You may have heard the term SEO before, but what exactly does it mean?
SEO, or search engine optimization, means improving your website's visibility on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
In simpler terms, it's about making sure that your website appears as high up as possible in search results when someone types in a relevant keyword.
Why you need SEO for your travel agency website
Well, imagine a potential customer is planning a trip to Bali and they want to find the best hotels, restaurants, and activities to do while they’re there. They’re likely to start by searching on Google for "best things to do in Bali" or "top hotels in Bali".
If you have a travel agency website that offers information on Bali, you want to make sure that your website is one of the top results they see.
This is where SEO comes in - by optimizing your website for search engines, you can attract more organic traffic and potentially increase your bookings and revenue.
In this post we’re walking through some tips and strategies for optimizing your travel website for search engines. From keyword research to mobile optimization, we'll give you a comprehensive overview of how to improve your website's SEO and attract more visitors.
Let's get started!
When it comes to travel SEO, keyword research is one of the most important things you can do to improve your travel agency website's visibility on search engines.
In a nutshell, keyword research involves identifying the search terms or phrases that people are using to find information related to your website's topic or niche.
So, why is keyword research important?
By understanding what keywords people are searching for, you can optimize your website's content to include those keywords, making it more likely that your website will show up in search results when people use those keywords. This can help you attract more organic traffic to your website and potentially increase your bookings and revenue.
To conduct keyword research for your travel agency website, start by brainstorming a list of words and phrases that people might use when searching for information related to your website's topic. For example, if your website focuses on luxury travel, some potential keywords might include "best luxury hotels", "luxury tours", or "most luxurious travel destinations".
There are two types of keywords you should take into consideration when you’re conducting your travel SEO keyword research. The first are regular keywords, which are 1-2 words that tend to be quite broad.
Words like “travel”, “luxury travel”, or “luxury resorts” are regular keywords, and due to the amount of competition to rank for these keywords they can be incredibly difficult to rank for. You would need a ton of great content to rank alongside sites like CNN Travel, Conde Nast Traveler, AFAR, and similar publications for a keyword like “travel”.
Long tail keywords are the second, and often better, type of keywords to try to rank for. This is also where your niche or expertise can come into play. Long tail keywords are a short phrase or sentence that is much more specific than a general keyword.
If you specialize in family travel to the Caribbean, instead of trying to rank for “travel” or “Caribbean travel”, a better option would be to try and rank for a long tail keyword like “best all-inclusive family resorts in the Dominican Republic”.
While it may seem like trying to rank for a narrower keyword is counterproductive if you want to get more people clicking through to your travel company website, it actually isn’t. Instead, it helps the people who are searching for exactly what you offer to find you when they search.
Once you have a list of potential travel keywords, both regular and long tail, you can use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner or Moz Keyword Explorer to see how often those keywords are being searched for and how competitive they are.
Aim for targeted keywords that have a high search volume but a low level of competition, as these will be the easiest to rank for.
Remember that keyword research is an ongoing process - as search trends and user behavior changes, so will the keywords that are most relevant to your website. Keep an eye on your website's analytics and adjust your keyword strategy as needed to stay ahead of the game.
If you have a brick and mortar travel agency you'll also want to include keywords that will help you rank for local SEO. These local SEO keywords can include things like “travel agency near [your location]”, or “travel agency near me”.
To give you an idea of some travel agency related keywords, here are a few examples:
Family beach vacations in the US
Luxury family travel in Europe
Adventure tours in Africa
Honeymoon destinations in the South Pacific
Luxury hotels in Thailand
Best road trips in France
Solo travel in Asia
Around the world cruises
By including travel SEO keywords like these in your website's content, you can increase the likelihood that your website will show up in search results when people search for these terms.
On-page optimization refers to the practice of optimizing your website's individual pages to improve their visibility on search engines. This involves making changes to the page's content, as well as its technical SEO HTML source code.
Why is on-page optimization important?
Well, search engines use a variety of factors to determine which websites to show in search results, and on-page optimization is one of the most important.
By making sure that your website's pages are optimized for relevant keywords, you can increase the likelihood that your website will show up in search results when people search for those keywords.
If you’re looking for some tips for on-page optimization, let's start with the basics: title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags. These are all HTML elements that help search engines understand what your page is about.
The title tag is the text that appears at the top of your browser window, and it's also the text that shows up as the headline in search results. Make sure your title tag includes your primary keyword and accurately reflects the content of your page.
The meta description is a short blurb, usually limited to around 500 characters, that appears below the title tag in search results. It should provide a brief summary of what your page is about and entice people to click through to your website.
