In an industry where online business remains the key driver of growth, it’s more important than ever that travel agents and marketers have a great website to attract qualified search traffic. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the most important thing to know about if you’re looking to generate new leads and sales prospects.
In this article, we offer some travel-specific suggestions that will help you improve your search rankings and bring additional benefits: improved site traffic, increased conversion rates, and better user trust in your site.
Qualified site traffic: Keywords
Your next challenge is to enter the traveler’s mindset and figure out the kind of searches they will run. By identifying these phrases (keywords) and feeding them back into your on-page content, you can improve your chances of ranking for the things they are searching for.
Keywords are the bread-and-butter of any travel SEO strategy. If you’re able to offer users the service they’re looking for, you’ll put yourself in the running for sales. If you provide a specialized service that people regularly search for, then make sure you include keywords for this. Long-tail keywords are king here with less competition from industry giants and the specificity that will show users you really understand their needs.
Better conversion rates: Make it mobile-friendly
Since Google rolled out mobile-first indexing, one of the most important aspects of SEO has been designing sites that are user-friendly on any given device. This is still more important in the travel sector, where growth is mainly coming in the digital sphere. Online booking agencies generate 36 percent of their total bookings from mobile phone users.
To make your site mobile-friendly:
- Use responsive design, so that the page adapts to the screen size of the device it’s being viewed on.
- Do everything you can to minimize page load times. Optimize and compress images where possible. Avoid using Flash animation at all costs!
- Avoid excessive popups, small text, and small touch features. There’s nothing more annoying than having to constantly enlarge the screen or press a tiny button to access information.
Increased domain authority: Build links from authoritative travel sites
Link building is a vital part of SEO in any industry. But earning those coveted backlinks is still more important in the travel sector. Generating these links for your website shows Google that your site is a credible source of information and shows visitors that you have an established media profile, improving user trust. Reaching out to bloggers in your niche can be a good way of building some link equity for your website as well as getting some kudos. Reaching out to bloggers is always a two-way street. Offer them an outbound link from your site in exchange for the backlink you’re looking to gain.
If you’re doing something new and different, you should also reach out to travel journalists in this way. Think of social media, as well as the traditional avenues. The gold standard of travel link building is getting inbound shares from national newspaper travel sections such as Guardian Travel. Sometimes overworked journalists are just looking for some content to publish. One tried and tested method of improving SEO has been via press releases, sent out to major publications, and including a link to your homepage.
Like global travel, SEO can take you anywhere, and these three tips offer just a couple of useful points of departure. It will always take time for your pages to rank higher, so be patient. You often book months before you make your journey, but the end result is always worth it.