Given the popularity of booking sites for flights and hotels, travel agencies have to work harder than ever to attract new business online. But despite the fierce competition, your agency still has a good chance of finding new customers. You just need to know how to employ the most effective marketing strategies, including SEO, or search engine optimization.
SEO for travel agencies requires a solid understanding of search engines like Google, but it’s essential for staying in business. Your customers are looking for the kinds of deals you can provide, but you’re vying for their business with dozens of similar agencies. The only way you’ll capture their attention is by appearing at the top of search engine results. Only a robust SEO strategy can make that happen.
So if you're interested in learning more about SEO for travel agencies, keep reading. This page will give you a general overview of the process, along with a few tips you can start using now to improve your rankings— and your number of new leads.
Search engine optimization, commonly abbreviated as SEO, is an ongoing process in which you make regular updates to your website and other online content to improve how often, and how highly, your website appears in search engine rankings.
When users search for terms like “travel agencies” or “book a vacation,” they may see hundreds of results, but they almost never look beyond the first page. By using SEO best practices, you increase the chances of those users clicking on your site.
SEO used to be a relatively easy task. For instance, adding a few more relevant keywords to website text would usually bump you up a few spots. However, these tactics became less effective as more websites adopted them. To protect the integrity of web searches, Google and other search engines have developed complex algorithms to focus on relevance and context, as well as other factors, that require great content and considerable effort.
As search engines become more sophisticated, so has SEO. As a result, many businesses now rely on guidance and support from experienced SEO professionals who know how to boost rankings and generate more traffic.
It’s no longer enough to simply create a website and hope for traffic. You have to make a conscious effort to attract more attention from those searching online. After all, an increase or decrease in traffic can affect your agency’s bottom line.
Here are some of the benefits of SEO:
According to Search Engine Journal, roughly 35 percent of Google’s organic traffic goes to the first three listings in search engine results. On Bing, it’s nearly 18 percent. What’s more, 75 percent of searchers don’t even bother looking at the second page of results.
People trust the organic (meaning non-paid) listings they see on Google. The higher your site ranks, the more trustworthy your travel agency appears. This makes prospective travelers feel better about clicking through to your site. And as long as your travel agency website has a professional design, that feeling of trust will continue all the way through the sales process.
SEO isn’t free, but it costs far less than other traditional marketing methods, or even pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Plus, click rates for organic search results actually exceed the rates for paid search, so you end up paying less money for more clicks.
Once you understand the basics of SEO, you’ll find that the process never ends. Search engines continually change their algorithms, so last year’s strategy might be less effective in the coming year. Plus, many of your competitors are also working to improve their rankings. If they succeed, they could outrank your site and generate business that should have gone to your agency.
While the specific steps you take will change along with search engine algorithm updates and best practices, you’ll get the most out of your SEO strategy if you follow a few basic steps.
What keywords are people using to search for vacation packages this season? What phrases do prospective travelers use when searching for destinations? Research keywords on a regular basis and incorporate the most popular ones in your web content.
Don’t worry about the frequency with which you include them in your content, though. Instead, focus on relevance and placement. For instance, even if you only use the term “tahoe ski vacation” a few times, you’ll rank highly if you place it in a headline and write valuable, unique content about the topic.
If one of your blog posts or infographics gains traction on social media, it could provide a huge boost to your search results. This isn’t because social media has any effect on your SEO, though — it doesn’t. That being said, social media can get your content to people who may link to it, and links can improve your SEO dramatically.
When someone links to your website, that’s essentially a “vote” for it in the eyes of search engines. The more sites you have vouching for your authority and quality, the better your pages will be able to rank. You may find that social media shares are a good way to get your content in front of people likely to link to your website.
Every time you post new content, add share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media sites. More shares can lead to links, which means higher rankings and more authority in your field.
When users search for a business, they almost always narrow the results by looking for businesses operating in their hometown or metropolitan area. You could be missing out on these users if you haven’t optimized for local keywords.
To show up in these searches, add geographic terms to the content on your pages. For example, rather than simply including “travel agency” in your copywriting, you should include the phrase “travel agency in Harrisburg, PA”. This ensures that potential customers who are searching for a local agency will have an easier time finding you online.
Mobile optimization has been important for some time now, but 2015 was the tipping point in which time spent consuming digital media via mobile devices surpassed that of desktop and other devices. However, if you still haven't made the switch to responsive design,it’s not too late.
According to a study by KCPB, 51% of adult users spent more time per day engaging with digital media through a mobile device than a desktop computer.
There’s no two ways about it: if your agency’s website is not optimized for mobile, you’re missing out on a huge market share filled with countless opportunities.
If you’re still not convinced about mobile optimization (or local searching), here’s an insight from Google: “50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day.”
While these results are framed within the context of “stores,” the point holds true across all industries: Your site needs to be mobile-friendly in order to be successful.
One of the biggest advantages of online marketing is the ability to measure results in real time. That includes SEO. Install an analytics program such as Google Analytics to evaluate your SEO strategy, and check in on a regular basis. This gives you the data you need to change course if you want better results.
Now that you know what it takes to rise to the top of the search engines, you need to put a plan together to make it happen for your site. More importantly, you need to know how search engines rank websites and how to optimize your website to catch their attention. You can learn how do it yourself and try to squeeze it into your schedule, or you can hire the SEO experts at WebpageFX to perform these services for you.
Our team has helped hundreds of businesses just like yours optimize their SEO efforts, track and monitor results, and refine their content for even higher rankings. We keep an eye on the latest SEO trends so you can focus on what you do best: Creating the perfect vacation packages for your clients.
For more information, contact us today! We’d love to hear how we can help your business succeed online.
Ready to start your Internet marketing and design campaigns? Call 888.449.3239 or contact us online today to learn more about how WebpageFX can help with your SEO challenges.