How To Get Your Hotel Website A Google Penalty
Getting A Google penalty is always down to more than one single factor. It is unlikely that having one of these problems will land you the penalty. But, if you have 2, 3, or more of the following issues, then you’re stepping into the danger zone and can probably expect to see your search results suppressed for your hotel and maybe worse.
What Is Thin Content?
Thin content is any content on your tourism website that is of low or no value, to the user and to you as well. It is content that stands in the way of goal funnels, informing others, impeding crawl budget, inflated internal link counts, and ultimately causing noise to a search engine – Google.
How To Spin Your Online Tourism Content
Content spinning is simply taking something that is written one way and rewriting it so that it sounds different. This is as much damaging to your website as is duplicate content. It is vital that all the content on your hotel site is unique. Rewriting some other sites content is an easy way to penalty.
What Is Content Scraping?
Content scraping is an illegal way of stealing original content from a legitimate website and posting the stolen content to another site without the knowledge or permission of the content’s original owner. Content scrapers often attempt to pass off stolen content as their own and fail to provide attribution to the content’s owners. Scraping content is lazy, unethical, ineffective, and the perfect way to get a penalty.
Copying Someone’s Unique Content
Copying someone’s content or tourism blogs is not only illegal but will probably get you penalized by Panda. Currently, Panda isn’t very good at detecting this since it’s hard to decipher where the content came from, but in time Google will create a solution for it – so watch out!
What Is Non-Expert Content?
Don’t let non-tourism experts write about your industry’s complex subject matter such as referral and affiliate marketing. The holes in this outsourced content will decrease trust and hurt your website. And more importantly, Panda dislikes non-expert content because it’s produced with little or no intention to help the user, as most people use this as filler content or bad tactic SEO.
Don’t Write Numerous Articles Targeting The Same Keyword!
You should only write one article on any given keyword because it starts to become an issue of overlapping content. Unless it’s a completely different take on the keyword, avoid writing the same topic more than once. Panda hates this redundant content, or “overlapping” articles or blogs. Once again, because it has little value to the viewer and your customer.
Why You Should Use An SSL Certificate?
If you’re accepting credit or debit card payments, then you need to have the necessary protection for the web user. Any hotel website that accepts credit cards but doesn’t have an SSL certificate is highly suspicious and should be avoided.
Why Your Content Should Be Factually Correct?
Are you writing a technical piece with statistics for facts that aren’t true? Google is probably the biggest database of information in the world. It knows when your facts aren’t correct. If incorrect facts and statistics become a frequent occurrence on your site, it will be punished with a penalty!
Why You Shouldn’t Write Content For The Search Engines
Don’t keyword-target every single tourism blog post. Focus on giving the most value imaginable first and then try to inject some keywords you want to rank for.
Content Is Still King!
Is your content just rehashed junk you took from other websites? Panda wants to see unique content with a unique view. Like other types of low-quality content, rehashed garbage is lazy. Pretty much all “lazy” content tactics will have Panda knocking at your door.
Producing Less Value Than Your Accommodation And Tourism Competition
How does the value of your content compare to others within the hotel and guesthouse website’s industry? If your competitors are using full scale content marketing and producing high-value content on a consistent basis, how can you expect to outrank them? Being “outranked” may not get you a Google penalty, but it will certainly devalue your website and hurt your organic rankings. Google judges your website based on a “value comparison” of your competitors.
What Are Fake Reviews?
You know those affiliate websites with nothing but “review” articles of Amazon products? Panda loves killing those sites because… A) they are a lie since the reviewer has never actually used the product, B) they provide little, to no value, and C) they are jam-packed with affiliate links on every page. Be honest with your users and Google. This is especially important for the hotel review sites who monitor this sort of activity very closely.
What Is Keyword Stuffing?
Throw your keywords and phrases in your copy repeatedly and see what happens – it’s called keyword stuffing! Keep your keyword density around 1-3% if you want to stay Panda safe and penalty free and you will notice it also reads better.
Don’t Use Sneaky Redirects
Don’t redirect people to a page they didn’t originally request. It’s annoying, inconvenient and Panda will down-rank you for this for certain.
Why Is It Bad To Overuse Affiliate Links
If you really want your hotel website to wake up with a penalty, then make sure you use loads of affiliate links on every page of your tourism website. Google despises affiliate sites because most of them provide little value and are only built to make a dime (which is usually how much these types of sites make).
Having Spammy Outbound Links
Don’t link out to sites from “bad neighbourhoods” unless you’re looking to raise some red flags. Instead, link out to relevant authority resources. This will boost the trust of your content and website.
