In today’s digital landscape, establishing a strong digital presence has become imperative for businesses across all industries. However, this is especially important in the travel sector which is built upon connecting customers with unforgettable experiences and journeys, often online.
In fact, research shows that almost 3 in 4 (72%), prefer booking trips over the internet. With the majority of tourists now turning to technology to plan getaways, it is integral for travel brands to adapt and adopt key digital marketing strategies to stay ahead of the game and stand out against the competition.
One highly effective technique that businesses can employ to revolutionise how they connect with their target audience is local SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Implementing this strategy can ascend your brand to the top of search engine results.
In this article, we look at what local SEO is and why it is important for travel brands.
What is Local SEO?
First thing’s first: what is local SEO? In essence, it is a strategic approach aimed at enhancing your ranking and visibility in location-specific search results, including your positioning on search engines like Google and Bing, and apps like TripAdvisor and Yelp.
The core idea behind local SEO is to ensure that potential customers can easily discover your company when they are in need of the services or products you offer. For travel brands, this could be booking services, flight deals or the best cafes in the city.
Local SEO involves implementing various strategies, including optimising geo-specific keywords, to attract new customers in the vicinity.
You might wonder, why focus on a limited area when targeting an audience? Research reveals 97% of users search online to find a business in their immediate area, along with the fact that 26% of Google searches are local.
Neglecting to incorporate this strategy on your site means missing out on a significant portion of potential customers who are actively searching for travel-related services and experiences specifically in your area.
What is the Difference Between Local SEO and Traditional SEO?
Traditional SEO aims at boosting a website’s ranking on search engine result pages. This strategy involves on-page keyword research and creating high-quality content that works with Google’s algorithms. This approach proves highly beneficial for businesses across all sectors as it facilitates easy discovery by customers searching online from any location.
In contrast, local SEO takes a more targeted approach. It connects users in specific geographical areas with the most relevant results. For instance, when a customer searches for the best french restaurants in Paris, local SEO ensures that the search results are tailored to that specific location, offering precise and contextually appropriate suggestions.
In short, the traditional approach focuses on ranking a website for a specific service, irrespective of the location. Local SEO, on the other hand, optimises geographical-based queries, making it ideal for businesses targeting an audience in a specific area.
Why Local SEO is Important for Travel Businesses?
Local SEO has the power to propel your business to the top spots on search engine rankings and Google map results. The benefits of achieving such positions can be immense.
Implementing local SEO strategies for your business can significantly enhance your online presence. This increases your website visibility by making it easier for potential customers to find your services when searching for travel-related information in your area.
Targeted Audience Reach
Local SEO enables you to attract travellers who are actively searching for products or services in your area. By focusing on a specific geographical location, you can connect with individuals who are already interested in what you offer, increasing the likelihood of conversions.
Stronger Brand Reputation
Implementing local SEO strategies positions your business as an expert in your community. As you gain visibility in geo-specific search results, potential customers perceive you as a trusted authority, enhancing your brand reputation.
Stand Out from Competitors
Using local SEO gives your company a competitive edge against rivals. As your online presence strengthens, you rise above the rivals and capture the full attention of your target audience by answering their specific needs and queries.
Local SEO allows you to forge connections with customers interested in your area and influencers on social media and community events. By engaging with your audience in a more personalised way, you foster brand advocacy and can build lasting relationships.
Improved User Experience
Prioritising local SEO means offering a seamless, mobile-friendly browsing experience to customers in your area. Offering region-specific information and effortless navigation will enhance user satisfaction and increase the chances of conversion.
Local SEO proves to be a budget-friendly strategy compared to traditional advertising methods. With a relatively low investment, you can achieve a higher return, making it a cost-effective marketing strategy.
Ultimately, all of these benefits can hugely boost sales. 28% of local research results in a purchase in 24 hours, according to research. What’s more, 80% of local mobile searches convert.
5 Key Strategies for Implementing Local SEO
Now you can see why local SEO is important for your business, you may be wondering how to put this strategy in place.
- Optimise Google Your Business (GMB) Profile
One of the best ways to improve your local SEO strategy is by optimising your Google My Business Profile (GMB). The tool helps your company meet Google’s needs and boost your ranking.
The first thing you need to do is claim your profile. You can do this by going to the site and following the verification process. It involves answering a few questions about your company to prove it is legitimate and really exists. If you’re working with a digital marketing agency, you can grant them permission to be a manager of your Business Profile.
Once claimed, optimise your listing to make it a detailed and accurate representation of what your company does. This involves tasks such as uploading photos and videos, replying to reviews you receive, including products or services you sell and writing solid descriptions.
