Have you launched your travel site, but the visitor numbers are disappointing? Or maybe your web site has been up for a while and you need to get more converting visitors. Travel SEO is no different from any other search optimisation and Google recommends SEO for all websites to help them understand the information on the site.
I have worked with many travel websites since 2006 and the following are some of the issues I find, addressing these are the first steps to higher Google rankings.
Many websites don’t have the basics of SEO on their site completed; it is not something that can be generally left to web designers – although many are getting way better than a few years ago with the SEO for new websites.
After the Basics
Once the onsite SEO has been completed for most websites next is the marketing. There are a few options online for marketing:
- Google Adwords
- SEO Link Building
- Travel Blog
- Mail Lists
- Google+ and Local Business Places
Adwords is Google’s advertising platform and when used correctly it is a great way to bring sales and traffic to any business immediately. All Adwords budgets, I believe, should have a positive return within the first month. Adwords campaigns need to be tracked and monitored closely otherwise they can eat your budget without the desired outcomes.
Bidding on phrases that are too broad can lead to a lot of waste and you will find that the main converting terms are more expensive; e.g. words that contain “book” or “tour” for example. Making sure your quality score is high can help minimise the cost per click.
Use image adverts on placements. Placement are websites that display Google adverts, known on those sites as Adsense. You can chose which sites to advertise on or leave this option open and advertise on all of Google’s Display Network.
SEO Link Building
Travel SEO like any other niche require links; good quality and lots of links from other trusted sites is the main factor in ranking in Google still. Google does take account of user metrics especially bounce rate – but attracting links is the number one influencer on ranking.
Most travel websites will allow travel companies to guest blog. However keep the guest blogging to website that would send you traffic if Google did not exist. I run a travel blog and I am generally happy to have companies write and publish blog posts – however my experience to date is that they often contract out this work and offer me posts that are of very low quality. Writing on other websites should be as good as your own site.
I see some great company travel blogs, though most fail due to lack of quality and over promotion of their own products. Writing great helpful information or a travel blog is a great way to attract links from other travel blogs. Many blog posts on company sites are too short and recently I have asked companies to stop writing new posts and update the older evergreen content to more than 1,000 words and make them as helpful and knowledgeable as possible.
I consider a visitor that joins my mail list as a goal achieved on the site, my first point of conversion with that visitor. Mail lists convert better than any other medium online and lists need to be treated like the great source that they are. Make sure that the join form is highly visible and maybe have a discount or offer for joining your list. Keep the newsletters regular, I want people to know the company name and when they are interested in our product search directly for us and not a general search online. Another problem with irregular newsletters is complaints, people just forget that they signed up to your list.
In the travel niche it is fairly easy to pick up likes on Facebook, however I am always looking to convert these likes to my mail list and then to customers. The statistics on conversion directly from Facebook or any other social media platform is the lowest of the main traffic sources. There are various plugins that can add a newsletter signup button directly on Facebook, like Mailchimp. Mailchimp also helps you see what social media platforms your subscribers are active on.
I treat twitter much the same as Facebook, I would like the followers to be on my mail list as well as follow on twitter. However I do use social media tools to feed all my social media platforms with good relevant information.
Google+ and Local Business Places
There are not many people using Google+ as yet compared to Twitter and Facebook, however having a Google+ account and or community is essential.
This is the one social media platform that can influence your rankings in the search results, that alone is a good enough reason to use it. It is early for Google+ however Google is doing everything it can to push this platform and there are signs of it starting to be used more widely than just web professionals.
Google Local SEO is helpful for endorsements and listings in micro local searches, therefore it works best if you have more than one office location or are located in a large city.