SEO For Tour Operators: 8 Simple Tips To Master The SERPS

May 25, 2022
Allan Formigoni
8 min read

Everyone uses Google to find information or get in touch with a company that can provide a product or service. But did you know that 75% of internet users never scroll past page one?

As a tour operator, optimizing your website and online content for SEO is one of the ways you can market your business. It’s critical to do what you can to rank on the first page of SERPS, as this will boost your visibility immensely. It will also help you stay ahead of the competition and attract consistent, organic traffic.

Let’s look at everything you need to know about SEO for tour operators in our guide below.

Download FREE eBook

The Ultimate Guide To Scaling Your Tour Operator Business

A 150-page guide that covers everything from establishing a winning travel brand to delivering a market-leading service

Understanding SEO for Tour Operators 

First, let’s cover what SEO means for tour operators and other travel businesses.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the process you follow to position your web pages as high up as possible on search results pages. The purpose of this is to gain more free organic traffic to your site. Once on your website, you are in a position to capture leads and nurture relationships down your sales and marketing funnel.

The alternative to SEO is paid advertising – which can get expensive.

Search engines show content that is the most relevant and valuable to travelers’ search queries. Your goal, therefore, is to optimize your web pages to be as relevant for specific search requests as possible.

If your site is SEO-optimized, it will put you in better standing on the SERPS when your potential customers search for specific terms related to your industry. Get this right, and it can help you generate a lot more traffic to your travel website, which can potentially mean more business.

Most Important SEO Tips and Strategies for Tour Operators

Here are some of the most important SEO factors to consider as a tour operator.

1. Understand Keywords 

SEO starts with keywords. Keywords are the phrases that your target audience types into search engines. Your job is to identify popular search terms that they’re using and optimize your web pages around these.

SEO For Tour Operators

The first step to your SEO strategy is creating a keyword plan. You can use a free tool like Wordstream or Ubersuggest to help you find keywords. The process is simple, just type in relevant queries for your business (like “history tour London”), and the tools will display a list of related keywords.

You can also use more advanced tools, like Ahrefs or Semrush, to analyze your competitors’ websites and see what keywords they rank for.

Once you have found relevant keywords, there are a few important things you’ll need to understand. These are:

Search Intent 

What does the person searching for that keyword want to find out? Your goal is to match your web page content to answer the search intent as closely as possible.

Keyword Volume 

This is the number of times people search for your keyword every month. The higher the volume, the more opportunity you have to attract traffic.

Keyword Difficulty 

The more competitive or difficult the keyword is, the harder it will be to rank for. Try to optimize for a combination of keywords, and refrain from focusing only on high-difficulty keywords. Chances are, you will struggle to compete with major websites if you’re a small business.

SEO For Tour Operators

Long and Short-tail Keywords 

You get two types of keywords: long-tail keywords (longer phrases) and short-tail keywords (short phrases or single words). Aim to optimize your web pages for both of them.

Short keywords usually have a higher search volume, but they will be more competitive. The great thing about longer keywords is that they’re more specific, so you get a clearer idea of how to answer the search intent.

This makes it easier to optimize for these keywords. For example, “Walking tour” would be a highly competitive short-tail keyword, while “free history walking tour in Shoreditch” would be a more targeted long-tail variation. Try to include both versions in your keyword strategy.

2. Utilize Keywords Correctly

Once you have identified keywords, the next step is to strategically insert them into your web pages, including service pages, landing pages, and blog posts.

There are a few best practices for correct keyword placement, that you can read about here. To give you a general overview, you should include your main keyword (and/or its variations) in:

  • the title of your web page
  • your page headers
  • the body text of your web pages
  • URL and meta title
  • Image alt text

3. Leverage Local SEO To Your Advantage 

Optimizing for local SEO can be a great idea when it comes to SEO for tour operators. Local results appear prominently on the first page of Google, in what is known as the 3-pack.

An example of local SEO would be your target customer searching for something along the lines of “walking tour near me.” If you’ve optimized your content and it’s relevant to the searcher, your website may appear in the results.

SEO For Tour Operators

Besides using local keywords and setting up your Google My Business profile (see below), one way to optimize locally is to create individual landing pages for your services.

Create a different landing page for each service you offer and each area you operate in. Target each landing page with particular keywords. Doing so gives you more opportunities to rank for specific search terms in specific locations.

