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, in particular SEO for travel, 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.
Keyword Research for Travel
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
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.
Traveler Buyer Persona
Traveler Customer Journey
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, etc.
- 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.
- Re-iterate – Do it all over again.
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 analyze 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.