Competition within the travel industry is ever increasing, and you can bet that travel sites are fighting harder than ever to get discovered, too. With constantly changing consumer trends, price wars between carriers, and Google updates, travel SEO has become its own niche in the SEO world. Aside from the usual SEO tips, here are some unique things you should be doing for travel SEO to swim above the rest.
Focus on optimizing for searches and conversions on both mobile and desktops
Search engines are one of the top sources of travel inspiration; they help people choose their holiday destinations, means of getting there, accommodations, and so forth. It’s true that the majority of people do their primary travel research online, and the overall shift towards mobile brought in an additional 50% growth in travel-related mobile searches in just the past year.
While the trend is increasingly seeing customers turn to their phones to browse for ideas and compare companies, the actual conversion still mainly happens via the computer. That’s because smartphones are largely used as travel inspiration during life’s spare moments, such as while waiting in line. However, due to the overwhelming growth of mobile usage overall, it’s likely that in the future, mobile bookings will play a bigger part in the industry.
How to optimize for mobile:
Create a mobile-friendly website
This seems obvious, but still too often, searchers are forced to view what is supposed to be a desktop screen on their smartphones. Given the especially competitive nature of the travel industry and the vast amount of choices, you can bet that your visitor will forgo your site if it’s not easy to navigate. Once it’s mobile friendly, give your website a boost by implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which significantly increases page load speeds and enhances user experience.
Optimize for local searches
Phrases including ‘near me’ are extremely popular with searchers. If they want to search for good food, they might type in ‘restaurants near me’. Therefore, it’s important that you create local citations for your business so that you may rank well locally.
Focus on Google Destinations…now!
Google recently launched Destinations, an update on the mobile search that displays a comprehensive itinerary for searchers when they add “destination” or “vacation” to the end of their keyword. Recommended itineraries, flights, hotels… Destinations have it all. Its results are bundled together from Google Flights and Google’s hotel search.
This marks the first time that Google has launched an update on mobile before desktop, which goes to show that search engines are betting on more consumers going mobile. Although new, it’s important to consider Destinations when doing travel SEO. It’s speculated that users’ search histories heavily affects the results for Destinations, with more results being tailored to what they’ve searched previously.
How to optimize for desktops
Create Effective Landing Pages
Since desktops are the most popular booking platform for the travel industry right now, you’ll want your landing pages to be focused on getting customers to buy. This means creating strong landing pages with powerful headlines and bold call to actions. Your page must clearly communicate on the value of your business; this means getting rid of any unnecessary information as well. Finally, ensure that the layout of your landing page makes sense and is easy to navigate for users.
Focus on On-Page-Optimization
Everything from your internal links to your robots.txt file must be tailored throughout your site to rank higher. If not done properly, it can confuse robots and hinder searchers from discovering your site. Thankfully, with Positionly’s On-Page-Optimization feature and the guide to everything regarding On-Page-Optimization in Positionly University, you can learn and implement everything on your site easily!
Do continuous A/B testing
Finally, remember that there is no such thing as a perfect landing page. There can always be improvements, so you’ll want to be constantly testing different variables on landing pages to see what triggers the greatest conversion. Always focus on monitoring your results, and making improvements to your landing page. Conversions can be influenced by factors as little as what color a button is, where the price is displayed, etc. This is a long-term commitment, but it’s worth it.
Monitor your reviews
All the major travel sites today contain a review section, and 42% of people rely on review sites when researching. Good reviews may not only boost your position in search engines but since people tend to trust other people, reviews heavily affect a traveller’s decision. To get good reviews means to provide an excellent product or service. Of course, that doesn’t happen 100% of the time, and bad experiences are likely to evoke bad reviews.
It’s very important in travel SEO to protect reputations, and keep an eye out for your reviews – both good and bad. The best way for you to keep an eye on this is to get Google Alerts that notifies you each time reviews are given about your travel company. Kindly thank the positive reviews and move quickly to remediate bad comments by politely responding to them and explaining them away, if possible. At the very least, this shows readers that your business cares about pleasing customers.
Focus on getting into the ‘top’ lists of the best travel websites
Often, travellers will have a vague idea of where they want to go, and they will turn to Google to narrow down their destination. We know that many people browse different options before making a decision. Therefore, focus some of your efforts in finding ‘top’ lists that are relevant for your tourism business, and get your website in there!
For example, they may know they want to visit an island but are not sure which one, so the term ‘best islands to visit’ is searched. Here are the top results:
If you are representing tourism for, say, Santorini, and you see that Santorini made the list for TripAdvisor’s list of Best Islands in the World, take that as an opportunity to get a link to your site in there by using our email outreach techniques.
Essentially, this is a way to get your business into the first result without the SEO work! Reaching out to webmasters may be daunting, but it is much, much easier than getting onto one of those 10 coveted spots on the first page.
Develop a comprehensive social media strategy
Social media is a vital component to travellers for their travel research as it serves as a huge inspiration source. Beautiful, engaging photos may even spark that initial desire for people to start thinking about and planning their vacation. Furthermore, 76% of people post their vacation photos on Facebook; think of this as an additional endorsement for your travel business even after their trip is over. A trust-earned endorsement like this is extremely valuable since 92% of customers value this over any other advertising method.
Take a look at this great infographic for ideas on how to engage with consumers on your Facebook, Twitter, and many more platforms.
Enjoy your SEO journey!
Since travel SEO plays a large part in getting discovered by consumers, it’s important to invest resources into getting great search rankings to get better visibility. Then, focus on creating effective landing pages to create that conversion. Ensure that you are focused on optimizing your website between all screens to capture consumers at every stage of their planning.
Hope these tips will help your travel business reach the dream destination: the number one spot in the SERPs!