A few weeks ago, before I left for the Santa Fe workshop, I received a report from Aria Cahill, an online marketing consultant who specializes in infographics and social media sharing.
She shared an excellent report about online marketing, which looks at social media, email, apps/mobile, blogging and…search engine optimization.
Much of the content marketing topics that I’ve been talking about over the last few weeks has focused on creating material that your target audience will engage with. Aria’s list gets more to the nuts and bolts of SEO, which can always seem a little intimidating, even for the most tech-savvy among us. But she’s explained it in a way that is understandable for the average marketer.
I will share these here, giving you travel industry-relevant examples of how you can use them in your website, social and email content:
(From the report “A Friendly Guide to Online Marketing,” section titled “Getting Smart about SEO”)
1.SEO affects only organize search results. The keywords you focus on for search engine results make all the difference. Make sure to choose them selectively and wisely.
How are you best choosing your keywords? Are you just looking at Google Keyword Planner, or other sites like Wordtracker, SEMRush, or Keyword Spy, that can lend you more useful information? Yes, these sites are paid services, but you’ll get a bigger picture of the travel keywords and phrases and can make more informed decisions about your content.
2.Make sure and choose a short, relevant title tag. This tells both search engines and customers what the basic interests of your website are.
Here, you’ll want to use something like “Adventure travel for the young at heart,” instead of “The young at heart love adventure travel.” Whenever possible, place your most important keywords upfront in your titles. This simple re-arrangement of terms can greatly affect your rankings and results.
3. Use the description meta tag when building your website so that a correct summary will help customers find your page with general searches.
You don’t want to be too short, random or loquacious in those description tags. Carefully select words when summarizing that rank high and compete low on your keyword search. That way, your audience will likely find your site before your competitions’. For example, if you want to describe your hiking trips in the Swiss Alps, you’ll want to say something like:
Hike through the Berner Oberland, where you can breathe in clean, crisp mountain air…
And not something like this (although this would perfectly fine to start a piece of fiction):
The morning sun rises over the Alps, and light seeps into the valleys and forests. You are ready to start your hike…
4. URLs are shown in search results. So make your URLs as relevant and short as possible.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Aim for a website URL like this (both fictitious):
instead of this:
5. Simplify the navigation of your website. Making it easy for readers to go from your home page to the specific page they’re looking for can make all the difference. It also makes it easier for the search engine to point readers in the right direction.
Here’s another simple but often overlooked suggestion. We’ve all been to a website home page menu crammed with more than a dozen links. These people probably have great information, but it just wasn’t organized in an efficient, easily navigable manner. On your site, try to aim for no more than 8-10 links, and categorize your information so visitors can find it quickly.
So instead of listing all of your ski package vacations with individual links (Vail, Aspen, Telluride, Jackson Hole, Park City, etc.), put them all under one link (Rocky Mountain Skiing), and include that information as second-level pages.
6. Link your other pages—blogs, social media accounts, etc.—to your main page so that searchers are also shown these options.
Again, this is a straightforward details that’s often missed. Simply add a link to your home page to each of these pages.
Thanks, Aria, for providing this awesome information!