After years of trying to hone in on the most effective SEO techniques, in hopes of becoming master of Google’s algorithm, travel marketers are again finding themselves searching for the right way to reach readers as the search engine giant again makes changes to the ever-evolving world of rank. Google has fully launched RankBrain, its machine-learning artificial intelligence technology, and as far as we know it will analyze data in effort to produce the information Internet users want most. What will Google RankBrain for travel SEO look like? Will we need to give up on the methods we’ve perfected for ranking in search, and start from scratch to try to appease Google?
No, and no.
Google RankBrain isn’t going to completely alter the way travel companies attempt to show up in front of consumers. It won’t make link building and using keywords obsolete. But, it will force travel brands to focus more on what they should be doing already: providing quality content for readers and offering extreme value.
RankBrain’s Part in Google’s Algorithm
As we mentioned in our previous post on Google’s newest search technology, RankBrain isn’t an algorithm and it isn’t anything that’s going to replace Google’s current algorithm, which is called “Hummingbird.” It’s a part of Google’s overall strategy to give users the results they’re looking for when they type questions and phrases into its search bar. Instead of relevant results showing up for a user only when certain phrases are keyed in, which is what tends to happen now since companies optimize their content for phrases that have already ranked, Google wants individuals to receive helpful information even if they don’t explain their needs as we would hope or think they should.
RankBrain Gets to the Heart of User Search
Consumers who want to learn about travel, whether they’re wondering about the weather in Paris year round or food options near a specific New York City hotel, have many different ways of inquiring about the same thing. Five people living in various locations around the world might want to go on a vacation to remember in 2017 and they may desire to visit the top place for travel according to other travelers. But, imagine what these Internet users might type into their search bar. Their queries would likely vary and they could look something like this:
Best place to visit in the world
Most popular travel destination
Great places to travel
Where is the top place to travel
Popular travel locations
If travel companies were to continue to focus most of their SEO efforts on using high-ranking keywords in website and mobile app content, they might actually miss showing up in front of some of these users. Try to rank for the keyword phrase “popular travel destination” and you may fail to reach consumers keying in “top place to travel.” Spread your efforts out over 2 or 3 keyword phrases and you might not show up at all, especially in a keyword-competitive industry like travel.
What RankBrain for travel SEO is attempting to do is to integrate search results that might have shown up separately for each of the queries indicated above. Because, if a travel brand is trying to rank for 1 or 2 phrases, it probably isn’t getting its content seen by folks typing in other phrases. RankBrain is going to analyze trillions of searches, learn what content provides value for these searches, discover that people inputting various phrases essentially want the same thing, and then deliver useful information based on algorithms within an algorithm that zero in on what’s most beneficial.
Keywords will still matter and link building will continue to be significant, but invaluable content that can get to the heart of what readers want will transcend all methods of optimizing the web for the user. And, that’s the way it should be. RankBrain for travel SEO will force travel companies and all companies to offer rich, deep, explanatory, content that answers users biggest questions, addresses their greatest concerns, and engages them in a topic in ways they can’t help but react to. Of course, the reaction that’s hoped for in the case of travel is a booking or a sale. With RankBrain, if you comply with giving great content the booking and sale success will come.