SEO (search engine optimization) is an excellent way to help businesses in tourism promote their businesses and obtain new leads. It also provides you with an opportunity for your business to get qualified traffic that will convert more leads for your tourism business. SEO is the process of assisting a website in its ranking through organic results. Search engine optimization must be a part of your marketing strategy if you hope to successfully compete with your competition in the tourism industry.

A great SEO strategy will allow your business to be easily located on the web through the use of a few well-placed keywords that are relevant to your business and services. Dedicating your tourism SEO strategy to both quantity and quality will help to reduce your dependence on online advertisements. While SEO can be complicated and is always evolving, keeping up with the trends will be worth your time and will provide you with optimal results when executed properly.

SEO Is the Most Productive Channel for Tourism Businesses

These days, inbound tourism and travel are now driven by online interactions along with potential clients through lodge and hotel websites, travel agent sites, and OTA. Travelers will spend hours researching online for destinations, looking for unforgettable experiences and the best prices. The main sources of online research for travelers are Google and Bing as they look for more details on their destinations and great deals.

Searching online is one of the most effective ways to find information for all things related to tourism. This is because Google offers limited space at the top of their results, which is high in demand. It also delivers great value for hotels and companies who spend money and time to boost and optimize their marketing campaigns online. Here are just a few statistics that prove the power of SEO:

●      81% of users search online for products or services

●      54% of users trust websites that rank higher

●      Organic search traffic is generally more cost-effective than other forms of digital marketing 

The Core Components of a Successful Tourism SEO Strategy

According to a Google Workshop during the DMAI Annual Convention in July 2017, here are a few key statistics:

●      64% of business travelers will check online first before anywhere else to look up their upcoming trip

●      62% of travelers will go online to find inspiration for their travel plans

●      57% of leisure travelers will also check online first before going anywhere else

●      The global travel industry reached $1.6 trillion in gross online bookings in 2017

Google recognizes that there has been significant growth in travel searches and understands the importance of how content helps travelers to choose their destinations and get more information. To truly optimize your tourism SEO strategy, there are a few factors that you can look into improving or implementing if you haven’t already. Use the links to jump to the section:

●      Keyword Research

●      Technical SEO

●      On-Page Optimization

●      Online Presence

●      Reputation Management

●      New Content Development

●      Link Building

●      Digital PR

●      Other Opportunities to Explore

●      Finding Help

Identifying the Keywords That Lead to Bookings

It’s not enough to just use any kind of keyword that you wish—it won’t help your tourism business by using random words. It’s best to review your current choice of keywords to ensure that they’re not concentrated entirely on general keywords. Such keywords will already be overused throughout the competition for ranking.

For example, a tour operator in Los Angeles might just focus on the term “Los Angeles tours” for their searches, but this phrase comes back with 347 million results on Google. As such, any hope of ranking for this term will be quite low. By being more creative with the use of phrases and keywords for your website, you’ll be able to improve your online visibility. Here are a few examples of key phrases that a Los Angeles tour operator can use to get a better ranking:

●      Walking tours of downtown Los Angeles

●      Downtown Los Angeles University tours

●      Haunted Tours of downtown Los Angeles

●      Architectural tours in Los Angeles

Getting the Basics of Technical SEO Right

1. Securing Your Domains

While SEO focuses on providing your audience with relevant and updated content when it comes to trends in tourism, it also means that the results they interact with need to be safe. An unsecured website means that there’s a risk to users’ safety online, which may disrupt your SEO.

2. Make It Mobile Friendly

In recent years, more people are expecting to find websites that will interact perfectly on any device. Whether your customers are using a phone, tablet, or laptop, having a mobile-first approach will help it get more clicks and better conversions.

3. Page Load Speed

Yes, speed affects SEO and is a direct ranking factor. Google has conducted studies that show how users leave a site after just three seconds. When this happens, Google assumes that they had a bad experience and won’t support ranking your website.

4. Your Meta Titles and Descriptions

Meta titles and meta descriptions are separate pieces of HTML code that need to be seen on every page of the internet. Just as you would see in a book, they will tell you the title of the book and a summary. These are also used by search engines like Google to create a link to a website in their index.

