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How to get 1000s of visitors to your restaurant or boutique hotel website [1 of 3]

 seo increase visitors

Have you just paid for a new website but just don’t seem to be getting any visitors…

Or perhaps you’ve had your website for a while now but only get 10-20 visitors every day.

Well, you’re not alone.

You may have heard about search engine optimisation (SEO) as a method of getting visitors to your website, but it all sounds a bit hocus pocus…

Does that ring true?

Well although to some it may sound a bit like magic or luck, really it’s just about making sure your website follows certain criteria.

These criteria are really simple to implement (I promise!), and over the next three articles on this subject I will make them simpler than ever. Just follow the tasks set for each step and you’ll take your website from one that gets hardly any visitors, to one that finally receives thousands of monthly visitors.

Here are the steps you need to follow:

1) Keywords

Keywords are the words that people enter when searching for something on Google.

Which is why defining your own keywords (what you want to be found for) is the first step towards attracting more visitors through search engines.

If you don’t have these defined and implemented on your site then it’s very unlikely people will find your website when searching online for a restaurant or boutique hotel in your area.

Coming up with a list of keywords can be a challenge. You need to stay away from ones that might be too competitive as they’ll be too hard to rank high for in the search engines. Instead think niche…

Think on a much smaller scale – in this case it’s likely to be location, but if your hotel or restaurant has a theme, that could be one keyword too.

Your task: write down 5 keywords that you believe would be the most relevant to your business and that are the most likely to be used by potential customers when searching for a business like yours.

To help you, here are some keyword examples for a boutique hotel and a high-end restaurant:

Restaurant: Fine dining Oxford, Fine dining Oxfordshire, Michelin restaurant Oxford, Restaurants in Oxford, Best restaurants in Oxford.

Boutique hotel: Cotswold house hotel, Luxury hotels in the Cotswolds, Cotswold house hotel & spa, Cotswold house, Adventure hotel Cotswolds

To help you further, you should use the Google Keyword Tool for ideas and suggestions and look for low competition and healthy average monthly searches.

2) Add Keywords to your Website Copy

Google sends robots out every day to crawl all the websites out there (Googlebots). Yours will be one of them. So you need to make sure, when robots visit your site, they can see exactly what it’s about.

This is where the keywords you’ve selected come into play.

Your task: Add your keywords to the pages throughout your website.

Here’s how…

Include them in one or two places in the body text (paragraphs) on appropriate pages. You should choose a keyword that works best (makes most sense) on a particular page rather than trying to cram them all in to every page.

Then, on each page you’ll have a heading and possibly some sub headings. Try and add your chosen keyword to those headings on each of those pages too – but make sure they make sense to your visitors when reading them too.

The Google robots recognises headings and notes they’re more important than other text on the page, so if they contain your keyword then Google acknowledges that the page is really relevant for that keyword and will rank it as such.

3) Add keywords to your meta title and description

If you do a Google search for something, each result that is shown contains a title, a URL and a description.

google result

These are called meta titles and meta descriptions and you can set these for each page to optimise your chances of appearing in Google searches for your keywords.

Your task: Create your own meta titles and meta descriptions for each page of your website.

Here’s how…

If you use WordPress there are plugins like Yoast (the free version is fine) that allows you to edit these without having to get your hands dirty with code.

4) Add alt tags to all images

At this moment in time, when Googlebots crawl your site, they can read the text without problem but when it comes to images, they can’t read or interpret them. In time I’m sure this will change, but for now we need to help them.

SEO alt tag

To do this we add an ‘alt tag’, or to give it its full name, ‘alternative description’.

The alt tag describes the image to help the Googlebots understand what it’s about. It’s also very useful for the visually impaired.

So sticking with the keyword theme (you can tell how important they are can’t you!) this is a great opportunity to get your keywords in front of Google.

Your task: Add ‘alt’ text to every image on your website.

Here’s how…

If you use WordPress this is very easy. Go to the media library, click on each of your images and just fill out the alt text in the right column. You could also add the same text to the image title too.

Other content management systems will have a similar set up.

