“Paid advertising” continues to be a bad word for many companies, especially small companies. If you do great SEO and create engagement for your hotel, then you shouldn’t have to pay for ads — right? There are actually many reasons you should look into paid advertising for hotels, even if you are the best at every other strategy.
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If you have been a part of social media or SEO strategy, then you have likely heard the word “algorithm” many times. Google and Facebook, as well as most the other search engines and social media networks, have algorithms that choose the results you will see based on who you are and what they think you will like.
What this means is when you log into Facebook, you no longer see the most recent posts. Facebook shows you the posts from the friends you interact with most, as well as showing you posts with certain words and terms (wedding, baby, engaged, new job, etc.). When you search for something on Google, Google will choose your results based on your age, gender, income, computer you are using, location, previous purchases, and previous searches. Your results on Google will not be the same as for someone else, even if they search for the exact same term.
The goal of social media networks and search engines is to show you the most relevant results for you. Because if you see exactly what you are looking for, you’re more likely to use their network next time.
What this means for you is you is that if you want to show up in someone’s Facebook feed, for instance, you need to show you’re relevant. As a business, this is much more difficult than it used to be. But there are a few ways to do it.
Engagement is the best way to show Facebook people are interested in your business. Anything you can do to get people to comment, like, or share your posts will help improve your visibility — organically — on Facebook.
But paid advertising has become crucial for businesses on Facebook, as it continues to shift to a personal network. There are a few ways you can do this — targeting, email targeting, or remarketing. We will go into these tactics in another blog post, but for a hospitality company like a hotel or restaurant, remarketing will be an incredibly tactic for you.
Remarketing is showing someone an ad after they have been to your website. Hotel bookings generally take place after searching and re-searching and finally settling on a solution. Remarketing on Facebook, where the searcher spends their free time, will keep you top-of-mind as they go through their process.
Not only do you have to deal with algorithms, but you also have to deal with SERP (search engine results page) “real estate.” What this means is that there is only so much space on a user’s screen when they search. On mobile, there are usually two three or so results the user can see without scrolling. On desktop, there is more room, but in search results with a map included, there could be as few as three results.
In the hotel industry, there are generally going to be at least three ads in most results — meaning even the best SEO is not going to show your listing to the searcher before they scroll.
The good news is that as a local business, it won’t be difficult to show your ad above a company like booking.com or tripadvisor.com using Google Hotel Ads — because Google does take into account that algorithm to find what is best for the user. But you will still need to assure you are coming in “above the fold” on their searches.
Although Google has never admitted to it, there have been multiple studies showing that paying for advertising on their network can improve your organic rankings.
Until Google admits to this though, it will be hard to prove it’s a fact. However, there are a lot of ways you can use paid advertising to improve your SEO results, including:
When running paid ads, you will be given access to an audience insights section in Adwords that will give you insights into who your audience is, including gender, age range, location, are they a parent or not a parent, and what device they are using.
After running search advertising on Google, your Google Adwords account will let you know which search terms people used to find you and where you showed up in search results. You can use this list as a great start to your SEO research and updates.
You can also see which keywords are more popular and have a higher click-thru rate (CTR) to see which keywords are just not working in Google as well.
Your ad content can be invaluable for your SEO strategy. Doing tests in Adwords on different headlines and other ad content can help you create great title tags, meta descriptions, and on-page content.