In this modern day and age, things move faster and spread further online. A key component of your online presence and reputation is the efficient use of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques.
Vacation and travel-related searches dominate the internet, especially Google. Statistics show that organic Google searches account for more than 40% of travel brands’ online traffic. In the same study, organic Google search results also amount to almost half of travel brands’ revenue.
There definitely is money to be made in online searches, and travel brands put SEO on their list of top priorities. Slightly increasing their search engine placement could very well mean a few million dollars in revenue. A good SEO campaign can really give you the edge on other sites within your niche.
Travel sites – such as TripAdvisor, Booking, Airbnb, and Travelocity – are giants in the industry, and employ the best SEO talent to run their websites and digital marketing campaigns. Looking at their sites will give you a glimpse of how multi-million dollar companies structure their sites and content.
But a quick glance at their sites will show one thing; these juggernauts still employ traditional SEO practices. These techniques may look ancient and outdated to the newcomer, but if they’re keeping it, then it probably works.
Here, we look at the SEO practices that these organisations employ, focusing on the basic principles relevant not only to the companies with dedicated SEO budgets but also to small, budding sites.
Basic SEO Practices
Here are some SEO practices adopted by the biggest travel brands in the world, that won’t break the bank.
The homepage is an essential part of your site, but many overlook or underestimate the power of a search engine-optimised home page, using it as nothing more than a portal page.
For most sites that generate clicks and views, or for those that prioritise organic searches, then your homepage can’t be satisfactory. It must go above and beyond.
When talking about content, your homepage should include a few essential things, such as deals and offers, images, information about your business, and links for better site navigation.
In terms of SEO, spice it up with keyword-rich text and words that give signals to Google – without overusing your main keyword of course. Keyword stuffing, although popular in the early days of SEO, is a big no-no nowadays.
The homepage description is just as important because it may show up when users search for your domain. Make sure that it satisfies both the user intent and search engine optimisation.
Destination Landing Pages
Destination landing pages are a great way to add value to your site and improve your search ranking. Having dedicated landing pages will give you opportunities to insert more target keywords into your page and create content centered around them.
For example, if you are a travel site offering tours, then create pages and content featuring the different places where you offer tour packages, then link these pages to your home page, As it’s the most visited page of your site and therefore has the most SEO weight, people will click and see it more than a few times in the navigation of your site.
One strong example of this is Travelocity’s home page. Go through their home page and see how aggressively they incorporate links.
Maintain Good Page Loading Speed
A survey shows that 4 out of 10 visitors will leave a website if it does not load within three seconds.
Make sure your site has compressed pages and, very importantly, that includes looking into images and even videos. A big problem is that, many times, these images and videos are not compressed, causing the page to load so slowly and creating a bad user experience.
Compress your images and videos with a free, open-source image and video compressing software.
Lastly, make sure your images have alt texts. Alt texts are keywords that help search engines identify images, and this helps as images do rank too.
Appropriate Title Tags
Title tags are basic, but a powerful and controllable part of SEO. They are one of the most critical elements for A/B testing for SEO because you can test using a large number of samples at once. Title tags also positively impact click-through rates rankings.
Do not overlook title tags. They are simple enough to implement and produce concrete results.
There is a practice in broadcasting known as tent-poling. This is putting the weaker TV programs in between the stronger ones. The same goes for content, you need to have cornerstone content, the longer, more important ones that offer great information.
For example, KAYAK,a travel search site, took the time to write information-rich content on their site and recently there has been an upward surge in organic traffic.
You can then link stronger pages to your weaker pages. If huge websites can write articles and blog posts rich with valuable information, then so can newer startups.
Discussions about footer links are mostly mixed. Some managers fear that footers are largely ignored by Google, while others say that it’s an excellent way to ensure that your pages are linked.
Huge sites can benefit well from footer links because they have link equity, meaning they can pass authority from one page to another. Smaller brands would be better off to have smaller footer links for visibility, and then just link main pages contextually.
There are up and coming trends in digital marketing, but these basic SEO practices used by even the most extensive travel brands prove that even the largest firms apply the basics. With over a trillion dollars industry outlook, travel brands strive to drive just about any traffic to their site.
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