Google Reviews & Responses Improve Hotel SEO Ranking
Hoteliers may be surprised to learn that the most influential review distributor is not TripAdvisor or an OTA, but rather Google. In 2018, Google surpassed Booking.com as the distributor of the most hotel reviews with 30.1 million hotel reviews, a 75% increase over 2017¹. For comparison, Booking.com contributed 28.3 million reviews and TripAdvisor published 11.3 million. Google is the leading hotel review publisher, and the implications for hoteliers are far-reaching.
Google reviews play a role in determining your visibility in an online search and improve hotel SEO. A 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors report surveyed SEO experts to identify the top ranking factors in Google local search.² The results show that experts ranked “review signals” as the #3 most important ranking factor for the local pack and finder, and the #7 most important localized organic ranking factor.
What are “Review Signals” in Hotel SEO?
Hoteliers can improve their organic SEO ranking through Google Reviews. The importance of review signals increased by 17.59% year-over-year, and the overall increase since 2015 was nearly 43%.³ To improve SEO for hotels, it’s important to understand what review signals are. There are many factors that contribute to your online review signals, but there are three main ones to consider: review quantity, review velocity, and review density.
Review quantity is the total number of reviews you have received on Google. Although Google displays third-party hotel reviews, the number of reviews you’ve natively received on Google is what matters. Similar to the way review quantity impacts your TripAdvisor ranking, review quantity contributes positively to your review signals. The importance of reviews for SEO is higher now than ever, with SEO experts ranking “Quantity of Native Google Reviews (with text)” #3 out of 151 in the “Factors Experts are Focusing on More in the Past Year.”² As a general rule, the more reviews you receive on Google the better.
Review velocity is the rate at which your hotel receives new reviews on Google. You can calculate review velocity by tracking how many reviews you receive per month. Review velocity levels the playing field for newer hotels; while it’s hard for a new property to compete with hotels that already have hundreds of reviews for review quantity, by getting new reviews more quickly, you can achieve a better review velocity.
Your review velocity should be high without exceeding the number of customers you serve during the time period. An unnaturally high review velocity may put your property at risk since online distributors like Amazon have placed limits on review velocity to prevent falsified reviews. As a best practice, we recommend that you strive to get as much customer feedback as possible without exceeding your occupancy.
Review density refers to how much valuable information guest reviews contribute to Google about your hotel. This is why star ratings without comments will not help your review signals as much as ratings with details about the guest experience. Details about the amenities, accommodations, and location of your property will positively impact your review signals. By responding to your reviews with specific and appropriate replies to each guest, you can also contribute to review density.
How Can Hotels Improve Review Signals to Increase Their Ranking on Google?
Since review signals contribute to your ranking in Google search results, it’s important to prioritize your reputation on Google. Here are a few SEO tips for hotels that can help improve your Google ranking:
- Request new reviews on Google from your hotel guests.
- Set a monthly goal with your hotel staff to ensure a consistent review velocity.
- Encourage happy guests to share specifics about their experience in their reviews to help improve review density.
- Respond to every review on Google with a unique and specific reply to each guest.
Google is the number one review website in the hotel industry and is growing at an unprecedented rate. Improving your hotel reviews on Google can have a significant impact on your revenue. By positively influencing your review signals, you can improve local SEO for hotels you operate. You’ll get more exposure in organic listings and in the Google local pack. Plus, the more recent positive reviews there are on Google, the more likely a guest will book with your hotel. If you need help attracting more reviews on Google and providing keyword-dense responses to reviews, count on Travel Media Group. Our reputation experts can craft a custom program based on your needs.
- 2019 Global Hotel Reputation Benchmark Report, Revinate
- 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors, Moz
- Announcing the 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, Darren Shaw