91% of travellers use search engines, whilst 81% of these use Google to help them with tours. So, if you want to grow your tour business, you better start learning SEO for tour operators.
As it turns out, you’ve already been doing SEO by creating a website and filling out with content. However, in the step-by-step guide, I’m going to teach you some cool SEO strategies to grow your website – and get more customers.
How to do your own SEO audit?
If you have a website, it’s time to get under the hood of your website – to give it a full SEO audit.
A website is the number one way to figure out the current SEO health of your website. Your website is either ready to soak up traffic from search engines – or it needs some tender loving care.
So, how does a website audit work, and what will it show? Here’s why you need an audit, it shows us any issues we currently have with the website – such as page speed and broken links. Google won’t be happy if we have issues!
A regular site audit will ensure your website is performing to its maximum potential – and that’s what we want, right?
How do you do a site audit?
Okay, this is no easy process – I can guarantee you that. Think about it: a large e-commerce website has 1000s of pages, and they all need auditing. Nevertheless, there are tools to help you complete an audit, and I’m going to show you which parts of the website you need to check out.
Let’s have a look at our complete guide on doing an SEO audit;
This is the first thing noticeable on a website. If a website is secure, it will have a padlock on the left side of the address bar. If it’s not, it won’t. Simple as that. But wait this is important, your website must have an SSL certificate – especially in the eyes of Google. Having one means your website passes a visitor’s data securely – such as emails. Google may penalise you slightly for not having one.
How do you get an SSL?
There are websites to get a free SSL certificate, or you can you ask your hosting provider (the place where your website lives).
If you’re taking SEO for tour operators seriously, you need to prioritise speed – it can either push you to the top of Google or drag your website off the search engine ranking page (SERP). If your site takes over 3 seconds to load; expect a visitor to bounce to a competitor.
Check your site’s speed with a free tool such as GT-Metrix. If it’s taking longer than 3 seconds to load, fix it – the quicker the better – Google will reward you for having fast loading pages. No wonder a lot of websites use accelerated mobile pages (AMP).
Google says nearly 60% of search comes from mobile. So think about it, your site better look good for mobile users. If not, Google will not be happy with you! Make your content easily readable, and give your users an experience they will remember – in a good way.
It’s important to audit your URL structure – having a good URL structure will please Google.
So what does a good URL structure look like?
Here’s the deal: you need to organise content into ‘silos’. These make it simple for Google to crawl your site – and it keeps your website organised. Nobody likes clutter!
This image is a perfect representation of a silo:
The text under the URL in the SERPs is known as the meta description. I have seen many cases of websites missing meta descriptions, a poor meta, and duplicates. Your site audit must check all the meta descriptions.
Bonus tip – If your page is ranking but getting no clicks, change to meta to encourage clicks.
Similar to the meta, the title tag is displayed in the SERPS. Your audit will find duplicates etc (same process as the meta description audit). Any issues you find in the audit must be amended.
If you have duplicate content, it will affect your rankings. Each page must be unique – which is why a content audit is important. But wait there’s more, what about e-commerce sites that have similar content? These need to be unique too!
Your audit must check every page within a site – don’t worry, there are tools to help find duplicate content. For example http://www.siteliner.com/.
These are the “bloodlines” of your website. Conducting a site audit will show how well your site is linked together. Internal links will help struggling pages to rank. But that’s just part of the story, internal links encourage visitors to click to other pages – this will increase rankings.
This is for the fun part of SEO for Tour Operators as you get to plan all your best content!
Let’s have a look at how to grow your website;
Good news! This is when we can begin our plans for getting more visitors. It’s time to find keywords/phrases we want to target – for example, “the best time to visit Peru”, this would be a perfect long-tail keyword. Here’s why, if you were to target “Peru”, think how many authoritative websites would be targeting this. Which is why long-tail keywords are better.
So what can you take away from this bit? Long-tail keywords are easier to rank for, therefore you will get more visitors to your website. Boom!
There are free keyword tools to help you out in the search, let’s look at some of the best;
- Keyword Planner
- LSI graph
Are there different types of blog posts?
This is a good question! Yes, there’s different forms of content to provide your visitors with. Let’s check out the different types of travel posts to wow your audience;
- Travel information
- Activity posts
- Travel tours content
Before creating your content, decide which category your keyword falls under. Then, you can give your audience exactly what they’re looking for!
How long should my blog post be?
One of the most common questions from content marketers – also one that’s highly debated. Imagine if you had one the magic number for the length of a blog post. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. But, I’m going to get you close to that magic number as possible.
Here we go:
- 300 words are the minimum for a blog post. Anything under this and you get into “thin content waters”. Google’s against this type of content.