At the same time, you should also encourage customers to share reviews online. Taking all of these steps makes your business come across as more authentic to Google and, in turn, improves your ranking position.
By ensuring all of this is accurate and up-to-date, you also improve the user experience for potential customers looking to find you, driving increased engagement and potential for business growth.
- Audit Your Existing Site
One of the best ways to improve your local SEO ranking is to get an audit of your site. Doing so allows you to assess the foundation of your online presence, ensuring it is as solid as possible and won’t hinder your efforts to rank higher in geo-specific search results.
You can hire digital marketing companies to conduct a local SEO audit. Specialists will thoroughly review your site and come back with any issues to address that are hindering the performance of your website. Common SEO issues they find include:
- Duplicate content
- Slow site speed
- No XML sitemap
- Missing page titles
- Broken links
- No HTTPS security
- Poor indexation
- Missing meta descriptions
- Poor mobile optimization
Once any areas for improvement have been identified, they can quickly be addressed. This ensures that your local SEO efforts are built on a solid framework before you proceed to the next steps of your digital marketing strategy.
- Optimise Title and Description Tags
Title and description tags are HTML elements that you can customise to reflect the content of your web pages. Your chosen text appears in Google search results. It is helpful to view this as a kind of ‘advertisement’ for your company.
Making sure the wording is 100% accurate is incredibly important as these sentences represent your small opportunity to grab searchers’ attention and get them to click on your link over all of the others before them. If you do not add these sections or they are low quality, Google generates its own.
You want your title and description tags to provide the contents of the page and feature keywords that potential customers will be looking for. Title tags should be kept between 50 and 60 characters, while description tags can be anywhere between 160 to 200 characters.
If you’re working with a digital marketing company, enlisting their expertise to handle these elements can be a wise move. Title and description tags play a crucial role in optimising your web page’s visibility and attracting clicks from interested users.
- Optimise Online Directories and Citations
Another highly effective strategy for enhancing your local SEO performance is ensuring that your company is accurately listed and prominently featured on online business citations such as Yelp, Facebook, Citysearch and other popular directories.
These platforms are frequently utilised by individuals seeking services in the area, making them influential sources that rank high in organic search results. Therefore, it is crucial to have your company listed on these citations. Otherwise, potential customers clicking on these links during their search won’t be able to find your business information or website.
In addition to prominent directories like Yelp and Facebook, seeking out high-quality local directories can further improve your business’s visibility. These can often be found in regional newspapers or discovered through targeted keyword searches such as “[your destination] directory.”
It is also worth noting that discrepancies such as misspellings, abbreviations or wrong phone numbers can negatively impact your position. These inconsistencies make it less clear that the information is correct or accurate.
Eliminating duplicate listings is equally important, as they can create confusion and dilute your online presence. By ensuring your business is listed clearly on reputable directories and local resources, you amplify your chances of being discovered by potential customers, ultimately driving more traffic and engagement to your travel brand.
- Create Local Content
Adding geo-specific content to your website not only establishes you as an authority in the area but also catches the attention of Google, benefiting both search engine rankings and potential customers. Adding local content is a great way to do this.
To begin, identify relevant geo-specific keywords that align with your content. For instance, if you plan to write a blog about hiking in Yosemite National Park, you might discover variations like “best hikes in Yosemite National Park” or “most beautiful places to hike in Yosemite National Park.”
Once you’ve compiled a comprehensive list of localised keywords, craft your blog post, integrating these keywords throughout the content. By doing so, you signal to search engines that your content is highly relevant to the location, increasing the chances of ranking higher in local search results.
This geo-specific approach also attracts potential customers seeking information or services in your specific area. By providing valuable content tailored to their geographic interests, you establish a strong connection with your target audience and build trust, which ultimately drives more traffic to and increases engagement with your website.
The travel industry is a highly competitive sector, with businesses all over the world competing for customers’ attention in the same destinations. That’s why it’s important to make sure you are implementing targeted campaigns to make it as easy as possible to connect potential customers with your services.
Leveraging local SEO is an exceptionally effective strategy that can bring immense benefits to travel businesses of all sizes. By doing so, companies can establish a robust online presence in their operating destinations, efficiently reaching their target audience and gaining a competitive advantage over others in the industry.
Are you a travel company seeking advice on SEO marketing techniques? SEO Travel is a specialist marketing agency that can help. Contact us today to discover how we can elevate your business to the next level with proven techniques, from local SEO to PR and link building.
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