Learn How to Build an Effective SEO Strategy for Your Travel Business
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Here I share the latest Search Engine Optimization tips that your tourism business can start implementing now to get the edge over your competitors. An effective SEO strategy plays a pivotal role in boosting your brand profile and attracting quality leads.
In fact, did you know that according to this article from ‘Search Engine Journal’ 93% of web traffic comes from search engines?
On that note, let’s get started.
Here's this week's roundup:
7 Ultimate Tips for Compelling Travel SEO
Source: Get My Site
I touched on the importance of SEO recently in this article, however, let’s dig a little deeper into SEO strategy for your tourism business.
A key point to remember for your tourism business is that creating an effective SEO strategy is a marathon, not a sprint. In a world that’s becoming more and more reliant on the digital experience, there’s no avoiding SEO if you want to run a successful tourism business. Once committed, you’re in it for the long haul, but the Return on Investment (ROI) garnered is definitely worth it.
Travel SEO seeks to implement effective tactics to drive traffic to your website whilst attracting travellers on a human level. Understanding your target market of travellers will help you implement a user-driven digital marketing strategy to result in more bookings for your tourism business.
Still need convincing?
Here are 5 key benefits an effective SEO strategy will bring;
- Increases your website traffic
- Improves your brand visibility and gives you more online exposure
- Rise in ROI (Huge when implemented skilfully)
- Increase in connections with interested prospects
- Growth in website rankings for appropriate search queries
We’ve covered why SEO is crucial to your tourism business, now let’s address the question of how you can skillfully implement an effective travel SEO strategy?
Here are the ultimate 7 tips for implementing compelling travel SEO into your digital marketing strategy.
1. Page load time
Did you know that when a website page goes from 1 second to 10 seconds to load, the bounce probability rate jumps to 123%? The recommended page load time is less than 3 seconds according to Google.
If you’re worried your website is taking too long to load, perhaps it could be one of these factors?
- Too many pop-up CTA’s (Call to Actions)
- Multiple Flash content
- Unoptimized images
2. Keywords related to tourism
Stuffing your articles with keywords may give you a short-term boost of traffic, but will do more harm than good to your Google ranking in the long term. These outdated practices will get caught by search engines such as Google, penalizing your site position.
Tools like Google Keyword Planner can help you find the most relevant keywords your target market is searching for to find your travel niche.
3. Meta tags and page title
According to Hubspot, page titles containing 6-13 words will generate the most traffic. So, short and sweet is the name of the game.
Here are 3 tips for creating travel SEO-friendly headlines.
- Provide a unique title to every page
- Avoid duplicate content in the title tag
- Do not stuff keywords in your page titles
The meta description of your web page also plays a pivotal role in the success of your SEO strategy. 275 is the recommended character length of your meta description.
Neglecting the meta descriptions and page titles of your web pages will have a negative impact on your ranking within search engines. Think of meta descriptions as the first impression your target audience receives. You want to stoke enough curiosity to implore them to click through to your site.
4 quick tips to remember when creating mega effective meta descriptions.
- Use keywords that are well-researched, targeted, and relevant to your travel SEO.
- Be transparent when communicating the benefits of your content to your target audience.
- Ensure your meta tags are also appropriate to your content.
- Don’t duplicate your meta description on other pages within your site. This is an outdated strategy that will cause search engines like Google to penalize your ranking.
4. Develop E.A.T content
“There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” – Oscar Wilde
Referring back to the E.A.T principles we learned in this article, that is; Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness of your content. Follow Oscar Wilde’s mantra to ensure that your content is worth talking about.
These days search engines don’t rank your content purely based on the number of SEO keywords you’ve included. Google in particular has taken a quality over quantity approach and blacklists pages that are recognised to not help users, or publishes misinformation on a specialised topic. Content that follows the E.A.T pattern has taken the lead in rankings.
Whilst duplicating content used to be a common tactic for ranking high fast, search engines now prioritise unique content that offers original insights to their users. Google will filter and showcase only the original version where possible. Therefore, while looking at your competitors for ideas, consider how your content will differentiate and offer a fresh look at a topic.
While doing thorough keyword research before creating your content will go a long way, obtaining a basic understanding of HTML, SEO and CSS will play in your favour also.
5. Voice search
A survey conducted by PWC found that 71% of people preferred using a voice assistant whilst searching online. That’s a significant percentage not to be overlooked by your tourism business. Ask yourself if there is any way you can incorporate voice search into your web pages?
