A strong search strategy is crucial for driving direct bookings to your website. The vast majority of online experiences begin with a search engine, so the risk of a poor search strategy (or worse, no search strategy) for your property is huge.
If you don’t have a Search Engine Management (SEM) strategy, chances are that the top three or four search results will be from third parties, rather than your direct site. A strong SEM strategy can help you own the top of the search results page – which will help you drive bookings direct to your website.
Here we’ve shared our top tips for creating a search strategy that is competitive, agile, and delivers results.
- Protect your brand. As a hotel, it’s likely you’re competing with third-parties, who are bidding on your brand name to entice people to book on their website – rather than your site directly. Bidding on your own brand will help protect it, and you’ll see the return on investment in the direct relationship with customers.
- Don’t focus solely on Google. Yes, Google has the lion’s share of the search market. But that doesn’t mean you should focus all your efforts there. In fact, last April, Bing’s share of the search market grew to nearly 22%. To have the greatest reach, use both.
- Track your progress over time. Decide on goals for your campaigns, and how amending your SEM strategy impacts those goals over time. From there, you can figure out which keywords are working, and which are just expensive. Test and refine, test and refine.
- Get the right expertise. SEM is changing and transforming every day. To ensure that you are making the most of it, you need someone with the experience and talent to manage things like algorithm shifts and new search policies. This is not a part-time endeavor. You need someone who has the time to dedicate to SEM every day.
- Consider your ad copy. What are you saying in the search results text to draw in-market travelers to click? Think about highlighting your property’s best qualities, or offers that would entice your would-be customers to visit your site to book.
- Don’t sleep on mobile. As much as half of SEM traffic could come from mobile. Given this, it’s definitely a best practice to have mobile-specific ad copy and bidding strategies.
- Don’t slack on your SEO efforts. A good quality website and content will help make you successful. And we have tips and tricks for making the most of SEO here.
- Remove the risk. With Sojern, our RevDirect clients have a dedicated team running their SEM alongside their programmatic display efforts, on a pay-for-performance model. No hassle.
All properties, no matter how large or small, can benefit from having a solid search strategy.