Local SEO – Comparing Hotel Sites

    May 31, 2007

I’ve been doing a few local searches recently to find some examples of well-optimised Abingdon websites, I found a Google search for "Abingdon hotels" brought up an excellent example of both good and bad SEO for various local accommodation websites.

Just to make it clear I have nothing to do with any of these websites and I’m unsure if they have received any SEO advice, I just find local search engine optimisation quite interesting so chose these sites to take a deeper look into how they’re ranking.

Here’s a quick look at how some of the basic SEO factors compare for the top four hotels in Abingdon:

Upper Reaches
Upper Reaches Hotel Abingdon

  • Page Title: "The Upper Reaches Hotel – one of the finest hotels on the Thames"
    This certainly needs the keyword Abingdon in there somewhere.
  • On-Page SEO: Not sure about the breakline within the H2 tag, needs a bit of a tidy up to target the Abingdon hotels searches better.
  • Internal Linking: Most links are within the navigation, some cross-links to further hotel information would definitely help.
  • URL Structure: http://www.upperreaches-abingdon.co.uk
    The homepage is used and contains the keyword Abingdon which is good, just a shame there’s no mention of it in the title tag.
  • Inbound Links: 17

Premier Travel Inn
Premier Travel Inn Hotel Abingdon

  • Page Title: "Abingdon | Hotel information – Premier Travel Inn"
    Improvement on the first two but again not perfect, Premier Travel Inn are a very large hotel chain in the UK and so personally I would use the brand name at the beginning of the title tag to get more clicks, also not separating the words Abingdon and the hotel with a pipe character. Perhaps "Premier Travel Inn – Abingdon Hotel Information" would be more suitable?
  • On-Page SEO: Average at best, includes the keywords Abingdon and hotels but not together and doesn’t really look to be targeting any keywords for the search engines.
  • Internal Linking: I’m still not quite sure how you find the Abingdon hotel listing page without using the search function, the hotel directory takes you to pdf downloads rather than the list of hotel weblinks I expected to see.
  • URL Structure: http://www.premiertravelinn.com/pti/hotelInformation.do?hotelId=24028
    – Needs to lose the hotel ID and get a descriptive URL instead.
  • Inbound Links: 12,020

Four Pillars
Four Pillars Hotel Abingdon

  • Page Title: "Four Pillars Abingdon – Home"
    Not sure why "home" is used, surely replacing this with "hotel" would be far more benefictal.
  • On-page SEO: Headings within an image rather than text, the description within the facilities page is better optimised for Abingdon hotel searches as this page doesn’t include the keyword hotel.
  • Internal linking: The main Abingdon hotel page is being linked to from the homepage map image and within a dropdown menu on all pages, not ideal but easy to use.
  • URL Structure: http://www.four-pillars.co.uk/Abingdon/home.html
    – Not bad, but is actually outranked by the hotel facilites page which uses hotel.html, combining the best factors from both pages to consolidate into the hotel information page would make more sense.

  • Inbound Links: 839

Crown and Thistle
Crown and Thistle Hotel Abingdon

  • Page Title: "The Crown and Thistle"
    No mention of the keywords Abingdon or hotel, all page titles throughout the site use exactly the same title tag.
  • On-Page SEO: Only mention of the word hotel is within the image heading!
  • Internal Linking: All navigational links, no links within text.
  • URL Structure: http://www.crownandthistle.com
    Small website with URL’s kept simple.
  • Inbound Links: 24

Here are the current Google UK rankings for the three most popular Abingdon hotel searches:

Abingdon Hotel:
#1 – Four Pillars
#4 – Upper Reaches
#42 – Premier Travel Inn
Not Listed – Crown and Thistle

Abingdon Hotels:
#2 – Four Pillars
#17 – Upper Reaches
#209 – Premier Travel Inn
Not Listed – Crown and Thistle

Hotel in Abingdon:
#5 – Upper Reaches
#6 – Four Pillars
#118 – Premier Travel Inn
Not Listed – Crown and Thistle

Google Maps
Google Maps  Abingdon Hotels
Abingdon Hotel:
#1 Crown and Thistle
#2 Four Pillars

Abingdon Hotels:
#1 Crown and Thistle
#2 Premier Travel Inn

Hotel in Abingdon:
#1 Crown and Thistle
#2 Four Pillars

Google AdWords
None of these websites are listed as Google AdWords sponsored links for any of the above searches.

From looking at the way these sites have been setup I don’t really find the results surprising, Premier Travel Inn are a big enough brand with more than enough inbound links to be comfortably ranking in the top 10 for most hotel searches in the UK, but with it’s poor site structure and on-site optimisation it’s obviously not enough to keep Google happy. Websites like the Four Pillars are keeping things much simplier, getting the basics right and seeing much better rankings as a result of this. I found it quite interesting to see the mistakes being made and while I think improvements could be made to all four sites it’s obvious which ones need the most attention.