Most travel business owners and managers are aware that keyword research is an important part of setting up a SEO campaign. But, some don’t realize that effective research – and a successful search campaign – depends on uncovering the best local keywords for a given business in addition to the top organic keywords. The travel industry has unique needs when it comes to search optimization. It surely requires utilization of some broad keywords like “travel deals” and “travel discounts,” especially as it pertains to global brands offering many types of travel services worldwide. But, it most often requires utilization of geo-targeted keywords like “Paris hotel near Eiffel Tower” or “Palm Springs mid-century hotel,” which is where local keyword research for travel SEO comes into play.

Driving Traffic vs. Bringing in the Right Traffic

It’s good for travel brands to use broad keywords throughout content – in web content, title tags, meta descriptions, and social media content – to drive traffic. But, as a hotel, local tour company, or travel transportation provider, what you want is to bring in the right kind of traffic. At the end of all your SEO efforts, what you want are conversions – bookings in the form of filled hotel rooms, purchased tour tickets, and bought bus seats or the like. These conversions are going to come by way of ultra-targeted keywords – or local keywords – that connect your brand with those who are ready to purchase in your area right now.

Local keyword research helps you find travelers who are in the “Let’s-Book-It” stage, which is one of the stages of micro-moments Google talks about relating to a travel customer’s journey from thinking about a trip to booking and completing one. Local keyword research will get you further when it comes to conversion than simply using broad keywords that merely attract the travel curious.

Keyword Research for Travel SEO: How Is it Done?

There are challenges associated with researching local keywords and putting a geo-specific SEO campaign into place. For one, local search results change rapidly, so a travel business owner or manager has to constantly stay on top of search that’s trending in the company’s specific area. Local search results for travel businesses also greatly depend on companies’ ability to keep their NAPs (name, address, phone number) consistent throughout listing directories and linked websites (and local reviews), and good placement for travel businesses in SERPs relies on appropriate geo-targeted keywords.

One of the hard things about creating a local SEO campaign is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all method for local keyword research. Finding the right keywords to use in your hotel, tour company, or transportation company’s content – and marketing efforts – doesn’t strictly come down to using Google’s typical keyword research tools. To conduct effective local keyword search, marketers need to access information from several places that will ultimately offer clues as to which keywords travelers are typing into their search bars. When travelers want to find, for instance, eco-friendly accommodations in Venice or foodie tours of Portland, they’re asking for results that are somewhat hard to anticipate. But, there are ways to give a traveler what’s desired.

Tools for Keyword Research for Travel SEO

Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a helpful tool for travel brands to find the local keywords that will bring in customers. It allows a marketer to search for new keyword and ad group ideas, entering main keywords to help narrow down results and then specifying a chosen location to “get ideas.” With Google AdWords Keyword Planner, you can even enter areas surrounding your city for local keyword help. Google Trends is another great tool for finding keywords related to regional interest. With Google Trends, you can look at the interest level of various keywords over periods of time and zero in on specific locations.

Using Google Suggest and SERPs, it’s possible to view recommendations for long-tail keywords related to your primary keywords and unique geographic location. As an example, if you type “vegan restaurant in Iceland” into Google’s search box, at the bottom of the results page, Google will offer the following related keyword phrases you might want to use in your content: “Glo Reykjavik Iceland” and “Iceland vegan list.” Even though you may not be the owner of Glo restaurant in Iceland, or a vegan restaurant in Iceland, if you’re a hotel in Iceland – or in Reykjavik – you might want to incorporate these keyword phrases into some of your blog posts or in a local guide to the area that appears on your website.

In addition to these tools, it’s wise to check your competitors’ websites to see which local keyword phrases they’re using in their content. You’ll want to gather the best local keywords you’ve found and use them in your title tags, meta descriptions, and content – which should include incorporation in your headlines and subheadings. Another good idea for localizing SEO is adding your city or exact region to main keywords, such as “Miami cheap hotels” and, even better, “Coconut Grove cheap hotels.”

Because many travel company operators want to devote their time to serving travelers, instead of conducting local keyword research and structuring an effective SEO campaign, Galileo Tech Media provides SEO and local SEO services for travel clients. We offer a suite of SEO services that help travel companies draw travelers to their specific regions and make sales.