6. Link building
Links are the currency of an effective SEO strategy. External/outbound links send visitors from your website to other sites for more information. Internal/inbound links bring visitors to your web page from another site that is referencing you as a reliable source of information. The former of these two is necessary, but the latter is imperative to your SEO ranking.
However, overusing and misusing these links will cause your site to be penalized by search engines. This will mean a loss in exposure and visibility for your web page on search results.
To ensure you don’t fall into the trap of overusing links here are 3 tactics for implementing compelling travel SEO while writing content.
- Insert inbound links on multiple pages of notable domains with higher page rank.
- Use inbound links on reputable domains.
- Include relevant outbound links to relevant web pages.
7. Schema markup
What is Schema markup? It’s considered one of the most effective local SEO marketing techniques. Presenting your tourism business brand on local search results. You need both local SEO and Schema markup for compelling travel SEO.
Implementing these two techniques will open up doors to local opportunities. Further aiding in driving demand from your domestic market in times of crisis. In order to rank high with local SEO, your web page needs to maintain an impressive profile on different platforms, including local directories. For an in-depth analysis of Schema markup, head to this article.
Which of these tips will you try first?
Key Lessons Learned from Spain’s Recovery
Source: McKinsey & Company
Using Spain as a point of reference, this recent McKinsey report highlights the key factors that will determine the recovery of tourism on the whole.
The attractiveness of domestic destinations
Domestic travellers have particular needs when it comes to exploring their own country. It’s their home, so they want to be ‘wowed’ by its attractiveness.
Health and hygiene
Travellers want to feel safe when they travel. This includes; the insurance they choose, considering their own personal health, as well as considering the health service in the country they are visiting.
Availability of air transport
Destinations that rely on airlines to transport their travelers have (and will) feel the impact of the pandemic more as a result of concerns around safety. If you can pivot to your domestic market, it would still be a wise move.
More than a buzzword, it’s a win-win for your tourism business. Travellers are becoming increasingly more conscious of the negative effects tourism has on the environment. Advertising your sustainable practices where you can will differentiate you from the competition. However, be careful not to ‘green wash’ your message – remain authentic.
This article gives you detailed guidelines on how your tourism business make a sustainable recovery
Destinations who are weak on more than one of these will take longer to recover. But, all is not lost for these destinations.
Instead of waiting for the national recovery, how can your tourism business accelerate your own recovery?
The McKinsey team outlines 3 key recommendations for tourism businesses like yours, focused on speeding up their own recovery.
1. Double down on competitiveness
The travel industry has been pushed to more digitalization over the past year. Therefore, to get the edge over your competitors you need to step up your game in this area if you haven’t already. If possible, take advantage of any government schemes available to help you upskill.
2. Collaborate with others innovatively to identify new pockets of demand
Tourism businesses exploring this option could find themselves open to new streams of revenue. This is highly advisable for vulnerable segments of the market such as MICE events and business travel-focused businesses.
For instance, hotels could work with their countries’ healthcare system to promote relaxing stays with discounts for health workers. Likewise, MICE venues could reinvent themselves as educational facilities, hosting ‘schoolcations’.
This article delivers advice on why working with your tourism board is another route to consider.
3. Become part of a tourism reimagine task force
When more rural destinations started to gain traction in Spain’s recovery amongst domestic tourists, the local destination management organisations (DMO’s) lacked the capacity and budget to capitalise on this opportunity. They struggled to effectively communicate the beauty of these destinations in order to maximise bookings.
If DMO’s collaborated together, this could form a solution. Another solution could be analysing travel segments such as ‘second home culture’ and adventure tourism, since these areas have performed.
Tying everything together, the overriding theme in this report is summed up nicely by the Spanish phrase “Camaron que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente,” or, in English, “The shrimp that sleeps gets carried away by the current.” In other words, don’t sit and wait for the recovery. Get out there and take the proactive steps necessary to ride “the currents of unpredictability towards greater success”.
How is the post-pandemic recovery going in the destinations you serve?
“Camaron que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente”
Stop Obsessing Over Yoast’s SEO Plugin Traffic Light System
Source: First Found
As touched upon earlier, Yoast is an exceptionally user-friendly tool to have in your artillery when it comes to writing SEO-focused copy. Plus, it’s free!
