Travel Agencies: Practical Steps to Improve Your SEO
Reading time: 6 minutes
Do you have a reputable travel agency but are failing to turn up in Google searches?
This is a common problem amongst small business owners, but one that can be easily fixed.
If you take the time to follow Google’s guidelines to help them understand a bit more about your business, you’ll have an online presence in no time.
Outlined below are seven tips to help drive online traffic to your travel agency.
Identify any immediate issues
Be aware that not all web designers understand the basics of SEO. A few mistakes during development could prevent you from appearing in search engines.
Here are a few of the big ones:
1. You have no www (or non-www) redirect in place
When people search for a web address in Google, they type one of two things;
www.yoursite.com.au or yoursite.com.au – It’s important that each version redirects to the other, so that a potential customer can always find you online.
But importantly for SEO we want all traffic going to the one version to ensure we’re building optimal authority in your website domain.
Type both versions into the search bar. If your site comes up at both urls, Google thinks they are two separate pages, diluting your online authority and harming your search performance.
2. You have too many or too few pages indexed by Google
Check how many pages of your site are indexed by Google by typing ‘site:www.yoursite.com.au’ into the search bar. If you get only 8 results you don’t have enough pages indexed, and people will not take your site seriously.
If you have over 300 results, there could be a url structure issue. Google may be indexing different versions of each page on your site, again diluting your authority and affecting your search performance.
3. You have dodgy sites linking to yours
Nothing says ‘dodgy’ like multiple links from questionable sites. The travel agency is more susceptible to this simply because travel is such a popular subject with users.
To check if your site has a poor inbound link profile, use Moz’s Open Site Explorer tool. After entering your site’s url, you will receive a rating under MozRank and MozTrust. If either are below 4, you may have an issue.
Understand your analytics
This is perhaps the most under-utilised SEO tactic among SMEs and I’m yet to deal with anyone in the travel industry who gives their analytics the attention it deserves.
Google wants to provide users with the best possible search result in the fastest time possible.
Your site’s analytics tell you how your visitors find you, which pages they browse, and how long they spend on each page.
Interpreting this information will help you understand what your users want. If you can provide this, they will spend a decent amount of time on your site and you will rank higher in Google search results.
So what are some of the things you should look for?
– Identify your most popular content and check if it has a high bounce rate. If it does, restructure it to encourage users to click elsewhere on the site. This can be done by providing links to your other pages.
– Check if mobile visitors browse your site differently to those using a desktop. Are there pages that mobile users leave quickly? Consider simplifying these pages to make it easier for these people to find what they want.
– Check page speed suggestions to understand which pages are loading too slow. Google Analytics will even show you what can be done to improve the speed of your site.
Make sure your site is optimised for mobile visitors
Global mobile web visits have now surpassed desktop. How much of your total visits are from a mobile device?
Whether it’s 30% or 50% of your traffic, you need to optimise the mobile experience to ensure you are giving yourself every chance of converting your mobile visitors.
Perhaps more importantly is your strategy to attract new visitors when they’re looking on a mobile device. Google declares very few of the factors impacting its search results but mobile experience is one of them (speed is another).
They’re even in the process of rolling out a separate mobile index, so if you want to acquire visitors to your site from Google from a mobile device, then you need to have a laser focus on your mobile experience.
Make sure your site is FAST
Yes it is a publicly declared factor in Google’s search algorithms. So you need to know how fast your site is. Test your site with our Website Speed Test.
Your visitors will leave your website if it is too slow and ultimately it will mean less people contacting your agency.
Did you know that 50% of users expect a site to load within two seconds, and will abandon it if it hasn’t loaded in three?
Make getting reviews part of your process
Every travel agency understands the importance of online reviews, largely thanks to TripAdvisor. But online reviews of your agency around the web are equally as important to your ability to attract bookings.
There’s a few key benefits of encouraging customer reviews:
– Publish them on your site and mark them up with Review Schema (More info below) and you can improve your search results in Google. Thus increasing your click throughs.
– Get reviews on your Google My Business listing and you will be more likely to rank in Google’s ‘local pack’. You know the search feature where you see a map and three results.
– Gett reviews on Google, Facebook and other sites and when someone searches Google for your agency, they will see these reviews right there in Google’s ‘knowledge graph’.
Implement Schema Markup
A few years ago, the key search engines agreed to implement a markup language called Schema. This shared language improves their ability to understand your site’s pages, so it’s important to implement it on your own website.
In some instances, Google will display rich snippets in their search results; extra links from your site, such as bio pics, event details and reviews, providing users with a better understanding of your business.
There are a number of Schema markups that a travel agency can use including:
– Person: Implement the markup language for your staff if you’re profiling them on your website.
– Local Business: Whether you have one or more office locations, implement the business contact info with Schema.
– Reviews: If you’re accumulating reviews on your website (and you should) make sure they’re marked-up with Schema.
Develop a content marketing strategy
If you’re not producing regular content, you are way behind the eight ball.
Quality content which is useful to your users is an important part of your SEO strategy. Not every person will head straight to a travel agency to book a holiday. They will research where they want to go, when they want to go, what they want to do and how much they will need, long before they contact you. So your strategy should be to produce the content that they find to answer these questions.
Useful content is also a great way to keep users on your site, and if they think the content will help others, they will share it on social media, which will help to expand your reach.
Optimise Your Google My Business Listing
Your Google My Business listing is going to play an increasingly important role for your business. On a few levels.
Traditionally it’s been important to your Local SEO efforts. For example, if someone is searching for a local travel agency they will be presented with the ‘local pack’ including a map and three businesses along with contact details, opening hours and reviews. From mobile it will also show the distance to the business.
Getting listed in the ‘local pack’ has been pivotal for local search success and your GMB listing plays a huge role.
So how do you optimise your GMB listing?
Complete your profile as much as you can and follow these tips:
– Make sure your listing is verified.
– Ensure your business name, address and phone number all match what’s on your website.
– Select the most appropriate category.
– Add photos and trading hours.
But there’s a whole lot more you can do with your GMB listing.
– Holiday hours. If you’re closed for the upcoming public holiday, then add it to your listing and let people know from the search results.
– Google Posts. It’s a new feature that allows you to add a promotion to your knowledge graph. The knowledge graph is when you do a search for your business and it gives a summary on the right hand side of search results. With Google Posts you can add an image, description and a call to action, right there from the search result page.
it seems Google is ramping things up with GMB.
– Virtual Tour. This will require contacting a Google Trusted Photographer to come out to your agency. The aim of the virtual tour is to give people searching Google the ability to tour your business place.
As mentioned earlier, make sure you are asking your clients for reviews on your GMB listing. Make the task easy and generate a direct link using our Google Review Link Generator.
It is important to understand what your visitors want from their online experience and deliver it to them in the most efficient manner possible.
Do this and you will increase your chances of performing well in search engines.
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Quentin Aisbett is the strategist at OnQ Marketing. He has a specific focus on local and mobile SEO, content strategy, and marketing automation. Blogging all the time, tweeting even more so. Pick his brain on Clarity.fm.