Basic Travel Marketing SEO: Five Ways to Improve Your Blogs & Content

March 07, 2022

For many destination marketers from small DMOs, across generations, SEO (or, Search Engine Optimization), is still a scary topic. As we write blog posts and web content, we hope it will reach audiences, but it’s hard to know what the right approach is for effective SEO. But even for the most basic travel marketing some SEO is better than none.

Search engine optimization is just that – optimizing. It’s doing the best we can to make our travel content as attractive as possible to any consumer who searches in Google or any other search engine. For most of us non-tech tourism people, algorithms are alien to us, but that doesn’t mean we need to be alienated from SEO.

At DCI, we have a dedicated Digital practice to research and promote best practice for clients, but for small DMOs who are still new to the SEO game, we wanted to provide a little primer – a sort of analog how-to – on how your DMO can think about SEO in ways that will get you inching closer to more successful content.

1. What Would I Search?
When you’re writing travel content and you want to insert SEO keywords – words that you hope consumers are looking for – it’s tempting to think the most obvious words in a blog or website are the keywords. Travel. Tourism. Destination. Right?

Wrong. No one is entering something as simple as “tourism” in a search engine, so think more broadly about what type of search would lead a traveler to your blog post or page. It should be a word or a phrase that sums up the travel content more accurately. It should be more specific than you imagined, especially if you’re seeking to attract a specific type of traveler like luxury or family travelers.

This is the most basic travel marketing SEO principle to grasp, and it’s the first step to thinking like an SEO pro.

2. What Hashtag Would I Use?
Another way to consider optimizing your travel content is thinking about what hashtag you would use on social media when sharing your content. Hashtags are a way to categorize and help organize social media posts by thematic keywords, so of course a generic word like #travel isn’t going to help your content stand apart from the rest.

Maybe there’s a less frequently used word or phrase that you can use as your hashtag, again to help target the specific travel audiences you’re seeking. Channel this mode of thinking when selecting your keywords and you’ll also be creating a better social sharing strategy at the same time.

3. What Would I Use in a Headline?
When writing a blog or webpage, headlines are the first thing readers often see. What word or phrase needs to be there for them to get the gist immediately? It’s how journalists think when writing news articles and the same tactics can apply to your destination marketing materials.

Whatever words or phrases seem the most eye-catching or relevant, consider these for your most basic travel marketing SEO strategy. It will help keep things fresh and less generic and, ultimately, will lead to content that is doing the work you want it to do by attracting readers.

4. What Combo Sets This Apart?
Remember that SEO keywords need not be singular words. Short phrases or groups of words also work. Just imagine typing a short phrase into that search engine box – try to imagine what will lead to the particular tourism blog post or web page that you are trying to optimize.

Do a little experimentation in Google and type a word or two and see what other similar searches it suggests. It’s a good way to take the temperature of your SEO approach without having in-depth analytics and research at your disposal.

5. How Overused Is This Word?
Above all, avoid using overused words that every other travel destination may or can use. “Adventure travel” or “LGBTQ travel” is fine but be sure to pair it with your destination’s name, a local city, or some other defining feature. Every destination in the world is using the same sort of key words for their destinations.

If you can seek words that aren’t quite so overused, like any relating to new trends in travel or words that younger generations may be seeking – is “woke travel” a thing yet? – you will be working in the right direction to set your destination apart.

Of course at the end of the day, nothing beats a solid strategy backed by data and research, but these five tips will at least help you cut your teeth on the nebulous and often overwhelming world of search engine optimization. You’ve been primed in basic travel marketing SEO – but it’s just the start.

Feeling a bit of that overwhelming sensation? Don’t fret. DCI has more than 60 years of experience working with destinations, and since the dawn of the Internet, our growing Digital practice has been hard at work providing clients with the right tech and SEO strategies to succeed. Get in touch with Susan Brake at [email protected] to learn more about how you can tap into our digital expertise to evolve your basic travel marketing SEO to something even better.