Utilising the Knowledge Graph for Travel SEO
Introduced in May 2012, Google’s Knowledge Graph has become one of the fastest growing tools used for ranking worldwide. How travel SEO specialists adapt to the graph and mark up websites could make all the difference to success in both the research and sales phases.
The Knowledge Graph understands when as user asks about a particular place, person and other elements and understands how these elements tie together. For Google the Knowledge Graph was designed to offer increased relevancy to users, for travel SEO it highlights an opportunity for success.
Popularity of the Knowledge Graph on SERPs
Following the launch of Google’s Knowledge Graph it was reported that Wikipedia visits dropped 21%, whilst Knowledge Graph results showed in 19.45% of search results.
Following this trend in search marketing, travel SEO specialists and travel marketing managers should be asking the following strategy-shaking question: "How does the Google Knowledge Graph affect my business?".
On broader match terms it is likely for a Knowledge Graph answer to show up.
The example above shows a basic Madrid search displays a wealth of information on the city as whole, meaning Google may well understand this is the research phase.
A more targeted search (such as Madrid flights) does not show off a Knowledge Graph result, as Google understands the need for a user to take an additional step before purchase and select a company to buy from.
Going back to the initial search, it is needed for a webmaster and travel SEO specialist to identify where in the sales funnel the broader search sits (most likely the beginning) and markup a website for success at this point.
For example, this could be pages for the points of interest which when clicked create a secondary search, or even flights for the ‘View Flights’ option.
Search Results & Brand Message Control
Bigger brands can highly benefit from utilising the Knowledge Graph. Search for a brand and it is likely you will find a logo and biography; it may come from Wikipedia or another source – such as the brand website.
Effective structuring means a brand can control what is shown on the knowledge graph, and enforce messages the company would like to portray.
This can be created through effective markup on the about us pages, for shop fronts (such as a local travel agent) there can also be the use of opening times and contact details to attempt to engage a user into contacting before the website is reached.
Avoiding Being Scraped and Using it for Success
Digital marketers across various industries share the same worry about the potential for their website's content to be ‘scraped’ and used within the Knowledge Graph. This is a bitter-sweet issue as it means Google is ranking the website highly enough to want to use it as a prime example of a search term, whilst simultaneously reducing the chance of a user clicking through to the site.
Travel companies can see true value in the Knowledge Graph by adapting a website to make the most of the potential click-throughs within the options Google provides. This includes advertising flights where flight options are made, or offering exclusive tickets to attraction options in certain locations.
Essentially web owners should be looking to give Google information it can use to drive traffic to a website, and not information it can use to take traffic away.
The Knowledge Graph should be considered as an additional tool used to reinforce the brand and to remind users of the benefits of choosing to buy with the said brand.
Polaris is a London SEO agency providing specialist SEO services to the travel industry.