How to optimize the SEO of Marriott – Hotel-Online
Stephanie Smith | September 12, 2019
By Stéphanie Smith
There are likely many Marriott properties in your market, and it is important to distinguish your hotel from other Marriott properties as well as other hotels in your competitive group. Doing Marriott SEO (search engine optimization) is just a differentiation technique for understanding where brand marketing ends and individual hotel marketing begins.
Whether you are doing it yourself, hiring Marriott Digital Services or an outside agency, consider these factors when performing search engine optimization (SEO) for a Marriott brand hotel.
Factors in Marriott SEO
For convenience, let’s divide our SEO strategy into 3 sections:
- Onsite – What you do on your website to optimize search
- Offsite – What you do on other websites to optimize search
- Technical – The back-end aspects that you cannot easily see to optimize the search
Extract data for analysis
Before doing any of the above actions, determine the ranking of your current site. And pay close attention to what’s already on page 1, what hangs over page 2 that could be moved, and everything in between.
If you use Marriott Digital Services (MDS), they use a tool called BrightEdge which can provide you with these data points. Otherwise, using a service like Moz or Ahrefs will help. If budget is a factor, you can open an incognito window and do some manual research. Be prepared for it to take time!
For Marriott hotels, it’s hard to say MRDW to see what works and what doesn’t. The ECM1 report shows total organic traffic but nothing deeper than that. You can track the visits per page, but not the source of that traffic.
Next, determine your hotel’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and what sets them apart from their competition. Next, list your top demand generators that generate revenue for your hotel. These generally conduct transient business and are rarely businesses or offices.
Marriott on-site referencing
Do a keyword research to identify missed opportunities using a tool like Moz (paid) or Google Ads (free). Look for keywords such as hotels near the request generator. Choose one keyword per page with the most aligned terms. Include the keyword and hotel name in a unique title tag per page with a maximum of 60 characters.
Write a meta description that explains why they should click on your website. This is where your USPs come in. For example, when writing the meta for your rooms page, include room features unique to your hotel.
You can also update the referencing of the modules once live. The page will upload with the default meta, so you can submit changes after launch. These pages are also indexable in search with more possibilities for content, so take advantage of these pages for your meeting space, weddings and restaurants. There is a $ 350 fee for modules, but cheaper than creating a separate website for ancillary services.
Once you have an outline, submit the new title tags and meta descriptions via eFast. The section you would use is the HWS Forms Submission Tool, then select the hotel. Then the shape itself is called the HWS Metadata Submission Form. Here is a screenshot of the section you will need to complete per page.
EPIC updates on the Marriott website
Keyword density has less value than it used and you definitely don’t want to use keywords. But, if you include a keyword in the title tag and header, you also want to embed it with the content in EPIC.
For example, if you are targeting a keyword with a demand builder on the Local Zone page, make sure that this demand builder is mentioned in one of the 3 local area highlights in EPIC that appear on the brand’s website.
Then return to the pages that have a header tag to be edited in EPIC.
- Currently, these headers are H2s on the following pages: Home, Rooms, and Local Area.
- Any property message title also appears as H3.
- On the Offers page, the name of all custom packages (not branded packages) is H3.
- On the Catering page, the name of the in-place catering options is H3.
- On the Fitness page, the pool title is an H3 and where I normally put hours in, but including “indoor” and “heated” are good options.
- On the maps page, the names of the airports are H3.
- Nothing on the reunion or wedding pages.
A Marriott site is quite small, in terms of pages, but uses the interconnection when available. On the home page, the best-selling features allow a link (preferably internal) to another page in eFast. Property messages also allow a hyperlink. There are other sections where you can embed links to other sites, but links to other sites will not give you any value and will remove them from your site. Examples are information on partners, spa, restaurants, strengths in the region.
Offsite Marriott SEO
A backlink is any other relevant site that links to your website. The more reputable the backlinks linked to your website, the higher your website will rank.
How many of those backlinks do you need?
My suggestion of a backlink goal: more than direct competition. It varies considerably depending on the market and the type of hotel. A full service hotel will have more than a selected service. An independent boutique will have more than a branded hotel. Having a tool like Moz Link Explorer is handy for this research. As a Marriott hotel, you have the benefit of being linked to the Marriott.com domain which ranks 92 out of 100, which also contributes to your hotel’s website ranking.
In this example we have 2 selected service brand hotels. Both hotels have a similar page and domain authority. But the sheer volume (and quality) of the different areas allows one hotel to outperform the other.
Asking for backlinks should be a natural extension of the sales team. It effectively expands your personal relationships in the online space. Be sure to take advantage of opportunities offered by CVB and state travel websites, like listing packages.
Build relationships with local demand generators and navigate to their website. If a demand builder has keyword search volume, create a package. This package page can then be optimized in Brandworks.
You can shoot a MRDW ECM3 Report and see if these new online partnerships are driving traffic. Here’s how to extract this report:
Channel> E-Commerce> Add New Ownership Report> ECM3 (Campaign Detail)> Unpaid Referrer Traffic Source.
Operations teams can also help a hotel rank higher in Google search by focusing on Google reviews. As presented in our MozCon To recap, Google reviews represent 15.44% of Google’s ranking of a local business. Yes, getting Marriott Medallia reviews is important, but so is Google. You should encourage OTA bookings to leave Google reviews rather than OTA reviews.
Marriott uses a data aggregator called Yext to push specific data points to multiple channels. A few of these channels are TripAdvisor, Facebook, and Google My Business. Go to this site for your hotel and fill in all possible fields under Google My Business. Check your images and all contact information.
Marriott technical referencing
Unfortunately, this is outside of your domain for Marriott hotels. They do not allow any code changes. The good news is that they use a diagram. The bad news is that the site is slow. They rank very poorly for PageSpeed and YSlow. You can use a free tool like gtmetrix.com to test and see for yourself.