Search engine optimization is a highly competitive and an almost always changing component of online travel marketing. It makes sense then, that travel brands and travel SEO experts would constantly try to perfect and predict their tactics. Even when travel companies do everything right to keep up with SEO and keep on top of the SERPs, there needs to be attention to emerging travel SEO trends.

Marketers in the travel industry find search success when they implement today’s best practices and take a visionary’s look into digital marketing’s future. As we monitor Google algorithm updates and optimize for new technologies, we need to become experts at foreseeing how these and other best practices will likely fit together in a new landscape.

Based on observation and speculation, here are some travel SEO trends that we think will dictate search success in 2018:

Focus on Video and Image

Travel marketers have already had some interactions with optimizing for YouTube SEO and image search, but 2018 might be the year Google demands it as the norm. Faster Internet speeds, visual-heavy social media platforms and consumers’ desire to engage more with videos and images during everyday search will mean change needs to be underway for the travel marketer to keep up.

Search engines will probably adjust the way they recognize and treat visual images in order to improve user interaction. Be prepared to give greater SEO attention (and maybe even an SEO overhaul) to all of your travel brand’s visual assets.

Domination of Google’s Knowledge Graph

We’ve seen Google’s featured snippets show up in response to travel searches in greater frequency for a few years now. And, these little chunks of information about destinations, accommodations and transportation have been increasingly more specific in answer to users’ queries.

But, for the past month or so, the Knowledge Graph has delivered the precise answers searchers hoped to find. Expect the end of featured snippets or at least the domination of the Knowledge Graph, which will provide more in-depth, consistent and user-friendly results for travelers.

Voice Search Optimization

Who didn’t receive a smart speaker for the holidays last year or buy one for themselves? These devices were on sale all over the Internet and when they weren’t discounted they were still in high demand. Google Home and Amazon Echo are changing the way users find what they need online, including travelers looking for trip inspiration and transportation solutions.

By simply asking Google or Alexa a question in normal speak, a consumer can find out about eco-friendly hotel options, places to visit where it’s warm and sunny, new luxury cruise offerings and more. It’s extremely convenient to receive the answers to a query in a fashion that’s easy to comprehend (and available anywhere like in the car). As voice search evolves to meet consumers’ needs more perfectly, travel brands should evolve and perfect their SEO strategy in time.

Other SEO travel trends including individual customization of travel query results, link building (in terms of stronger partner relationship building), focus on user experience (think site speed) and greater shift toward mobile optimization will need to be on the travel marketer’s radar as well for this upcoming year.

To get help bringing your travel business up to speed to compete in 2018, contact Galileo Tech Media.