The world of search engine optimization has taken several dramatic turns in the past few years. Consequently, successful small luxury hotels have changed course to address the new reality.

This article provides an overview of changes in SEO, shows why public relations is more important than ever for web visibility and lastly, provides a unique offer to a few fast-acting general managers.

Understanding How SEO has Changed

The search engines have a goal similar to small luxury hotels – to provide a superior quality product. For search engines, this means delivering what someone is looking for on all search engine results pages. Simple, isn’t it?

But over the years, so-called SEO experts have been gaming the system, trying to trick the search engines into thinking a site deserves to be ranked higher when, in fact it does not. You know some of the old  tricks:

  • Stuffing pages with keywords that have little relevance to what’s on the page
  • Reciprocal linking strategies
  • Submitting links to directories that are not curated
  • Participating in article directories with no relevance to hospitality
  • Leaving links on guest books, forums, etc.
  • Participating in link farms

Well, you get the picture. There were a lot of wacky things going on in the SEO underworld designed to trick the search engines into ranking one site higher than another. Who got hurt?

  • Legitimate websites offering information people were searching for
  • Ordinary citizens looking for information
  • Search engines who unwittingly served up spammy search results

Determined to provide superior search results, search engines like Google with its Panda and Penguin updates started changing their algorithms and actually began penalizing sites out to trick them.

Why Public Relations is More Important Today

A strong public relations program has always been important for small luxury hotels. It provides a cost-effective way to deliver a hotel’s message and build awareness among millions of potential customers – many more than could possibly be reached through advertising on the same budget.

Having a strong PR program is more important than ever as a result of the changes in the search engine algorithms. To understand why, you have to remember the search engine’s goal of delivering superior search results. In an effort to deliver superior search results for its customers, the search engines came to a fundamental conclusion:

Websites with the greatest number of links coming from quality sites must be more popular and therefore should rank higher.

So the thinking goes – if popular websites are writing about your resort, it must contain content other people would like to read. Consequently, the search engines will give your site a higher Domain Authority than your competitor with fewer quality links.

While there are a number of nuances, that’s the bottom line. Whether or not you know it, your site and every site is ranked on a scale of 1 to 100. Most of the small luxury hotel websites we have monitored have a Domain Authority in the range of 45 – 65.

If your site is ranked 62 and a competitor is ranked 55, there’s a good chance your site will appear higher when searched for using popular keywords. The opposite is true as well. So it is important for a small luxury hotel to know where it ranks vis-à-vis competition.

Remember, it’s not just the number of links, but also the quality of links that will help determine your Domain Authority. Here’s the Domain Authority for several popular websites where it would be beneficial for a journalist to write about and link to your hotel.


You can’t buy links on these sites. You have to get them the old fashioned way – you have to earn them. You have to have excellent content on your site and convince popular sites like those above to share it with their readers in stories and links.

Getting a feature article and a link to your site on one of these popular sites is not easy and only provides one quality link. Broadcasting a great special offer or unique little story about your resort has a good chance of being picked up by multiple publications and gives you many high quality links. PR should be aggressively promoting tactical specials.

Good public relations has never been so important for small luxury hotels. It creates awareness and drives prospective guests to your website. It does this directly and now, through earned links, it also does it indirectly by making your website more visible in the search engines.

So if you want to supercharge your SEO and dramatically increase the visibility of your resort’s website with search engines, then crank  up the volume on PR.

The video below provides more information on the importance of earned links.

Where does your Hotel Website Rank vs. Competition?

Do you know where your hotel website ranks vs. your competitors?  We do.

And to the first 15 general managers who contact me, we will provide an overview of your Domain Authority and links for your property and up to four of your competitors at no cost. All you have to do is manage a four- or five-star luxury property with 100 rooms or less and contact me before someone else from your destination does.

I look forward to hearing from you and don’t forget to leave a comment to let others know what you think.

Madigan Pratt

AUTHOR: Madigan Pratt

Madigan Pratt is President of MP&A Digital & Advertising, an award-winning agency helping luxury hotels attract and retain profitable customers. Principals with over 60 years of collective experience at some of the world's largest advertising and direct marketing companies lead the agency's team of marketing, creative, public relations, Internet and social media professionals.

4 Comments
  • Thanks for a really helpful and interesting read Madigan.

    December 14, 2012
  • Hi Madigan,

    Greetings!!!

    I congratulate you for this educative article. It is nice to read this article which of course is self explanatory. However, I personally feel if you could have been more illustrative and quote, unquote few examples…

    As per me, your mention about the PR involvement is the highlight which you have hit it on the head.

    Thanks & regards,

    Manohar S. Gurung

    December 17, 2012
  • Hi Madigan,

    I think your article about SEO basics for hotel, is very good. It explain in simple words, how to optimise online reputation for hotels.

    There’s only one thing I don’t agree with: the part about buying links that appear on other websites. Most of the time, it’s very expensive, and the link doesn’t stay on the page for very long. Search engines have become very good at detecting paid links, and your rank authority will not really increase.

    Julien

    March 18, 2013

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