As one of the hotly contested markets on the internet, it can seem the travel industry has it easy. Travel SEO, starting from keyword research all the way to capturing a sale, is hugely competitive and having the right structure and using the market wisely allows for increased rankings and a larger market share.

Mobile Travel SEO in 2015

Google’s Mobile Update and the increase in app usage have put mobile SEO firmly in the spotlight.

Travel SEO professionals and marketers are well aware of the growth of mobile travel sales: eMarketer predicted US mobile sales would increase 60% in 2014, with one in five travel sales made on mobile.

Further, the Yahoo Bing network recorded an increase of 43% in travel-related searches on mobile.

In late May 2015 Google also announced the use of the deep linking tool for iOS apps. For travel SEO this is as hugely important as that selling, or offering research portals, through apps can begin to rank their apps within search engine results pages.

Cross-Device Utilisation with Travel SEO

40% of purchasers on the internet will start on one device and end on another, and 79% will use a mobile as a touch point in this cycle.

Travel SEO experts and marketers can implement seem-less cross-channel experience for users to capture different points within the sales funnel.

As an upper funnel sales tool mobile optimised research heavy content to engage a user at the first stage is needed, secondary content, in order to push a user to purchase, should then be used to seal a purchase.

Use Analytics to put into numbers current mobile share, desktop share and conversions. From this, calculate what devices are used to search and what devices are used to purchase.

Map out similarities in trends and create a website and UX which naturally switch between desktop and mobile.

Further, understand where the key touch points in the journey are, this Google User Journey Diagram shows the average way a large travel company in the UK will make a sale.

Structure Travel SEO with Priority in Mind

Peak traffic times dependent on the type of holidays being sold will always be at the core of an SEO strategy.

Budgets for paid advertising can be used to push campaigns where traffic is apparent, for example, January 2015 saw a 27% increase in travel-related searches.

Focus SEO campaigns towards these points: start thinking about what keywords you want to be ranking, for now, come January 1st and structure onsite and content marketing campaigns to peak at these times and raise awareness of the brand.

Utilise cross-channel platforms within the SEO strategy to expand on app use and target different stages of the sales funnel.

Keyword targets (or destination targets) should be agreed in advance with thorough research. If data permits, use Google Search Console to check impression share for terms and impression share for the landing pages chosen as targets.

This allows you to determine:

  1. The search terms already offering impressions
  2. The pages (or types of pages) Google sees as most relevant on your website

Expand on this data by mining thoroughly, pair it with Google’s Adwords Keyword Research Tool, Analytics and current rankings to outline:

  • Current market performance
  • Total market traffic
  • Share of the market
  • Key levels for an increase in market share (eg. The increase in potential traffic from page 2 to page 1)

This then creates a simple structure and target points from which to launch a travel SEO campaign, with clear direction and tasks at each point.

Consider Competitor Brands

Competitor data and ongoing analysis is a key way in aiding your own growth to a prime ranking real estate.

Carry out analysis on that ranked 1-10 for key terms and look at elements including linking profiles, website structure and on-page content.

Determine any strikingly obvious differences to your own profile and add these as targets for improvement within an SEO campaign.

For example, if the first ranked page has 1,000 links from 20 domains and you have 20 links from 2 domains, there is obvious room for improvement.

Final Structure

Approaching a competitive travel SEO campaign with data led structure allows for marketers to have a clear go-to document relating to SEO.

Structure it first with data, then targets, key pieces of work (blogging campaigns etc.) and how these pieces relate to the targets.

The start of successful SEO comes from understanding current data and utilising this to unlock trends and approaches moving forward.

Polaris is an SEO agency in London specialising in travel, B2B and E-commerce. Using our bespoke Bright Metrics system we monitor market trends, competitor profiles and create award-winning, ROI-driven SEO campaigns.


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