Ever wondered why your travel agency website isn’t getting the Google attention it deserves?
Well, you’ve landed in the right place!
One of the keys to getting that sought after Google (or other search engine) love is good keyword research. But before you can do keyword research, you need to know what it is and how to do it.
Let’s demystify all that SEO jargon and make your keyword research straightforward and as simple as possible!
Does that sound like a deal? Let’s go!
Why keyword research matters
Keyword research is basically the travel agent of the digital world. It’s just like how you help your clients find the right travel destination, even when they can’t tell you exactly what they want.
Good keyword research and search engine optimization (SEO) helps your potential clients find the perfect “destination” - in this case, your website.
By optimizing your travel agency marketing with the right keywords, you’re essentially putting up signposts that lead straight to your website and your travel services.
So let’s start getting those signposts up.
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is simply finding the words or phrases that people use in search engines like Google. They’re the ticket to being found online.
They come in two varieties: Short-tail keywords, like “travel agency”, and long-tail keywords like “best travel agency for European vacations.” The goal is to sprinkle the right keywords through your travel agency like you’d season a pasta. Just enough to make it tasty, but not so much it’s overwhelming.
Keyword research tools
To do your keyword research you’ll need the right tools. There are several keyword research tools out there, and most will allow you to do a limited amount of keyword research for free.
They usually have either a daily limit on the number of keyword searches you can do per day or a free trial option. If you don’t want to pay for a subscription you can either 1) plan on spreading your research over several days if they have a daily limit, or 2) sign up for a free trial and do your research quickly before the trial is up.
Here are some of the most common keyword research tools:
I prefer Semrush, I find it easy to use and quite thorough. If you have a website based on the Wix website builder there’s also an integration that’s included with your Wix account and allows you to do limited research and optimization directly from your website builder.
How to conduct keyword research for your travel agency website
Once you decide which tool to use (if you’re unsure just go with Semrush) it’s time to start doing your research.
Step 1: Understand your target audience
Before you can find the right keywords, you need to know who you're talking to. Are your clients budget backpackers or luxury travelers? Knowing your audience helps you tailor your travel agency marketing strategy.
If you’re not sure who your target audience is, start by creating an ideal client avatar who represents the clients you’d most like to work with.
Once you’ve narrowed down who you want to work with, put yourself in their shoes. What words do you think they’d type into Google if they’re looking for your services.
It’s very important to think like someone who knows nothing about how a travel agency works or exactly what you do. If you have a friend or family member who is similar to your ideal client, ask them what they’d search for.
Step 2: Generate a list of potential keywords
You can even use Google to help you find keywords. Type a search phrase into Google that you think someone would be searching for. Scroll down a bit to the “people also ask” section. If you see some keywords there that are relevant to what you’d want on your list, go ahead and add them.
Also make sure to use your keyword research tool. When you type in a keyword, you’ll see a list of similar or related keywords that you can also add to your list.
Your goal is to build a robust list of at least 20-50 potential keywords, but add as many as you’d like.
I like to create keyword lists in Excel or Google Sheets so they’re easy to sort, filter, and weed out duplicates. Create a column for your keywords, plus columns for search volume, search difficulty (Semrush calls it keyword difficulty), and cost-per-click (CPC). You’ll fill in those columns in the next step.
Step 3: Analyze keyword competition and search volume
As you put keywords into your research tool, you’ll get quite a bit of information about each keyword.
On your keyword list, enter the keyword, SD (search difficulty) or KD (keyword difficulty), and CPC (cost per click). Also add any additional keywords that come up that you may want to use, and their information.
When you’ve finished, you may have a list of a few dozen, or you may have a list of a couple hundred keywords and their associated data.
Step 4: Prioritize and choose your keywords
Now that you have a list, it’s time to prioritize and prune. First, look for keywords that have a low number of monthly searches. If the number of searches is under 50, delete it immediately. If it’s between 50-100 but has a low search difficulty, leave it for now.
Next, go to the SD or KD column. I find it easiest to sort from lowest to highest. Are there a few keywords that have a good search volume but low search difficulty? Highlight those, you’ll come back to them.
Keep pruning your list, taking out the lowest search volume and the highest search difficulty. Short-tail eywords like “travel agent” will be almost impossible for a small agency to rank for, so go ahead and take it and similar keywords off your list.
Get your list down to no more than 50 potential keywords. Now go through and see if any are really similar. For example, do you have both “plan a trip to Italy” and “planning a trip to Italy” on your list with similar data? They’re basically the same keyword, decide which one integrates better with your writing style and delete the other.
Take one final pass through your list and decide which 3-5 keywords you want to work on ranking for first. Unless you want to be publishing dozens of pieces of content per week, you’ll need to focus on just a handful of keywords for now.
Once you’ve chosen your keywords, start adding them to your website. Aim for one keyword per 200-250 other words on a page. Make sure the keywords you choose can be integrated in a conversational way, don’t add them if they sound out of place or unnatural.
After you’ve added your keywords, start creating content, like blog posts, centered around those chosen keywords. As you create content high-quality content you should start to see your rankings moving.
Implementing Keywords: Do's and Don'ts
Things to do:
Use keywords naturally and conversationally in your content
Create content and web pages centered around specific keywords
Integrate keywords into your titles and headings
Make sure to add a meta description and title tag to your content that incorporates your keywords
Add your keywords to a blog post URL
Choose keywords that are a natural fit with your destinations and services
Long-tail keywords tend to be easier to rank for, so make sure to incorporate them into your research
Things to avoid:
Don’t “keyword stuff” your content. SEO takes notice and your rankings will actually suffer
Don’t try to go after too many keywords at once, a shotgun approach won’t be as effective
Don’t choose keywords that are too broad or competitive, like “travel” or “travel agency”
Don’t think you can rank for keywords off of one webpage. Content marketing is necessary for natural SEO and keyword ranking
Measuring Success: How to Track Your Keyword Performance
Once you've implemented your keywords, it's time to track your success. Keep an eye on metrics like click-through rates, impressions, and rankings. These numbers will tell you if your travel agency marketing is working.
The bottom line
And there you have it—a beginner's guide to keyword research that didn't require a PhD in Computer Science.
Remember, the road to a successful travel agency website is paved with the right keywords. So, why wait? Start your keyword research journey today and watch your website climb in the SEO rankings.