Your Guide to SEO for Travel Websites
7 minutes

Your Guide to SEO for Travel Websites

With more people choosing to book holidays online than ever before, travel brands must have a strong digital presence to fight through the crowded market. Search engine optimisation (SEO) for travel websites is especially crucial, as search engines are considered to be UK travel bookers’ most-used resource when it comes to choosing a destination (Expedia). It’s why more and more travel brands are utilising travel SEO services.

Google sees a staggering number of travel-related search queries every month. From destination related queries like ‘Benidorm holidays’ to holiday types like ‘hot tub holidays’, search engines play a huge part in holiday bookings. In fact, they help online bookings contribute to 63% of travel industry revenue (Stratojets).

Keyword Monthly Search Volume
Benidorm holidays 18,000
Edinburgh hotels 60,500
Hot tub holidays 18,100

But targeting these high volume search queries isn’t that simple, especially as the travel market is incredibly crowded. To cut through the noise, brands must be strategic, combining optimisation tactics with quality content and flawless user experience.

As an SEO agency with experience in the travel industry, there are core tactics we look at when building an SEO strategy for travel brands.

 

Here’s what to consider when conducting SEO for your travel website:

  1. Hit customers at every touch point
    a) Implement awareness-stage keywords
    b) Implement research-stage keywords
    c) Implement buying-stage keywords
  2. Utilise Digital PR
  3. Add USPs to metadata 
  4. Make your website mobile friendly
  5. Use Local SEO
  6. Add testimonials and reviews
  7. Optimise user experience
  8. Improve page loading speed
  9. Jump on rising trends

1. Hit Customers at Every Touch Point

As marketers, you’re probably already very familiar with your customer’s journey. First, they’re made aware of the holiday, then they research it, then they book it. Creating content that targets each of these touch points is a crucial tactic in SEO for travel websites. 


Travel Keywords for SEO at the Awareness Stage 

Let’s say your customer is looking for a holiday in winter. They know they want to get away in December, but they’re unsure of which destination is best. In this instance, they might search travel keywords such as:

  • ‘Best holidays to go on holiday in December for sun’ (590 monthly searches)
  • ‘Winter sun holidays’ (8,100 monthly searches)
  • ‘Hot countries in December’ (3,600 monthly searches)

Creating content that targets these keywords can help you hook audiences at the first stage of their journey, whether that’s through a blog post listing the hottest countries in December, or a “Winter Sun Holidays” category page containing December-appropriate holidays.


Travel Keywords for SEO at the Research Stage 

Once your customer has a destination in mind, it’s likely they’ll want to know more about it. Blog posts are a great way to give customers the information they need, all the while showing off how great the holiday is. Consider covering keywords like the following:

  • Things to do in Tenerife (4,400 monthly searches)
  • Tenerife nightlife (1,900 monthly searches)
  • Best beaches in Tenerife (1,300 monthly searches)

Engaging articles that answer queries like this can position your brand as the expert and can persuade audiences to continue their journey through your company.


Travel Keywords for SEO at the Buying Stage

When your customers are ready to buy, they’re likely to search for terms such as:

  • Tenerife holidays (40,000 monthly searches) 
  • Cornwall holidays (49.000 monthly searches)
  • Lisbon hotels (4.500 monthly searches)

To be in with a chance for ranking for transactional terms like this, your page has to match the searcher’s intent: to buy. In this case, it has to have a call to action, whether that’s a booking portal or an agent’s contact number. 

However, transactional keywords in the travel industry are some of the most competitive, putting you up against huge players like TUI, Booking.com and Airbnb. That’s why it’s so important to catch your customers through research-related keywords alongside.


2. Utilise Digital PR

A digital PR strategy is important in any industry, but the travel industry’s high competition makes it even more so. Having a range of high quality websites linking back to your website shows search engines that your site is trustworthy and relevant. As a result, your website will gain more authority and rank higher. 

Let’s use TUI as an example. Their Tenerife page is ranking first for ‘Tenerife holidays’; it has a page authority of 45 and a total of 50 links from external websites. Jet2 on the other hand is ranking second, with a page authority of 46 and a total of 89 external links. Both companies have high authority and good external links.

Then there’s the travel company’s brand names to consider. Google takes brand mentions into account when ranking a site – and you can probably imagine just how many times TUI and Jet2 are mentioned on the internet. 

To be in with a chance of competing, SEO for travel websites should include a digital PR strategy. Strong, authoritative websites are the only ones which can cut through the travel industry’s loud noise.


3. Add USPs to Metadata

We’ve talked a lot about the travel industry’s competition. But the dense market isn’t always a bad thing. Customers are aware that they have a huge range of brands to choose from, so they’re usually much more willing to shop around. 

Many customers who are looking for holidays don’t buy through the first search result that appears (which is the case for a lot of markets). Instead, they scroll looking for the option that suits their needs most. They might be looking for a low deposit, the cheapest lead price, an all inclusive option, or a luxury package. 

