What is SEO & why is it important for tourism brands?
December 10, 2019 4:38 pm
If your customers or target audience are looking for brands like yours on Google, then it’s a no-brainer to have an SEO strategy.
The point of SEO is to be in the right place at the right time, so people can find you.
What are some ways that social media can impact your SEO and website? We discuss how your digital marketing strategies can work together holistically.
Before we delve into our essential SEO tips specifically for travel, tourism and hospitality brands. Let’s delve into what exactly SEO is and why it is important to you and your brand.
What is SEO?
SEO (search engine optimisation) helps you get more exposure through the search engine result pages. Ultimately it helps you to attract more people to your website and your business, if you have a shopfront.
The basic idea is, the closer you are to the top of the search result pages, the more visibility your brand will get. In fact statistics show that nearly 70% of all page one clicks, are on the first 4 results.
Search engines want to show only the best, most relevant content to someone when they search. Therefore if your website is full of useful and interesting content which helps people when they are searching for what they need, then essentially you should be near the top of the first page.
Google’s mission statement: To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
While that is easy enough to say, it sometimes is not the easiest to do. If you have great content, you’re 10 steps ahead of many of the other +644 million other websites out there, however to stay competitive you need to make sure your website is the best it can be and puts the user first.
Why is SEO important?
We could go on and on about the importance of SEO and why it should be part of your marketing mix. However, let’s look at some real-world stats:
- Searches for “food near me” have grown 97% in the last year (Source: Google Internal Data, Australia, July 2018–June 2019)
- In 2018, 31% of accommodation searches started on search engines, up from 23% in 2017 (Source: Verto Analytics, McKinsey analysis)
- 54% of Aussies use Google search to plan travel (Source: thinkwithgoogle.com)
Search engines play a vital role in our lives, whether it’s to look for a new restaurant or cafe or to help us plan our next holiday. Ensuring your business can be found online when people are looking, is essential.
So that’s all fair enough, but how can you go about implementing SEO for your tourism or hospitality brand?
SEO Tips for Tourism & Hospitality Brands
SEO can be broken into 2 main parts – onsite and offsite SEO. Onsite is everything to do with your website, the content it holds, and how it works and functions. While offsite SEO is more about other websites who mention you and link to you. Think of offsite SEO as your online PR.
Your website represents your business online. For some people, this may be the only version of your business/brand they get to experience. Therefore, long story short, you want to make it the best it can be.
- Having useful and interesting content that YOUR target audience will be interested in
- Ensuring it can be used super easy across desktops, mobiles and tablets
- Making sure it loads fast, we are impatient creatures and when a web page takes more than 3 seconds to load, a lot of people hit that back button
- Common sense – you don’t want people to land on broken webpages or not be able to find your contact details. Make sure you look at your website in the eyes of a customer
- Making your website search-engine friendly is to have the perfect balance of what people love but also ticking the boxes of what Google loves. Most of Google’s recommendations are fairly common sense, yet if your web developer is not aware of SEO best practices, your website can lag behind.
Our best advice is head over to Google’s SEO Starter Guide to make sure your website ticks all these basic SEO-friendly boxes.
Once you have your website looking and functioning well, then you can move onto your offsite optimisation.
Essentially the more mentions you get online from other websites, the more ‘popular’ you will look in Google’s eyes. But not only this, any mentions of your brand online results in more touch-points for people to find you easier. It’s just like getting good-press in the real world. The more people talking positively about your brand, the more you’re going to shine on the search result pages.
Other than naturally getting good press and people wanting to mention your brand, how can you help boost your offsite SEO?
Here are a few tips:
- Ensure you are listed in relevant online business directories
- Respond to media callouts to be quoted in articles or perhaps even contribute a guest post to another website (a great media callout to keep an eye on is SourceBottle)
- Create fantastic content that people will want to quote from and link to – a great space to do this is in a blog section on your website (just remember, people won’t be that keen on linking to promotional content about your business, but relevant, educational/inspiring/entertaining content)
When looking for ‘backlinks’, as the SEO industry calls them, you want to make sure you’re obtaining these not just for SEO value, but because your target audience may be visiting these sites. Great backlinks will not only help you rank higher in Google but they should send relevant referral traffic to your website.
To see the traffic coming to your website from other websites, make sure you have Google Analytics set up. When you have it set up, you can look at the Referrals Acquisition report. In this report you’ll see how many people click through from these websites. Plus if you have goal conversion tracking set up in Google Analytics (which you should!) you’ll also be able to see if any of these visitors trigger those key actions you want people to take on your website.
Google My Business
Whether you have a shopfront or not, having a Google My Business listing will help your business look its absolute best on the search result pages. If you do have a shopfront or somewhere that your customers visit, then a Google My Business listing (that is regularly updated) is ESSENTIAL to your online presence.
Google My Business listings show on the search result pages and on Google Maps. They are a little online shop front right on the search results which tell people all the essential information about your brand. Plus people can also leave reviews on it.
Creating a Google My Business listing is free and easy. Once you sign up, you’ll be sent a verification postcard to your physical address (note: your address can be hidden from the listing once verified, however Google must send you the verification postcard to make sure the address exists).
Once verified you can:
- Add photos and videos of your business
- Add your contact details and opening hours (there is also a section for holiday hours so you can let people know if you are closed for public holidays and for any other reason)
- Ask customers to leave you reviews
- Add posts to your listing to highlight news, new blog posts, offers/specials, events and products
- Respond to questions people may leave on the listing
- Turn on messaging so that people can message you directly from the listing
The listing typically shows when people search for your brand name, or when people are searching for products/services like you offer in or around your location.
Like most SEO tasks, it just takes a little bit of time to set up and time to keep an eye on it and maintain it.
It’s never too early to start working on your SEO.
Whether you DIY or employ an SEO specialist, it’s never too early to start working on your SEO. However if you are putting time and effort, or even money into SEO, then make sure you are monitoring the impact. Google Analytics is a free tool which can help you monitor how many people are visiting your website and if they are completing the key actions you want them to take on your website.