It is known that SEO is essential for online travel businesses. What is lesser known is how you can tweak it to get better results and what are the rules of SEO that when followed ensure better conversions. SEO helps you present your online business to the right crowd at the right time, when the customers almost have their wallets out. The methods used in SEO like ensuring website code is W3C standards compliant, website code and images are optimized, URL structure is optimized, and so on not only ensure your website ranks well in the search results but also ensure your website remains healthy and loads faster, two things that again influence your rankings. So here is a list of the five rules of SEO for travel industry.
When users search for a trip on a travel website, they search with the service type and the location, meaning ‘flights to Dubai’ or ‘hotels in Mumbai’ and so on. The essence of SEO is to grab such searches and present the users with exact pages so they are more likely to buy from you.
• This can be done by –
o Keyword research – Researching for exact keywords that users are using to land on your website. For example, cheap flights to Munich, best hotels in Dubai, three star hotels in Paris, and so on. Once you understand the user search pattern, you can move to the next step, which is –
o Web page optimization – In this step, you optimize the individual web pages and its elements with the above keywords. The elements you have to optimize are – the title tag, the meta description, the heading tag, the body text, the images and additional header tags in the page if you are using any (like h2, h3 and so on).
o Setup optimized local profiles – After the second step, you can setup and optimize local profiles for your business on Google Pages, Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.
• SEO for travel industry is not that difficult, the essence is in catching people who are exactly searching for the product/service you are offering. These people are two steps closer to buying the service than people who do generic searches like ‘flights’ or ‘hotels’ and so on.
2.Structuring and indexing –
After you have optimized your web pages, it is time to optimize the URLs and structure at which the pages are accessible. You can start by creating proper directories/pages and giving them proper names.
Then, you can create an XML sitemap (a sitemap format readable by search engine robots) and submit the sitemap to Google. Once the sitemap is submitted, Google will crawl and start indexing each static and accessible page of your website. If you fail to create proper directories and sitemap, google might not find all pages on your pages and you might lose opportunities to rank on the search engine.
3. Producing relevant content –
Creating an SEO optimized site is just the first step, what matters more is developing a proper content strategy and producing unique and targeted content. The steps are –
o Research and create a plan with topics you can write on, like travel tips, most visited destinations, what not to miss in a city, descriptions and history of cities, countries, descriptions of hotels, and so on.
o Once you have this content ready, you have to link it internally in your website so when users land on these pages, they are directed to the booking pages.
o After this step, it is important that you market this content to the right people using marketing channels like emails, advertisements, social networks, and so on.
4. Building links –
Link building is an important ranking factor in the list of Google and perhaps one of the most important rules in the five rules of SEO for travel industry. It accounts for more than 40% of the total importance given to a page. Basically a link is like a vote given to your website from another website. Let’s take an example of an interview. When a candidate comes for an interview, the recommendations for him are considered after his resume and his performance. Recommendations play an important role as they different between two candidates. One with more recommendations means the people he has worked for have seen his work and vouch for him. A recommendation from a higher authority person matters more too. Similarly, websites that get links from higher authority sites rank higher in the search results than websites with no links. The process for link building is –
o Create a list of targets you want to reach out to.
o Create content for these targets and send outreach emails to bloggers, webmasters, etc.
o Follow up and get links from these targets.
o Some other link building methods are guest blogging, blog commenting, links from directories and so on.
5. Measuring your efforts –
As with any marketing campaign, analysing and measuring is an important role which not only sheds light on your achievements but also show you where you lack in terms of efforts so you can correct, re-think and re-implement your strategies to get better results. There are many analytics tools in the market like Adobe Omniture, Google Analytics and so on. Analysing allows you to create strategic plans of acquiring customers and rectifying your mistakes in the process.
An additional and bonus step is keeping yourself updated. It is important to follow leading people in the SEO industry and keep yourself updated with the latest advancements in this field. It is also important to keep revising your strategies with the updates and implement the required changes.
SEO is neither rocket-science nor snake-oil. Understanding and implementing SEO is not difficult and it offers more ROI than any other marketing channel (when done right). There are many tools and resources available on learning SEO. You can start with websites like www.moz.com, www.searchengineland.com and www.searchenginejournal.com
Did you like reading the five rules of SEO for travel industry? Do let us know your thoughts on this article by commenting in the comments section below or getting in touch with us on our social networking profiles.