Header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) are used to structure your page's content and make it easier for search engines to understand. Use header tags to break up your content into sections and include your primary keywords where appropriate.
In addition to optimizing these HTML elements, it's also important to optimize your website's content.
Make sure your content is high-quality and provides value to your readers. Use your primary keywords throughout your content, but don't overdo it - aim for a natural-sounding, conversational tone.
Here are a few examples of on-page optimization for a travel website blog page about beach vacations:
Title tag: “10 Affordable Beach Destinations for Your Next Budget-Friendly Getaway”
Meta description: “Need some sun, sand, and relaxation without breaking the bank? Discover these 10 affordable beach destinations that offer the perfect budget-friendly getaway for your next vacation.”
Header tag: “Bask in the Sun: Top Beaches to Explore on Your Next Vacation”
Content optimization: "Planning your next beach vacation? Make sure to check out these top beaches that offer stunning views, crystal-clear waters, and plenty of activities to keep you entertained. From the secluded stretches of sand in the Caribbean to the bustling beaches of Thailand, there's a perfect spot for every beach lover."
If someone else creates your website or blog content, you'll want to make sure that SEO service is included. If a service provider doesn't optimize your website or blog content with travel SEO services as part of their content marketing package, there's a good chance you're wasting vital resources on something most people will never find.
When you purchase blog content from The Savvy Travel Advisor you'll always receive the tags and meta descriptions to improve your site's SEO.
While on-page optimization is important, off-page optimization is just as crucial for improving your travel website's visibility on search engines.
Off-page optimization refers to the actions you take outside of your own website to improve its visibility, like link building with high-quality backlinks and using social media to promote your content.
Why is off-page optimization important? Simply put, search engines see high-quality backlinks as a vote of confidence in your website's content. The more high-quality backlinks you have pointing to your site, the more likely it is that search engines will see your website as authoritative and trustworthy.
So, how can you build high-quality backlinks?
Start by creating high-quality, shareable content that people will naturally want to link to. This could be anything from a comprehensive guide to a popular travel destination to a list of insider tips for a certain type of travel.
Once you've created your content, reach out to other websites in your industry and ask if they'd be interested in linking to it.
You can also create backlinks through a Public Relations, or PR, strategy. By being cited as an expert in other publications, and having those publications link back to your site, your website gains credibility.
Services like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) are specifically designed to help you create PR and develop your backlink strategy. Reporters looking for sources to quote will send a query out, and you can reply with information that they can use in their story.
If you provide high-quality information you may be cited in a story, with a backlink on a website that would otherwise be almost impossible to get on your own. This is how my travel website has been linked to by Forbes, The Washington Post, Travel Weekly, NerdWallet, the Associated Press, and dozens of smaller, local news sites.
Another way to boost your website's off-page optimization is by using social media.
While social media links don't carry as much weight as high-quality backlinks, they can still help improve your website's visibility on search engines. Share your content on social media and engage with your followers to encourage them to share it with their own networks.
Here are a few examples of off-page optimization for travel websites:
Be cited as a source on websites with a high level of authority: Resources like HARO can link you with reporters writing stories who may quote you as a source and include a backlink to your website.
Build other high-quality backlinks: Reach out to travel bloggers and websites and ask if they'd be interested in linking to your content. Offer to write a guest post for their site in exchange for a link back to your website.
Social media promotion: Share your content on social media and engage with your followers to encourage them to share it with their own networks. Use relevant hashtags and join travel-related groups to expand your reach.
Influencer partnerships: Partner with travel influencers who have a large following to promote your content and drive traffic to your website. Offer them a free stay or experience in exchange for social media promotion and a backlink to your site.
Did you know that more than half of all internet traffic now comes from mobile devices?
That's why it's essential to optimize your travel website for mobile users. Not only does mobile optimization improve the user experience for your visitors, but it can also improve your website's visibility on search engines.
Google's algorithm now prioritizes mobile-friendly websites, meaning that if your website isn't optimized for mobile devices, you could be missing out on valuable organic traffic.
How can you optimize your travel website for mobile devices?
Start by using a responsive design. A responsive design automatically adjusts your website's layout based on the size of the screen it's being viewed on, making it easy for visitors to navigate your site on their mobile devices.
Next, simplify your website's design. This means removing any unnecessary elements and focusing on the most important information, such as your travel packages, contact information, and testimonials.
Finally, test your website's performance on mobile devices to ensure it loads quickly and smoothly. Google offers a free tool called PageSpeed Insights that can help you identify any issues and make improvements.
