page and Instagram feed. Personalization is crucial.

As your followers scroll through their content-packed social channels, you need to fight for their attention. Your promotional message needs to be razor sharp, with a convincing reason to read your content.

Just launched a new blog post? A few words announcing, “Check out our latest blog post” accompanied by a link to your blog won’t get much attention.

However, a snappy headline like, “5 Unforgettable Foodie Experiences in New York” or “The Ultimate Guide to Mixing the Perfect Cocktail” suddenly has appeal. It announces a direct benefit to your audience, and comes with a compelling reason to click.

To increase the “shareability” of your post, combine your update with an attention-grabbing photo that captures the essence of your story.

Generate a press release

Writing a press release

A lot of influential news organizations, online media and press groups are backed by a huge offline presence, and many still employ large numbers of journalists for both their online and offline media. These journalists are always looking for interesting stories from their local area, and many rely on press releases from businesses seeking exposure.

For that reason, hotels can really benefit online by ensuring they’ve got a tight relationship with their local news agencies when they’ve got an interesting news story to promote.

The simplest way to get a press release out is through a PR agency. This involves minimal effort on the part of your hotel, and an agency can advise you on how to create and submit a press release to various sources.

If budget is an issue, you can distribute press releases through major newswires such as PR Newswire, or opt for industry-relevant options such as Hotel Online, Hospitality Net, and Hsyndicate.

Importantly, a press release should link to your hotel homepage AND other relevant pages of your site. For instance, if you’re promoting a big event at your property, the press release should link to your homepage along with a page on your website featuring the event details.

Press-release events (the art of media spin)

Although not everything that happens at your hotel will warrant a press release, many seemingly small events or announcements may bear fruitful opportunities— if approached in the right way.

Say for example that your hotel just introduced pet-friendly accommodations. These rooms may simply have pet bedding, and food and drink bowls, with an additional rate charged to cover any extra cleaning costs.

If you emailed your local newspaper (or sent out a press release), and only included the information above, it’s extremely unlikely you’d get a response.

Now instead, imagine inviting some well-known social influencers (complete with pets) for a stay at your new pet-friendly accommodations. You could document the whole event with photos, videos and a blog post, and then publish everything to your social channels.

This in itself would generate plenty of online buzz. But you could then produce a press release featuring all of this great content and send it to local journalists. It’s far more likely they’d snap up this kind of media request.

Optimizing your links

When you write a press release, you should also try to include a link back to your website which isn’t simply using the anchor text “our website,” “click here,” or https://www.yourhotel.com.

Instead, use something like “Times Square hotel” or “our pet-friendly rooms” (which subsequently links to your pet-friendly page on the website). This helps to optimise your site for non-brand queries too.

If your hotel produces a top piece of content, you’ll want to do some PR to promote that content and push it out to other outlets that might also link to the story.

The power of combining PR and SEO

By working in close partnership, your PR and SEO departments can enhance your entire digital marketing exposure. The modern digital landscape offers exciting opportunities to work with established bloggers and social influencers. But press releases and coverage in high-profile publications can also generate powerful backlinks.

However, it’s worth remembering that media coverage isn’t just about the additional SEO benefits. Instead, see the possibility of obtaining links to your website as a by-product of well-executed marketing.

By promoting your content regularly, you’ll continue to increase your overall exposure, nurture a loyal audience, and maintain top-of-mind awareness with your potential guests throughout the year.

Matt Tutt

Matt Tutt

Matt is a SEO Specialist with extensive knowledge of optimizing hotel websites for maximum visibility online. He loves helping hotels to improve their organic search rankings and grow their direct bookings.

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