17/05/2024 • Search Engine Optimisation

10 SEO Tips for Your Holiday Cottage Website

How can you ensure a steady stream of visitors to your website and aquire more direct bookings? The answer is SEO.

Direct bookings. For most holiday cottage owners this is the aim of the game. But how can you ensure a steady stream of visitors to your website? The answer is SEO. Search Engine Optimisation is the process of making changes to your website in order to improve your search ranking. In this post we highlight 10 SEO tips for holiday cottage websites.

1. Define Your Target Keywords

Defining keywords is the first step in any SEO strategy. What search terms do you want your holiday cottage website to rank for? What are the most important words and phrases for your particular business?

Search terms might be quite vague, such as:

  • Self-catering accommodation

  • Holiday cottage

These terms are highly competitive. It’s unlikely a small business will ever rank well for these search queries. But that’s OK.

Rather than targeting generic queries like these, it’s much easier to rank for ‘long-tail keywords’. Long-tail keywords are longer search queries which are more specific. For example:

  • Self-catering accommodation in Whitby

  • Holiday cottage in the North York Moors

These search queries include a geographic location. This considerably narrows the number of websites aiming to rank for these terms. These queries could be made even more specific:

  • Self-catering accommodation in Whitby with seaviews

  • Dog-friendly holiday cottage in the North York Moors

Think carefully about what long-tail keywords to target. Notice that each of these long-tail phrases contain the shorter versions of the queries mentioned above. This means that while you’re initially working on ranking well for a far narrower query, ultimately you’re still moving towards your intended goal of ranking for a single word or short phrase.

2. Optimise Your Holiday Cottage Website’s Page Titles and Meta Descriptions

Once you’ve determined the appropriate keywords for your website it’s time to put these to work.

Time to take a look at your page titles. This is the text that appears in the browser tab on your computer. Page titles are also an important factor for search engines. Page titles are different from page headings. Make sure you know where these should be added to your website before making any changes.

Generally, when a website is constructed the page titles are generally the same as the name of the page. For example:

  • Home

  • About

  • Contact

  • Blog

While these titles may be helpful for a human navigating around your holiday cottage website, they’re not descriptive enough for search engines.

Spend some time working through each page of your website. Each page should have a distinct and well-optimised page title which targets an appropriate long-tail keyword or phrase.

One thing to consider when writing page titles is the order of the text. The most important information should come first.

For example:

  • Holiday Cottage in the North York Moors | Dog Friendly Accommodation

Would be better than:

  • Dog Friendly Holiday Cottage in the North York Moors

However, if your business was primarily about being dog friendly, it might be better to write the title this way round. It really depends on your business priorities.

Find out more about writing better page titles for SEO.

3. Check Your Web Page Headings and Sub-Headings

Similar to page titles, page headings are a ranking factor for search engines. All web pages are built using HTML. This provides the structure of the page, with each element defined by specific tags.

Within HTML there are 6 possible levels of heading tag. Heading 1 is the most important heading and should only be used once per page. Headings 2 – 6 can be used multiple times per page.

On this page, the main heading ’10 SEO Tips for Your Holiday Cottage Website’ is a H1 heading. It’s the most important heading. The numbered headings are all H2 headings.

Headings help your audience make sense of your content by making it ‘scannable’. Headings break up the page into smaller blocks of content about specific topics. As such, headings should contain keywords which emphasise the main focus of your page.

Go through each page of your website and optimise your heading structure, and the keywords used. There’s no need to use your primary keywords in every heading, but try to use associated words and synonyms.

4. Refresh Your Holiday Cottage Website’s Content

Now that you’ve optimised your website’s page titles and headings you can now apply what you’ve been learning to the rest of the content. Work through each page optimising your content by adding more relevant information, keywords and phrases.

Google likes to see websites which are well maintained. Refreshing existing content is a good way of doing this.

For example, you may have a section on your cottage website about local attractions or things to do. Consider refreshing this information at least once per year. You could also add information about events happening in your local area. Make sure you remove out of date information and replace it with new details as time goes by.

When it comes to writing content for your website, Google has a number of priorities:

  • Expertise

  • Experience

  • Authoritativeness

  • Trustworthiness

Your content should demonstrate that you are an expert in your field. Websites with thin or poorly written content will not rank well, especially in competitive sectors.

Consider the areas that you have expertise in. Perhaps you have an interest in walking or cycling, food & drink, local attractions or experiences. Use your areas of knowledge to demonstrate your expertise, experience, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.

For important pages of your holiday cottage website aim for 2,000 words or more per page. This may sound like a lot but break it down into manageable sections (by using well headings) and you’ll soon be hitting the target!

5. Add More Internal Links

Internal links are links between different pages within your website. They help visitors easily and quickly navigate from page to page, rather than having to use the main navigation at the top of each page.

Internal links also help search engines make sense of your content and website structure.

Work through each page of your website adding in a few internal links per page, where relevant. There’s no need to go overboard, but where an internal link makes sense and adds value it should be added.

