American internet users who turn to the web to research travel opportunities often spend a lot of time clicking around from hotel sites to flight options back to hotel sites. Brafton reported on Ask Your Target Market research that found 65 percent of Google searchers sometimes find helpful answers to their questions directly in SERPs. What kinds of answers does Google provide searchers? When a user types in “flights to Boston” or “hotels in Boston,” Google shows unique boxes front and center, and users can find deals and book trips right from the results page. Obviously, Google on-SERP answers – and review sites – are not good for hotel brands or airlines, as fewer traffic navigates to their websites, and instead goes to third-party services.
As a result, hotels and airlines have prioritized SEO content strategies that focus on their brand keywords. According to L2 Think Tank and Sapient Nitro’s “Digital IQ Index: Hotels,” 46 percent of first-page organic search results for branded hotel keywords belonged to the establishments themselves, rather than sites like Kayak and TripAdvisor. More, 24 of the 57 analyzed brands owned more than 50 percent of their first-page results. This means that hotels like Hilton focus their SEO strategies around their own names, rather than commonly searched terms.
Organic search tends has become less of a priority, and, as a result, hotel companies focus on dominating their brand keywords to bring in as much traffic as possible.
A Google and Compete study, “Key Travel Themes, Q4 2012,” found that the average traveler visits more than 17 sites and entered more than four searches before booking a hotel. Organic search tends has become less of a priority, and, as a result, hotel companies focus on dominating their brand keywords to bring in as much traffic as possible.
In some industries, custom content for SEO should focus on branded keywords, instead of commonly searched terms. Internet users have grown accustom to searching the ‘net for specific companies in unique circumstances like travel. Therefore, instead of attempting to bring in new traffic looking to book a hotel for the first time, hotel companies realize their biggest asset is their customers, and they make it easier to book rooms from SERPs by owning their keywords and showing up on page one of Google results. More broadly, it’s a smart reputation strategy to own SERPs for branded terms (read Brafton’s related blog post).