5. Minimal Redirects and No Broken Links

This means getting rid of any broken links, checking on backlinks, making sure that page names and tags are accurate, maintaining a regular audit to fix tech issues, and verifying online listings.

6. Image Alt Tags and Image File Names

Rather than using default file names, let Google know what your photos are about by giving them descriptive and unique file names. All the text on your website can impact your SEO, and the same can be said for your images. If your photo sizes are too big, this will cause your site to load slower.

Optimize Your Web Pages to Rank Above the Competition

How exactly do you optimize your web pages? Here are a few short but effective things that you can do to ensure that your page gets to the top of the rankings in no time:

●      Make sure your information and keywords are correct. When writing a blog about a particular tourist spot or just to promote your services, be sure to research the topic and find relevant keywords. It will also help to read the top-ranking articles so you can use them for inspiration to make yours better.

●      Make sure that the title is catchy and that it includes all relevant keywords. Always use an H1 tag.

●      Remember to section your headings and format your subheadings using H2, H3, and more in a clear hierarchy. “Chunk up” your content to improve readability and incorporate your keywords whenever possible.

●      Remember who you’re writing for. Your writing copy needs to be easy for your target audience to read and understand. Also, make use of lists whenever possible, include quotes, and bold any important points.

●      Make sure it’s the right length. When it comes to the length of your copy, ensure that it’s long enough to cover the topic thoroughly. Longer isn’t always better, but content that’s too short won’t rank.

●      Include a FAQs section that answers your users’ questions; have at least 5 to 10 points here.

●      Use images when releveant. As we covered earlier, images are also important. Make sure that your featured image and other images are all relevant to the topic and that file names are all optimized.

●      Don’t forget your meta title and description. The meta title and description should include the keywords relevant to your topic.

Expanding Your Online Presence to Maximize SEO

There are plenty of other outlets for you to promote your blog, content, and services apart from your website, all of which can help to maximize SEO, including:

●      Google My Business

●      Map Engines

●      Travel Directories

●      Local Directories

●      Business Directories

●      Social Media

●      Niche Directories

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The Importance of Online Reviews for Local SEO Rankings

In recent years, online reviews have become an essential part of managing businesses within the travel industry. From just 67% in 2010, the number of consumers who read online reviews before visiting a local business increased to 87% in 2020. As a result, online reviews are now more important than ever, which is why you need to know where you can get reviews.

Google Reviews

First and foremost, Google is a search engine, but over the years, it has evolved to become a key factor for people planning a trip. Google can provide people with details such as prices, locations, reviews, business hours, addresses, phone numbers, and more. Google reviews can appear in search engine results and are then displayed on results from Google Maps.

Facebook Business Reviews

As the world’s biggest social media site, every business needs to have a Facebook profile. Having a Facebook Company page gives you access to more than two billion users, providing visibility and a wider audience. Facebook reviews also show up in search results and can be referenced on other platforms like Google.

Yelp

With an estimated amount of over 178 million users every month, Yelp can also provide businesses in tourism a huge opportunity to reach out to audiences. It was once used primarily to find and review local restaurants, but it now includes other categories such as attractions, hotels, entertainment, and more. Yelp reviews also show up in search results and are also referred to in Apple Maps.

TripAdvisor

Although TripAdvisor may be one of the travel sites that has been eclipsed by Google and Facebook lately, it is still relevant today. This website is known as the biggest travel site in the world, accounting for 25% of all hotel reviews in the 10 best travel sites.

Develop Content That Attracts Curious Travelers

Tour Landing Pages

Landing pages refer to a standalone web page that’s created specifically for an advertising or marketing campaign. This is where a visitor goes once they click on a link found on ads from search engines or in an email. Unlike a web page, (which generally encourages exploration and has many goals), landing pages have just one goal, known as a CTA or call to action. 

Blog Articles

Blogging for business purposes is a good way to rank up your website in Google SERPs or to increase your visibility. If you’ve just started your business, you’ll need to rely on blogging to grab the attention of potential customers. Without it, your page or website will stay invisible, compared to if you run a blog that will make you competitive and searchable.

