SEO for Tour Operators & Tourist Attractions

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Improving SEO for Tour Operators

If you’re in the tourism industry, you’ll know that it’s not quite the same as a more regular nine to five job – and the same goes for maintaining your online presence. Getting seen online is the key to gaining new clients, but for many tour operators, standard SEO practices just won’t cut it. You might have already started the process of conducting an SEO audit, but from understanding seasonal trends to keeping up with competitors, SEO for tour guide businesses can be a minefield to navigate – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take up that challenge.

While there can be extra challenges optimising tourist attraction sites that other industries don’t have to face, the principle behind SEO in the travel and tourism sector is the same – you’ll want to grow your business and increase bookings and revenue, and SEO is a powerful way to do so. By improving your online visibility, tour operators can instantly become more accessible to travellers looking to fill out their holiday itinerary, and each new click to their website presents a valuable opportunity to reel them in and convert to a booking.

Why is SEO important for tour operators?

Think about the last time you went on holiday. Chances are, you’ll have pulled out your phone more than once to find something to do, either before you arrived or during your time  relaxing and enjoying your new surroundings. Now more than ever, we turn to search engines to help us plan our trips to a new place – what we’ll do when we get there, where we will eat, and which tours we’ll book ourselves on. In the travel industry, over 50% of all website traffic comes from search engine clicks. When heading to a location without local knowledge, search engines can be a lifeline for travellers, and incredibly valuable to tour operators looking to display their services to a whole new audience.

However, those websites that manage to appear at the top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) have a monopoly on searcher’s attention, with the top three results claiming 54% of all clicks. For tour operators looking to develop a significant market share, it is essential they appear in searches most relevant to their business, capturing this traffic for themselves.

Keyword Research for Tour Operators

When thinking about optimising your website, you should start with your keyword research. To put it very simply, your keywords should roughly correspond with the search terms travellers will be using to find your website. 

Think about both short-tail keywords and long-tail ones and keywords with a local search intent. Short tail keywords are often less descriptive, but with a higher search volume, whereas longer-tail keywords can be easier to get a result for and demonstrate your website’s relevancy to those searching, resulting in better converting traffic. For example, if you operate an on-foot sightseeing tour in London, think about the difference between “London tours” and “central London walking tours”. Those searching for “London tours” may be looking for an open-top bus tour of South London, whereas “central London walking tours” is far more likely to generate the type of traffic interested in what you have to offer. Think about other keyword modifiers and variations you can use, based on where you are located and the kind of activity you offer, and start to build your list from there. 

Once you have your keywords to hand, you’ll want to make sure your pages are optimised, weaving the keyword into your URLs, title tags, meta descriptions, headings, and throughout your content. Beware of keyword stuffing or any unnatural inclusions of keyphrases. Remember that, although the inclusion of a keyword may help the algorithm rate your content higher, poorly phrased sentences written just for the sake of inserting keywords offer little value to users or search engines and therefore won’t rank well. 

We’ve simplified it here, but if you’d like to know more, take a look at our blog on our top tips for keyword research

Making Your Tour Operators Website SEO friendly

A key thing to consider for tour operators looking to improve their SEO is how easily their customers can navigate their website. Is it easy for your visitors to find what they are looking for? Do your pages feature informative headlines and clear calls to action, or are they packed with information that’s going to cause them to lose interest before they’ve even reached your booking page?

Streamlining your website in order to get customers to where you want them to go is essential, so it’s important to make sure you review the structure and layout to make sure they don’t get lost.

Additionally, search engines rely on your internal linking structure to help index your site and identify which pages are the most important, so it’s crucial to keep things as straightforward as possible if you want to ensure the correct pages are appearing in the SERPs for the right queries.

You’ll also want to consider the devices your audience is using to visit your website. Those doing their research before they start travelling may do so on a high-end desktop, but tourists who find themselves with a free afternoon, or a last minute predicament, are far more likely to search on their smartphones. Make sure your site is optimised and looks good on a wide range of devices by utilising a responsive layout.

Content Creation for Tourist Destinations

As a tour operator, the chances are you’re packed with knowledge when it comes to what you do. After all, you’ll need it to provide an informative and entertaining experience. Luckily, this knowledge can be utilised to create your content strategy. Travel blogging is more popular than ever, and creating informative guides and blogs of your own, as well as infographics and maps that may be useful for holidaymakers, you can capitalise on this to demonstrate your expertise and show off what you know. There’s an added bonus here: great content generates links, and as we’ll discuss later, links are a fantastic way of providing a boost to your SEO.

Tour Operators have a secret weapon when it comes to content creation – video. Google includes videos in their results pages, and an optimised, entertaining video of your tours or highlighting the experience you offer can help provide yet another way to be seen online.

Remember that you are an expert at what you do, and your content strategy is another way to share this expertise with the world. For more information, you can read our guide to creating a content hierarchy to boost your SEO.

Link Building for Tourism SEO

When it comes to SEO, it’s not just about how healthy your site looks. Ensuring you have a strong network of external links, or backlinks, from other websites will help get you seen, with each link acting as a stamp of approval to search engines from an outside source. Make use of local directories and holiday guides, and create an outreach plan to gain even more links through to your website.

Content creation will be helpful here. As we mentioned before, good content generates more links, as other content creators will look to reference you in their own posts. If your content is original, interesting, and well-written, it is far more likely to gain backlinks that will help improve your SEO standing.

Local SEO for Tourist Attractions

Your customers may come from far and wide – but local SEO is your friend. Your website should be optimised for a range of geo-specific keywords relating to where you operate, but there is more you can do to ensure that you’re capturing as many local searches as possible.

You might want to start by creating local web pages, specifically optimised for valuable geographic search terms. When searchers enter these key phrases (e.g. Merseyside boat tours), you’ll be far more likely to appear.

As well as your website, make sure you aren’t neglecting your local business profiles on search engines. Both Google and Bing offer their own version of this (Google Business Profiles and Bing Places for Business) and can make it even easier for travellers to find out more about you, and even make bookings, without ever leaving the search results pages.

Social Media for Tour Guides

Don’t forget your social media presence! Recent social media search statistics make it clear that social media has never been more relevant, with 83% of Instagram users saying the platform helps them find new products and services and Facebook averaging 2 million searches each day. Think of social media as an alternative search engine, and another place to increase your online visibility and push traffic to your website. Repurpose content you have already created into smaller, more digestible chunks for your audiences on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok, and watch your following grow.

User generate content is crucial, too – positive reviews from previous delighted tourists will help push your business to the forefront, giving you the edge over your competition.

Our top tips for SEO for tour operators

Lets recap with our top SEO tips for tour operators:
  1. Start with keyword research to create a list of long and short tail search terms to target.
  2. Check your website is easy to navigate and it’s simple for your audience to find what they are looking for.
  3. Ensure your website is optimised for a variety of devices. Mobile SEO is particularly important for tourism sites.
  4. Think about your content strategy, using your keyword research as a base to build from.
  5. Create an outreach plan to gain valuable backlinks.
  6. Implement local pages to capture relevant search terms.
  7. Ensure your Google Business Profile and Bing Places for Business are claimed, verified, and optimised.
  8. Grow your social media following.

What we can do for you

At Bespoke Digital, we provide a range of SEO services that help tour operators gain more traffic to their site and generate more leads. For more information on how we can help, please get in touch with our team.

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