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).
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).
Monthly Search Volume
Hot tub holidays
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.
Here are our top five tips on SEO for travel websites to help you do so:
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. Having SEO content on your website that targets each of these touch points is vital.
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.
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.