A “helpful content upgrade” has just been introduced in a Google update (August 2022) to promote more content that focuses on individuals. Numerous search rankings have changed due to this upheaval and will continue to do so over the following weeks.
David Scott from Indy Hotel Management explains what is now different and how it will impact the hospitality sector.
What has the Google update changed?
Google wants individuals to produce their first content, not material produced solely to rank highly on search engines, gaming the system. Therefore, they will reward and penalize users accordingly.
Therefore, anyone who only produces blog posts to drive traffic and is not concerned with engaging their audience will suffer.
It’s interesting to note that Google has said that a blog post’s length is not a definitive ranking factor. Therefore, emphasis will continue to be placed on quality over amount of words.
In what ways does the Google update affect hospitality businesses?
Hotel, resort and restaurant blogs should only cover topics where their establishment is an authority or expert. The existence of a business in a community alone is a strong sign of authenticity and should be used in your content strategy.
Hotels and resorts that want to improve their Search Engine Optimization should look for niche opportunities that fit with their theme and objectives.
Scott provides an example of a hotel situated in a famous art district and already a part of the neighborhood. Therefore, it qualifies to provide original material about related subjects. This will give the hotel the edge over what Scott calls “opportunistic bloggers”.
Niching down is more important than ever
You will never appear at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) for general search phrases containing hotels or lodgings, so forget about trying to rank for them. Instead, concentrate on the keyword potential relevant to your property’s specialization and niche.
The main benefit of this change is that hotels and resorts will be better able to differentiate themselves with their content because they are reliable local authorities.
The SEO material must be repurposed to become more specialized and focus on unique insights and first-hand knowledge. This should be backed up by a robust local SEO strategy, improving the property’s overall ranking.
What about existing content and rankings?
Scott reports that unhelpful content will begin to be classified over the next few weeks and lose its ranking position. The process is automated with Google AI weeding out websites that don’t meet the new standards. Sites that have made adjustments and improvements could not see a return to their initial rating for several months.
Websites in English are the first to be affected by the change, which will gradually spread to websites in other languages over the following weeks.
According to Scott, your blog posts can suffer if a professional writes them without a unique touch or original content.
The most important thing to remember is how relevant your posts respond to the questions for which the keywords are optimized. If a reader searches further after reading your content and has unanswered questions, this indicates low relevancy and will lower your SEO rating.
How can you help?
Start deleting useless content from your website so that you can concentrate on your selected niche. Make sure you have credibility within your niche based on your hotel or resort’s position.
Consider quality material over quantity, as much “unhelpful” content created primarily for traffic purposes may harm your SEO even if you have a few gems in your content library.
Google update takeaways
Hospitality businesses are well-positioned to gain from this upgrade as they can legitimately claim to have local expertise and connections to the community.
Hotels need to be strategic and ensure that keyword relevance is aligned to provide content relevant to their strengths and areas of expertise.
Keep your audience in mind when creating content, address their concerns, and answer their questions!
Source: David Scott for HospitalityNet
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