Destination Guides

Travel guides aim to highlight the best restaurants, hotels, bars, shops, and events to attend around the world’s best destinations. Destination guides offer an in-depth look into the local scene, great finds, smart travel tips, and more. 

Resource Pages

A resource page refers to a page inside a website that provides a list of all the helpful links to resources for a certain topic. For instance, a Paleo food blog may have a page dedicated to resources for Paleo recipes.

Developing a Strong Network of Links

Just like Public Relations, building links involves promoting your business and getting it noticed and connected with other websites through a digital link. Such links may consist of local listing profiles, guest blogs, brand mentions, online articles, are more. Here are a few approaches to link building:  

●      Online Profiles: Using this approach provides your business with consistent information throughout various platforms while creating low-effort, high-impact links.

●      Internal Linking: This is a great way to redirect users to a specific page on your websites such as sales pages, service pages, product pages, and more.

●      Broken Link Building: This refers to redirecting or restoring your old and broken pages and then sending users to a relevant page or piece of content on your website.

●      Brand Mentions: These are found on other websites where your brand or name was mentioned but isn’t linked to your site. Using this approach allows you to place links, blogs, and other content on third-party websites.

●      Niche Link Building: This involves looking for places where users are already visiting and are already ranking for the keywords you’re targeting. Once you find these websites, you need to gain links from them, including blogs, travel websites, and local directories.

Digital PR: The Key to Driving Lasting SEO Plus Referral Traffic

Digital PR refers to the maintenance of a good online image for a company. This process promotes a company through websites, social media, and online blogs. A Digital PR campaign aims to increase backlinks, online mentions, and the brand of the company. A few examples of Digital PR are:

●      Press Releases: This refers to sharing huge, newsworthy announcements in exchange for press features.

●      Guest Blog: This occurs when you write and publish content on another person’s website.

●      Podcasts: Podcasting adds another dimension to your brand’s content marketing strategy.

●      Video Marketing: This makes it easy to connect with your audience in real time, especially during live videos.

Other Opportunities to Explore

Using Paid Search (PPC) to Supplement Organic Tourism SEO

Many businesses also look into other options to improve conversion for their tourism business while investing in SEO practices with a focus on organic activities. Some examples of organic SEO include:

●      Link Building

●      Content Marketing

●      Fixing Technical Errors That Limit Your Website’s Rankings

●      Optimizing Categories or Individual Web Pages

●      Promoting Pages Using Social Media Marketing

As you work on organic SEO, you can run paid Google ads (PPC) to increase traffic even more.

Improve Your Website User Experience

Many various factors affect a user’s experience while browsing your website. Depending on the quality of your website’s development and design, it can have a huge impact on your audience, which will make or break your business. These are:

●      Value: Is the audience spending their time on the website for products/services/content that’s worthwhile to them?

●      Usability: Do you offer easy-to-read and easy-to-use content? 

●      Usefulness: Do your content and website satisfy the needs of your audience?

●      Desirability: Is your brand in demand and does it present a need to the user?

●      Findable: Is your site easy to find and is it easy to navigate?

●      Accessibility: Is everyone able to access your website and can people with disabilities access it?

●      Credibility: Do your identity, brand, service, and content help to build trust between you and the user?

Improve Your Website Conversion Rate

If you’re thinking about how you can improve your website’s conversion rate, try these proven strategies:

●      Using Landing Pages: Using a landing page allows you to create a page specifically for one product or service.

●      Call to Action: This highlights your site’s main focal point and tells the customer what it is you need them to do.

●      User-Friendly Forms: Create forms that will help you collect names and email addresses. Making it user-friendly is sure to be more inviting and encourage more people to submit the form.

●      Great Content: Everybody knows that content is king, so there’s nothing worse than getting your audience’s attention only for them to dive into bland content.

●      Create a Good Image: Eyes are naturally drawn to images, so take the time to choose the right one to engage a site visitor, who then might stay long enough to convert.

●      Get Rid of Distractions: You should only keep things that will contribute to growing your website traffic.

Finding Outside Help for Tourism SEO

Advantages of Getting Outside SEO Expertise

Like with most businesses, you can’t do everything in-house even with an online website where almost everything can be done without having to leave your home. Hiring outside help from an SEO expert can help you to stay on top of trends and identify issues within the website.

