In the past we have gone over the basic essentials of SEO and how it can help your tour or travel business. However there is still so much more to cover and talk about it. More details, nuance, and techniques that can be plumbed in-depth to better help you and your business.
In this article we will take a deeper dive into SEO and how it can be used to advance your brand’s digital presence.
Advanced Keyword Research
Keywords make up some of the most basic components of an SEO campaign. They are the means by which customer wants intersect with what your company offers in the vastness that is the internet. Thus it is vital for you to know your target users and the keywords they use when searching online for tourism services and products. When doing keyword research focus on relevance over volume. Find the search intents that either line up with what you have to offer or if need be adjust your services to line up with what users are searching.
Keyword research can also be used to determine where your business’ online presence is lacking. Such as whether your website needs a resource guide, video content, or blog content.
SEO consultant and blogger Dan Taylor advises:
- Do not pursue ranking with a small subset of keywords.
- Make sure to consider that in pursuing ranking for one term you will have to establish relevance within other travel search queries. This means you are intersecting with a variety of users who might be at different points of their search journeys.
- Identify all search queries and phrases that are relevant. Once you have identified them you should divide and group them into categories which you can then map onto your website.
- These categories can consist of anything between the tourism products you offer and your priorities as a business.
- The more you can categorize a single phrase the better you can measure and report your progress in the future. The more you can break things down the more you can identify specific details that need to be addressed.
When doing keyword research make sure you understand user search intents. According to a study carried out by the University of Hong Kong in 2006 users have two distinct search goals.
- Specific information pertaining to the specific keyword or phrase they have typed into a search engine.
- Broad information regarding a topic.
Specific search users can then be broken down into how specific they are and how exhaustive they are. Usually specific search users have narrow search goals from which they do not stray. Exhaustive search users instead tend to pursue a larger scope consisting of a certain topic or a certain range of topics.
There are usually three classifications which can be applied to the meanings search queries possess.
- A query possesses one prevailing interpretation
- A query possesses multiple commonly accepted interpretations
- A query possesses a few less used interpretations.
It is also possible for a query to possess all or some of the meanings that have just been listed.
In addition queries can be classified as:
- Do- which refers to transactional queries
- Know- which refers to informational queries
- Go- which refers to navigational queries
This all comes together to help you better understand the intent of your target users. By better understanding your target users you can better map and strategize how to connect with them.
Understanding Search Stages
Related to the above section about keywords is understanding the stages users go through as they use search engines and eventually (hopefully) become paying customers. A common mistake many companies have made with limited understandings of SEO is creating multiple, stand-alone landing pages with only the most tangential connection to each other. These stand-alone landing pages are made without regard for the stages search users go through.
While not all users complete and go through all stages the sequence usually remains the same.
Research and Discovery:
At this point user searches are more generalized within specific ranges such as “cheap Germany tours summer 2021” or “best Japanese tourist destinations.” Users have yet to settle onto a specific website or itinerary.
Your content will need to be of immediate interest to users without trying to sell them on anything. You will need to present yourself and your business as an authority regarding what users are searching for. The more you are recognized as an authority the more users will refer to you as they continue down the stages.
Planning and Scoping:
This is the point when users have decided on what they want but before they have made any purchases. This is no longer the time for sales pitches or charming imagery. At this stage users want the numbers and facts.
- What will be the cost?
- Where will I be flying from?
- Where will I be flying to?
- When will I be flying?
- What hotels will be available and how much will they cost? What will they provide?
- What transportation will I use when I get there?
If possible it would be better to place this information on the same pages where users can find research and discovery content. Doing so further cements your webpage as a one stop place and authority regarding specific queries. This increases the value of your website to users and in turn to Google’s algorithms.
Target Searcher Task Accomplishment
Google is still the predominant search engine users turn to, especially when it comes to researching and planning vacations and trips. This in turn means you will need to play according to Google’s priorities. Chief among those priorities is Searcher Task Accomplishment. One of the most consistent goals of Google’s constant algorithm updates is the betterment of the user experience.
Following a 2018 update Google SearchLiaison stated on Twitter:
“We understand those who do less well after a core update change may still feel they need to do something. We suggest focusing on ensuring you’re offering the best content you can. That’s what our algorithms seek to reward.”
Rand Fishkin of the blog Moz points out that Google is asking businesses if their content helps users accomplish what they are using search engines for.
According to Rand:
“Google is going to reward results that help me accomplish the task, discover additional needs, and solve those additional needs as well, rather than the ones that maybe provide a slice of what I need and then make me go back to the search results and choose something else or change my query to figure out more.”
In other words, Google is designing their algorithms to more accurately direct users to the pages that are actually of use to them.
For you this means:
- You will have to make sure your page layout and content lines up with keywords used by searchers.
- You should try to have multiple options that can come up in a user’s general search, with a range of features, services, prices, and packages.
Topic Coverage and Entity Salience
Searcher Task Accomplishment can be assisted by making your web page into the best resource it can be for those targeted search queries. Try to design your web page and populate it with content that answers as many pertinent questions as possible and covers as many relevant topics.
Your content should be about the topics and entities vital to your business’s online presence. Which brings to mind the definition of an entity as it pertains to search engine optimization.
Dave Davies in a Search Engine Land analysis of Google’s “Related Entities” patent, describes entities as “not simply a person, place, or thing but also its characteristics. These characteristics are connected by relationships.”
In its progress from basing search results on just keywords to comprehensive understandings of web pages and content Google has developed a database of known entities. This database helps Google and its algorithms identify the relationships between words and content.
Cyrus Shephard, also of Moz defines ‘entity salience’ as:
“Entity salience goes beyond traditional keyword techniques… for finding relevant terms in a document by leveraging known relationships between entities. An entity is anything in the document that is distinct and well defined.”
This means you will need to include in your content and on your web pages the main keywords that search users want to see and that are relevant to your business. It may also be necessary to use more advanced tools and services to identify topics and entities pertinent to both you and users.
Effective Blog Writing
Blogs can contain a range of content that on the surface seems more than pertinent such as:
- Best paths to hike with the family
- Tips for traveling with kids
- Places to eat for specific diets
Information that seems relevant on the surface but overall may not be the most efficient use of blog space and the time writing for it.
According to Wordstrem, effecting blog writing starts with proper planning when it comes to choosing a topic then creating an outline. Make sure to conduct enough research and verify facts. From there, it’ll be easier to write content, which you can edit later on. Don’t forget to add images to make your post more engaging.
It is not enough to identify keywords they must be used properly, with an understanding of how they interconnect and of the correct contexts to apply them. You will need to keep relevance and the experience of your target users in mind when writing and designing the content of your websites.