However, while Yoast is a highly valuable SEO plugin to have for your blog content, it should be used as a rough guideline to SEO writing – not solely relied upon.
Some common traffic light myths;
- Achieving a green light doesn’t mean your content will rank high in search engines. Yes, keywords are imperative to SEO but don’t stuff them in just to get a green light. Google now penalizes content for irrelevant keyword stuffing.
- Adding elaborate keywords to your image alt text to achieve a green light could be doing more harm than good. The purpose of alt text is for people who are unable to view images, so keep your alt text short and accurate of the image.
- Focusing too much on getting your keywords into your H1 headings can equally be detrimental to the quality of your content. Instead, focus on writing headlines that will stand out in search results.
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8 Steps to Streamline Your Blog Workflow
Do you feel your blog workflow is on the messy side? Not meeting publishing deadlines? Or missing key dates you know your target audience want to know about?
Streamlining your blog workflow is the answer.
Below I’ve picked out the 8 steps you need to take to establish an efficient blog workflow.
#1 Start the content process with clear goals
What topic will you focus on? How in-depth will you go? I like to use the simple yet effective S.M.A.R.T method when establishing goals.
#2 Identify contributors and stakeholders
Share your blog idea with other team members, such as your tour guides to get their input and thoughts. It’s also wise to share your initial ideas before starting to write content, to make sure that the topic is ‘on brand’ with your tourism businesses’ overarching objectives.
#3 Visualise your content workflow
Create an SOP (standard operating procedure) or at the very least a visual diagram in a word document, or excel. Documenting your blog workflow makes the process crystal clear, for yourself as well as your colleagues.
#4 Assign activities and responsibilities
If you are working in a team to manage your tourism businesses blog workflow, check in with your colleagues on their capacity.
#5 Set mini-deadlines
Setting one final deadline for your blog more often than not will end in a last minute dash, resulting in corners being cut and standards slipping. Set mini-deadlines and contact points to ensure the workflow runs smoothly with plenty of time for review.
#6 Agree on standards
If you’re allocating tasks, make sure your team members receive a past example or clear brief. Your copywriter should understand your travel SEO strategy before writing. This will save a lot of time at the end of your workflow trying to fit in keywords, and links.
#7 Allow time for final checks
Typos and poorly written grammar could affect your Google ranking. You want your blog to be perfect before publishing, which is why these 8 steps to streamlining your blog workflow are so imperative to the process.
#8 Reflect on the workflow at the end of the process
Streamlining your workflow can take a few attempts, but once you’ve straightened out the kinks you’ll be left with an efficient blog workflow. Saving you time that can be spent in other areas, or on more content creation.
When reflecting back on your blog workflow ask yourself the following questions;
- Were there moments where you created unnecessary work?
- Did the process go according to plan?
- Were you doing extra tasks that weren’t part of the plan?
Do you currently have a blog workflow? How has it been going so far?
The Only SEO Audit Tools You’ll Ever Need
Source: Marketing Insider Group
Want to have the competitive edge with your SEO strategy? The final step, and one other businesses often miss out on, is the SEO audit. An SEO audit helps to determine your content’s performance with keywords, and identifies pockets of content niche’s you can pivot to for maximum visibility.
Here are just a few benefits an SEO auditing tool will bring to your travel SEO strategy;
- Assesses how your content performs for your keywords and phrases.
- Identifies less competitive, relevant content niches where you can optimize visibility
- Provides insight into what your target audience searches for.
- Identifies less competitive pockets to pivot to, by learning more about your competition.
- Repurposes old content.
- Fixes technical errors like broken links, expired web pages and more.
SEO auditing need not be complicated though, the market is awash with tools to help simplify this process. This article highlights the best of those auditing tools for your SEO strategy going forward. Whether it’s identifying broken links, finding a hyper effective content gap strategy or taking a deep dive into relevant keywords, these tools have you covered.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
This free tool (up to 500 URLS) scours your website, looking for ways to improve your onsite SEO in a holistic way. One of the benefits of this tool is that you can integrate it with your Google analytics and Search Console for the most in depth insights, without needing to run duplicate audits.
Ahref’s content gap tool
Want to know which keywords your competitors are ranking for? Ahref’s content gap tool may be the answer. Praised for its user-friendly approach, this tool allows you to see which keywords your competitors are ranking high for. This data can then be filtered in many different ways to achieve diverse insights.
