Travel companies face strong competition when it comes to catching consumers’ attention, building brand trust, and making sales. With so many agencies, booking sites, hotels, tourism companies, and the like on the Internet today, it can be difficult to get noticed, convert, and gain a loyal following. Unless you know how to put smart Travel SEO practices into place, that is.
Searching the Internet is the number one way by which consumers plan their travel experiences. According to Google Research, 57% of Leisure Travelers and 64% of Business Travelers begin their planning process by researching trips online Travel SEO Services give your travel business the must-have tools to show up where these consumers are searching.
One good strategy to show up in front of a target audience is to pay for advertising on search engines to get placement when travelers search. However that leaves more than half the audience on the table because only 39% of search results pages have ads! That means that over 60% of 1.2 trillion searches per year feature NO ADVERTISING! The only way to capture part of that traffic is to show up in the natural search results.
Our CEO Joseph Franklyn McElroy recently wrote more on the need for Travel SEO in an industry Authority Guide.
For travel-focused businesses, getting organic search placement provides huge opportunities – and huge challenges. Your reach, once limited mainly to local knowledge and word-of-mouth, suddenly has the potential to expand on a global scale. At the same time, you’re now faced with stiff competition from all of the other travel providers in the online sphere. To succeed, you need research, a carefully planned process, and an understanding of your customers’ journey, their intent, and the various micro-moments that happen along the way from initial trip planning to actual travel.
How to do SEO for Travel
On any given day, 40% of the keywords and phrases used to search for travel or anything else have never been used before. With more than 2 million searches happening each second, that’s 800K new words every second! What this means is that SEO, or Travel SEO as it pertains to travel companies, is much more than just having some content, targeting a list of keywords, and doing a bit of link building. Those days are long gone. Now you have to have technology and a process to understand the intent of searchers as well as the micro-moments your customers experience throughout the journey that brings them to you.
Every Travel SEO campaign requires an astute understanding of the keywords that drive commercial transactions. To start building an effective campaign, we begin with keywords that have high transactional intent but are narrow in scope so that the competition is lower. Over time, we will evolve to more broad based terms that encompass multiple intent, but also drive more traffic. This Funnel (broad) and Pinpoint (narrow) approach also helps design the content and navigational structure of a site.
As a site becomes advanced, with thousands of visitors, we start analyzing the actual keywords driving traffic. We learn about the language that is used by your customers. We learn about the path they traveled through the site. We learn how they purchased. In short, we learn about customer intent. We then take this information into our technology platform – The Galileo Star Suite ™ – which we then use to make dynamic and data-driven decisions to maximize your organic results.
For Travel companies, we have already accumulated thousands of phrases, with millions of combinations, that drive commercial transactions. Once customized with your data, we can produce stunning organic growth on a global AND hyper-local scale.
When engaged in any marketing activity, you should have at least one ideal buyer in mind. A trendy hotel for example might want tech-savvy millennials as their ideal clients. This ideal or target buyer can be generalized as a fictional person with wants, needs, fears, demographics, psychographics, and various other descriptive information derived from experience or data. This fictional person is called a Persona.
Travel Buyer Persona Example
Travel Buyer Persona Example
For Travel Search Engine Optimization, there are several types of Personas we need to consider. A Buyer Persona is the most important since this is the actual purchaser. An Audience Persona represents both the buyer and any other person who might be involved in the decision making process for purchasing, for example, someone just gathering information on behalf of someone else. Finally, an Influencer Persona is important because this Persona represents people in social media, the press, bloggers, publishers, and anyone else who might write about or refer people to the products and services being sold. These influencers help build the authority of the site.
As your Travel SEO program grows, your Personas become integrated into a customer experience journey. They become more directly connected to data sources and behavioral information you gather. They become an important part of all your enterprise marketing initiatives.
Auditing a site is an activity that is done on a regular basis. Galileo Tech Media gathers data about the site by using various crawling technologies and accessing data provided by the search engines like Google’s Search Console. Then we score the site on the following factors:
Accessibility – The site must be accessible to users and crawlers.
Performance – The speed of the site is important for user experience, a ranking factor.
Indexability – The site pages must be indexed in the engines and no penalties applied.
On-Page Ranking Factors – The site and pages must be optimized so that keywords and content indicate relevancy.
Off-Page Ranking Factors – The site must be popular, trustworthy, authoritative, social, and balanced.
Competitive Analysis – Know how your competitors fare with all the above so that you can find weaknesses.
It is not good enough to just create content anymore. Content must be Wise Content. It must be scalable. And it must be tested and proven over and over again. It must be attractive, interesting, and yield targeted prospects. We are moving from the “Attention” economy to the “Intention” economy for content and Travel SEO Marketing. This means that content must understand and meet the intentions of the visitor.
