SEO is a term increasingly present in digital marketing discussions when the topic is organic traffic. But what does SEO really means for tour operators? And how to use it? That’s what we will cover in this article.
To begin with, you should understand a little bit about user behavior when navigating through your website.
In the best-case scenario, you have around 15 seconds to capture your web page visitors’ attention. Considering that you manage to get them to open your web page first.
There is so much content to choose from and nobody wants to waste time on pages that don’t offer exactly what they are looking for.
So, what could help you bring potential customers to your web page?
To make sure that you are calling the attention of the people who are really interested in your content, tour operators should know a thing or two about SEO.
SEO stands for “search engine optimization”. It’s the process of getting traffic from the free, organic, editorial or natural search results on search engines.
Basically, web pages and other content such as videos/images/local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users.
And it doesn’t have anything to do with the paid search ads. It’s all about the content you create and how you optimize it. That’s why SEO is so important for tour operators.
People do not want to dig through your website to find what they are looking for. This means that you should create strong landing pages with powerful headlines and a bold call to action.
Your page must clearly communicate the value of your business. Get rid of any unnecessary information. Finally, ensure that you’re using a guiding layout of your landing page. One that makes sense and is easy to navigate for users.
Tour operators who successfully use SEO make it more likely for travelers to use their site. Also, keep in mind that search engines rely on clear links to your pages, so make sure that the title of each landing page is clear.
Your homepage content should clarify who you are, what you do, where you’re located, your value proposition. And what visitors should do next – book a tour!
Give them enough information, but not too much – you don’t want to confuse them.
Everything related to SEO starts with an understanding of what a “keyword phrase” is. Anytime someone conducts a search on Google, or another search engine, they enter some text to start their search. In SEO terms, the entered text is called a “keyword” or “keyword phrase.”
Determining a strategy for keywords should be your first step. Be clear about your goals. Tour operators venturing into SEO should choose keywords related to travel and the tours they offer.
For that purpose, you can use results from different tools. Also, be sure to check the keyword competition. Google offers a variety of free useful tools, such as Google Trends.
Your page URL must contain your keyword or keyword phrase. If it is a phrase, words must be separated by hyphens. Use some plugins to remove stop words from the URL/permalinks.
It’s always good to minimize the use of the STOP word in the permalink. If you are using WordPress to create your website, Yoast is a top-notch plugin to help you write content that is SEO compliant.
Ensure your keywords are placed once in your page title, and once in your meta description (HTML element that describes and summarizes the contents of your page).
The meta description doesn’t get used by search engines for ranking purposes anymore, but it’s still good to place the keywords there for user relevance. Keep your page title to under 55 characters and meta description to under 150 characters. You can edit all of those fields easily using Yoast.
It’s good to have your search query represented in your H1 Heading, and other headings (H2, H3, etc.) as appropriate. Also, have it in the first paragraph and add 2-3 times its variations within the rest of the body copy.
Just make sure that your content is relevant to the visitor, and reads sensibly.
By choosing the right keywords and using the best SEO practices, tour operators can make any page on their website available to search engines.
Local Web Pages – You can create web pages that target local searchers, so when someone enters a location-specific key phrase – they can find you.
Verify and optimize your Google My Business Page with your business information and location. Google will continue to take steps to show the best local content in search results.
News Articles – You need to ensure that your site is included in Google News for a news article to be indexed. Follow the guidelines on submitting a dedicated news sitemap.
Videos – Google includes YouTube and Vimeo video matches in its search results. Optimize your video filename for relevant keywords. Make the video public and ensure the title includes your relevant keywords.
Write detailed, keyword-rich video descriptions and use the first 22 words strategically, as these are seen on the query page. Add relevant keyword tags to your video (but avoid stuffing the tags).
Images – In the top menu on Google there is a tab for ‘Images’. It enables people to search specifically for those that are relevant to their search queries/keywords.
Have your images being displayed on this section by optimizing its alt text with relevant keywords. That helps Google to understand what the image depicts.
It is always a good idea to save the image name with the keyword and upload them on the server with the same name.
Your content must be original. Creating compelling and useful content will likely influence your website more than any of the other factors. Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it.
This could be through blog posts, social media, email, forums, or other means. Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site’s reputation with both users and Google. And it rarely comes without quality content.
Make your content easy to read, friendly and relevant to your audience. Incorporating blogs into your website will help you keep your content conversational and current.
This seems obvious, but still, too often, searchers are forced to view what is supposed to be a desktop screen on their smartphones. Especially given the competitive nature of the travel industry and the vast amount of choices, you can bet that your visitor will forgo your site if it’s not easy to navigate.
Avoid that by creating a responsive website. In other words, make sure that your website layout is functional for both, desktop and mobile users.
Tour operators who have studied SEO for any length of time probably heard about “on-page optimization” and “off-page optimization“.
On-page optimization refers to all measures that can be taken directly within the website in order to improve its position in the search rankings. That’s the case when you place keywords on your text or optimize the headers and your site code.
While there are several tactics for off-page optimization, the most important is building quality backlinks. A backlink is any link on an external website that is pointing “back” to your site.
There are many techniques to generate backlinks. You can look for like/minded businesses and listing pages to place your links. You can also write a guest post for a high authority website in your niche, also, comment on posts related to your site content, forums, etc.
Market your content on various social networks and media. Try various titles and descriptions that can engage users with your content.
Initially, target Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Reddit. Google is now giving more importance to social media signals to rank websites. Now is the time to use a social media platform to the fullest.
Just to name a few extra tips we can give you:
Tour operators can benefit from SEO technics to rank higher on search engines, increasing their online visibility, hence generating more quality leads.
The tips presented in this article are a great starting point for your SEO efforts, but keep in mind that the internet changes fast, so do searching engine algorithms.
If you are looking for further advice on digital marketing, don’t miss our comprehensive guide to online marketing in tourism.
on June 1, 2021
by Daria Keršić
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