seo-for-travel-websites by ilovegoogle


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SEO fOr TravEl & HOSpiTaliTy induSTry

                        Search Engine Optimisation or
                        SEO is essential for the market-
                        ing of one’s travel business or
                        destination. learn some smart
                        tips how to attract the search-
                        ers to your website.
                            PROFESSIONAL   s eo f or Tr a v e l & h os pi t a l i t y Indus t r y

          seo Is a JouRney,                  Over the years, I've worked with many clients
                                             of all sizes and shapes. Many have been busi-
                                             nesses that need help with their internet pres-
                                             ence and ongoing internet strategy.
          noT a desTInaTIon                    when the discussion turns to SEO, one of the
                                             most common misperceptions many clients
                                             have is that SEO is a destination; that you can
                                             do a few things and you'll reach the pot of gold
                                             at the end of the rainbow.
                                               This is embodied in questions that might be
                                             familiar to you:
                                               "How long will it take to optimize my site?"
                                               "How much would you charge to get me a
                                             top 10 ranking on google?"
                                               "can you help me revise my copy with key-
                                             words for SEO?"
                                               Inevitably, I have to break the bad news to
                                             the client: SEO isn't that simple.
                                               Sure there are SEO-related tasks that, for
                                             smaller clients, are usually one-off projects,
                                             from creating a good information architecture
                                             to developing optimal link structures to mak-
                                             ing sure that page markup is search engine
                                             friendly. But this is the easy stuff and it's just
                                             the beginning.
                                               unfortunately, I've come face to face the
                                             reality that there are a lot of people out there
                                             who don't know this. And frankly, that's often
                                             because the people they hire to help them
                                             with SEO aren't telling them.
                                               I've worked on a number of consulting proj-
                                             ects so far this year in which the client has
                                             retained the services of an 'SEO person'. Even
                                             though I don't provide SEO services to clients
                                             these days, I like talking SEO because I have
                                             been doing it for years with my own websites.
                                               Here are just a few of the things that some
                                             of my recent clients have been led to believe:

March, 2012            — 16 —
                                                                                   PROFESSIONAL             s eo f or Tr a v e l & h os pi t a l i t y Indus t r y

  “copy should be written specifically for SEO.”      Invariably, few of the clients I've dealt with
  “Including a list of keywords in page footer     lately who have retained the services of SEO
text is very important.”                           consultants had been told that SEO was an
  “Building a network of sites that all link to    ongoing process and that, outside of the struc-
each other can help boost your SERPs.”             tural components of SEO a good content man-
                                                   agement system and webmaster can easily
  “Adding a blog to your site will boost your      take care of, there really is no 'destination'.
                                                      Instead, it's the journey – producing valuable,
  “Splogging is a great way to create up lots of   authoritative information and getting other sites
pages for google to index.”                        with authority to link to it – that makes all the
  Most of this is hogwash. copy should be writ-    difference when it comes to SEO. unfortunately,
ten for humans. Adding a list of keywords in       if what I've seen lately is any indication, there
the footer of each page is not going to work       are still a lot of hit-and-run, self-proclaimed SEO
SEO wonders. Setting up a network of sites         consultants out there selling a one-way trip to a
solely for SEO purposes is a waste of time and     place called SEO disappointment.
money. while google loves blogs, it's about the
content, not the mere presence of a blog. And      By Patricio Robles (Patricio Robles is a tech reporter
splogging is far more likely to get you removed    at Econsultancy)
from google's index than it is to get you worth-   Source:
while SERPs.

March, 2012                                                             — 17 —
                                                                                   PROFESSIONAL           s eo f or Tr a v e l & h os pi t a l i t y Indus t r y

