Google’s latest algorithm (Broad Core) is now out. The search giant says the latest updates will highlight more valuable results that are created for humans. In other words, these updates have been made with us in mind.
That’s great news! But what does it mean exactly? And how will this impact the hotel business (an industry that has its own set of problems when it comes to content)?
Google’s main target with these latest updates is low quality sites, those that aim to match up to common search terms to pull in more traffic. The company will now focus on content quality and they’ve called it the helpful content update. It means that when you search for something, the search engine results pages will deliver results that are useful, original, and credible.
For a hotelier, the bottom line is that you should be creating content with your audience in mind and leave search very much an afterthought in the process. Content includes descriptions about the property, its amenities, services, calendar of events, destination, local activities, and attractions that are being delivered to targeted audiences through various channels.
The channels -- OTAs, agents -- spread the word about the hotel and reach markets with its value proposition as travelers enter the browsing phase, (images, amenities and so on) before locking down their must haves – spa treatments, entertainment, sports, other.
Just like any other business, hotels rely on a correct and accurate description of the product, whether that’s content describing the facilities, the rooms, amenities, ancillaries and so on. The problem for hotels, however, is that information changes. New services are added, new images, changes to facilities, and much more.
So, how significant is this latest Google update and what does it mean for a hotel business?
Put simply, hotels with websites that have outdated or duplicate content will lose out. They will fall behind those that have deep, original content. Google is indexing and showing pages that have original information, which means that duplicate content will inhibit the user experience. In hospitality, a typical example of duplicate content would be providing descriptive content to OTAs or third-party channels that is identical to the hotel’s own website. When Google discovers this same content on two sites which one does it go with? Unless you are part of a multinational brand, it’ll likely be the OTA, which has the higher authority, larger audience etc. So, the hotel’s website gets ignored.
Providing content to third parties
Third parties such as OTAs add benefits, extend market reach, and provide backlinks. This is all great, however, hotels should try to avoid duplicate content offered to any third party or their rankings could be affected. So, take a look at your site. Listing the number of rooms, floors, bars and restaurants you offer is fine but when it comes to descriptive content – facilities, spa treatments, local activities, policies, accessibility details – mix it up and change the content to make it unique. Put simply, check your website, check your content, and avoid the easy copy and paste option or your guests will go elsewhere.