You’ve done everything they said you should.
You’ve optimized your web content, headers and photo descriptions. You’ve been publishing quality, original content on a regular basis. You’ve even managed to get more shares and comments on your posts lately. But you still don’t climb up from second page on Google’s search results. You and that dead-body meme.
The reason your ranking is stuck, refusing to go up, may be in your choice of keywords.
If you focus on short, transactional keywords for your tourism brand and you’re not Lufthansa, Hilton or Expedia, you’ll surely have a problem. When you want your website to rank for keywords like ‘cheap flights’, ‘travel insurance’ or ‘hotels in Paris’ you’ll compete against major brands, with an advertising budget of millions, and you’ll never stand a chance.
And besides being more expensive, these generic keywords are usually transactional, which means they aim to catch a prospect ready to buy, ready to make a transaction.
But are all your website visitors ready to make a purchase? Surely not. In fact, an overwhelming 96% of prospects are not ready to buy anything. You cannot hope to address effectively prospects at the research or comparison stages using transactional keywords.
If you’re a medium-sized tourism provider, focus instead on long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are search phrases that contain 3 or more words, so they’re more specific. They also tend to be more informational, rather than transactional. You’ll have lower search volumes, but the prospects reaching your site will be more qualified.
If you optimize your web content and blog articles with long-tail keywords, you’ll get two worthwhile results:
- Higher page view – the readers reaching your site will generally stay longer and browse more pages as the content will be more useful, fitting their search.
- Lower bounce rate – since their search was specific, like your long-tail keywords, what they find when they click is highly relevant.
For example, if you sell hotel beds in London and you target competitive keywords like ‘cheap hotels london’ or ‘hotels in london’ you’ll go head to head with booking platforms and global hotel brands. You’ll never make it on top of the rankings.
Instead, choose long-tail keywords like ‘best areas to stay in london’ and provide relevant content around the theme of London hotels, like best neighborhoods where to stay based on your interests or gastronomy choices.
Users search for different information at different purchase cycles. If they are at the beginning, they look for rough ideas about their trip. Say they want to go camping. They would search for phrases like ‘camping sites in europe’. At this stage they don’t want to buy anything. They just want to see where the campsites are, near what big cities, or what facilities they have. If you give them this relevant information, they will keep digging into your website, looking for more.
And if you provide useful and relevant content, the prospects may even sign up for your newsletter or follow your social media channels. They’ll remember you as useful rather than just trying to sell them a product.
What was an incidental browser could become a long-term reader and maybe even advocate – sharing your stuff – just because you provided valuable information for a specific, long-tail keyword rather than a generic one.
Focusing on long-tail keywords and attracting prospects at all four stages of the purchase journey, is a complete SEO strategy shift.
You’ll have high chances of both ranking on top and being useful for your prospects. You’ll get around those big, global competitors and you’ll be among the top results for more specific keywords. Because prospects don’t use one or two words when they search for tourism products like accommodation, flights or a travel package. They use complex phrases that each may have a low search volume, but when added up, they’ll give you the high-quality traffic you look for.