             TIps foR suCCessful VIdeo seo
            In TRaVel and TouRIsM IndusTRy
In search engine marketing, travel business is      SEO strategy for travel and hospitality busi-           broadcast on the webpage with the video.
a well known category which is vast and highly      nesses.
diversified. There is also enormous competi-          In case you decide to promote your travel
tion in online marketing ranging from bookings      or destination services by yourself, Tourism              video clips should be 3-5 min. long. One of
of flights to hotel reservations. It is estimated   Review video SEO experts prepared a number              the worst things that you could do is to cre-
that over 70% of all flights are booked online.     of useful tips to be successful in using video          ate a long video as the majority of users watch
As a result, to be successful in promoting          spot(s) for your travel services or destination         videos about 3 minutes or less. If you do have a
travel, tourism, and hospitality websites online    promotion.                                              spot that is longer than 5 min-            utes
marketers should be increasingly inventive and                                                              in length, try to split it up
creative. It is quite surprising though that such   ConTenT                                                 into shorter videos and
well know online marketing tools as video SEO         Build relevant, unique, informative video             make sure to tag those
are greatly overlooked.                             clips – video clips are remarkable when they            correspondingly. This will
  Online video should be the top marketing          present step by step information and express            help increase the proba-
priority for travel and tourism industry in 2012.   features about subjects that are practical and          bility of viewers watching
video SEO enables you to take advantage of          important. Do not make video clips that are             your video without get-
the incredible opportunities that online video      irrelevant or offer little to do with your service,     ting bored. In addition, it
content can deliver to your brand and busi-         product, or brand. These will just cause disori-        will encourage the poten-
ness. video SEO enables you to take advantage       entation with your potential customers.                 tial customers to
of the unbelievable opportunities that internet                                                             look for more
                                                    suRRoundIngs                                            content by
video content can bring to your travel brand          To achieve good rank-
and services.                                                                                               your com-
                                                    ings of your video, you evi-                            pany.
  SEO experts agree that visual presentations       dently will need to provide
such as movies or videos are more efficient for     the search engines with writ-
memory retention than the written content.          ten content that is highly rel-
This means that video can help people bear          evant for them to index and rank
in mind your brand and unique travel services       your website for. consequently, it
much more effectively than traditional written      is advantageous to surround your
word.                                               video content with highly relevant
  Tourism Review video SEO team can give you        textual content (on-page) as well as
a decisive edge over your competitors. Much         related hyper links, related informa-
higher exposure, better website ranking, addi-      tion, etc… One remarkable approach
tional targeted traffic and superior ROI could      to accomplish this is to insert a text tran-
be approached by correct application of video       script or external captions as text that you

March, 2012                                                              — 18 —
                                                                                   PROFESSIONAL             s eo f or Tr a v e l & h os pi t a l i t y Indus t r y
ThuMBnaIls                                              Also try using a catchy or distinctive title that
   A video thumbnail is what users notice first       will not only provide attention to your video
when they make their choice as to whether or          clip but convey your theme, product, or brand.
not to view your video. video search engines          Tags – tag your videos with key phrases that
and video sharing websites use different tech-        are reflective of the content.
niques to grab and show the thumb-                                sITeMaps
nail for your video. A number of
engines use the first frame of                                           Sitemaps – for video clip
the video clip whilst others,                                             that is hosted on your own
like youTube, will often                                                    internet site use a video
take the thumbnail from                                                       sitemap. It will help
the middle part of your                                                        to filter page rank as
video.      Experiment                                                          well as direct search
with both of these                                                               engines where to
websites to make sure                                                             index your video con-
that the thumbnail                                                                tent. use appropriate
that they show is the                                                            key phrases within
best one that you want                                                           the anchor text of all
the users to notice and                                                         links to the video clips
that will get users atten-                                                     that are featured in your
tion, thus encouraging                                                       video sitemap.
them to view your video                                                   Rss oR MRss
clip.                                                                  create and submit your video
MeTa daTa                                                        RSS or MRSS. Also upload your
   Descriptive Meta Data – use relevant key                video to video Sharing Sites. for example,
phrases in your metadata to optimize your             upload a couple of videos to portals like you-
video clip. Title – make sure that you utilize        Tube and provide hyper links back to related
the relevant key phrases in your title as this is     content and other video clips on your web site.
likely the first thing that the search engines will
use to classify your video. Make sure that you        Source:
insert the search term “video” to your title,
description, meta data, etc.                

March, 2012                                                              — 19 —
                                                                               PROFESSIONAL            s eo f or Tr a v e l & h os pi t a l i t y Indus t r y

                        seo foR TRaVel weBsITes –
                        undeRsTandIng aCRonyMs
Understand SERP’s, SEO, PR and all the rest of                                                           seRp – seaRCh engIne ResulTs page oR
the acronyms that drive you crazy as you try to                                                          seaRCh engIne ResulTs posITIon
reach the top of the search engine results.                                                                 The position in which a webpage is displayed
  I know you are still busy with the task of writ-                                                       in search engine results, excluding any paid
ing a new website article, so today is a small                                                           listings. your goal is a high SERP or a 1st page
lesson on all the crazy acronyms that show                                                               SERP.
up when you start to learn about getting high                                                            pfI – pay foR InClusIon
                                                                                                           PfI is a listing within a Search Engine or Direc-
se – seaRCh engIne                                                                                       tory that must be paid for. The yahoo! directory
 A program that retrieves documents based                                                                is one of the most prominent PfI directories.
on the criteria you request. for my blog, that                                                           ffa – fRee foR all
generally refers to the big 3 – google, yahoo!
and bing. google is the heavyweight, and                                                                   Add your site for free to a directory. Almost
depending where you are in the world, yahoo!                                                             always automated and anyone can link. unless
and bing are a distant 2nd or 3rd with less than                                                         you are targeting a specific niche directory it is
20% saturation combined.                                                                                 a waste of time.
                                                     seM – seaRCh engIne MaRkeTIng                         Of course, this really is just the tip of the ice-
seo – seaRCh engIne opTIMIsaTIon oR                                                                      berg, but these are the most popular of the
                                                       The act of promoting or marketing a website
seaRCh engIne opTIMIzaTIon                           to achieve organic 1st page results in response     SE acronyms. now, get back to writing that
  The art and science of creating and marketing      to a searches query.                                article.
a website to achieve organic 1st page results in
response to a searches query. An example of          pR – page Rank
this is using Keywords in visible Text for Higher      google’s link popularity algorithm used to        Source:
Rankings.                                            rank the popularity of any given webpage.

