Have you ever noticed that when you perform a search in Google, the first results that appear on your screen are its very own properties?
Paid ads, Knowledge panel, local packages, review carousels, news carousels, etc.
Lost among all its precious real estate, a few sad organic results.
So, what can you – the owner of a hospitality, tourism or lifestyle business – do to be seen by your customers in Google town?
You’re about to find out.
Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times each year.
In many cases, these updates are named after lovable animals to soften the blow of their impact on us mere mortals.
Remember Google Panda and Penguin?
Google has become so powerful that now most of the information is carefully guarded on its servers instead of on the net itself.
This way, Google has the power to carefully curate what you see online.
Meaning that it has the power to feature its own products over an organic web page.
That’s why if you’ve performed a search lately, you would have noticed that the very shifty search engine serves you its own properties first – from paid listings and ads to the knowledge panel, the “local pack”, reviews carousel, e-commerce URLs, news carousel and so on and so forth.
And the organic results?
Lost amongst all this wealth of Google’s real estate.
What are you – the owner of a hospitality and tourism or any other brick and mortar business – to do to get seen by your clients?
Don’t fight it.
This sneaky shapeshifter has become too powerful!
Surrender to Google’s new empire!
Play its game!
Boost your search ranking by being the best you can be within Google’s features and properties!
The following suggestions will help you:
1. Make your Google My Business listing the brightest star in the Google Universe!
You’re probably familiar with Google My Business Listing.
In the master’s own words:
“Google My Business is a free and easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.”
In other words, it’s that listing that appears in your search results when you conduct a search along the lines of:
Escape rooms in Sydney and you get something like this:
Google My Business (GMB) listing is a key first step in your business’ local SEO strategy. So, if you haven’t claimed your profile, go ahead and verify it asap!
If you don’t your chances of showing up in Google’s Local Pack, Local Finder, Google Maps, and organic rankings in general are…hmmm… nil!
Just bear in mind that by applying its shapeshifting power, Google has once again updated GMB.
Good news overall as its new features help capture users’ attention and increase how you rank in local search results.
You now have super cool functionalities like Google Posts – mini-ads that show up prominently in the Knowledge Panel and on Google Maps:
As the owner of an experiential business, Google Posts are tailor-made for your type of business as you can post about upcoming events, new launches, holiday celebrations, team building activities, promotions, and a lot more!
So far, sooo great, right?
We are liking this new superpower in our lives!
Yes, but beware!
Because now, instead of having to check that there’s no hanky panky going on in your listing occasionally – I mean, prank photos, nasty reviews by competitors, etc… – you’re obliged to do frequent, if not daily, checks.
The guilty party in great part is the new Q&A feature.
Many detractors argue that this has now become an open message board for the public.
And you know what that means!
That people skip the Q in Q&A and forget about asking questions and they go straight into leaving nasty reviews, spam and spitting the dummy in your profile.
And if someone asks you a question but you haven’t had a chance to visit your panel and answer it, that can also reflect poorly on your hospitality and tourism business.
So, by all means!
Try it out but remember one word: commitment!
Not a fan?
Then it might not have as much of a positive impact on your listing as you’d like it.
2. Optimise your business’ Knowledge Graph
What is that? you ask…
It’s been around since May 2012 and it’s a Graph System that is capable of understanding facts about people, places and things and how these entities are all connected.
It’s not just a catalogue of objects – it also models all these inter-relationships.
Imagine you google Tim Berners-Lee.
A search for the father of the Internet will bring up his birth (and death) dates, family, quotes and a summary of his achievements, together with links to searches for his books and other relevant figures in the field.
Can your business have a similarly sophisticated graph all to itself?
Thanks to Google My Business (GMB) you can add much richer content than the standard images and basic listing information you used to.
We’ve already talked about features like Google Posts and Google Q&A.
And you also have Google Messaging which allows you to privately respond to a customer and Google Bookings which offer your clients the possibility to book a table, a room, a tour, etc. by means of your GMB account.
In time, this will create a valuable source of content about your hospitality and tourism business that Google will looove!
Being an obedient little subject to the new master does pay in the long term!
And make sure your business’ content marketing strategy is outstanding!
This is key.
If it isn’t and the type of content you are sharing is not up to the master’s standards, you’ll be discarded without as much as a “get out of here”!
In Google’s realm, there’s no pity or compassion!
3. Make your web content the second brightest star in the Google Universe!
But not too bright!
Let me explain.
Google loves to give its searchers pearls of wisdom now known as (pretty little) snippets.
What are Google Snippets?
Snippets are excerpts from your web page selected by Google on the basis of it being a great answer for what it’s looking for. Something like:
What is an escape room?
What is virtual reality?
Are escape rooms good for team building?
And so on…
Most business would go ahead and try to provide a clear answer (bullet points will make Google smile!) to appear right a the top of the rankings.
What’s the problem with that?
That the user gets the information it needs from Google without having to go to your website.
And that’s the last thing you want.
You want him or her to explore.
Snippets will shorten discovery potential tremendously.
So be smart about the way you write your content.
Make sure you provide all the necessary answers to your customers’ common questions but make sure you do it for them, not for the master (and I say so at the expense of a potentially severe punishment from above!).
When it comes to copywriting and SEO for your hospitality and escape room business, your customer comes first!
4. Bow to the master and consider taking up Google ads
Google it’s playing its game very smartly.
Google AdWords ads are taking up most of the local search engine result pages (SERP) results.
In legal services, this share comes up close to 70%.
So is in the Automotive industry.
If you are prepared to pay, you will be rewarded with the golden crown.
It’s as simple as that.
Pleasing Google it’s not easy.
But remember – in your hospitality and tourism business’ digital marketing, Google is not all.
If your messaging is appealing to your audience…
If your website is attractive and gets your clients to immerse in your experience from the go…
If your videos are captivating and tell a story that connect…
You will win.
And we can help!