5) Add an FAQ page

FAQ pages are a great way to target long-tail keywords (ie. Searches with lots of words). So for example if someone searches for “restaurants in Oxford that cater for vegans” and one of your FAQs is “Do you cater for vegans?” Then your Oxford based restaurant is likely to be on the first page of Google for their search.

Your task: write down 10 questions that your potential customers may have and answer them thoroughly.

Here’s how…

You’ll need to get into the psyche of your customers. What things are important to them when booking a restaurant or hotel? It may be anything around travel, parking, check in times etc.

Then you’ll just need to create a simple page on your website which lists these questions and answers, and then make sure you link to it from the footer.

6) Make sure you’re not blocking search robots

I’ve seen this happen a lot. When a website is in development, understandably you don’t want the robots crawling the site so they’re blocked. But when the site goes live it’s important to remove this block, otherwise the new website will never be found in the search engines.

Your task: check that search robots can crawl your website.

Here’s how…

Use a free tool such as this one. The results should show ‘allow’. If it’s showing ‘disallow’ you will need to amend your robot.txt file to something like this:

SEO robot file

Note: sometimes you may want to block robots to part of your site. You can read more on the instances you may want to do that here.

7) Make sure the website is optimised for mobile

Search engines love mobile-friendly websites.

Why? Well they recognise that more and more people are searching on their phones, and if the search engines return results of sites that aren’t mobile friendly then users are going to be increasingly frustrated. Google has made mobile-friendly websites apart of their ranking algorithms. So if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, then it will seriously effect its rankings.

Your task: find out how mobile-friendly your website is.

Here’s how…

The harder but more thorough way of doing it is to physically check your website on as many mobile devices you can get your hands on. Alternatively if you don’t have access to many devices then a tool such as Browserstack might help you.

But a really quick and easy way of testing is to use this mobile-friendly test from Google which will immediately tell you whether your website is mobile-friendly or not.

8) Make sure your website is built for speed

Google considers load speed of a website in the same way as mobile-friendliness. Because if it doesn’t load quickly, it will frustrate users and they’ll click the back button.

fast website

The faster your website loads, the more likely people will stay on the site and have a good experience. Therefore it’s likely to be ranked higher in the search engines.

Your task: test how fast your website loads.

Here’s how…

There are lots of free online tools that will do this. Here’s one.

speed website

Run your website through the test and see the results. Hovering over the arrows will tell you what the averages are and then you can compare.

The most common problems causing a slow website are large images, lack of caching and no code compression. So these are the first places to look if you want to make your website faster.

9) Add high quality content to your site

Google tells us that a major ranking factor is the quality and usefulness of a website’s content.

So the more useful the content is for searchers the higher it will be ranked. So it’s a massively important consideration.

Your task: work out how you can add more content to your website.

Here are a few ideas…

Blogs are a great way of adding great content to a website that will help your customers or keep them informed. For optimum affect make sure it’s unique, different and will keep people coming back.

Also make sure that you provide opening hours, contact information and menus in full.

Become a useful resource and Google will love you.

10) Add a SSL certificate

In 2014 Google announced that going HTTPS will give a site a very minor ranking boost. However it also said they “may decide to strengthen” the signal because they want to “encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

ssl certificate

Your task: contact your web hosting company and ask them to add a SSL certificate to your website. The cheapest option will be fine.

When you’ve done all of the above make sure you submit your website’s sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools. Then you’re effectively telling Google exactly what pages you’d like them to rank rather than waiting for them to crawl your website under their own steam.

 

In part 2 of this series you can expect more advanced SEO steps for increasing visitors to your website such as deep linking, Google accounts and bounce rates.

Of course, you can always just pay for traffic to your website using adverts. But this method ensures long-term results and consistent traffic. So you can do it the quick, expensive way in the short-term, or you can implement the above steps to get more visitors to your site, consistently, cheaply and over the long-term.

For any website owner, getting visitors to your website is a major hurdle but equally important is getting them to make a booking once they’re on your website. That’s why SEO is just one part of our web design process.

If you’d like to talk to us about how your search engine website rankings could be improved, contact us »

In summary, these are my top 10 steps to start attracting 1000s of visitors to your website. Enter your name and email below to receive our downloadable checklist to help you work through them today.

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