March, 2012                                                            — 20 —
                                                            PROFESSIONAL   s eo f or Tr a v e l & h os pi t a l i t y Indus t r y

                  TRaVel seo – how To TaRgeT
                 seaRCheRs aT The RIghT sTage
                     of The BuyIng CyCle
Having been involved in a wide range of travel
SEO projects during the last 12 months, I
thought it would be a good time to write about
the buying cycle of searches when purchasing
a holiday online.
  I recently took a look at the most important
aspects of travel PPc and below I have listed
how we interpret the typical search behavior
of online travel customers when looking to
purchase a holiday online:
  Get Holiday Ideas – At the initial stage the
travel consumer has a reasonable idea about
the type of holiday they are looking to go on,
but will still be looking for inspiration. They will
go straight to a search engine to find further
information about the destinations they can
visit to meet this requirement. They will try
to identify the holiday via a series of searches
such as “summer holiday 2012”, “beach
holiday”, narrowing down towards the loca-
tion with searches such as “beach holiday in
Europe” etc.
  Destination Research – The type of results
users will be looking for at these stage are
generally travel guides; they have a budget in
mind but the most important goal is to identify
the location. users will continue by perform-
ing informational searches such as “climate in
greece”, “hurricane season in the caribbean”,

March, 2012                                            — 21 —
                                                                               PROFESSIONAL            s eo f or Tr a v e l & h os pi t a l i t y Indus t r y

“best Mediterranean beach holidays in Sep-                                                               Eventually browsing to the correct listings and
tember”.                                                                                                 hopefully finding the price hasn’t shot up con-
   Confirm Location – In order to find a suitable                                                        siderably!
destination which meets the user’s needs they                                                              Purchase – They’ve reassured themselves
will perform queries such as “summer holiday                                                             (several times) this is the holiday package they
in Italy”, “weekend in South of france”, “self-                                                          want to purchase and they proceed to com-
catering holiday in Tenerife” or “all-inclusive                                                          plete the transaction either online or over the
honeymoon to the Maldives”. Once compar-                                                                 phone.
ing multiple destinations a decision is made to                                                            After Sales – The buying cycle will continue
confirm the destination. next they are likely to                                                         following the sale with customer service and
research deeper into the more specific loca-                                                             support involved, hopefully with the oppor-
tions via various research and long-tail queries                                                         tunity for repeat business in the future. This
such as “beach holidays in the South of france”,                                                         means it’s important to ensure you dominate
“best location in the french Riviera”, “hotels in                                                        all brand queries, both paid and organic. Mak-
nice”, “where to stay in Monaco” etc.                                                                    ing sure that when potential customers are
   Compare Packages & Transport Options –                                                                searching for your brand they only find you and
The next stage is to identify the preferred                                                              the glowing reviews and PR you want them to,
mode of transport, this will include various                                                             without a competitor in sight!
comparisons for flights, trains or driving. users                                                          How does this affect your SEO strategy? By
will look for a range of travel related queries                                                          now you should have a clearer understanding
such as “cheap flights to nice” and “Eurostar to    add this to a shopping basket and order like
                                                    you would with any other e-commerce web-             of searcher’s needs and have a good idea of
nice” as well as considering holiday packages                                                            which stage of the buying cycle they are at for
which include transport. These are still mainly     site? no, probably not. Some travel websites
                                                    you may have to enquire to confirm pricing           each specific search. But which type of users
research based queries, but the user now has                                                             do you want to capture and at what stage?
a clear idea about where, when and how they         details and then book over the phone, others
want to go on holiday.                              you can check for availability and book there          Identify Your Audience and Goals – frstly
                                                    and then. But instead they’ll probably think it      you must consider the market and type of users
   Select Hotel – Ok, they’ve found a cheap         over one last time, just to make sure.
flight to nice, which is the best travel option                                                          you are looking to attract to the site, google
                                                      Revisit Website to Book – Ok, they’ve thought      provides the following travel search marketing
so far, now time to find a hotel which matches      it through, decided it’s time to get away from
up with this or perhaps a holiday package                                                                tips to consider:
                                                    the uK’s glorious grey summer skies, booked            what is the end objective for your business –
which combines both at a cheaper rate. Back         the dates off work and got their credit card
off to google searching for “hotels in nice”                                                             transactions, branding, lead generation? your
                                                    ready, great! So back to find the holiday pre-       approach may differ based on the decided out-
this time. They will scan for the best option to    viously selected. If they’re clever this would
find the most suitable hotel features/location                                                           come.
                                                    be saved as a bookmark, the problem is many
and at the most reasonable price. Again more        people won’t have remembered to have done              Determine the success metric in advance.
research, checking out the hotel review web-        this and even if they did there’s a good chance      what cost per transaction is acceptable? what
sites.                                              it’s a dynamic uRl which may no longer work.         is your target gross/net ROI?
   Decision Time – Once they’ve read the            So instead you perform a brand query “Expe-            Have a clearly defined target market or user
reviews and found the perfect holiday, will they    dia” or “Expedia holidays to nice”, for example.     in mind. Are you primarily interested in attract-