- Let’s look into this further. Research shows 1000 words and more ranks higher in search engines. Also, travel blogs over 1500 words are more likely to be shared on social media – which will lead to more traffic.
- The SERPs is another thing to view when targeting a keyword. Why? Here’s the kicker, if you wanted to target “things to do in New York”, and the SERPs is filled with posts over 2000 words. You need to write a similar amount (or more).
- A reader’s perspective is a key thing to think about before writing your post. I mean think about it, if a traveller wants a simple guide on how to get from A to B, they won’t want a 3000-word article to read through. But on the other hand, if a traveller is looking for a Bali travel guide, then here you would go in-depth.
So to summarise, you need to do a little research to see what is already ranking. And, I would think about what the reader wants to see. As a result, you will have an idea of how many words to type-up!
How to create more content around the topic
This is a good tip for you! You need to create content around the topic area. Stick with me, this will help grow your traffic.
Okay, if you create a guide on “Best things to do in Amsterdam”, you should be thinking about creating relating topics around this. For example, in my experience, I would create a guide on “Best places to eat in Amsterdam”, “Where to stay in Amsterdam” and maybe “How to get around Amsterdam”. Then use the internal links to bring it all together.
Google will crawl all your related content, and think, wow, these writer has produced a lot of brilliant, and relevant content here (this will help with ranking).
Don’t make spelling mistakes
SEO writers sometimes put sooooo much effort into articles that will rank – that they forget the basics of grammar checking. This seems like an obvious step, but you would be surprised how much bad punctuation is on the web.
So does this matter in SEO for tour operators?
Yes, of course, Google wants to provide searchers with a flawless experience. Therefore, having a page with bad spelling (that word is an example), is not good for a reader. Here’s the kicker: it can affect your SEO strategy. Making an article with no spelling mistakes will only benefit your SEO.
Let’s look at two things to think about:
- Be clear – Having a clear message will help your reader understand the content and will no-doubt encourage them to carry on reading. I am openly sharing valuable information with you – which is why it’s easier to read.
- The centre of attention is the message (not the grammar) – A reader will not notice good grammar and will stay connected to the message. However, make a mistake, and it’s game over. A reader will soon switch their attention to the mistake. You’ve lost them. Don’t worry, I know you’re going to produce the best content.
How to turn traffic into customers using SEO for tour operators?
So you’ve optimised your website for SEO, and now you’re bringing in all this traffic – now what? You need your landing pages to convert!
What’s a landing page and a conversion?
Here’s a simple answer;
- Landing page – This is page a visitor lands on from organic or paid search.
- Conversion – If the visitors make an action that you want them to, i.e. buy your travel eBook – then it’s goal completed. Also, known as a conversion.
Here’s an example of a good landing page:
Here’s the deal, some landing pages on the web belong in a horror story, they’re that badly created. However, I’m going to show you how to create landing pages that convert.
Let’s get to it.
The first thing we need to do is define the problem, then give the solution. This is the whole point of a landing page – fair enough? Let me give you an example, a traveller looking for a “Thailand travel guide” lands on your Thailand travel guide product page. Now: you need to keep the focus on your guide and encourage the reader to buy your product. Sounds easy right? Not so simple. Here’s what to focus on;
Fast loading page
In SEO for Tour Operators, page speed is one of the most important factors of your landing page. Sadly, that visitor you worked so hard to get will leave if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Here’s the fix: optimise images, fix code issue and other technical issues. Let’s not get too nerdy here, but there are things a web developer can help you with.
Nobody likes a poor design page, so why use on for a landing page – your page needs to be easy on the eye. Also, pointless text and images need to be removed. Remove anything that’s a distraction to the visitor – which leads perfectly to my next point.
Easy to follow the message
If you’re selling a product or service, keep the message focused. Explain to the visitor everything they need to know.
How it benefits them
A study by Microsoft says 8 seconds is the average attention span of your visitors. No wonder, it’s important to showcase the benefits of your product early on – you have 8 seconds to do so!
Here’s an example, if your landing page is selling a “tour of Thailand”. I would mention something similar to “See Thailand’s most lush destinations – and visit places even the Thai locals don’t know about.” Something like this would keep a visitor enticed into finding out more – sounds good?
You see, you need to explain all the benefits of the product, and highlight how they are missing it in their current situation. Build up the desire to buy your product.
DO NOT use walls of text. Keep paragraphs short and use punch lines to keep your visitor engaged. Using too much content will lose the visitor’s attention, and we don’t want that! Keep them focused on your product.
Use the fear of missing out (FOMO) tactic
This tactic is one a lot of marketers proudly use – one you can use too!
