TRAVEL SEO- THE ULTIMATE GUIDE

Today’s generation is not about walking to a brick-and-mortar travel industry for booking any tour packages. Instead, everyone follows search engines such as Google, Bing, and many more.

Once a query is requested by the traveler, being a huge repository, the search engine creates a platform covering the entire online travel agency.

Search Engine Optimization for your travel Industry is normally a method of creating your travel website to attract both travelers and search engines. Before you begin with your travel SEO strategy, first you need to understand the interest and intention of the travelers. This is the reason, search engines always provide user-centric results.

In this article, we will cover the importance of travel website SEO, apart from this,  we have assembled a list of areas you need to focus on and implement smart and ethical SEO tactics.

You will get to know, how you can increase sales and bookings from your travel website? The travel SEO guide will give you the perfect answer as, how can you assure a steady growth of your travel business?

Well, Travel SEO, is not based on any kind of theory, instead used to describe various steps that you can follow to optimize your travel website for search engines.

Here, is everything that you need to know about travel SEO. By implementing the strategies mentioned, you can learn how to increase your website traffic and conversions of a travel website with perfect research studies.

Kickstart your journey towards travel SEO with this ultimate guide.

Why is travel SEO important? (Image to be designed with the Headline “Why SEO is important for Travel Industry”)

If you own a  travel website and are completely new to Digital Marketing and SEO, the first thing you need to understand, why travel SEO is important for your business success and what are the benefits of SEO in travel web marketing.

Let’s begin with a quick introduction to SEO and considering the purpose of SEO. Why travel business owners should care about SEO?

#1 – Generating more leads from search engines

The main aim of SEO is to help your website rank high in the search engine result pages (SERPS) for relevant keywords to your business. Let’s say, for instance, when a user types “rent a villa in Chicago”, in Google, then the websites that are optimized for SEO, more likely to appear first in the results. This clearly leads to more qualified leads for the website.

As per the research by Google on the behavior of “ Travelers”, displaying that a large percentage of people start their booking and travel process through search engines.

So, now it is clear that, if your website is not ranking high for your business keywords, then it is sure to lose a large percentage of your potential customers to competitors.

An interesting thing about this is, despite the fact that there are various bigger brands such as tripadvisor.com, airbnb.com, booking.com, the user still goes for the search engines when they are ready to start their tour plans. 

# 2 – Cost-effective as compared to the next best alternative (PPC)

The travel websites cannot appear in the top results if they don’t practice SEO strategies but, they can still get the traffic from those searches with the help of PPC and in particular Google AdWords.

It is an ideal strategy and AdWords is one of the best ways to get a larger targeted audience to your website very quickly. But in long run, it is not cost-effective as compared to SEO. 

Here’s Why?

In the case of SEO, once you have achieved good rankings the targeted traffic will be continuous but, on the other hand, once you stop advertising with Google AdWords, traffic will eventually decrease. Not only that, you will have to pay few dollars per click, for every visit you get from AdWords. 

It can also decrease your traffic and lower your conversion rates as per your daily budget. It’s not that, SEO is not less expensive, but in long term, it is a better investment.

#3 – SEO can assure your business growth

Have you ever imagined, how many leads/bookings you could achieve, if 1000+ people visiting your website every day? And how it can affect your business plans?

However, a continuous flow of required traffic can really generate opportunities for your business growth and completely transform your business that otherwise could not be possible.

Although we have always said that, nothing is assured in Digital Marketing and SEO,  getting high rankings in a perfect way can make a huge difference for travel businesses.

How to SEO your Travel Website?

Now, that you are aware of the importance of a travel website SEO, let’s get into the details regarding ways to optimize your travel website for search engines.

#1 – Local SEO

Local SEO comes first on our list. It is a method of optimizing your website so that it is showed at the time when people search for your location, or even searching through mobile being in the location, that is close to your physical business address.

Here are few things to be followed in order to make your business listed in the local SEO results:

  • The first step is to create a Google My Business account followed by verification of your business address.
  • Once you have created your Business account, complete your business profile with accurate contact details, photos, descriptions, and all other information required for your business.
  • Include schema information on your homepage.
  • Include your local address on your homepage.
  • Optimize your h1 tags, page titles, and descriptions correctly to reference your location.
  • Obtain good-quality links from highly trusted sites and other local websites.
  • Make sure your profile information such as business name, address, and contact number is the same across all channels like local directories, google maps, social media pages, and your website. 

The list mentioned above, might not be complete but it’s enough for you to get started.

Note: General SEO practices, can have maximum effect on Local SEO.

#2 – Homepage SEO

The homepage is the most important page for all types of websites but when it comes to travel websites, it’s even more crucial.

Your homepage should include the following things in terms of content:

  • Appealing photos of your properties
  • Good photos of happy people on the holiday trip
  • Most popular properties
  • About special deals or offers
  • Most popular content from your blog
  • Few words about your business and why your properties and services are different and best from the rest.
  • An easy way for the  visitors so that it would not be tough for them while searching properties (either by type, area, facilities, or cost)

The homepage should give various signals to Google in terms of SEO, about the areas of operation (location of properties) and nature of the business.

To make it more clear, let’s say, for example, you have a travel website displaying various holiday villas for rent in Chicago. Now, your home page title should reflect this. Here is an example of a good SEO title would be: “Exclusive Holiday Villas in Chicago “

Not to forget about the home page description as it is equally important, since it may display in Google results when users search for your domain. The description should be SEO-friendly and attractive.

The following can be an ideal example of a good homepage description:

Beautiful Villas for Rent in the beautiful place in Chicago”. Browse our collection of exclusive villas and get discounts for early bookings.

Apart from the title and description, you should definitely need to make sure that you have included schema information on your page with the perfect address and other contact details.

#3 – SEO for Destination Pages

A travel website with a good structure has the following characteristics:

  • For each City/ State, it has a dedicated landing page where the particular properties are located.
  • It also has a dedicated landing page for each specific area.
  • There is an optimized page for each property.

But in the case of WordPress, then most probably your ‘City / State’ and ‘Specific Area’ pages will be of several categories (archive pages). Make sure that these “‘destination pages’ are SEO optimized, besides the type of platform.

This means that it should have unique content, proper H1 tags, have unique titles, and should be included in the sitemap submitted to Google, and also display the properties available for the particular area.

NOTE: The page URL should be given special attention. The URL should also include the destination for maximum optimization.Destination Pages SEO Example

#4 – SEO for Property Pages

Next on the list comes Property Pages. The main aim of a property page is to give more information about the particular property to potential customers and convert them by completing an online booking or by either submitting a contact form.

A good property page should have the  following items:

  • Detailed information regarding the property including the number of people it can accommodate
  • Image gallery having good quality photos
  • A map showing the perfect location of the property
  • Services and Facilities Offered
  • Rates and Availability calendar
  • User Reviews
  • Contact details
  • Live Chat
  • Call to Action –Book now button or  Inquiry

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Property Page should include the following in terms of SEO: 

Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs of a property page should be at the topmost page providing search engines and users an ideal way to go back to the “Area Pages”.

Informative and Unique  titles

This part can be a little bit complex if you possess properties of similar types on your website. It is very important for you to characterize each property that is unique and different from the rest when you are crafting the title of the property.

Never mention the general location in the title but it should be specific and clear about your property.

Page Content

Page Content should be unique on your property page. Content duplication is the most common problem with travel websites. The main reason for this is the listing of property on more than one website.

In order to increase the chances of bookings, property owners list their properties on several websites. Normally, they do this by using the same content everywhere. This is a problem for small websites but not an issue for big websites such as TripAdvisor, Airbnb, or booking.com.

You need to differentiate your content as much as possible for better user experience and SEO purposes. An ideal way of doing this is to describe your property features like a story instead of stating the facts that might be already published on other websites as well. 

Like if we take the example here, considering this standard information:

“The property is located 20km from Rome Airport and has 3 bedrooms and ….”

Now, consider this ‘story like’ an introduction:

“You are only 10 minutes away from a memorable holiday trip in Italy, once you arrive at the airport and  a 3-bedroom luxury villa is waiting….”

There are other things that should be kept into consideration apart from content uniqueness. They are :

Content in Tabs

It might be quite normal if TABS are used in your pages in order to organize them better, but it is also important to note that, Google may give less value or may ignore that particular content.

If the content in a tab is generated dynamically which means users, have to click on the tab to activate the generation of the content, then, in this case, it is completely ignored.

If you want your page to be more optimized, do not include important content in the tabs. You can definitely use them, but make sure not to keep your most valuable content visible all the time for Google and users.

 User Reviews and Ratings

User reviews and ratings are some of the most important factors affecting conversions(bookings) in the travel industry.  This means the following three things for the owner of a travel website or blog:

1st – You need to focus on showing the reviews and ratings related to your properties. How you can achieve this is a different story, but yes good reviews by users do make a difference.

2nd – You need to include schema information so that Google might show them in the search results.

3rd – Lastly, make sure your reviews and ratings are visible on the page and not in a TAB.

#5 – Technical SEO

Despite the above factors, you must always keep one thing in mind that, technical SEO practices for Travel websites are always important. 

For example, things like mobile-friendliness, correct use of canonical URLs, page speed, the 404 pages, sitemaps, paging, correct configuration of Google Webmaster Tools, optimization of images and videos, correct implementation of multi-language websites, and lots more that are necessary for a fully optimized travel website.

#6 – Social SEO

Well, in the SEO industry it is strongly believed that even though social signals do not directly affect the rankings, but they can definitely help in a number of indirect ways.

It is crucial for a travel website to have an active social presence in order to increase its sales. The following points can explain better:

  • Everyone including the majority of potential customers spends their maximum time on social media platforms on a daily basis.
  • A topic like Travel is visual and considered to be highly suitable for social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
  • The social media platform is an ideal way to get in touch with other bloggers in your sector.
  • People might visit your Facebook page to check the reviews regarding your company before booking anything. This helps the user to get an idea about the experience of your existing customer’s and definitely, you never want them to visit a page that is empty or not updated.

Best Social SEO practices for travel websites

  • Start by creating your business accounts on all major social media platforms such as  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and make sure that your social media profile is SEO optimized.
  • Create a fan page for your Facebook business page that is good enough for the viewers.
  • Update your social profile and post regularly on your social media pages. It’s not mandatory that the posts you add should always belong to your website, but can be the content relating to travel tips, interesting things to know about your destinations, things to do in your destinations.

This content might not be promotional for your travel website but readers may find it interesting to read and share.

  • Keep monitoring the brands that you have mentioned in all the networks and make sure that you reply to each comment whether it is good or bad.
  • Keep the track record of your destinations that are mentioned and try to engage in discussions. Answer all the related questions without being over promotional or pushy. 
  • Assign a monthly budget used for Facebook promotion like any blog posts or promoting your properties.
  • Check that the page that you are sharing from your website is displayed with a good photo, title, and description correctly on social media networks. 

#7 – Link building

There is nothing like avoiding this point when we are talking about the promotion of a travel website which is of course a highly competitive industry. An off-page SEO technique is one of the most effective ranking factors and high-quality incoming links are essential to achieve high rankings.

How can you get links that are important for your travel website?

Link building is something that can be tough to perform but very important for your travel website. As it is complicated and time-consuming, so you should be careful and not go the easy way to get links from low-quality websites (even if they are related to your website).

Not following this, can risk damaging your domain’s reputation in front of Google, which is not good for your business in the long run. 

Press releases – Press releases are very useful and the Travel industry is one of the few niches that follow this necessary factor. Travel journalists and reporters look for various press releases to find the deals and destinations to offer their readers.

It can be observed quite often, that your website and properties are listed in big travel portals if you have good offers and besides the free publicity, this is even good for SEO.

Refer (links) from travel review websites and portals – In addition to the press releases, you can also get in touch with the travel bloggers and journalists on Facebook or Twitter and give them incentives to visit your website.

For making connections we are not referring to send them a message asking for a link but trying to have a conversation with them.  You can try by sending them an exclusive offer for their readers or inviting them to your properties.

As we have already mentioned that it’s time-consuming, so to make this happen you need to think outside the box but when it does the benefits, that are valuable for SEO.

Make use of the easiest form of link building Internal links

Even though internal linking belongs to on-page SEO, we have included this topic here, to highlight it more. Internal links are helpful for your Travel website in several ways.

Internal links are used by Google to discover more pages from your website and understand them better. On the other hand, users can click on internal links to visit another page or find out more about a topic.

While adding internal links you can use the keywords as the link anchor text without any fear. Google will not penalize your website for using the keywords, unlike external links. Instead, they encourage you to perform this, since it helps them to know what the linking page is about.

#8 – The importance of a travel blog

(Source: MassimoVillas.com)

As mentioned above, that travel is a visual topic and people love to see pictures of properties and destinations. This gives them a basic idea about that particular location and makes an ideal decision about where to spend their holidays.  

Travel is not only visual but also an experience. Blogging and content marketing is the best way to share the experiences and build expectations on the experience of the travel company offering to potential travelers.

Let’s say, you have followed all the steps correctly that are mentioned above. Now everything is ok with your travel website and it is well-optimized. You have increased high rankings and traffic but at one point,  you want better rankings and more traffic. Now, what you should do? The answer is content marketing.

Why Travel blog is important for your website?

Here are the benefits of having a  well-organized travel blog: 

● Blogging is the best way to keep your social media pages fresh by providing good material.

● It is an ideal way to create internal links to your property pages.

● Blogging can give practical travel information and tips to your users and can educate them on other useful topics.

●      It’s a better way to convince users by posting images, videos, and guides on things to see, what to do, things to try, etc. so that they visit your target destinations.

●      Blogging is helpful in giving Google bots incentives to re-visit your website and index your new pages on a regular basis.

  • It’s the best method to attract high-quality links from other websites/bloggers.
  • Through blogging, you are able to show your potential customers that you are not only interested in booking services but also concern about their travel experience. In fact, you are doing everything to build a good relationship with your customers. 
  • Last but not the least, blogging can help you make lots of money by promoting other’s people services on a commission.

What can you post in your travel blog?

The travel industry has lots of topics you can use in your blog. Here are some blog post ideas:

  • Places to visit during your holidays in a particular area.
  • Useful and Informative travel tips
  • Activities to include in your holidays.
  • Local guides especially regarding the place to visit at night and where to eat.
  • Special guides for large groups and young people. 
  • Events that are worth visiting.
  • Best beaches you can enjoy in your destinations.

What are the common mistakes related to Travel SEO?

Unfortunately, there are many travel websites that do not follow the above steps to achieve their potential customers. But they tend to make certain mistakes that lead to losing rankings and traffic. Here are the most common Travel SEO mistakes:

Not using an SEO-friendly platform

This is the first mistake that has been noticed in the past couple of years.  You can find various booking platforms offering many good features for travel agents but when it comes to SEO they are awful.

It is important to look for a platform that is SEO friendly and not only focuses on the features that are related to bookings. So make sure to choose the platform that is beneficial in terms of getting high rankings and traffic.

The bottom line is you want a website that helps in generating bookings through SEO rather than a website that has no chance of achieving good rankings required for your business keywords in spite of having a good backend system.  

Duplicate content issues

Make sure that your property pages are unique that are published on your website Using the content that is already published is of no use and uninteresting for the users and bad practice as well.

It also syndicates your content on other bigger websites without taking useful measures which are again not considered a good practice.

No Social Media Presence – Social media marketing is necessary to promote your brand name even if it might not directly help in generating bookings.

Not connecting with customers – Avoiding customers’ comments and reviews and not responding to their messages can hamper your brand reputation in long run.

Important Travel SEO tips

The following points to be remembered about travel SEO:

  • Optimize your Travel website for Google maps and Local SEO. It is more likely that Google will display your business on top of organic results and Google if you follow all the steps correctly.
  • Optimize your home page for the keywords that are mostly linked to your target locations.
  • Make sure your ‘destination pages’ are optimized by giving attention to the page titles, descriptions, and content.
  • Content of your property pages should be unique, informative, and interesting.
  • Do not use the important content in TABS.
  • Take the advantage of Social media marketing and social media. Create an active profile on all social media platforms.
  • Get in touch with travel journalists and travel bloggers through press releases or personal connections.
  • Your website should be mobile-friendly. 
  • Your travel website should be secured (HTTPS). 
  • Make sure your website page loads fast.
  • While selecting a platform for your travel business, check for its SEO friendliness and not only focus on the business features.

Final Thoughts:

There are countless other factors that you can include in your travel SEO strategies,  but we strongly recommend you follow the above steps correctly. You can reach your target location and achieve the high rankings necessary for your business growth.

Make sure to avoid duplicate content on your website and it should be user-friendly as well. Hope the above article has helped you in understanding the basic requirements regarding a successful SEO strategy for your travel website.

If you’re interested to know more about us and the online marketing strategies that can power up your content marketing, feel free to call us at … 

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