March, 2012                                                           — 22 —
                                                                                PROFESSIONAL            s eo f or Tr a v e l & h os pi t a l i t y Indus t r y

ing leisure or business travelers and/or dis-       recommend targeting more specific queries             in many cases for an online holiday sale to be
count, mid-scale, or luxury travelers?              as this is more likely to generate targeted vis-      completed and users will revisit the website by
  Research Your Keywords – google’s research        its from users who have a clearer idea about          multiple channels and keyword searches, this
showed that catching the user at an early stage     what they are looking for. for example, some-         means you need to test and track user activ-
of a buying cycle can still result in a sale 40%    one searching for a “long-weekend city break          ity over a longer period of time to ensure that
of the time. This is very interesting and creates   in new york” is more likely to complete a sale        you value the importance of a traffic source or
a strong argument for capturing users early         than a user performing an informational query         keyword leading to a sale.
into their search for a holiday. However the        such as “places to visit in new york”. At this          Now You Are Ready to Begin Your SEO Cam-
main difference between targeting keywords          stage the user is also likely to be narrowing         paign… In summary, to find the best keywords
for paid, as opposed to organic search, is the      down the number of websites they are looking          you need to consider both the conversion
volume of keywords you can target. PPc allows       to shortlist for completing a sale, so the com-       rates and search volumes in order to estimate
you to have flexibility over the keywords which     petition should be fewer than a more generic          the overall value of referred converted sales.
generate traffic and is very much about refin-      search.                                               Search engine optimisation is a long-term pro-
ing keyword selection and continually chang-          However, if you have a strong website which         cess, so the effort put into evaluating the qual-
ing key targets based upon performance and          can rank highly for more competitive and pop-         ity and cost-effectiveness of keywords via paid
seasonality.                                        ular search queries it may be worth targeting         search is incredibly important to ensure you’re
  with SEO you’re unlikely to get that luxury and   information keyword phrases, a lower conver-          targeting the most valuable traffic sources as a
have little margin for error when selecting key-    sion rate is likely but this may be outweighed        business.
words with high-conversion potential. I would       by the increased search volume. you should              Once the top-keywords have been identified,
highly recommend using the pay-per-click data       also consider the search volumes and conver-          then it’s time to optimise and push towards
you have collected to help identify the top con-    sion rates of plural and singular versions of         achieving the high search rankings. Then you
verting keywords. After all if six months after     keywords before selecting which to target.            can take a holiday of your own to sit back and
optimising for “when to go on holiday to can-         you must also remember all travel websites          relax, whilst enjoying the 56% clickthrough
cun” you finally generate enough clickthrough       are different and will not have the same con-         rates which are only possible via the top
data to realise this has a 0.1% conversion rate,    version rates, for example, “all-inclusive honey-     organic listings!
it’s then very difficult to re-adjust and target    moons” may be a high-converting keyword for
“luxury holidays in cancun Mexico” instead.         a honeymoon specialist but not so successful          By Kevin Gibbons (Kevin Gibbons is Founder/Director
  Test, Test and Test Again – Despite targeting     for a general website offering the same pack-         of Strategy at SEOptimise)
the early stages of the buying cycle proving to     age. while an average e-commerce transac-             Source:
be more successful than expected, I would still     tion will take a few days, it can take 2-3 months

March, 2012                                                            — 23 —

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