If your content needs a fresh coat of paint, this tool is also great for refreshing content and making sure you stay in line with your E.A.T principles. That is, Expertise, Authority, and trustworthiness. For example, if you rank high for a keyword but your outbound/ inbound links are outdated you’d want to focus on updating these for maximum optimization.
SEM keyword Magic tool
This tool contains an impressive database of more than 20 billion keywords. With this tool you should have no problem identifying new and emerging keywords to take advantage of for your travel SEO audit. Alongside this, it also provides you with key insights into how difficult it would be to outrank competitors.
Sometimes it’s the simple tools that can have huge impacts. When kept on top of, Google sheets is a great tool for SEO data tracking. It’s common practice for SEO tools to allow you to export data and reports. Google sheets allows you to take all of those reports and consolidate them into one place, visible to all your team.
Have you conducted an SEO audit recently for your tourism business website? If so, what tools do you use?
How to Effectively Use Backlinks for Your Tourism Business
Source: Fat joe
Backlinks are a crucial benefactor for implementing an effective SEO strategy for your tourism business. Whilst they make up around 16% of the total ranking factors, that’s still a huge amount of influence on your SEO strategy. The general rule of thumb is; the more high-quality backlinks you have the higher you will rank in search engines such as Google.
Quick tip: Check the quality of a website by looking at it’s Domain Authority (DA), using the Mozbar extension by Moz.
How do you get backlinks in the first place?
In short, these are the 3 ways to acquire backlinks for your website;
- Create original content that other sites will link to. What’s your unique angle with your blog posts?
- Simply asking. Outreach manually to relevant websites asking the owners to post your content and links.
- Use a backlink service that creates white-hat links on third-party sites.
Keyword and anchor text research
Before you begin to build backlinks to your site, you need to first understand which keywords you want to target. You’ll also need to know what your anchor text will be. The key to understanding these two elements lies in your target audience’s search intentions.
There will be a whole host of keywords relevant to your travel niche, but only some will be the keywords your target audience searches for. Once you identify your keywords based on search intent, the rest of your travel SEO strategy becomes a lot more efficient. Increasing opportunity for conversion.
Keep search volumes in mind also. If a keyword scores high for search intent but only gets used by your target audience a few times a month, the investment might not be worth it.
Use on-site keyword tracking
A useful tool for monitoring the ranking position of your pages for specific keywords is FATFRANK. This tool lets you quickly see where you rank for your target keywords. Gleaning these insights makes it much easier to know which keywords you need to put more focus on in your future travel SEO strategy.
Find seed keywords and brainstorm
These types of keywords are central to your keyword research. They are literally the seed words from which relevant phrases sprout. The simplest way to find seed keywords is to use Google Ads Keyword Planner. Type your chosen keyword, and in the suggestions box, it will show related key phrases.
Remember that Google will also show you results related to your past searches. To easily avoid this barrier, sign out of your Google account and reset your settings to your target audience’s location if possible.
Private or incognito windows also work well to sidestep this issue.
Analyze & Shortlist Your Keywords
Now you have your keywords, you need to shortlist them. Do this by analysing your results to identify whether there are any particular keywords your target audience are typing to find your type of travel tours and services.
Ahrefs Keyword Explorer is a handy tool that provides you with insights into their performance. Average monthly searches are a key metric to look out for. If your target audience isn’t searching for these keywords, then it’s unlikely they will generate any traffic to your website.
Anchor text is the clickable text which contains a HTML hyperlink. In fact, research from Google founder Sergey Brin states that anchor texts often provide more accurate descriptions of pages than the content itself.
“Anchor texts often provide more accurate descriptions of pages than the content itself” – Sergey Brin (Google Founder)
There are a range of options available when it comes to creating anchor text.
Here are just 3 to consider;
- Exact-match anchors are duplicates of the title of the original page. For example, if you have a product section called ‘tours’, the exact-match anchor would also say ‘tours’.
- Partial-match anchors slightly vary from the original page title. For example, you could have ‘Wine tours’ as the anchor, if that is your travel niche.
- Branded anchors use your tourism business name as the anchor.
Using a mix of all the above aids in an effective travel SEO strategy. Using the same method repeatedly could cause your site to be penalised in SEO rankings.
Building SEO backlinks is one of the last steps for implementing an effective travel SEO strategy for your business.
Are you ready to start building your backlink strategy?
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