Key Things to Look for in an SEO Provider

Knowledge of SEO Processes

When choosing an company to handle your tourism SEO, make sure to check how much they know about SEO, including their experience and knowledge of their processes. Check on how well they provide thought leadership, customer service, staff experience, transparency, and reporting.

Previous Relationships and Referrals

Previously established relationships and referrals are a huge factor for many businesses when looking for outside help. According to 45% of reviewers, they are more likely to work with a company that has helped other companies thrive before. This is especially true for companies who aren’t experienced with SEO services.

Start Achieving SEO Success

If you’re looking for a team to help you achieve success sooner with your tourism business’ SEO, rather than having to commit mistakes or go through trial and error, Contact us today and schedule a discovery session.

Tourism SEO Frequently Asked Quesitons

Why is SEO important for tourism businesses?

SEO allows businesses in the tourism industry to promote their businesses and to obtain new leads. It also provides them with an opportunity for your business to get qualified traffic that will convert more for their tourism business.

Why do you need a strategy for SEO in tourism marketing?

Unless you’re the only attraction in town, there will always be other websites to compete with, so proper research in your approach to internet marketing will reveal opportunities that will save you time.

How is SEO done in an industry with such high seasonality?

It’s best to focus on SEO all year long while using seasonal and thematic blog articles to suit current needs. Remember to update your content to match the season.

How do you start SEO for a new tourism website?

To get started with SEO for tourism, you need to know the basics first:

  1. Securing Your Domains
  2. Making it Mobile Friendly
  3. Page Load Speed
  4. Your Meta Titles and Descriptions
  5. Minimal Redirects and No Broken Links
  6. Image Alt Tags and Image File Names
What phrases are most commonly entered into the search bar by travelers?

While many might assume that the answer to this question is the name of a popular city or country, for local SEO, the answer is a bit more complicated. The most popular phrase used on the search bar is a combination of the words “tours,” “vacations,” or “holidays,” followed by the name of a destination—“Italy vacation” for example. So, be sure to remember this when you’re focusing on long-tail phrases when creating content.

What are the most important SEO ranking factors?

To truly optimize your SEO ranking, here are a few factors that you can look into improving or implementing if you haven’t already:

  • Keyword Research
  • Technical SEO
  • On-Page Optimization
  • Online Presence
  • Reputation Management
  • New Content Development
  • Link Building
  • Digital PR
How does SEO improve my ranking in tourism searches?

A great SEO strategy will allow your business to be easily located on the web through the use of a few well-placed keywords that are relevant to your business and services. Dedicating your SEO strategy to both quantity and quality will help to reduce your dependence on online advertisements.

Why does the tourism industry need a special approach to SEO?

Searching online is one of the most effective ways to find information for all things related to tourism and tourism marketing solutions. This is because Google offers limited space at the top of their results, which is high in demand. It also delivers great value for hotels and companies that spend money and time to boost and optimize their marketing campaigns online.

How can tourism operators optimize their free Google My Business listing?

A lot can be done on Google My Business, including optimization for your services. Here’s a quick breakdown of the process:

  1. Enter business information such as your name, address, phone number, and website URL.
  2. Add videos and photos.
  3. Request Google Reviews.
  4. Share on Google Posts.
  5. Take bookings through Google.
  6. Look at your Google listing insights.
How long should it take to rank my tourism website?

This will depend on various factors, so there’s no real way to tell how long it will take before your tourism website ranks. However, set your expectations properly and be aware that it will take time for Google to discover your content and the changes you’ve made.

Do I need a blog to have good SEO?

Blogging can help with SEO. Having a consistently updated, high-quality blog that is relevant to your audience can make a significant difference in how your site performs in search engines.

Meet the Author:

Carl Lefever

Carl Lefever, Founder & Strategist

Carl is the founder of Improve & Grow, LLC, where his primary passion is helping businesses grow by improving their online marketing. He leads the team and is involved in developing and executing internet marketing strategies for our clients. Carl's background is in continuous improvement disciplines, focused on sales and marketing operations. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. He is a proud father of 4 girls and loves traveling and supporting missions work.