Fomo is used to tap into the fear of your visitor; I don’t mean fear in a bad way, I mean fear of missing out on the product. So what does this mean? Well, FOMO means your visitor will more likely buy the product. Wait there’s more: this tactic can be used on any age, gender or location. This means you can use it on any of your travel products or services – anywhere in the world.
FOMO is used a lot. It’s probably been used on you and you haven’t noticed – which is why it’s so useful.
Here’s an example of how to use it; If you’re selling boat tours on your website, you could use a popup similar to “last few seats on the boat” – this creates FOMO! Good news! Your visitor is now more likely to buy.
Using testimonials to encourage a buy
If you’re looking to make any sort of sale on a landing page, then you need testimonials. Here’s the good news; I’m going to share everything you need to know about using testimonials.
So why are testimonials so important?
Here’s the deal: testimonials build trust with consumers, which puts more faith in your product. Research shows 92% of people read reviews before making a purchase. So you can see why it would be silly not to have them within our landing pages. Using them will only encourage your site visitor to make the purchase.
Here is a list of conversion goodies to include on your landing page;
Standout customer reviews
Here’s how it works: Use a photo with the testimonial. Think how much more trust this will provide. A photo of a person carries its weight in gold on your landing page.
Bonus tip – If you can, get a video testimonial. This can make a big difference!
Show your achievements
Talk about your achievements. Show your readers how well your service has done in the past. There’s more: if you have won any sort of travel award, then get that on the page too. The more credibility, the better.
On the other hand, don’t use it to brag – this will push a visitor away. If you use a friendly copy that mentions your awards/achievements, your visitors will appreciate it – then they will trust you – which then they’re more likely to make a purchase.
Look at this perfect example of how matt the travel blogger uses credibility on his course page:
“Now, eleven years later, my website has become the top travel blog in the world, with over 1.3 million visitors per month, a 300,000-person email list, six employees, and seven-figure revenue. I also wrote a New York Times bestseller and even started a conference.”
I think you get the point now – let’s look at the call to actions.
Optimising your call to action (CTA)
I know what you may be thinking, what is a CTA?
The CTA is the action you want your visitors to make on your landing page. This is usually presented in the form of text with a button. These are most likely at the bottom of the landing page, and it’s the final action a user will make.
Let’s check out some examples of a CTA;
- Purchase service
- Email Optin
- View other posts
- Make a call
Here’s the kicker, you can’t just present a CTA in a salesy manner and expect your visitor to buy. But don’t worry, if your CTA isn’t working, you can track this with Google analytics – and test.
Tracking your progress
Google Analytics is the number one tool for tracking how well your website’s performing – it gives you real-time data. I mean don’t get me wrong, there are lots of great tools for SEO, but none match up to Google’s data.
Here are some juicy features;
- Real-time – You can see what pages are being viewed, live in action.
- Most viewed pages – You can track which pages are most viewed on your site (this means you can optimise your best pages).
- Bounce rate – Track which pages you visitors are leaving straight away. As it turns out, you can change your pages and boost your page views by optimising poorly performing pages.
- Conversion tracking – Tracking conversions: one of the best tools you will use, it lets you track any conversions on any page in your site. And best of all, you can break it down, for example, phone or contact conversions. Boom! This means we can test those CTAs, and make money from your landing pages.
Make Google see your website as an authority
Wow, we’re almost there – your website is nearly ready to take the search engines by storm, and get lots of new customers.
One of the last things you need to do is build some links to your website.
Here’s the deal, a link from another website counts as a vote for you – in the eyes of Google. Therefore, the more votes the better. Ah ah, that’s slightly wrong. You want relevant links from travel and tour websites. On the other hand, the more authoritative the website, the better. For example, getting a backlink from TripAdvisor would work brilliantly for you.
Let’s look at some ways to get backlinks:
- Try guest-posting – reach out to bloggers and ask if you can write for them, and in return, they provide a link to your site.
- Get easy links from directories – Getting directory links is one of the easiest ways to get a link. Check out websites such as Reddit.
- Steal links – use Ubersuggest to see what links your competitors have. Then, go get the links. Don’t worry this is a common thing!
- Build links from expired domains – This is more of an advanced technique, but if you’re feeling adventurous then give it a go. You will have to find an expired domain and discover which websites are linking to it. Then, you have to reach out to the relevant niche sites (to yours) and inform them about the broken link – and would they be happy to link to yours. Doesn’t sound so difficult right?
- Press release – Getting your brand on the news or in a local magazine is another good way to get a backlink.
We’ve made it, congratulations!
This is all the SEO for tour operators that you need to know, to get more sales with your tours.
By using these easy step-by-step guide, you will bring in more traffic to your website, and know how to convert them.
Hope you’ve enjoyed working through these SEO tips with me.