SEO for Tour Operators – How to Get Your Tourism Website Found Online
You’re managing one of the coolest and most rewarding businesses around. Your company caters to enthusiastic travelers from around the world, guiding them to and through the attractions of your region via land, sea, or air (or all of the above). You’re also in one of the most competitive travel based businesses. Factor in the seasonality of it all and you need every advantage you can squeeze out of your online marketing plan.
Thankfully, not too many of your competitors have grasped the concept of search engine optimization. For the most part, the ones that rank well on Google do so because of domain authority – they’ve had a website up and running for a long time and by default they manage to hold onto their “above the fold” position because of age alone. That is until you, fully armed and ready to institute the following SEO best practices for your industry, claim your rightful position. Read further to do so.
3 Tips to Getting Your Tour Company Website to the Top of Google Page One
1. Get on Board with On-Page Technology
On-page refers to the technical nitty gritty. This is where you will need the most help in the beginning of your SEO plan. Your website was built by a developer to make it look great and function well. This is the common web focus of the tourism industry. So much attention goes into the right colors, photos, and bells & whistles that customers want to see when choosing a tour provider to navigate them through a locale. That stuff is important. However, your developer likely paid little attention to SEO necessities. These include (but are not exclusive to):
- Meta-data architecture (proper distribution of title tags, heading tags, page/article descriptions, etc.) and keyword integration within.
- Rich snippets and schema markup.
- UX (user experience considerations, including page speed performance optimization and more)
- Social sharability (Facebook Open-graph, Twitter cards, etc.)
Some (or all) of the above may sound foreign to you. Unless your developer has a knack for SEO, it was also foreign to them when building your website. Thus, your site will need an on-page audit that checks all of the necessary boxes before being deemed fit for “release” to tour the world wide web.
2. Provide Content that Google Wants You to Deliver to Your Customers
When I’m searching for a tour provider before heading out on a trip, I want to be delivered a website rich with captivating photos, videos, and textual content that puts me in the shoes, seat, or saddle of the experience. That’s what anyone reviewing tour operators is looking for. Google knows this. Thus, Google is looking for the same.
How do you provide Google with what it wants here? For starters, publish original images, videos, and textual content that has been taken, edited, and written by you and/or your staff. You must also optimize this content, which means that you must tag images and videos with the appropriate meta-data (addressed in item #1 above) and write complementary text with words semantically associated to your keyword targets.
In addition to the static content combination that will exist on each page of your website (home, about, tour packages, FAQ, contact, etc.) you will need to provide weekly content updates in the form of blog posts. These blog posts should be complemented by rich media (photos, graphics, videos) too, all of it relating to your tours and the destinations in your locale. For example, a tour operator on Oahu will write a blog post about must see attractions on the North Shore one week, and about the best places to watch a South Shore sunset in the next.
Provide all of the above, and you provide Google (and your customers) with exactly what is needed to put you on top.
3. Build Links by Connecting to Complementary Local Businesses, and Media
Getting other high-value websites to link back to yours can help your website rank better on Google. That is, if these websites have content that is semantically related to yours, and links are natural in-article links that are not paid, sponsored, or advertorial in nature. This process, is not easy, but is oh-so fruitful.
It starts with content (item #2 above). If your website hosts great (and original) content, other websites will want to reference it. That reference will often come via a backlink to an image, video, or article that complements their own articles. If your website and its great content is optimized (items #1 and #2 above) then webmasters, journalists, and bloggers will find it when doing their own online research. However, you can still perform PR outreach, to make sure that your content is put in front of their eyes. It requires work (emails with social media connection and engagement) but it’s worth the effort, considering the impact that a strong backlink profile can have on your website’s ability to rank well on Google.
The great news, is that given your industry, you have a wide open pool of website authors that will be willing to link back to you. For starters, as a tour operator, you have connections with businesses all over your locale. Some of those businesses may directly benefit from their association with you. Tour operators are always recommending places to eat, shop, stay, and visit. The recipients of your recommendations have websites, sites that are directly related to your industry. Feel free to ask that they reference your content (a photo, video, tour map, or article) within one of their own future blog updates, with a link back to your content. Local media (online news periodicals) is another resource. They are always looking for public interest stories, especially when tourism is important to the locale they report on. Send them the same high-value content and let them know that they are free to use it with linked attribution.
For more detailed information on how to get other websites to link to yours, view this 5-step beginner’s guide.
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