This installment of the Odysys Academy is a little different. We want to ensure that you understand how SEO actually works in today's world. We also want you to understand what Odysys does for your SEO and our responsibilities (if we've built your website) vs your responsibilities and what you can do to improve your SEO results.
There's plenty you can do - trust the process. Please understand that a lot of the installments in this Odysys Academy series are actually aimed at improving your SEO even if it isn't explicitly stated. SEO works different now than just optimizing your website.
This installment is longer than most. It is more about education than it is specific action items, though we did provide a few below. We will also cover each of those action items in-depth in future installments.
Too long? You can just skip down to the "Next Steps - How to Improve Your SEO" section below.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
Many customers come to Odysys with a preconceived notion of what SEO is, and just as many have no idea what that even means. SEO means "search engine optimization" - ie optimizing your website to get the best possible positioning in search results. But in today's day and age - there's more to it than putting keywords on your website.
SEO Myths and Dated Ideas That are Holding You Back
Click here for a Guide to 10 SEO Myths Innkeepers Can Leave Behind
Chances are you have a very dated idea of what SEO is and the information you're working from is old. SEO isn't about chasing tactics that you heard in a seminar. SEO is a very comprehensive area and involves multiple parts. Google has made many strides to eliminate any real chance of 'gaming' the system through any single tactic. Long gone are the days of stuffing keywords into your content or magically shooting up in the rankings overnight. Working from a mentality like this actually sets you back. We get customers all the time who have painted themselves into a corner and have to undo the damage caused by chasing some tactic without really understanding what they're doing.
The recipe we're going to provide for you here has always worked and will always work... It is future-proof! And it is actually pretty simple. SEO is about content and links and even offline marketing with a little technical execution (that's the part we do).
Search Engine Optimization for your Website
What does Odysys do for Website Customer SEO?
Short answer: Odysys sets up your website to succeed in search engines making sure it meets technical requirements from Google (speed, security, etc) and we maintain the back-end so those technical requirements continue to be met.
- Prior to launch Odysys ensures that the website's page titles, meta descriptions and the markup/coding of the content is optimized for search engines to best represent the content of your pages. Note that while we make a best effort, you are the expert on your property and your location. You should review your titles & descriptions for accuracy.
- Beyond that we provide you, the customer, with the tools to monitor your SEO including your Google Analytics reporting and your Search Engine Optimization reporting in your Odysys account. Odysys also provides the education and add-on services to improve your SEO.
Website SEO Has 3 Parts: Technical, Content, and Authority.
PART 1: TECHNICAL SEO
If Odysys has built your website, this is the part that we are responsible for and is included in your website subscription.
The technical part of SEO that your website marketing vendor (Odysys) is primarily responsible for. Technical SEO is the process we undertake to ensure that your website is built and maintained to meet current SEO technical requirements. The technical part of SEO is, at its most basic, just about making sure that your website is able to be crawled by search engines and that your content is accessible and understood by search engines. The benefit of working with Odysys is that we continue to make technical updates as long as you're a website customer.
- Odysys websites are built and maintained/updated in the background to meet Google SEO requirements for speed, mobile responsiveness, SSL security, clean HTML markup, accessible, etc.
- Odysys connects all customer websites to Google Search Console and monitors for any errors or issues that Google encounters which would prevent optimal placement in Google results.
- For Wordpress sites we make sure the Wordpress version is up to date and that the back-end is secure and that the most effective plugins are used to maintain your Website SEO. For "App1" sites, we do something similar but there are no versions or plugins to worry about.
PART 2: CONTENT OR "ON PAGE" SEO
If Odysys has built your website, Odysys is partially responsible for this as a part of your website subscription.
Odysys provides keyword optimization & on-page content markup (code). Odysys updates and optimizes your website page title tags and meta descriptions, which are two key components to good rankings. This sets the foundation for your website's SEO results.
- Odysys hand-writes and optimizes page titles & meta descriptions for top level pages prior to launching the site. These page titles and meta descriptions are customized to best represent the content of the page. We also configure a wordpress plugin (Yoast) so that any sub-pages, new pages or blog posts added to the site have an acceptable default level of page title & description optimization. You can customize your page titles and descriptions at any time in Odysys Site Builder and as the business owner you are ultimately responsible for accuracy.
- Odysys ensures that the website code/markup meets SEO best-practices for Headings, lists, images, etc.
- To help improve your results, Odysys has SEO add-on services for copywriting and blogging. Inquire with your account manager.
- You are responsible for understanding your target audience, your tagline and value proposition, and creating the content and copywriting that they'll find compelling and relevant.
- To improve results, you may need to engage in content development (blogging) and increasing the authority of your website (see below).
- You are also responsible for your photography. All the SEO in the world cannot "put lipstick on a pig." High quality inspirational, aspirational, well-executed photography that showcases your property and destination in a flattering way has a MASSIVE impact on your property's ability to turn visitors into guests.
PART 3: Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (EAT for short)
This part is your responsibility and has a big impact on your rankings in search engines. Odysys provides the tools, guidance and some add-on services to support your efforts.
Website authority is perhaps the most important criteria for rankings! This is the area where you, the customer, are responsible for success as it requires proactively marketing the property online and off via listings, PR, and reviews. We provide the Odysys Academy content, webinars, and services to help here.
- Available add-on services: local business listing optimization (part of all subscription bundles) and blogging.
- We cover how to increase EAT in "Ongoing SEO for Traffic Growth: Links & 3rd Party Listings"
Off-Website SEO: Optimizing How Your Property Appears in Search Engine Results
As mentioned earlier in this article, SEO means "search engine optimization". In today's landscape, that means more than your website. Ultimately this boils down to how your property appears when one Googles your property's name and for keywords that indicate "high intent to book".
Stay tuned for a future Odysys Academy lesson: "SEO for Bookings"
Next Steps - How to Improve your SEO
If Odysys is managing your website - we've got the technical SEO covered, and we did a serviceable job of optimizing your page titles & meta descriptions. This sets the foundation for success, the rest is up to you!
- Stick with the Odysys Academy lessons. SEO is part of most of them, culminating with "SEO for Bookings" and "Ongoing SEO for Traffic Growth"
Done? Congrats! You’re one step further down the roadmap towards more revenue and a commission-free future.
- Watch: Search Engine Optimization Basics for Innkeepers & Hoteliers: https://www.odysys.com/webinars/website-seo-basics-innkeepers-wod/
- Read: What Not to Do for Your SEO: https://www.odysys.com/blog/what-not-to-do-for-your-seo/
- Download: 10 SEO Myths to Leave Behind: https://www.odysys.com/learn/seo-myths/
- Watch: Everything Innkeepers Need to Know About Links for SEO: https://www.odysys.com/webinars/all-about-links-innkeepers-wod/