How do Travel Agencies Optimise Their Sites for Search Engines

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How do Travel Agencies Optimise Their Sites for Search Engines

As it’s the Summer, here at Bough Digital we thought we’d get in the swing of things and talk about travel and holidays. It’s not all fun though, as we’ve centred this blog post on how travel agencies and websites carry out their SEO strategy. Market leaders such as Ryanair, Expedia, Cheap Flights, and even Travel Supermarket are all using the same tactics that is generating them huge amounts of success.

What Keywords Are They Targeting?
All the aforementioned websites are targeting both broad and long-tail keywords in their mission for search engine success. This can be highlighted via statistics from SEO tools, whereby you can see the following:

Website

Keywords Ranked

Expedia.co.uk

187,609

Ryanair.com

20,961

Cheapflights.co.uk

66,340

Travelsupermarket.com

94,911

Travelwiseuk.com

1

The above table highlights the large difference between the major players and the smaller agencies such as Travel Wise (who were recently shortlisted for the best small travel agency). Whereas Travel Wise has a more personal and unique touch, the larger agencies still rule in this industry sector, because their SEO tactics are more aggressive than the smaller companies. It’s a case of budgets speak volumes in this industry, because if you ever thought that you’d get a better service at one of the travel giants than Travel Wise, you’re living on another planet (and they don’t offer that service just yet)! They probably have a page for it though…

So What Are These Companies Doing?

The larger companies are basically being extremely aggressive in relation to SEO, as they have a huge amount of content compared to the more tailor-made sites. The diagram below identifies the opportunities that exist for a travel agency in terms of SEO and also the funnel process, which will ultimately improve conversion rates. In relation to the diagram it offers numerous landing pages to the users and search engines about specific niches and target markets.

As an example, the flights to pages can be as follows:

Flights to Spain
Flights to South Africa
Flights to Morocco
Flights to New York
Flights to …

For each of these pages, the user will get a unique experience for the keywords that they entered, and the landing page will be more relevant to the “search term” they entered, or the “information” that they required. The other benefit is that it offers you an increased target market instantly as these individual phrases are searched for numerous times (flights to Spain; 12,100, flights to South Africa; 13,500, Flights to Morocco; 3,600, Flights to New York; 90,500). Just these four examples provide open up an extra 119,700 potential users on a monthly basis. If you have 200 locations, this can be calculated as follows:

119,700 * 200 = 23,940,000 monthly searches

Again, if you add in the other four categories (vacations packages in …, hotels in …, activities in …, and car hire in …) you will suddenly gain just under another 100 million monthly searches (target audience). They use this technique to target specific keyword phrases and audiences as it is better than targeting just “flights”, “vacation packages”, “hotels”, “activities”, and “care hire” on five landing pages.

The benefits include:

Enhances the user experience by providing specific landing pages based on their queries.
Will improve conversion rates due to a better user experience.
Improved browsing experience for users.
Improves the funnelling approach within the dealmarket.com website.
More opportunities to target specific keyword phrases.
Substantially increases the target market.

Is this Really Happening?

Of course this is happening, and of course Google are letting it happen. The table below demonstrates the content applied on each of the large travel agencies. Has expedia.co.uk really written 4.8 million unique pages, I think we all know the answer!

Website

Number of URL’s

Expedia.co.uk

4,840,000

Ryanair.com

384,000

Cheapflights.co.uk

2,790,000

Travelsupermarket.com

10,400

Travelwiseuk.com

93

NOTE: Taken from google.com with the query operator of (site:domainname.com)

So How Can the Small Agencies Compete?

Well, this is the million-dollar question (or billion dollar for the big guys). How can the smaller agencies possibly compete with the likes of Expedia and Travel Supermarket when they have 800,000 and 2.5million external links respectively. This is compared to just 2,907 external links for the Travel Wise website. The answer is:

Target specific niches, and concentrate your marketing and SEO spend on these sections.
Provide a unique and personalised service, and rule the “word of mouth” game.
Look to work with some industry blogs on a personal level to showcase your talents and look for honest product reviews.
Create content that is relevant and effective to specific campaigns.
Look to clean up some long-tail keywords. Your marketing spend is less than the bigger players, so you can still make an ROI on the less searched keywords (however, make sure that these are high conversion words).
Hire Bough Digital to provide a detailed, transparent and results-orientated campaign/ strategy.