Try to avoid linking from generic words like ‘click here’ or ‘read more’. While these give visitors direct instructions which can be helpful, they’re less useful for SEO. Instead link from specific words or phrases as these help search engines understand what the link is about.

6. Swap Links with Other Businesses

Another important aspect of SEO are in-bound links. These are links from one website to another.

A good way for holiday cottages to obtain more in-bound links is to offer to ‘swap links’ with other businesses. For example, if your holiday cottage website provides links to local restaurants or attractions, why not see if those you’re linking to will link back to you?

When linking between websites it can be really helpful to link to specific content, rather than generic pages like the home page. These links are called ‘deep links’ and they are generally more useful to website visitors. As such Google also considers them more valuable.

For example, when linking to a restaurant’s website, why not link directly to their menu or bookings page. This will help guide your visitors directly to information which is more immediately useful.

In return, consider which pages it would be best for others to link to within your website. If you run a dog friendly holiday cottage and have a page all about dog friendly walks or places to visit this could be an ideal page to link to from elsewhere.

7. Write Blog Posts Regularly

Writing a blog can be a fantastic way to optimise your holiday cottage website for search engines. As well as refreshing your page content regularly, blog posts give you an opportunity to write about specific topics at length.

For holiday cottage websites, good blog posts could include topics such as:

  • Local restaurants and cafes

  • Walking and cycling routes

  • Activities or destinations nearby

  • Events happening in your local area

Try and keep each blog post to a specific topic. Make sure you consider your title, headings, structure, internal links and keywords.

It used to be relatively easy to rank well by writing blog posts of around 600 – 1000 words in length. These days it’s much harder. Hubspot, WIX and others have done research into what kind of blog posts rank the best. They’ve found that posts of between 2,000 and 2,500 words perform best. This isn’t to say that shorter posts won’t help your SEO, but if you want to hit the top spot for a specific query then long-form is the way to go.

Pay careful attention to your language. Write simply. Get to the point. Keep focussed on your primary topic. There are quite a few writing tools available to help make the process easier. We recommend which provides feedback on the simplicity of your language.

Don’t be tempted to get an AI bot to write your blog posts for you. Search engines are developing systems which can detect automated articles. Websites which rely on this content are finding their rankings downgraded as a result.

It’s a question of quality over quantity. Writing a few well-structured posts, on key topics over a few months can yield excellent results. Don’t feel the pressure to write every day. Set yourself an achievable target. Focus on topics which really add value to your website.

8. Add Alt Tags to All Images

When adding images to your website you’ll see a box for Alt text. Alt stands for alternate. It’s text which is displayed if the image fails to load for some reason. Alt text is also used by screen readers (software which helps visually impaired visitors access website content).

Search engines will rank images based on alt text, paired with the content of the page in which the image is found. It can be tempting to skip adding alt text when adding images to your site. But alt text is an important part of SEO as it is an accessbility issue as well as a content issue.

Accessibility is all about ensuring your website can be accessed by anyone. Google and other search engines consider accessbility when determining how to rank web pages. In order for your holiday cottage website to rank well ensure that you always use alt text when adding images.

9. Optimise Your Images to Improve Page Speed

Another aspect of SEO related to images is image size. This isn’t necessarily down to the physical size of the image on the screen. It’s more to do with how big the image is in terms of megabytes.

Large images make a website slow to load. This may not be an issue for those using a fast broadband connection and powerful computer. But for those using smartphones on mobile networks it can make websites unusable.

Before adding images to your website ensure they’re appropriately sizes and optimised. Some website platforms will do this for you. You’ll probably need to speak to your website developer about how to appropriate optimise images for your website.

There are a few rules which are always helpful to keep in mind:

  • Don’t upload an image larger than it needs to be

  • Use a service like ImageOptim to compress your image in advance

  • Make use of modern image formats like WebP where possible

10. Ensure Your Holiday Cottage Website is Accessible and Mobile-Friendly

We’ve already mentioned image alt tags in terms of accessbility. But there are lots of other accessibility factors which may affect your search ranking. The primary things to watch out for are:

  • Colour contrast between foreground and background colours

  • Text size

  • Form structure

Some of these issues are more technical and may take specialist knowledge to resolve. Others might be easily fixed within your website’s theme settings.

A good place to start is using the Accessbility Audit which is part of Google Lighthouse. Find out more about how to score 100% in Google Lighthouse. Fixing problems highlighted by the Lighthouse Audit can really benefit your website’s search ranking.


Optimising your holiday cottage website for search engines is a long term projec. But SEO often pays dividends in the long run. You may not feel able to complete all the tasks in this article, but anything you can do is better than nothing.

Despite the constant change in search algorithms, content remains king. Websites which prioritise well-written content and focus on specific keywords will outperform those that don’t.

If you’d like any SEO support to help optimise your holiday cottage website please get in touch with us.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash