Creating an SEO strategy for tourism & travel brands
2022 was a big year for the tourism and travel industry, especially after two years of reduced travel due to the pandemic. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), worldwide travel grew by 60% in 2022.
What is tourism SEO and why is it important?
Travel and tourism SEO is the process of bettering a brand’s website to increase its ability to rank on Google and other search engines. This can lead to increased traffic and conversions.
Tourism and travel are historically very competitive markets, which means it can be difficult to see a lot of traffic without a good SEO strategy in place.
Looking to 2023
Going into 2023, we are in a very different place than at the beginning of 2022. Many countries have opened their borders again, both for tourists and for their citizens to travel abroad. This in part led to the 60% boom in travel this year.
The EIU reports that worldwide travel is expected to rise by 30% in 2023, even with the ongoing cost of living crisis and economic uncertainty. Other experts have not been as optimistic, with the head of Trivago saying that many travel and tourism businesses will struggle early next year as travellers will have a smaller budget.
Travelers are predicted to go on holidays, but will choose shorter and closer trips in 2023, in line with their smaller budgets. The idea of going on holiday closer to home isn’t particularly new, with local holidays becoming popular during the pandemic. Workcations are also a popular choice, as there continue to be many people who work remotely.
All of these market conditions make it clear things will very different in 2023. It is likely that the market will become even more competitive, with travellers looking to spend less on their holidays. With a competitive market, it can be challenging to grab the attention of your potential customers to show them what you offer.
With a thought-out travel SEO strategy that takes the current market into account, you can increase the likelihood of your site ranking highly for your services. Let’s look at some ways you can create and tailor your SEO strategy to allow your travel business to soar.
Start with your site
Before diving into keyword research, it’s important to make sure your site is in good technical health. Looking at your site from a technical perspective involves ensuring there are no barriers to crawling, indexing, and rendering your site for Google or other search engines. Start off by doing a technical audit of your site. A few of the many areas to cover in a technical audit are:
- Core web vitals
- Duplicate content
- Page structure
- Hreflang implementation if your site is available in multiple languages
- Any directives that tell Google you don’t want a page indexed, which includes canonicalized URLs and NoIndex tags among others.
A technical audit will have issues of varying priority, depending on how much of an impact it has on the site, both for users and for search engines. Taking a holistic view of your site from a technical standpoint can help highlight any existing issues that should be addressed before diving into keyword research and optimizing your site.
How to target the right keywords
To start off, it’s a good idea to see what keywords you’re ranking for and which pages are ranking for those terms. This can be done through a tool like Google Search Console and a number of other third party search tools. Having this data can help you determine if your site has any keyword cannibalization and highlight any opportunities for pages that could benefit from additional keyword research.
The number one thing to keep in mind when doing keyword research is to keep the user in mind. Ask yourself whether a user would expect to see your page in the SERPs for a given keyword. What is the intent of their search and do you have a page answering the person’s query? If it isn’t answering the query, you likely shouldn’t be targeting that keyword. Alternatively, if the query is highly relevant, you could create content that answers the query.
When expanding your keyword footprint, it’s a good idea to do a competitor analysis. Have a look at your competitors’ websites and find the keywords they rank for. Also have a look at what pages of theirs rank for those keywords. Sort through these to find the relevant keywords for your travel or tourism business.
Once you’ve looked at what your competitors rank for, you can use these as a starting point for further keyword research. Exploring longtail keywords can be especially helpful for smaller travel and tourism companies, as they may have far less competition than short, highly-searched terms. Ranking highly for a lower search volume keyword can be much more beneficial than ranking lower for a highly searched term.
After you’ve come up with a list of keywords, it’s important to map a keyword to one individual page. Targeting a keyword on multiple pages can lead to keyword cannibalization, which can split authority between the pages, making it difficult for either page to rank individually.
Optimizing your pages and adding new content
Following the keyword mapping process, you can begin on-page optimizations for your site. This can involve a number of elements on your pages, including:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Internal linking
Again, when it comes to updating your pages, it’s very important to keep the user in mind. With Google’s Helpful Content Update, it’s important to create content that is high-quality and human-first. This means not using tactics that can be seen as spammy, such as keyword stuffing, and instead creating unique and valuable content for the user.
If you have a large number of pages, this means creating a lot of . This involves allocating the resources necessary to research, write, and implement any updates or new content you wish to create. You can create a priority list of pages you want to optimize based on the potential impact to help balance your resource availability.
Completing a technical analysis of your site and engaging in thoughtful keyword research helps create an SEO strategy for optimizing and creating additional content. With a well-implemented travel and tourism SEO strategy, it’s possible to see increased rankings and traffic, even in a tougher economic landscape.