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Navigatin’ the Digital Seas: 5 SEO Guidelines for the Travel Trade

For this year’s International Talk LIke a Pirate Day, we thought it would be fun to have our blog dress up in pirate cosplay and reinterpret some SEO tips for the travel industry we’ve blogged about in the past. So get ready to weigh anchors and chart a course to higher rankings.

Ahoy mateys! When it be about the vast sea of SEO, there be some rules that stand as steadfast as the North Star, guiding every sailor on this digital voyage. But then, there be myriad tricks and schemes ye might fancy, based on the waters ye sail, the rivals ye face, and what crafty maneuvers they be pullin’ off.

The travel industry be a treacherous and competitive one, with big names that even the folks in the farthest lands recognize. From inns and lodgings to flights that soar the skies to those peculiar ventures like tours and such – the horizon be vast. But fear not! For this ol’ pirate has charted 5 near-unchangeable SEO codes that every marketer in the travel trade should swear by, no matter the treasures they be peddling.

Why SEO: Building Equity Through Intentional Targeting

Dive with us into the mysterious waters of SEO, which be filled with its own tales of challenges and treasures. Ye see, SEO be a voyage, not a quick plunder. It’s a journey that requires patience, a bit o’ coin, and time before ye see the real booty. But once ye set sail on this course, there be two reasons ye won’t regret it.

Firstly, in the world of digital treasures, SEO be like buried gold. Unlike them other fleeting treasures like PPC or those Facebook Ads, where ye spend doubloons for a quick glance, SEO be about earnin’ yer rightful place. Once ye’ve hoisted yer flag on a particular spot in the rankings, each new sailor that lands on yer page costs ye less than the one before.

Secondly, mate, the sailors that come through SEO be the ones truly lookin’ for what ye offer. They’ve already got a gleam in their eye for yer wares and are keen to trade. Aye, they be further down the plank, ready to jump into the sea of conversion.

Now, when we be talkin’ ’bout charting yer course in the travel industry, and findin’ these eager sailors, there be five pirate codes that should be the wind in yer sails, guiding yer SEO strategy and the moves ye make on this digital map.

Targeting: Destination, Destination, Destination

In the vast ocean of travel search queries, most buccaneers be searchin’ with a specific port in mind. Aye, they be chartin’ their next adventure by pairing the service they be seekin’ with a destination – like “treasures in Maui” or “swift ships to Costa Rica”.

Now, this might sound as clear as the Caribbean waters on a sunny day, but it holds secrets to navigating the treacherous waters of SEO, from crafting yer digital map to spinning tales of faraway lands and even to shoutin’ yer tales on the tavern’s bulletin board. Whether ye be marketing grand palaces and swift ships across the seven seas or just in one little cove, ye’ll need to prepare yer arsenal with tools like:

  • Maps (or keyword research) for each destination
  • Specific docks (landing pages) for each location, with catchy signs (Title tags) and intriguing tales (Meta Descriptions)
  • Songs and tales (branded content) that sing praises of each destination
  • Local tavern boards (social profiles) optimized for each port, like the famed Yelp Tavern, Google Port Authority, and the Traveler’s Tales on TripAdvisor.

Sure, ye might get some attention by shoutin’ about “cheap voyages” or “grand pirate feasts”, but the true magic of SEO be in guiding those sailors who already have a destination in their heart. And the best compass to guide them? Bein’ specific to their dreamt-of shores.

Onsite SEO: Navigation Funnels

Once ye have your SEO compass set and your course charted in the vast online seas, ’tis time to craft those destination-specific treasures that’ll guide sailors to your island. But, by Davy Jones, those treasures be naught if the mighty search krakens can’t seek ’em out and understand their worth.

In the bustling ports of ecommerce, ye want to offer the wandering sailors various maps and paths, be it treasure categories, tales of exotic lands, or a trusty compass search. But, as every old salt knows, there’s many a way to weave a tale or etch a map. What makes sense for a sailor might not always be to the likin’ of the search krakens.

So, no matter how grand a spectacle or tale you’ve spun, ye need to have clear charts (destination-specific directories) that the search gods can fathom. This involves:

  • Displaying these charts prominently in your tavern (navigation menus)
  • Employing the “Magical Spyglass of Google” to ensure your treasures can be spied upon
  • Drawing special symbols and markers on your charts and treasures using the ancient scrolls of
  • Offering the grand map of your isles to the almighty Google with an XML treasure map
  • And, always be on the lookout for any sirens or misdirections (crawl errors) that might lead sailors astray.

In the end, if the mighty search krakens can’t navigate and fathom the depths of your island (especially its destination-specific spots), your efforts to be the talk of the seas will be but a whisper, and your treasure chests of SEO might remain scant.

