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5 SEO Content Optimizations to Make Now

Get ready for the return of travel by optimizing your website's content to attract new customers on search engines like Google.

Kate Cornell, 2nd Sep 2020

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long game, and results don’t happen overnight. And while coronavirus has put a halt on most travel plans, it doesn’t mean that people aren’t searching for things to do now, or even in the future. Take advantage of this downtime to think about what content you could refresh, or create, to attract new audiences on search engines. 

In this article, you’ll find 5 ways to jumpstart your SEO content planning:

  1. Getting started with your existing content
  2. How to create mobile-friendly content
  3. Choosing your keywords 
  4. How to use photos and videos
  5. Linking strategies that bring it all together

Identify the content you do (or don’t) have 

One of the most important things you can do to get organized is take inventory on the content you have created. In doing so, you can focus on what you want to achieve in your content strategy; benchmark performance metrics; and identify content gaps you need to fill. 

What you need to do:

  • Conduct an audit to assess the overall effectiveness of your existing website content, and how it compares to your competitors. SEMrush, Moz, and Google Analytics offer free tools to help you compare your own content metrics (like traffic) over time, as well as how you are doing against your direct competition.
  • Consider creating long-form content to address timely topics. AnswerThePublic is a free tool to see in real time what people are talking about on a particular subject, and a way for you to consider how your business can be part of that conversation. Tripadvisor and Get Your Guide have both reported research on the importance of content regarding safety protocols; it's a great topic for you to inform potential customers of how your tours and activities business is addressing the concern.

Make sure your content is mobile-friendly 

It’s more important than ever to create mobile-first content. For those who follow digital marketing trends, you may remember when Google declared “micro-moments” as the new norm in consumer behavior. Tapping into intent-rich queries could be the most important thing you think about as you create your content, especially if you want to capture travelers in what is known as the “messy middle” of the customer journey. 

What you need to do:

Get your keywords right

Keywords are phrases that people type into a search engine like Google to describe what they are looking to find. Search engines then crawl millions of phrases and keywords on websites to try to best match the user’s intent. While that may sound overwhelming when you are thinking about how to rank for a search query, there are techniques that can help you improve where your website appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs). 

What you need to do:

  • Think about a user’s intent. Imagine the phrases or questions that a person might ask about a topic, and what your business offers to answer that. For example, if you run a kayaking tour business, imagine what kinds of questions or inspiration a person might look for in your region. Ideas could be “best ways to see whales in the San Francisco Bay” or “when is the best time to kayak on the San Francisco Bay?” 
  • Let your personality shine through your content. As a tour operator, you are an expert on the experiences you offer. While you want to be able to answer generically in some cases, don’t forget to add special anecdotes about the things one might see on your tour, or lesser known facts about the area you take guests. In the process, you are naturally building in more keywords for Google to crawl, and practicing something called keyword clustering. 
  • Use free tools to see what keywords are being used. While it will take some analysis — not to mention some art and science on your part — there are some easy-to-use tools that help you see what’s ranking on topics and keywords by simply typing in the words you want to know more about. Moz Keyword Explorer, SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool, and UberSuggest are great starting points, and offer plenty of helpful how-to advice. 
  • Use structured data where you can. By creating more templated content that has structured fields, an example might be a field called "best time to go" on a page that describes a destination or attraction, you could get rewarded by becoming one of Google's featured snippets. This puts you in a highly visible position on page one results, and can lead to higher click-through rates (CTR) to your content. 

Don’t forget about videos and photos

The word “content” can mean a lot of different things, and while focusing on keyword-rich, intent-based landing pages and blogs are important types of content, don’t forget that adding compelling images and videos to your pages can up your appeal. 

What you need to do:

  • If you have videos, use them on relevant landing pages. As an example, blog posts containing a video have a 53x higher chance of ranking on the first page of Google. Just be sure to remember to check site speed when you do it, as you don’t want slow-loading pages on your site. 
  • Create or revisit your YouTube channel. While the almighty Google is still the most effective way to generate organic traffic, YouTube is the second most visited search engine out there according to Alexa. If you are a business with video, be sure you are paying attention to how those videos are performing on your YouTube, and optimize when you can. Quality over quantity is key here, and consider producing longer videos.
  • Photos engage the user (and improve your search metrics). While there is SEO best practices on images, there is not much research to suggest that photos alone boost your visibility. Visual search is on the rise and there are more statistics out now that suggest optimizing your imagery is an important aspect of optimizing your commerce experience. According to the Intent Lab, imagery and video is “preferred over text by at least 50% of respondents in all categories except for electronics, household goods and wine and spirits.”

Linking strategies bring it all together

Even if you have a strong brand, you need to consider how to extend your reach, and increase your relevancy, in the eyes of Google. While writing a keyword-rich blog post could boost your rankings over time, you can speed that up by ensuring you are linking your content to relevant sources, both on and off your site. 

What you need to do:

  • Link building is when you write an article that features a partner, vendor, or association, and you ask them to link from their site to the article. It’s also called back linking. The more popular and important that site is, the more weight the links carry, so do your homework on site traffic and rankings on certain, complimentary topics or websites.
  • Cross linking is when you create a link between products and other articles on your own website site — think of it as connecting the dots, or creating your own encyclopedia, with your content. It also helps search engines understand the structure of your site and can increase the authority of the page. Just make sure when you do it, the connection is natural and relevant.
  • Broken links on your own site should always be corrected. In other words, if you no longer offer a tour, and think you need to take down the page, be sure to do your homework before leaving it there with an “Oops! This page no longer exists!” or shutting it off all together. It may be a page that receives a healthy amount of traffic, and turning it off, or leaving it as is, might cause people to bounce more, hurting your existing ranking. Instead, redirect someone to another tour or related page to find more information on your site. 

If you’d like to discuss how TourismSolved can help you develop your content strategy to attract new customers for your business, please reach out today at growdirect@tourismsolved.com. 

We look forward to hearing from you and helping you!