Why Selling Links Is Bad In Google’s Eyes
Letting anyone buy links on your site is a bad idea. If you do, make sure you “nofollow” them to avoid any issues.
Why There Should Be No Ads Above The Fold
Don’t you love when you’re going to read an interesting article and you can’t even find it because of all the ad clutter? Fact: ads above the fold have a higher click-through rate BUT ads above the fold are annoying, send people off your website (who will never come back), and hurt the growth of your site/blog because no one stays to read your content. If no one reads it, no one shares it or links to it.
Having Ads That Don’t Close
If you have popup advertisements, then there needs to be an option to skip or close it altogether. This is a perfect way to make users never come back to your site and really get the Panda annoyed.
Disabling the “Back” Button
You know this is a very bad idea. Do we really need to explain any further?
Make Sure Your Clever With Your NoFollow Tags
If you DID do this, it would help you eliminate most duplicate content issues on WordPress. But this tourism blog is about how to get a Panda penalty, make sure you keep all of these unnecessary pages indexed in Google.
Why You Should Not Duplicate Your Descriptions
Some bed and breakfast businesses think it’s okay to create one product description with some scrambled words and place it on every product page. Panda hates this. Create unique descriptions for every product or service page. In fact, create unique content everywhere!
Whys It’s Bad To Have A High Bounce Rate
High bounce rate is an indication of a bad user experience – especially on a hotel website. A quick way to decrease it is to produce higher value content and internally link your content. Then keep a close eye on this – remember to test and measure.
Keeping the User Average Time on Site Low
If your prospective customers aren’t spending a decent amount of your time on your site, then there’s a good chance that there isn’t a ton of appeal or value available. Unless you have a news website, users should be on your site for at least a minute or more. If not, you need to produce better (or more) content or create a pathway for them to find your content through internal linking.
Letting Users Pogo Stick Away
This is a difficult metric to measure, but it can have a big impact on your organic results. If users are finding your site through Google, clicking on your results, and bouncing back to the SERPs for the query, then there’s a good chance that your site didn’t help answer the user’s question. Since it’s difficult to measure, just identify pages with bounce rate and improve them straight away.
Making Sure You Have a Low Amount of Returning Visitors
Visitors who “frequent” your website shows that your site and content is “sticky” and that you’re offering some sort of value. A site that doesn’t have returning visitors has a low perceived value. If a site isn’t valuable to users, then it isn’t valuable to Google and you will have a hard time ranking.
404s And Broken Links Are Bad!
Having some is okay and is natural, but having an insane amount is annoying for the users, will really hurt your conversions, and will eventually impact your organic rankings.
Not Being Mobile Friendly
Your site should be mobile friendly (responsive) by now. If it’s not, then Panda or Google’s mobile algorithm is coming to get you. Your hotel site needs every bit of help it can get!
Having a Site Loading Speed of 10 + Seconds
Having a slow site is frustrating for your users, kills your conversions, and Panda hates it. If you’re serious about your site, then you’ll probably need to get off shared hosting because it’s a site speed killer.
These pages help build trust for your website and without them your site looks sketchy. It’s easy to have them, so just do it to stay safe if anything.
Having No Address or Contact Information
Not every site needs to have an address visible, but some form of contact information should be available. This is particularly important if you’re dealing directly with customers who may have support questions/issues. And to be honest your location is a search term!
Make Sure Your Content Is Grammatically Correct
Your content needs to go through an editorial process if you’re taking your site seriously. Double check always for errors and spelling mistakes.
Why Hide Your Text From Customers And Google?
If your users and customers can’t see the text on the webpage, then how can it possibly help them? Don’t do this as is now considered “Black Hat” SEO. We find it hard to believe people still do this!
What Is Blackhat Optimisation?
Keyword Stuffing Your Meta
Don’t keyword stuff your META tags. Your META information is a good opportunity to rank for long tails outside of your main keyword. Use it wisely and don’t over-optimize.
Are Duplicate Mate Descriptions A Good Idea?
Some themes will actually use a default META description for pages that don’t have one. This is a terrible idea because it creates duplicate META descriptions across your site. It’s better to have no description, then it is to have a bunch of duplicates.
But Some Good News About Google
Fortunately, Google’s Panda algorithm runs on at least a monthly basis and if you’re hit, the changes you make to recover will reflect pretty quickly. The good news is that all you need to do to recover in most circumstances is improve your website. Your hotel website should be designed for the user not the search engine. If you develop your site with this mindset, you will never run into Panda penalty issues.
SEO Agency Devon
Please don’t forget the above are things that “will” encourage a penalty and not a guide of things to do. If you are looking for the right things to do, then talk to us.