4. Optimize Your Google My Business Profile

On the topic of local SEO, Google My Business (GMB) is one of your most powerful allies. GMB is Google’s local business directory. Your GMB profile shows up on Google Maps, and it’s what reveals your business information in search results.

If your GMB profile is updated with all relevant information and optimized for the right keywords, it can help your business rank for more local SEO terms. This should include your contact information, images, address, and any specific details about your business (like whether it’s wheelchair friendly).

Let’s say a traveler nearby searches for “tour operator Chicago” or “tour guide near me” and you’ve included these keywords in your GMB listing. Google will potentially display your business in the search results if it deems you to be relevant, in close proximity, and trustworthy.

SEO For Tour Operators

To the last point on trust – Google rates local businesses with many positive reviews more highly in the local 3-pack of results. So, if you can get your clients to leave reviews on your profile, this can pay well to improve your SEO efforts and establish trust online.

5. Create Lots Of Great Content

Regularly publishing valuable content is a big factor for SEO for tour operators. This includes publishing optimized blog posts, social media posts, YouTube videos, and even podcasts.

Blogging is one of the best ways to improve travel SEO. You can achieve this by writing various blog posts targeted at specific keywords. These posts should be interesting, provide valuable information, and answer the questions your potential customers ask.

For example, let’s say you offer historical tours in a city. You could write a blog post about the history of the city center or posts explaining the different landmarks.

Including videos on your website is a great strategy to improve your search engine visibility. This is because YouTube videos are also recommended on Google search results. Optimize your videos for keywords, just like you would with blog posts and web pages.

6. Focus On Link Building

Link building forms a vital part of any SEO travel strategy. This can be broken down into external backlinks and internal links.

SEO For Tour Operators

What Does Backlinking Mean? 

Backlinking happens when another external website links to your website in its content. Say the content speaks about tours and links to one of your related blog posts or landing pages – this tells search engines that you hold authority on the subject. The more websites that link to you when speaking about a topic, the more relevant your website is for that topic.

So, try to gain as many backlinks as possible. You can do this through outreach strategies, content collaborations, guest posts, link exchanges, and more.

What Does Internal Linking Mean?

This term describes when you link from one page on your site to another. Linking internally helps to make your content more visible to search engines.

A big bonus of internal linking is choosing the anchor text you use to link out. Let’s say you have an important service page for your white water rafting tour. You can link to that page using the exact match or keyword variations you want to target on your website. This tells search engines what the page is about, helping to rank it and possibly gain more visibility on search results pages.

7. Optimize Your Website 

This may sound a bit vague, but there are loads of seemingly “small” on-page SEO optimizations you can make to your site that will have a major impact on SEO for tour operators.

SEO For Tour Operators

First, make sure that every page on your website is mobile-friendly. Most of your traffic will come from mobile devices; make sure that each page offers a great mobile experience. You can use SEO tools to run audits on this, or you can simply test the pages yourself by browsing them from your phone.

Make sure all images are compressed and are fast to load. Try to keep image sizes small without sacrificing quality.

Make sure that all links on your site work and that there are no link errors (like 404 errors). Often, web pages may be deleted or changed over time, so it’s essential to review your links every once in a while and make sure they’re still relevant.

Pay close attention to your page loading speeds. This plays a major role in SEO. If your pages take too long to load, talk to a webmaster to see how you can optimize them.

The better the experience your website offers, the better it will perform in search engines.

8. Review Your Analytics and Optimize Again 

SEO for tour operators is a long-term game. Instead of just “setting and forgetting,” you should consistently optimize and adjust your website to improve your SEO rating.

Start by using a tool like Google Search Console to review your website. This will show you exactly what search terms your pages are ranking for, how many impressions and clicks they’re getting, and so on.

SEO For Tour Operators

This is useful because it reveals opportunities you may not have thought of. Often, your web pages will rank for different keywords than what you intended. If this is the case, you can always re-optimize the content to match the new search term.

Watching your analytics will help you identify drops in traffic, what kind of content is most popular, and what your audience wants to know. The more you understand this, the more effectively you will be able to optimize your SEO strategy.

Summary

As a tour operator, the goal when applying SEO practices is to understand what your customers want and optimize your website in response. Doing so will help Google get you in front of the right audience at the right time.

SEO is an essential marketing strategy. Utilizing the relevant tools can help you understand what keywords are relevant to you and your audience. From there, you can apply strategies (like internal links and backlinks) to help get more traffic to your site and, ultimately, more business for your travel company.