A Quick Guide to SEO for the Travel Industry
Amber Dunlap | September 21, 2017
Today’s travelers are heading online to do most of their trip research, planning, and booking. So, landing that top spot in the search engine results is becoming increasingly more valuable and competitive, especially for travel businesses offering products or services in some of the hottest travel destinations. Contrary to popular opinion, getting to page one of a Google search doesn’t have to be difficult. It simply takes takes time and a consistent SEO strategy. We’ll share with you three methods to improve your ranking signals, the characteristics of your website that determine your position in the search engines, and how travel SEO can easily fit into your content marketing strategy.
Understanding Travel SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of proving to search engines your website’s value and relevancy against that of your competition. In order to rank in the search engines, your website and its content need to provide consistent value and relevancy around a particular search term or topic. This process requires both an understanding of your customer (i.e. what questions they may have about your product or service) along with focused content and a keyword optimization strategy.
How to Rank in Search Engines with Travel SEO
When used in combination, the following three SEO methods will have you rising the search engine rankings in no time.
Keywords are the essential building blocks of any travel SEO strategy. Website content and metadata should be optimized and concentrated around the search terms your customers are using. This will signal to search engines what your website is about and increase the odds of your website appearing in search results for a particular topic.
Focus on long-tail keywords like “family trekking holidays in Morocco” or “best places to visit in Kyoto” over more generic keywords like “Morocco,” “trekking,” or “holiday.” Keywords that are specific and detailed will more likely reach customers that are further along in their customer journey as well as those who are looking for your exact product or service.
Link building is the practice of getting a backlink or referral to your website on other relevant websites with high domain authority. A backlink to your website on a high traffic site signals to search engines the relevancy and value of your own website. For example, in a recent article on Travel + Leisure the Wanås Hotel was featured as a must-see cultural destination in Sweden with several backlinks to the Wanås Hotel’s website within the article. This backlink on a popular travel website signals to search engines that the Wanås Hotel website is not only a potential authority in travel but that it’s trustworthy. Search engine algorithms pay close attention to links from high authority sites like Travel + Leisure when determining metrics like trust, authority, and spam - key factors in search engine rank.
Link building is a critical step in growing your website’s traffic from search engines, not to mention it is an effective tool for getting in front of your customers off-site. Ask yourself: Where are your customers going for travel research? How can your brand and a backlink to your website be featured there?
Many travel brands and businesses don’t realize the connection between social media and SEO. Similar to link building with high domain authority websites, you can and should be implementing link building on social media. This means regularly sharing content from your website on your personal social media channels and getting backlinks to your website content on other authoritative social media channels. After all, social media sites are often more authoritative in search engines than some of the most popular travel websites.
Applying your new SEO strategy
Applying these three travel SEO practices will help to ensure that both search engines and your customers find you. With travelers using a multi-channel and multi-visit path to purchase, it’s important to appear everywhere your customer is searching for information. By understanding what your customers are searching for and where they are searching for it, you are well on your way to both standing out from your competition and connecting with your customer at the moment they are ready to book. The process may take time as you give your website a keyword overhaul and develop a consistent content and backlink strategy, but the results will guarantee consistent targeted traffic from potential customers.