While keywords are still important, as well as on-page optimization factors, Audience intelligence also becomes a major part of Travel SEO. Audience intelligence, the real “big data” in the marketing world, means that the more we understand the end user (and the more they understand us, the marketer), the more relevant (and therefore more useful) we become to each other.
How do you do this? Well the first thing to do is know frameworks of search queries. For example Google classifies search engine queries generally as either navigational, informational, commercial, or transactional. There are many theories you can read about with regard to this.
Then, we collect Actionable Data. Every action, no matter how minor or repetitive, should be captured: purchase views, video or other rich content views, registrations, sharing, searching, and everything else that involves a user interacting with your site. The more information you have to start with, the more easily you can start to determine patterns—which should consistently be re-evaluated and refined.
Having Data that tells you how visitors interact, and mapping search behavior based upon your framework understanding, allows you to start building content that responds to users. This is Wise Content.
Wise Content needs an authoritative site to generate search results. You can not have one without the other! This means it is crucial you develop a sound authority building strategy. Authority building is quite similar to the traditional SEO practices that many of us have already become accustomed to. Building a stronger brand presence online and improving a site’s search visibility require two major processes: the things you implement on the site and the things you do outside of the site.
Making link building scalable requires good relationships.
In the past, many link builders believed that it is best to have thousands of links from diversified sources, which led to spamming. And eventually penalties from Google.
Now, it is better to have multiple links from a few link sources that are highly trusted than having hundreds of one-off links from several mediocre sites. This means earning links from quality content and authentic outreach. We recommend the following Travel SEO strategy with regard to link building:
Identify pages on your site that have some rankings already and have good business value.
Use some tactics that work immediately to get more traffic and buzz for the page.
Direct outreach via email/twitter/phone/etc. to sites you might get relevant links to and that might be good referral sources.
Broadcast page via content in social media, press, blogs, bulk email, e
Amplify page with retargeting, display, and social advertising.
Build a sustainable process for getting more links for the page:
Opportunity Discovery – Find link opportunities via competitive research, in relevant communities, in press or publications, in resource lists, in product and service comparisons, with influencers, in feature stories, and via business development.
Track – Track your targets with an Excel spreadsheet tracking source URL, type outreach, last outreach, metrics, contact info, etc.
Evaluate – Keep statistics on link metrics, authority, and rankings. Most importantly, keep track of traffic and conversion metrics.
Companies face huge challenges allocating marketing budgets. Insights derived from Travel SEO Campaigns not only drive more traffic, but can also be used to optimize all marketing activities. As traffic grows into the thousands and millions, simple keyword lists management is outgrown and tools to analyse the content gaps become mandatory.
Data and Analytics services can help you:
Obtain actionable insights driven from search behaviors, customer activity, behavior patterns, and customer intent.
Leverage structured and unstructured data to develop complete and comprehensive profiles of customers and segments.
Employ the newest techniques in data analytics to determine the next best actions.
Perform analysis to discover problems and opportunities; direct decisive action to pounce on improvement opportunities.
Fill your editorial calendar with marketing winning content.
Galileo Tech Media’s teamhas honed its travel industry expertise with decades of combined experience, working with some of the biggest names out there. We know how people search for travel, and we understand the subtle differences in behavioral patterns across demographics. Our travel marketing strategy is a combination of tried-and-true research and bespoke techniques using mind-type genomics – predicting search tendencies based upon sophisticated experiential data.
The result is a multifaceted approach to SEO, SEM, and content marketing, employing mobile technology and real-time data analysis to deliver a powerful strategy that speaks to the distinctive needs of hotels, travel providers, and everyone in between.
We use Google-approved promotion and authority building strategies to build the reputation of your site in the eyes of search engines. Our services are designed to help your site achieve a natural inbound link profile that is logical and genuine, speeding the process that would happen naturally over time.
We understand how tobuild a process around content and keyword research to manage it better, and to scale it globally.
We focus on controlling budget by giving agency-vetted freelance talent lots of volume, and getting discounted rates. We keep our overhead low by keeping our infrastructure virtual, enabling us to add a project management layer that insulates our clients from personnel changes.
We build technology and processes to integrate with client systems, so that client personnel can focus more on getting things done instead of administration. We customize our billing to meet the internal requirements of our clients.
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SEO Travel Areas of Focus
Landing Page Optimization80
Conversion Rate Optmization90
Social Media Promotion95
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Some travel companies that have built their brands selling traditional hotel room stays are working to get out of the market and into alternative offerings, such as private villa rentals. Others, like Marriott, are
Throughout the history of tourism, there have been many phrases travel companies have co-opted to sell to consumers and explain the need for what the brands provide. Experience marketing is nothing unique, but probably none