Here are a few examples of how you can optimize your travel website for mobile:
Responsive design: Use a responsive design to ensure your website looks great on all devices.
Simplified design: Streamline your website's design to make it easy for mobile users to navigate and find the information they need.
Mobile-friendly booking (if applicable): If you have a booking engine (I strongly recommend you don’t have one, but that’s another post for another day) make sure your booking system is optimized for mobile devices, so users can easily book their travel plans on-the-go.
User experience (UX)
User experience (UX) refers to how visitors interact with your website and the overall experience they have while navigating it. A good UX not only keeps visitors on your site for longer, but it can also improve your website's SEO.
Google's algorithm takes into account how long visitors stay on your site, how many pages they visit, and how quickly they bounce back to the search results page. If visitors are leaving your site quickly, it can signal to Google that your website isn't providing valuable content, which can hurt your search rankings.
How can you improve the user experience on your travel website?
Start by focusing on navigation. Make sure your website's menu is easy to use and logically organized. This helps visitors find what they're looking for quickly and easily.
Next, ensure your website's content is easy to read and visually appealing. Use short paragraphs, headers, and bullet points to break up the text and make it easier to digest. Incorporate high-quality images and videos to make your website more engaging.
Finally, optimize your website's loading speed. Visitors are less likely to stay on a website that takes too long to load, so it's essential to make sure your website is optimized for speed.
Here are a few examples of UX optimization for your travel website:
Intuitive navigation: Make sure your website's navigation is easy to use and logically organized.
High-quality content: Use short paragraphs, headers, bullet points, and high-quality images and videos to make your website's content more engaging.
Fast loading speed: Optimize your website's loading speed to improve the user experience and keep visitors on your site longer.
Analytics and tracking
Analytics and tracking are essential for understanding how your travel website is performing and identifying areas for improvement. By tracking your website's performance, you can make data-driven decisions that can help improve your website's SEO and overall performance.
Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to track website performance metrics such as traffic, bounce rate, and time on site. By setting up Google Analytics on your website, you can get valuable insights into how visitors are interacting with your site.
Here are a few tips for setting up and using Google Analytics:
Set up a Google Analytics account and connect it to your website (you will need your own site to do this, it can’t be a site provided by your host agency)
Define your website's goals and set up conversion tracking to measure how well your website is achieving those goals
Use Google Analytics to track your website's traffic sources, including organic search traffic, paid search traffic, and social media traffic
Once you've set up Google Analytics, it's important to regularly monitor your website's performance and make data-driven decisions to improve it. Here are a few tips for tracking website performance and making data-driven decisions:
Use Google Analytics to track key metrics such as bounce rate, time on site, and conversion rate
Regularly analyze your website's performance and identify areas for improvement
Use A/B testing to test different website design elements and determine what works best for your audience
Here are a few examples of how to use analytics and tracking for a travel website:
Track which pages on your website are getting the most traffic and optimize them to improve engagement and conversions
Use analytics to determine which keywords are driving the most organic search traffic and optimize your website's content to target those keywords
If your website includes a booking engine, use conversion tracking to measure its effectiveness and make data-driven decisions to improve its performance.
The bottom line
You should now have a good understanding of what SEO is and why it's important for your travel website. We covered a lot of ground, from keyword research and on-page optimization to off-page optimization, mobile optimization, user experience, and analytics and tracking.
To recap, here are some of the key takeaways:
Keyword research is the foundation of SEO. It's important to identify the keywords and phrases that your target audience is searching for and incorporate them into your website's content.
On-page optimization involves optimizing the elements on your website, such as the title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and content, to make them more search engine-friendly.
Off-page optimization involves building high-quality backlinks to your website and using social media to boost your website's visibility and authority.
Mobile optimization is crucial in today's world, as more and more people are accessing the internet on their mobile devices.
User experience is an important factor in SEO, as search engines value websites that provide a positive user experience.
Analytics and tracking are essential for measuring your website's performance and making data-driven decisions to improve your SEO strategy.
Now that you have a better understanding of these concepts, it's time to start implementing them on your travel website.
Don't be afraid to experiment and try new things. SEO is a constantly evolving field, so it's important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices.
Remember, improving your website's SEO takes time and effort, but the payoff can be huge. By following the tips and strategies outlined in this post, you can attract more organic traffic to your travel website and ultimately grow your business
What are you waiting for? Get started today!
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the idea of optimizing your travel website for search engines, or simply don't have the time to do it yourself, I’m here to help your travel business succeed online.
Schedule a consulting call to learn more and take the first steps towards boosting your website's visibility and attracting more organic traffic.