Metadata is the first piece of content from your site that a user sees in the search results:

 

It’s the perfect opportunity to show customers your unique selling points and set yourself apart from the competition. When optimising your metadata, see what USPs your competitors are using and beat them . If you’ve got a cheaper lead price, add it in. If you offer 5* accommodation, tell that to searchers. Find your hook and use it.


4. Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

In a survey conducted by Business of Apps, 69% of respondents said that using a smartphone is extremely important when booking or planning a trip. With most of your audience landing on your website via mobile, it’s crucial that your site is accommodating. 

SEO for travel websites must consider:

  • Fast load speed 
  • Responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes
  • Proportional buttons and fonts (don’t use anything that’s so small it’s unclickable or unreadable)
  • Simple, easy-to-use navigation 

Now, Google is also more likely to index mobile versions of sites over desktop. So, if your page isn’t mobile friendly, it’s likely that it won’t rank very well.


5. Use Local SEO For Your Travel Website

Local SEO is great for travel brands who occupy any form of physical property. This could be travel agents who have high street stores or accommodation businesses with hotels, campsites or holiday homes.

The best way to optimise your site for location-based queries is to use Google My Business, so your store or accommodation can be displayed like so:

This can help your website target ‘near me’ searches. 

Let’s say a local customer is looking for a travel agency to book in-person with, so they search for ‘travel agents near me’ (8.1k average monthly searches). If their location was near your store, your GMB display would appear in their search results. 

Alternatively, a customer might pass through a new place they like the look of. In which case, they’d search for ‘hotels near me’ (135,000 average monthly searches). If your hotel was in that location, the searcher could easily find it and book. 

Implementing your location into keywords can also locally optimise your webpage for ‘near me’ searches. For example, terms such as ‘hotels in Newcastle’ can appear in ‘hotels near me’ searches, so long as that user is located in, or near, Newcastle.

 

6. Add Testimonials and Reviews

Incorporating testimonials and reviews into your travel website is a useful SEO tactic for travel brands because it enhances credibility and influences potential travellers. Authentic, positive feedback from satisfied customers provides valuable social proof, instilling trust in your services.

Now, more than ever, EEAT is leading the way for websites to rank highly in the SERPs. With the first E, experience, being added by Google in December 2022, businesses are looking at ways to show their customers that they can have a positive experience. Reviews are one of the best, and easiest ways, to highlight this experience.

Consider creating a dedicated section for customer testimonials or integrating them strategically across your site, particularly on key pages like destination guides, booking pages, or tour descriptions. Encourage travellers to share their experiences through reviews on platforms such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, or Google My Business, and showcase select reviews directly on your site. 

Highlighting positive feedback not only boosts your brand reputation but also contributes positively to the SEO of your travel website. Search engines increasingly value user-generated content, and positive reviews can improve your site’s visibility and ranking, making it more appealing to both search algorithms and potential customers.

 

7. Optimise User Experience 

Search engines are increasingly prioritising websites that provide a user-centric journey. Google understands exactly what their users want when searching for a query – and they do their best to match that. 

The travel industry is full of big brands who have nailed their user journey. So to stay competitive, it’s crucial for your travel website to deliver a brilliant experience too. 

Streamline your website’s navigation, making it intuitive and easy to find essential information such as destination details, travel itineraries, and booking options. Implement a responsive design to ensure a consistent and engaging experience across various devices, from desktops to smartphones. 

Clear calls-to-action and well-organised content contribute to an intuitive design, guiding users effortlessly through the site. Regularly test and refine the user interface based on feedback and analytics data to address pain points and enhance overall satisfaction. 

 

8. Improve Page Loading Speed 

Page loading speed is something that contributes to user experience too, and it’s one of Google’s key ranking factors. For travel booking websites, it’s especially important, as you want to ensure these carefully considered transactions are as smooth as possible. 

Quick wins you can take to improve page loading speed – and therefore the SEO of your travel website – is to compress images without compromising quality, minimise HTTP requests, and leverage browser caching. 

Additionally, consider employing a content delivery network (CDN) to distribute content across multiple servers, enhancing global loading speed. 

Regularly monitor and fine-tune your website’s performance using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to identify areas for improvement and ensure a consistently fast and responsive browsing experience for your visitors.

 

In the fast-paced environment of the travel industry, staying ahead of emerging trends is key to maintaining a competitive edge and maximising the visibility of your travel website. Keep a keen eye on industry trends, emerging destinations, and evolving traveller preferences. 

Content that aligns with current trends not only captures the attention of your target audience but can also capitalise on increased search interest. Whether it’s a new travel destination gaining popularity or a unique travel experience gaining traction, incorporating these trends into your content strategy can boost organic traffic.

Regularly update your website with fresh and relevant content, leveraging trending keywords and topics to appeal to the ever-evolving interests of your audience. By proactively identifying and incorporating rising trends into your SEO strategy, you position your travel website as a relevant and authoritative source in the eyes of both users and search engines.

 

Considering these tips in your SEO strategy along with other key ranking factors like original quality content, user intent and site hygiene can have a huge impact on your website’s performance. To find out more about SEO for travel websites, browse our SEO services or chat to us today.