This is an article ‘How to boost your travel website traffic with effective SEO’ by Marc Primo Warren
The competition is fierce when it comes to the travel industry. With hundreds of websites vying for the attention of potential customers, it can be difficult for one brand to stand out and attract a hearty slice of the audience pie. As with many industries today, one of the most cost-efficient solutions to this problem is search engine optimization (SEO). The simple upgrade of optimizing your website can lead your brand to a higher ranking on search results and make you a top-of-mind brand in no time. Of course, there are many focused campaigns to improve your website's visibility on search engines, but the main gist is that if you can increase your online traffic, that means you can reach more potential customers for higher profit.
As any seasoned marketer would know, one of the most critical components of SEO is keyword research. This practice involves identifying the keywords and phrases that potential tourists and guests use to search for travel-related information. By understanding what travelers are searching for, travel websites can optimize their content to include these keywords and phrases, making it more likely that their website will be returned in SERPs when those eager to fly search for these terms.
Let's take a deep dive into how you can boost your travel website and gain a significant slice of this $800 billion industry.
Why it's essential to take the top rank
The importance of search engine rankings should always be considered in the tourism business. The niche industry of tech travel is poised to adopt cryptocurrencies and blockchain into the mix of its campaigns to realize an estimated worth of $12.5 billion by 2026. With most internet users relying on search engines like Google to find information, any travel website must rank high in the search results. TripAdvisor recently reported that 52% of travelers from the US spend precious time researching travel recommendations over all other factors involved in the booking process. Surprisingly, a higher 55% of those across the pond in the UK feel the same way.
Let's continue crunching the numbers. According to a recent study by Advanced Web Ranking, the first page of Google search results receives 95% of all clicks. This figure means that if your travel website doesn't appear on the first page, you're missing out on many potential customers.
Every consumer platform's content updates are becoming a game-changer for businesses that rely on search engine visibility. The update focuses on ensuring that the content suggested and ranking is based on topics created for human interest and not just for the appreciation of search engine algorithms. This is excellent news for companies involved in tourism. Such insights let us know that if you create high-quality, informative, and user-friendly content, your website is more likely to rank well in the search engine results.
The keys to unlocking better engagement from travelers
Ask any marketer, and you'll get one answer regarding the primary key that unlocks better engagement– keywords. No pun intended there, but the fact is that tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs have become instrumental for companies across the board to gain traction on social media platforms. These tools can help to identify the search volume, competition, and trends for specific keywords, which means you get a better insight into what travelers are concerned about or talking about online. Travel websites can then use this information to optimize their websites' content, meta tags, and other on-page elements to target the keywords that are most relevant to travelers.
Additionally, Google's BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) update that rolled out back in October 2019, which helps Google understand the language used by people and make more accurate search results, has become a factor in influencing travelers to make a booking. Search engine algorithms are now more intelligent in understanding the intent behind every search query so that they can return more relevant and exact results. How many factors do you consider when you're planning to travel?
Tell the right stories
So you have the keywords that matter to travelers. Another matter is how you use them to tell stories that interest travelers.
Your travel website must focus on creating high-quality, informative content that addresses pain points, recommends top destinations, or offers the best deals to strike a chord with any traveler persona. Remember, Google's algorithms prioritize websites that provide valuable and relevant information to users. If you can create content that is useful and engaging for your identified traveler persons, then it's easier to attract more visitors and establish yourself as a credible and trustworthy source of information.
For example, if you advertise eco-friendly and sustainable rental homes, highlight exclusive features from your rentals that reduce a traveler's carbon footprint or how a home uses solar power energy. If you showcase pet-friendly vacation houses, then enumerate the benefits of how going on vacation with four-legged friends can add to the enjoyment of a family holiday.
Once you can get your content management engine running, consider building backlinks. These links from other websites point to your landing pages to make them more credible or increase your chances of ranking higher on search engine results pages. These links serve as a "vote of confidence" for the website, indicating to Google's algorithms that the website is reputable and valuable. In a nutshell, backlinks help improve your website's visibility and credibility.
To build backlinks, optimize your website to engage in link-building strategies such as guest blogging, broken link building, influencer content, and link reclamation. As most marketers do, you can leverage social media, especially if you have influencers to drive your brand to a broader audience, plus other tactics that can promote your landing pages and attract additional backlinks from reputable sites.
Having a responsive and mobile-friendly website is also crucial to boost your travel website's chances of ranking. Half of the people who have smartphones browse the internet for products, not to mention that Google has stated that mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor. That means that travel websites optimized for mobile devices will have a better advantage over those that need to optimize their sites to be mobile-friendly.
Most travel websites use structured data to propel their visibility online. Structured data is a type of code that can be added to a website to help search engines understand the content on the website. You may include prices, reviews, and ratings for the users' appreciation. By using structured data, travel websites can make it easier for search engines to understand the content on their website, which can lead to increased visibility in SERPs and give users better experiences when they book online.
Lastly, you must monitor your landing pages' performance and tweak for improvements when necessary. Include tracking your website traffic, analyzing bounce rates, and monitoring search engine rankings. By monitoring these metrics, you can gain valuable insights to develop better content and user experience and improve your online traction as you launch more campaigns.