Be Relevant Through Content

Crafting these fine destination-specific treasure maps with catchy signs, intriguing tales, and alluring messages be just the start of makin’ yer digital island stand out in the vast sea of keywords. But, just like the ever-changing tides, the mighty search sea monsters prefer islands that keep updating their tales with fresh and captivating stories.

Now, when it comes to spinin’ these tales, think of it as getting a pirate tattoo. A fine piece of art ain’t found four a doubloon or two, and if ye go cheap, well, ye might end up with a squiggly kraken instead of a majestic one. So, ready yer chests, for ye need a grand plan for yer tales – one that (1) sings of all the shores ye want to lure sailors to, (2) supports yer tales told at the tavern with shareable stories, and (3) guides the sailors back to yer treasures without bein’ too pushy.

So, aye, a proactive tale-tellin’ strategy be more than just catchin’ the sailor’s ear or sharin’ a tale at the tavern. It be about craftin’ tales that gather the whispers of the wind and channel them back to the treasures ye hold dear.

Offsite SEO: Backlinks & Social Signals

Once yer digital ship be shipshape and ye be spinnin’ tales that charm sailors from all corners of the sea, it be time to hoist yer SEO sails and venture to foreign waters. As per the ancient scrolls, the tales of your adventures (backlinks) be the mightiest forces that decide if yer ship stands tall amidst the fleet. And the songs sung in the taverns (social signals) also play their part in boosting your legend.

Now, gather ’round as I spin ye a tale of the treacherous waters of linkbuilding. Handin’ out doubloons for tales (paying for links) be a cursed act and will land ye in Davy Jones’ locker, spinnin’ tales at inns (guest posting) ain’t what it used to be, and tryin’ to charm fellow tale-spinners (blogger outreach) be a long and often fruitless voyage. But, by Blackbeard’s beard, if ye wish to be the stuff of legends, ye need these tales! And here’s where the art of story-spinning (content marketing) shines.

Thank the stars, ye have a crew of skilled storytellers on board. Crafting tales that entice and lure (linkbait) should be their daily chantey – be it thrilling tales, treasure maps (infographics), or guides to uncharted lands. Just think of that crafty crew that charted the filming locations of the Game of Thrones and became the toast of many a tavern. Aye, a well-spun tale be worth its weight in gold.

But don’t forget, the songs of the seas (social signals) also play their tune in this grand voyage. A lively jig around your tales tells the mighty search krakens that ye be the talk of real sailors. So don’t just rely on your grand tales to get the cheers and toasts. Invest in a bard to sing your tales and perhaps a few doubloons to spread even the quieter tales among the folk.

Traffic be Greater Than Rankings

Ahoy mate! When it comes to navigating the vast seas of SEO, ye can’t just rely on a single compass point. Aye, having a good rank might bring more sailors to your ship, but don’t get too lost in the ranks alone.

With the winds of Personalized Search and Google’s new AI-guided maps, every sailor’s journey on the search seas is different. So, keeping a close eye on your rankings might be like searching for a ghost ship; sometimes it’s just a mirage.

Even the fanciest of spyglasses that promise to show ye clear ranking waters might not reveal the true nature of your audience. They might tell ye where you stand in the grand ocean, and if there be storms affecting your visibility, but what really matters is the crew that boards your ship – the organic visitors.

Which ports are they docking from? How well do they trade? Which ports are left deserted? Why do some see more action than others?

These be the mysteries ye should be unraveling. The treasures ye seek to answer these riddles are closer than ye think, ready to be unearthed!

Demystifying SEO: A Synergetic Approach

Navigating the treacherous waters of SEO ain’t like chartin’ the stars nor conjuring illusions nor peddling false treasures. Ye don’t need to be a scholar of the arcane arts, nor are there hidden riddles to its mastery. But when steered right, it can bring more sailors to yer shores than any other call of the sea.

In truth, SEO be more about holding fast to the pirate’s code – certain best practices that stand the test of time. Aye, it demands a deep knowledge of these codes and the wit to stick to ’em amidst the ever-changin’ tides, storms, and rival pirate crews. But at its heart, it be about seeing it as part of the grand voyage, and being ready to invest your time and doubloons for the long haul.

Settin’ yer sights on the right crew, keepin’ yer ship in shipshape, spinning tales that capture the heart, and sharin’ ’em across the many ports and islands – these be tactics that affect all parts of yer voyage (be it shipbuilding, flag design, or spreadin’ yer legend). But by lettin’ all parts of the journey work together, ye keep yer expenses low, fly high on the search charts, and reap the riches of both SEO and all yer other endeavors.

Socialed Team

Socialed Inc. is a digital strategy firm that specializes in ecommerce, inbound, and growth marketing strategies. At Socialed, we’re focused on building digital campaigns that support business goals.